Santosa

Santosa

Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra

Contentment (one of the 5 Niyamas) implies absence of desire for any possession in excess of the immediate necessities for maintaining one’s life.

Contentment (Sam + tus) with what comes of itself.

From contentment unsurpassed happiness is gained (Yoga Sutra 11.42). Contentment is the highest heaven in Mahabharata (XII . 21.2).

It has been said in this connection: ‘The happiness gained on this earth through enjoyment of desired objects, or the supreme heavenly joy, is not even one-sixteenth of the happiness caused by the cessation of desires’.

Santosa assumes a spiritual content viz. full faith and satisfaction in God as against external changeful objects and in this it is rightly said that the Niyamas help in creating right reorientation for Isvarapranidhna.

Contentment is freedom from desire in Vishnupurana quoted in Patanjalarahsya of Raghavananda Sarasvati. As Vijnana-Bhiksu has rightly said in his Yoga Varttika on Yoga Sutra 11.42: the joy obtained in contentment is not resulting from desire for any sensory object. It is really the Citta’s establishment in its own Sattvika nature which is joy and which arises spontaneously when desires get reduced. This joy of tranquility does not depend on any object.

With faith in a spiritual entity (really spiritual awareness within oneself always), one has least attraction for lesser things. This is not just a make believe but is really a deep inner feeling nurtured by certainty. If God is with me, who is against me, everything lies within me, is an attitude born of confidence and not weakness.

Published in the Jan 2011 edition of Yoga & Total Health Magazine.
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