Santosh (contentment) means satisfaction, agreement, being contented with what one has and being satisfied with it. If one does not gain his object in spite of effort, or succeeds to a very small extent only, and yet remains calm and collected and does not feel troubled in his mind, he is said to have contentment. When one is surrounded by troubles on all sides, is not honored by anyone, is talked ill of by everyone and is faced with defeat on all sides, but does not feel aggrieved by the thought that others are happy, then it is a sign of contentment.
It would however, be a mistake to infer from all this that contentment means idleness or slackness. To seem contented and to grieve in secret and to feel jealous is to show oneself in different colours and to deceive the public. A contented person on getting nothing even after making efforts does not blame the Master or the Lord. He tries seriously to accomplish the task. Failure or success leaves him unaffected.
When one fails in spite of effort, know it to be the will of the Lord.
Only a contented person can put in ceaseless efforts for serving others. He observes truth, never attempts evil and does good actions and earns merit.
They earn contentment who sincerely contemplate the truth. They do not do any evil acts and earn merit by good acts.
Asa War M1, 466-19
He is very patient. Even though possessed of respect, prestige and strength, he forgives the faults of others. He feels happy when others progress and get honour, and has clean intentions. Even on getting honours and glory he loves others and treats them kindly. Although learned and wise, he respects other learned men and tries to imbibe their virtues as a duty. He is beautiful, but does not indulge in sensual pleasures. He is always patient modest and scrupulous. Such a person is not only contented, but has other virtues also. He is satisfied with his wife and considers those older than he as mother, and younger ones as sisters and daughters. He lives on the income earned by him by his own labour. He enjoys his simple fare as a sumptuous dinner, and drinks water as if it were nectar. He is not envious of the good life led by others.
Sheikh Farid says:
Take the dry and unbuttered bread and cold water. mOh Farid! Tempt not thy mind on seeing buttered bread of others.
Farid, Salok, 1379-8
Umar Khayam also says to the same effect, that one who is getting bread and some space for sitting is not anybody's slave or master. He should be told to be happy as this much is sufficient.
In this world, he who has half a bread and has a place to sit, He is not anybody's slave or master. Tell him to be happy as he has sufficient in this world.
He does not covet the riches of another. He deems it to be dirt. He considers the usurpation of the right of others as poison and ever obeys the wishes of the Master.
He considers usurping the rights of another what eating beef is to Hindus or pork to Muslims. He obeys the Master and does not eat the dead animals.
Sri Rag M1, 141-1
These principles of spirituality are the same for all. If he is a follower of Mohammed, he considers the rights of others as pork, and if he is a Hindu, as the beef. Only the money earned by dharmic (meritorious) actions can lead to happiness, peace, patience and contentment. Money earned otherwise leads to ever increasing greed and covetousness.
Guru Arjan Sahib says that if a man earns a thousand rupees, he hankers after getting lakhs; he is never satisfied. He is deluded by Maya. He cannot feel satiated by having pleasures. On the other hand, he dies hankering after them. All this running about passes like a dream and he gains nothing. One cannot feel satisfied except by contentment and is never satiated. He cannot be content with what he has.
He earns a thousand and hankers after a lakh. He is not satiated and runs after Maya. He enjoys many pleasures. He is not satiated and dies hankering. He cannot be satisfied except by contentment. All his acts are useless like a dream.
Sukhmani Gauri M5, 278-19
Money, wealth and other paraphernalia are related to body, and do not accompany us. Qarun, who had forty rooms full of gold, and Ravana, who had Lanka of gold, took nothing with them from this world.
What did the foolish Ravana take with him.
Kabir, Bhairon, 1158-2
Money earned by sin and injustice leads to suffering. It acts as poison on the person using it. His mind is never at rest and his mind wanders. In course of time the money is wasted. In fact, it leads to destruction of the wealth already accumulated. Money earned by evil means is spent on evil deeds.
The money earned by meritorious deeds leads to happiness here and also hereafter. If one is poor while doing meritorious deeds and the Lord has given him contentment, he is really rich. A rich man without contentment is a beggar and very poor, for the hunger of such a man would not be satisfied even if he got all the good things of the world, as none can be satisfied without contentment. His hankering increases every day, just as adding of fuel makes the fire blaze all the more.
Guru Arjan Sahib says:
One cannot be a king without contentment. All his acts are like a dream.
Gauri Sukhmani M5, 279-2
Contentment is had from Nam. He who gets the jewel of Naam gets all the treasures. On getting contentment mind gets all and asks for no other boon.
The man who has got the boon of the jewel of Naam that man is the most blessed among men. On getting a contented mind he meets the Lord, it does not wander any more.
Ram Kali M5, 891-13
All desires vanish on getting wealth of contentment. Owing to his being desireless, worry disappears and mind becomes restful. Those who desire nothing are real kings.
Wealth, cattle, elephants, horses, jewels and their mines are very valuable, but seem like dust on getting contentment.
Desire is gone, worry is ended; mind is carefree. Those who require nothing are kings.
Cows, elephants, horses, jewels and their mines are precious, but, when contentment is got, all this wealth is like dust.
The human body is the best of all. Man should use his reason. He should see as to what he has earned for himself and what he has done for pleasing the Lord and His creation. One should, therefore, put on the garment of effort and try to attain the three ideals. It is, however, necessary to put on one particular virtue, and that is to put on the ring of contentment.
Put on the ring of contentment and garment of humility.
Jap Ji, 6-16
This is necessary so that while trying, he may not become ungrateful or blame the Lord, or he may not slowly wither on getting less than expected or by being a failure, or he may not give up the effort and admit defeat. One should be content with what he gets from his meritorious deeds. One should patiently attend to his duty. He should ward off the attacks of greed and covetousness by the shield of patience, so that, in the end, the drop of the soul may mingle with the ocean of the Lord and become blessed, and may not become dry like a rivulet.
Sheikh Farid says that contentment naturally makes a man a true creature of the Lord, and he unites with the Lord and grows into an ocean and does not become separated and a dried nalah (canal).
It is in the nature of contentment that if one is steadfast. He becomes united and grows into an ocean and does not become separated and a dried nalah.
Farid, Salok, 1384-6
Guru Nanak Sahib says, "Be truthful and contented and adopt forgiveness. In this way, know yourself and realise the Lord."
Those who are truthful and contented those who are truthful and take refuge with the Master, they know the self and the inner self. They remain in the company of the Lord and get released.
Maru Sohle M1, 1030-11
Again he says that a contented man attains the truth. He speaks the truth and is dear to the Lord. He is never separated from Him and merges into Him through the Master.
He observes truth and contentment and leads a truthful life and speaks the truth. He is dear to Him. Oh Nanak! He does not become separated and by the Master's Grace merges in the Lord.
Suhi M1, 764-3
Practice truth and contentment. Remember the Lord and become one with Him.
Sri Rag M1, 18-12
The contented persons who have reached this stage always use sweet words. By mixing and remaining in their company, peace and calm is attained. They are really blessed who come across such persons. Sweet are the words of the contented holy men; On seeing and touching them, peace and tranquility reign in the mind.