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Contentment Is Wealth - Discontent Is Poverty And Want – Hindu Stories

Only he who has no desires is rich and contented. The bhakta is filled, satisfied. Bhagavan fills Him; he has no other desires. He is the greatest among men. He is fearless. The lover of God is greater than any potentate. One who renounces is superior to any king. He is stronger, more fearless and richer than anyone else. There is a story to illustrate this.

In olden times it was customary in for rulers to visit different parts of their domain and, while visiting, distribute wealth among the subjects. Once such a king in ancient India went on his yearly tour and, being immensely rich, he brought great happiness wherever he went. Seated on a gigantic elephant he would throw pieces of gold among the poor and the people would follow him for a long distance, always expecting to get more gold.

One day, departing from a village, this king had to cross a forest. Before he had gone far he saw a sannyasin seated under a tree. The man was all but naked and had no possessions of any kind. His staff and water pot was all that he possessed. Seeing the man so poor, the king called his minister and directed him to give him some gold. But when the minister offered the gold, the man refused to accept it. The minister reported to the king what had happened. The king told him to take more gold as the holy man probably thought the gift insufficient from such a rich monarch. The minister went again, but met with the same refusal.

Then the king thought, ‘Perhaps the sannyasin is offended because I have not personally made the offering to him. It is certainly not good to displease a holy man. Let me descend and ask his pardon and offer the gift to him myself.’

The king approached the sannyasin very humbly and begged of him to accept his gold. But the sannyasin said, ‘Sir, how can I accept your gold? I am a rich man and you are poor and a paltry king.’ The king was very much surprised. He did not understand what the saint meant. ‘Don’t you see, revered sir,’ he said, ‘that I have come with all my retinue? And all these men following me are carrying boxes full of gold and precious stones. My wealth is almost inexhaustible. Please take as much as you may require. I see you have no belongings of any kind. Kindly accept my offer and bless me that I may go in peace.

Then the saint said, ‘Sir, you possess much wealth, but still I call you poor. For with all your wealth your unfulfilled desires are many. You always long for more and more and that keeps you unhappy, while I, who possess nothing, am perfectly contented. I don’t desire gold or precious stones; I don’t desire anything. I know my true Self and am always full of bliss. He who desires much is poor, but he who is free from desire is the richest of the rich. Contentment is wealth and discontent is poverty and want.’

Bhaktas are always contented. They are rich in their love of God, rejoicing in the company of their Beloved. Says one of the Puranas, ‘All the pleasures of this world and even of the divine sphere are not worth a hundredth part of the joy that comes from the cessation of all desires.’ Then, the knots of the heart are cut asunder; all burning unrest vanishes to make room for peace.