How does contentment express inner balance?
Swami Niranjanananda: The desire for gain comes when there is arrogance. Depression comes with loss when one is not self-willed and lacks self-confidence. When one is one's natural self, then there is contentment. Externally, one is centred and balanced in both victory and defeat.
At the psychological level, the mind is properly harmonized and there is no ill will towards anyone or anything. One does not see shortcoming or negativity. Everyone is expressing according to their level of education. In a school the children behave and act according to the class they are in. It is the same in the world. Each one is in a different class and the maturity is according to the class they are in. Finding a balance in the expressions of the mind, generating a feeling of inner contentment and experiencing completeness is the eighth form of bhakti yoga.
Why is contentment essential in yoga and life?
Swami Niranjanananda: The purpose of yoga and the purpose of human life are the same: to excel in whatever field one is in, whether it be as a student, worker, businessman or sannyasin, and to explore the creative aspect of that field. The purpose is to find contentment in life, and through contentment, total perfection.
How does one’s attitude towards people and situations affect contentment?
Swami Niranjanananda: Santosha means finding contentment within and not finding fault with others. Both go hand in hand. Complete santosha is being contented and at peace. Many people are contented but not at peace. They are happy, yet still they try to find faults in other people, situations or circumstances, believing that if they would change, they would become even more contented and happy. That is the ego principle again playing up: ‘I want more, this is not enough.' If aspirants observe themselves, they will find they are discontented whenever they criticize others, situations or the environment.
Santosha means accepting the realities of the situation in which one is, and leaving the critical mind behind, freeing the mind from searching for falsity. Therefore, one should just be in tune with oneself. Once one begins to vibrate in a positive manner, the energy will influence the surroundings and others will be uplifted in their interactions.