Among twentieth century Advaita Vedanta teachers, Atmananda stood beside Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta. These were the “three tenors” of their time.
Thus, when Atmananda states,
Some people say that they have no problems in life. This is meaningless talk. It only means that they are mere cowards, who stubbornly refuse to think in the light of evident facts. (Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda: Volume I–Notes 1 to 472, no. 333, p. 165)
we have every reason to listen to him.
We should careful with ourselves whenever we think or say, “Oh, I have no problems; everything is fine.” Similarly, we should beware of others who say that they have “no problems in life,” for blindness is likely mixing with cowardice, with cowardice leading the way.
Is someone just too cheery? Does it seem as if everything is just so good for him? Watch out! This is someone not to be trusted! Trust your intuition: if you feel that you can’t be real with him, you’re probably right.
Let’s begin, then, with the “evident facts,” which are that, so long as we’re not enlightened, we do find ourselves suffering. (*) See that the mere idea of your own death, provided that you allow yourself to go into the matter fully, is scary. Hence, we must start here if we do not want to be governed by shadows and subject to spiritual bypass. Besides, being courageous truth-seekers absolutely demands this much of us.
(*) Acknowledging, while beginning from, our own suffering does not entail complaining, kvetching, or excusing. We should likewise be careful with those hellbent on kvetching.