17.16 – Satisfaction is not just a condition but also a choice

by May 6, 2013

Job dissatisfaction. Marital dissatisfaction. Monetary Dissatisfaction…. The malaise of dissatisfaction plagues millions.

Of course, dissatisfaction is not always a malaise. It can point to a fundamental incompatibility that needs to be assertively addressed. Or it can spur us to better performance, thereby enabling us to do justice to our God-given abilities.

Far more frequently however, dissatisfaction acts as a spoilsport. It becomes a tormenting fire that allows us no joy or peace. Dissatisfaction just doesn’t allow us to see the things we have; instead it forces us to constantly see the things we don’t have.

This inner fire of dissatisfaction gets fuel from our ad-permeated culture. When the things we don’t have are prominently and alluringly paraded in front of us, how can we stay satisfied?

But then, how can we ever have peace and joy if we stay forever dissatisfied? And won’t that be our fate if we let our satisfaction be a function of our material condition? After all, no matter how much we possess materially, there will always be more to possess.

That’s why satisfaction comes not by changing our condition, but by making a choice – the choice to focus on and rejoice in what we have. The Bhagavad-gita (17.16) lists satisfaction as an austerity of the mind, indicating thereby that it is a conscious choice to be made, like say the choice of fasting on a holy day.

As an austerity, we need to take our mind away from the stimuli that induce dissatisfaction. What makes this austerity tolerable and even relishable is the redirection of our thoughts to Krishna. When we cultivate the habit of thinking about Krishna, gradually those Krishna-thoughts enrich and satisfy us.

Thus by choosing satisfaction as an austerity, we attain the condition of satisfaction as a reward.


And satisfaction, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purification of one’s existence are the austerities of the mind.

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