Santosh or contentment is a very important characteristic of a sound and balanced mind. In the Bhagavad Gita, contentment is mentioned as one of the qualities of a man of steady wisdom, ‘sthitapranja’. In the second chapter of the Gita, Sri Krishna, in reply to Arjun`s inquiry, says; “ O son of Pritha, when all desires of the heart have been abandoned and one remains content with oneself, then one is spoken as a person of steady wisdom.” In the twelfth chapter of the Gita it is said, “One of the characteristics of an ideal devotee is that he is ever content and contemplative (santushtahsatatam yogi).”
Santosh or contentment is included as one of the five niyamas-qualities to be cultivated-by Sage Patanjali in his Yoga sutras. Sage Vyasa, in his commentary on Yoga sutras, defines it as ‘having no desire to acquire anything more than one has already has.’ This means to remain satisfied with what little one has-not to have any desire for more, or to change the situation, or to feel envy.
We should get over the minor desires by a little fulfilment and discrimination. But major desires need to be renounced by discrimination alone without attempting to satisfy them. One can also cultivate the value of contentment by holding in the mind the feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction one gets by satisfaction of a desire.
Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda