An approach to life – Contentment and Generosity

Extract from “The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living” Volume 2 by Eknath Easwaran


Sri Krishna says, Tushti: “Be content with what life sends you.” Don’t be a beggar, sitting with your little tin cup and begging of life, “Please give me a few cents of pleasure, or at least don’t give me any pain.” Don’t ask always what you can get from life, but danam: ask what you can give. Stand up to your full height and give freely to those around you – your time, your resources, your talents, extra clothes or vegetables from your garden, whatever you have. It doesn’t matter whether the gift is simple or modest; what matters is that it be given freely, wholeheartedly, without any reservations, without even the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing. You are not wealthy simply because you have a lot, you are wealthy when you have given a lot away; the more you give, the more you will have to give – not in money, but in the richness of your life.



I am delighted to welcome Alex to the Art of Living blog-world. In his first post, Alex writes about “anugraha” or blessings.

Blessing is a word that has gained a wide range of meanings throughout the centuries, and across the various continents of our planet. In the Vedic tradition, the word has a very specific, and very beautiful meaning. The Sanskrit word used there is ‘anugraha’ and it is said to be one of the five qualities, or activities, of the Consciousness or the Divine. These five are ‘srishti’ (creation), ‘sthiti’ (maintenance), ‘samhara’ (dissolution/transformation), ‘tirobhava’ (veiling) and ‘anugraha’ (grace). This means that anugraha is one of the main powers inherent in our consciousness, but what does it mean? The word ‘anugraha’ is explained as ‘anusritya ghrinati iti anugraha’, which could be translated as ‘that which follows you wherever you go and holds you together’. It is such an amazing and beautiful definition!

And it is this power that we seek, whenever we ask blessings, whether it is from our parents or elders, a priest in a temple or church, or the God we worship. This power is a part of our own consciousness, which simply gets enlivened whenever we are able to go deep inside, and let go of all daily worries, impressions and activities, and be with that part of ourselves that is always peaceful, contented and untouched. And that is where the power of prayer lies, as it takes us within, and allows us to surrender all the small things that trouble us and keep us from feeling peaceful and contented.

The more we are able to feel this contentment and joy, the more we become able to share this with other people – and this is what happens when giving blessings. It is simply becoming a channel for that consciousness to manifest in the other person. Whenever we are happy and joyful, we are spreading those vibrations around us, just like a fire warming all that stand near it.

Blessings have three effects. The first thing blessing bestows is ‘svasti’ (health). The second is ‘shanti’ (peace) and the third is ‘samriddhi’ (abundance). Only when our body is healthy, our mind is peaceful and when we don’t feel any lack, can we really live a healthy, happy and successful life. In the same way, whenever we feel that contentment in life, these three qualities manifest automatically.