Santhosha is the second of the Niyamas. Santhosha means contentment. Santosha means modesty and the feeling of being content with what we have. To be at peace within and content with one's lifestyle, finding contentment, even while experiencing life's difficulties for life becomes a process of growth through all kinds of circumstances.
There is a story of a happy man who conveys a beautiful picture of Santhosha.
In a small village, in the valley, lived a man who was always happy, kind, and well-disposed to everyone he met. He always smiled, and had kind and encouraging words to say, whenever it was necessary. Everyone who met him, left feeling better, happier and elated. People knew they could count on him, and regarded him as a great friend.
One of the village dwellers was curious to know what his secret was, and how he could always be so kind and helpful. He wondered, how is it that he held no grudge toward anyone, and was always happy.
Once, upon meeting him in the street he asked him: "Most people are selfish and unsatisfied. They do not smile as often as you do; neither are they as helpful or kind as you are. How do you explain it?"
The man smiled at him and replied, "When you make peace with yourself, you can be in peace with the rest of the world. If you can recognize the spirit in yourself, you can recognize the spirit in everyone, and then you find it natural to be kind and well disposed to all."
"If your thoughts are under your control, you become strong and firm. The personality is like a robot programmed to do certain tasks. Your habits and thoughts are the tools and programs that control your personality. Become free from being programmed, and then, the inner good and the happiness that reside within you will be revealed."
"But a lot of work is necessary. Good habits have to be developed. The ability to concentrate and to control the thoughts has to be strengthened. The work is difficult and endless. There are many walls that need to be to climbed. It is not an easy task." lamented the villager.
"Do not think about the difficulties, otherwise this is what you will see and experience. Just quieten your feelings and thoughts, and try to stay in this peace. Just try to be calm, and do not let yourself be carried away by your thoughts."
"Is that all?" asked the villager.
"Try to watch your thoughts and see how they come and go. Stay in the quietness that arises. The moments of peace will be brief at first, but in time they will get longer. The peace is also strength, power, kindness, and love. In time, you will realize that you are one with the universal power, and this will lead you to act from a different dimension point of view consciousness, not from the selfish, small, limited ego."
"I will try to remember your words," said the villager, and continued, "there is another thing that I am curious about. You do not seem to be influenced by the environment. You have a kind word for everyone, and you are helpful. People treat you well, and never exploit your goodness."
"Being good and being kind do not necessarily point to weakness. When you are good, you can also be strong. People sense your inner strength, and therefore, do not impose on you. When you are strong and calm inside, you help people, because you can, and you want to. You act from strength, not from weakness. Goodness is not a sign of weakness, as some people erroneously think. It can manifest together with power and strength."
"Thank you very much for your advice and explanations", said the villager, and went away happy and satisfied.
Village man who understood the secret of happiness was not only happy but people around him were also happy.
Once, there was a king named Kushala. He was a very kind king. He had everything, wealth, health, army, etc. Kushala was the most powerful king. The only problem was that, he was not contented with whatever he had. As he was a kind king, the God gave him a blue magical crystal. Through it, King Kushala was able to transform into anything.
It was time for his morning walk. As it was the day time, the sun was very bright and shiny. The king was jealous and with the help of the magical crystal, he transformed himself into the sun. He was very amazed. After that he was shining brightly. Suddenly there were clouds everywhere in the sky. The clouds didn't even allow a single ray of the sun to reach the ground.
The king was angry with the clouds, so he transformed into the clouds. He had fun floating in the air. Suddenly, there was a mountain in his way. He tried to move it from his path. But as a cloud he was too weak to move a mountain and he splits into many pieces. He thought that the mountain is stronger than a cloud. Thus, he turned into a mountain.
Suddenly there were some stone cutter coming to cut the stone from the mountain. They began to cut down the stone from the mountain. The king thought again that the stone cutters that follow the rules of the king are stronger than a big mountain. With the help of the magical crystal, he transformed into a stone cutter.
His king gave him the order to cut some stone and bring it to his soldiers. When he went to do his work. The king realized that how hard it is to be worker because he was not knowing the experience because he was the king and was not knowing anything about the hard work. Finally, he decided to be a king again.
He learnt a lesson from it that being contented with whatever he had was so important. He forgets to be a greedy person, but didn't forget to be a kind person!
By the above story we can understand that being contented with what we have is very important. The king Kushala who had everything in his life was not contented. Once he realized that happiness lies in us not out he was very happy.