The Vedic Sanskrit word सन्तोषं (Santosham) if often confused with yet another similarly sounding word सन्तसं (Santasam) which implies Happiness. सुखं (Sukham) is the Vedic Sanskrit word for Pleasure. Happiness and pleasure are never the same.
In Yoga Vashistha, Vashistha says to Rama “सन्तोषात् भवति असन्तोष: सन्तसात् भवति असन्तस:” The most effective translation would read That which brings pleasure will also yield pain. Let me try to put this in perspective:
For example, almost everyone knows debts often yield detrimental consequences, in personal as well as professional. Yet we incur debts whenever or however we can; mostly to buy things that we think “we need” or for appealing to people who may not actually matter to us. Eventually at some point in time the debt exceeds a certain threshold or our ability to repay them is challenged resulting in stress. This stress, then clouds our judgement owing to which we then start incurring more debts to repay existing debts. How the situation is bound to end is but anyone’s guess. Most people may suggest desire is the only reason for pain in our lives.
But then, what are we without desires? Even Rishis agree that desire, themselves, are neither wrong nor evil themselves. Artha Sutras declare कामेण जायते कर्म । कर्मेण जायते संसार: । संसारात् भवति आर्थिकता । Meaning “Desires leads to actions. From actions the world is sustained. The world is the cause of economies.” Without desires, there can be no family, villages, towns, nations, organizations, wealth, or even the world at large.
The true source of all our pains is our bad कर्म (Karma) or Actions.
But then, what is “good” Karma? And how are we to define the “bad” Karma?
The Rishis call “good actions” or सत्कर्म (Satkarma) as धर्म (Dharma) and bad actions as विकर्म (Vikarma). To describe Dharma subtly, “It is not doing anything to others what we do not want others to do unto us.” So, if we are doing something to others that which we may not want to experience ourselves – then we are committing अधर्म (Adharma).
Let us ask ourselves this question “Would we lend money to someone who without the ability to repay?” If not, then why would do we incur debts whose repayment we ourselves would doubt?
We incur debts because it is the quick way to attain our material desires. But then just because we are getting it does not mean we deserve it. If we are deserving, then we do not need to depend on debts from others to achieve our desires or objectives.
To achieve anything, we can either run behind things we desire, or we can be mindful of our actions to make that thing come to us. When we make things come to us – through Dharma – we make ourselves deserving. This approach of being deserving is what the Rishis also called as Yoga – the path of Dharma. That is why Deserving person are addressed in Vedic Sanskrit as योग्य (Yogya) and Undeserving person is called अयोग्य (Ayogya).
If you have earned a billion dollars by adhering to Dharma and are spending millions to buy yourself a private jet – then your actions are deserving or Yogya. But if you do not have money in your wallets and you steal a few hundred dollars by pick pocketing someone else then you are undeserving or Ayogya. But how does one become Yogya or deserving?
Anything we yearn to achieve materially; we need to start with a clam mind. A calm mind is the key to achieve everything. When a mind is disturbed it not only incurs problem, but, also, when you try to solve that problem, it either worsens the problem or simply creates a new problem.
The calm mind is possible only through Santosham which in Vedic Sanskrit implies Contentment. Contentment is not about becoming Complacent; but about accepting all “problems” as situations and embracing the reality through indifference before resolving the situation to earn अर्थं (Artha) or Meaningful Wealth to achieve धनं (Dhanam) or Money.
Santosham is possible only when a person has known, understood, and accepted the परमार्थ (Paramartha) or the Ultimate Truth that the change is only constant. Being able to embrace this Ultimate Truth a mind achieves a state of equilibrium. Once the mind achieves this state there are only situations forth it, never problems. Such a mind achieves significant power to convert even adversity into an opportunity. And all change then becomes a passing fad.
For the Rishis only that mind is strong that neither gets elated amid opportunities nor depressed during threats. Such mind is the master key to all our success. This is the mind which has achieved Santosham; and for such minds all material prosperity is not only achievable but also sustainable.