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Making a career of contentment

We are discontented for we want everything immediately whereas things happen in their own time.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 18:06 IST

Everyone knows the tale of the monkey and the crocodile from the Panchatantra: their friendship was destroyed because the crocodile tried to kill the monkey one day through deceit and the monkey saved itself, but despised the crocodile thereafter.

It happened because the crocodile did not have the moral courage to stay content with friendship but succumbed to the need to please his wife, who wanted to eat the monkey's heart.

This story has a very important message, besides the apparent one of watching out for trouble: we must be content with what we have.

Somebody may question this premise. So what do the scriptures say? That we deserve what we have! No wonder, the Bhagavad Gita insists so, on satisfaction. Lord Krishna states, "The quality of satisfaction has been created by Me" (10.4); "A content person is dear to Me" (12.18); "You have the right to act but the results are in the control of others" (2.47).

So why are we not content with what we have? Do we have too high an opinion of ourselves, perhaps? Or we want everything now, whereas things happen at their appointed time?

Also, many of us have a very negative attitude towards life. We forget that we have a lot of leverage in what we can give but not much in what we get, since that depends on others and circumstances.

Such discontent doesn't help our cause. So, what should we do? Let us remember that excellence is built over a period of time, it never happens overnight.

There is a lot of competition out there; we should never forget that. We should not raise our expectations too high since the resultant discontentment hurts. Faith in God's arrangement should be maintained. Let us meditate on our share and how things could be worse, and how others deal with life.

However, we should never be so content that we do not strive for progress. Instead, we should attempt to improve from the platform of contentment because that is how we shall be most efficient.

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