In Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna says:-
कर्मण्येवधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर मा ते सन्गोस्त्वकर्मणि।
The human right is for activity only, never for the resultant fruit of actions. Do not create yourself the creator of the fruit of thy activities, neither allow thyself to be attached to inactivity.
In no way contentment means inactivity, idleness or sluggishness. We must always put our shoulders to the wheel and remember that
Heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight
But they while their companions slept
Were toiling upward through the night.
Here what we mean by contentment is the absence of temptations and greed. Man wants more and more till he is himself no more. Everybody knows intellectually that he cannot accumulate the wealth of the world, he cannot become rich to his own satisfaction, yet those who have billions of dollars are just as poor in heart as the people who have four dollars. To a discontented person, four billion dollars and four dollars make no difference in bringing about peace and tranquillity and bliss. In fact Bliss, peace and contentment are no result of riches. The cause of Bliss is something else and that something else is our true Self. The true Self in us is the master of the whole universe. The real Self is immortal, everlasting, unchanging, the same yesterday, to-day and forever. In man, there is something which knows no death, no change. The non-belief in death is due to the real Self in man.
The problem starts when we confound the real Self with body _ the apparent and ephemeral body. The real Self is immortal, Peaceful and blissful but we wish our body to be immortal, peaceful and blissful. The real Self id the possessor and bestowal of all the worldly gifts but we imprisoned in body-prison wish to accumulate all the wealth of the world. The body can never possess the whole world. Even if we possess the whole world, we will never be satisfied.
A deep dive in Meditation will shatter our slumber and we will realise that Bliss lies in our own innermost cave. Our true Self is All Bliss, All Knowledge and ALL - Existence. The outward search of accumulation of wealth is futile and alien to contentment. Everyone knows that accumulation of wealth and material prosperity do not bring peace and tranquillity, yet everybody is hungering and hankering after lucre. Is not that strange anomaly? No system of philosophy or religion explains that reasonably or with perfect argument.
In every individual, in every person, in every body, there is the real Self, the real Atman which is the greatest of all, the highest of high and that makes its existent felt. We wish the body to be immortal, blissful and contented with worldly possessions. Error is ours that we wish to attribute all the qualities of real self to the body. Worldly possessions in themselves are ephemeral. How can they provide us permanent peace and contentment? We are putting the cart before the horse. What is to be attributed to Atman, we are rendering to the body and vice-versa.
Atman is all powerful, all pervading, ever shining and is within the innermost shrine of ours whereas the body is ephemeral, mortal and incapable of having permanent peace and contentment. The more we run after worldly temptations, the more they will run away from us. "When we were hankering after worldly objects, they were eluding us but now when we have become indifferent to them, they are eager and over-anxious to come to us
भागती फिरती थी दुनिया, जब तलब करते थे हम।
अब के जब नफ़रत हई, तब बेकरार आने को है।।
Our desires are unlimited and we can never attain contentment with them. Moreover they will never be satisfied as long as we are keen on them. These desires are like spots in an object-glass of a telescope. It is the light of the sun that shows the spots. The sun is never identified with the spots on the glass; neither is Self Divine with name and form or with body. Our actions- evil or good, our desires- great or small increase or decrease the spots but never affect the Self which is but One, the Knower, the Self. He is without a name or fame or stain. In Him is Maya dreaming this dream. The WITNESS He appears as nature, soul. Know Thou art that.
Without knowing Him, without realising Him through Meditation, man cannot have peace and contentment no matter how many possessions he may accumulate. Contentment is Divine and Divinity is our true nature but the biggest obstacle is the adamantine wall of ego. Underneath the restless mind is shining all Peaceful and Blissful Self. We have imprisoned Him in this prison of ego. Ravinder Nath Tagore describes in Gitanjali:-
"He whom I enclose with my name is weeping in the dungeon. I am very busy building this wall all around, and as this wall goes up into the sky day by day, I lose sight of my true Being in its dark shadow."
"I take pride in this wall, am I plaster it with dust and sand lest a least hole should be left in ths name; and for all the care I take, I lose sight of my true Being."
"Obstinate are the trammels but my heart aches when I try to break them"
"My debts are large , my failures great, my shame secret an d heavy; yet when I come to ask for my good, I quake in fear lest my prayer be granted".
"Prisoner, tell me who was it that wrought this unbreakable chain?"
"It was I" said the prisoner “who forged this chain very carefully. I thought my invincible power would hold the world captive leaving me in a freedom undisturbed...... When at last the work was done and the links were complete and unbreakable, I found that it held me in grip".
This ego presents many green pastures to us that worldly possessions can provide us permanent peace, tranquality and contentment but the mind in itself is in pieces. It is the most complex thing on earth. You cannot hold it in hand or test-tube. The only way to know it is to know it from within in deep Meditation. Then eventually it will calm down and truth will dawn on us that apparent world had imprisoned the Real One and contentment and peace can be attained from self, our own true Self. In no way, fleeting objects of this world can give us contentment because CONTENTMENT IS DIVINE.