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Purity and Contentment

by Swami Sivananda

Sauca is internal and external purity. External purity generates pure thoughts. Practice of sauca brings disgust for one's own body and the body of others also. You will soon give up mamata (mineness of body). Take a bath in the early morning and wear simple, clean cloth. You will get the meditative mood quickly. Sauca helps to maintain brahmacarya. The practice of celibacy, kindness, love, mercy, patience, japa (repetition of God's name) and meditation will purify the heart and eradicate jealousy, cruelty, hatred, anger and lust. This is internal sauca.

This is the first anga or limb of niyama (discipline). Niyama and yama (self-restraint) are interdependent. Niyama strengthens and safeguards yama. Removal of lust, anger, hatred, jealousy etc., constitutes internal purity. Internal purity is more important than external purity. Internal purity makes the mind one-pointed; it bestows serenity, cheerfulness, joy, strength, harmony, poise and happiness; it instils love, patience and magnanimity. Therefore develop internal purity through diligent and vigilant effort.

Contentment (santosa) cuts at the root of all desires. It gives success in the practice of yama. It gives peace, one-pointedness of mind, serenity and eternal satisfaction. Divine light will descend in a contented mind alone. A contented man is satisfied with his lot, he is happy in whatever condition he is placed, he does not crave for things he has not got. Contentment is a mystic stream of joy that cools the three fires of samsara and joins the ocean of immortal bliss.

Contentment - this is a most vital subject. You all know the maxim: "A contented mind is a continual feast". The mind is always restless on account of greed. Greed is a kind of internal fire that consumes a man slowly. Contentment is a powerful antidote for the poison of greed. There are four sentinels who guard the domain of moksa (liberation). They are: santi, santosa, satsanga and vicara (peace, contentment, company of the holy and enquiry). If you can approach any of these sentinels, you can get hold of the other three. If you get hold of santosa (contentment) you can easily see the other three following you.

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