Contentment and Resignation
[Oriental Psychology] 

B.P. Wadia

© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö 


Our civilization does not correctly appraise the great virtue of contentment. In the name of progress, it allows the forces of rivalry and competition to take possession of our consciousness. Our educational institutions encourage, through the examination system, a form of prize giving. They encourage the development of competition and rivalry. What the boy or the girl may acquire of the spirit of teamwork in sports weakens in the classroom, where the top rank is the coveted position. The seed of discontent enters in the heart of the boy, who carries it forward into the field of business and waters it to growth in the strength of rivalry. The girl similarly fosters the sprout of competitiveness in the atmosphere of home, club, and society. Even the realm of social service is not free from the debasing power of competition and rivalry.

People sometimes are fooled into calling this lethal force "divine discontent." Almost universally present, the ordinary discontent has nothing of divinity in it. Grumbling, grouching, lamenting, and bemoaning are marks of a discontent that is not divine, but pertains to the subhuman nature. It pertains to the animal which most carry within their consciousness.

Divine discontent shows itself in silent, intelligent resignation. This resignation has no trace of fatalism or kismet. On the contrary, it is positive and active. It spurs the individual to clear his environment of the fleas, ants, and mosquitoes of petty weaknesses and of the ferocious tigers and angry bulls of pronounced vices. This is done in silence and with a sense of humor. True resignation always has within it the silence of knowledge and understanding. This silence is not that of the frustrated man who is morose. Similarly, true resignation evinces a sense of humor – that vital virtue which has insight into the imbalance, the disproportion of what the ancient psychologists named the four humors. Hilarity and loud laughter do not always bespeak a sense of humor.

This higher or divine resignation carries with it the truly divine discontent. This inner, dual, divine power does not produce complaints of the environment with which man has to contend, nor even of his bodily or mental limitations. The man who has aroused this twofold divine force recognizes the truth of ancient psychology that his outer environment – be it mud hut or palace – his standard of living – whether he eats tasty viands or simple food – are but reflections of his inner and psychological environment. He primarily works with his mind with its knowledge and ignorance, its breadth of vision and depth of insight. His emotions of fear and enmity, of egotism and vanity, or of love, generosity, and harmony; and the energy to persevere in the search for Self-Knowledge that is the progeny of righteous acts.

Men and women complain of the street and the town in which they live, ignoring the great truth that the street of untidy thoughts and the town of the mean heart are causal. The heat and cold felt by the human body (and who is there who does not complain about the weather?) is a reflection of the likes and dislikes harbored in the brain and allowed to run their course in the blood stream, and of the ambition for wealth, fame, and power that becomes the energy or Prana valued as self and soul. Each has the inner environment of thoughts and feelings that manufacture words and deeds. This inner environment evaluates, falsely indeed, our outer environment. Our standard of living is not really dependent on minted gold and silver coins or on paper money, but on the gold of Energy and the silver of Patience, on Harmony of the mind and the Height of the heart.

In the light of the Wisdom of the Rishi or Sage-Seer, of the singing thoughts of the Silent One, the Muni, how abject and petty is the "philosophy" that millions of mortals hug to their breasts. Such live in fear and compete in stealth, pretend to be good and succeed in tarnishing and debasing their own consciousness and the beautiful and bountiful Nature that surrounds them. Within us is the Land of Content. Laboring thereon, we shall reap a harvest undreamt of by worldly "planners" who are almost wholly concerned with schemes and dreams of mere economic progress.


From "Thus have I heard", pages
260-62. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.


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