The Magic of Contentment

I have been reading Swami Sukhabodhananda’s book “Meditation – The Ultimate Flowering” and one story he quoted in it really touched me. The story goes as follows…

There was a wise sage who regularly used to give discourses. People from neighboring villages used to flock to listen to his sayings. At the end of a particular discourse, he was talking of being grateful to the existence. “Operate from a space of gratitude, this will allow us to expand”. A beggar sitting at the corner was listening to the discourse.

At the end of the discourse, the beggar went to the sage and asked “Maharaj, your talk was great. But one thing I am not able to do. You said to be grateful to the existence because it has always showered benediction on you. Sorry! But existence has not given me anything. I am struggling even for a single bread.”

The sage said “I agree with you. I’ll give you two lacs (approx. $4000) right here. Will you be grateful?” The beggar was thrilled. “But I want something in return from you” said the sage. “I do not have anything, what can I give you? If I have something I shall definitely give you,” said the beggar. “I won’t ask anything that you do not have”, said the sage. The aggrement was made.

The sage said, “I shall make arrangements the two lacs, you please give me both your eyes.” The beggar was astonished. “What will I do with these two lacs without my eyes! I don’t agree to this deal”, he said. “I prefer my two eyes to the two lacs.” The sage said, “But you said you don’t have anything and were cursing existence.”

Beautiful story, isn’t it? Most of us are like the beggar who are never satisfied with what existence has showered on us. Most of us always have our focus on what is missing than what is in abundance in our lives. I can relate this story to an analogy:

Imagine you are the creator and you have two disciples. One of them is very much contented with what you have given to him and is always in a bliss. The other one however, always begs for a little more. Whom would you shower with abundance? Naturally the first one, isn’t it? Nobody likes a greedy person including the creator.

All holy books have always stressed on contentment. It is the only way to everlasting happiness. Material wealth can never bring everlasting happiness. Just think about it for a moment. Think about your first car or bike or anything that you had longed for very badly. For how long you had been happy after you got it? It was very momentary, isn’t it? The moment you got what you were dreaming of, you started dreaming about something else. And this continues till the end of our life.

Contemplate on what you have today and thank the creator for it. See the transformation it brings in to your life.

Powerful quotes:

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates

“Content makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor.” – Benjamin Franklin

Additional readings:


  1. All very good points!
    I heard recently about a survey which reported that a persons level of happiness flatlines at a 50k per year salary. In other words for people who made 50k per year or more, an sudden increase in wealth such as winning the lottery did not have a corresponding increase in happiness.

    Something to think about.

    Carol Goetz

  2. I certainly needed this reminder, Vishal, as you well know. Exceptionally written. Thank You!


  3. “Content makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor.” – Benjamin Franklin

    That’s it exactly.. I always remind people of this fact when it comes to wanting more money trying to make it working from home. I remind them, “Why do rich people commit suicides? Why did one of the Ashley twins have an eating disorder? If rich married couples have all the money they need, why are they getting divorced?” Sometimes, you have to remind people of these facts so they will have the right mindset.

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