We are all influenced by our past. A few results of our past actions are chosen to manifest in our present life. Astrological studies decipher what particular set of effects will reveal itself in this life. This is beyond our ability to comprehend things. What is more, the treatises don’t recommend delving too deeply into the intricacies of our own karma and that of others. It can induce additional embarrassment, disappointment and unnecessary doubts. And we’ve had a gutful of this already.
It’s quite sufficient to know the laws of karma (not the karma itself). You can learn these from a specialist, such as a good astrologer who not only engages in math calculations, but is versant in spiritual scriptures, as well. Or you can find relevant sections of the scriptures and study these laws by yourself.
We are just going to look into some of the laws of karma which enable us to act most sensibly and effectively in this world. The main thing is to set the proper goals for life. Then we can figure out how to achieve them. One of the laws of prarabdha-karma says that auspicious moment comes just once for those who are determined to reach their goal and wait for the right time to come. It would be extremely hard to get another good chance. It means that many of our desires can be fulfilled. Prarabdha-karma offers many possibilities for that. There are special doors in it. But they crack open quite rarely; it is literally a once-in-a lifetime-experience in this particular body. Therefore, a right-minded person must never let the chance slip by. One should take full advantage of an auspicious opportunity.
Karma isn’t going to play jokes on us. It’s very much like conclusion of an important and expensive contract. It takes many years for the parties to prepare it, carry on negotiations. Everyone meditates on that. Finally, contracting parties draw nearer to the decisive hour. They meet together and sign a contract. They can’t bring themselves to believe it has become a reality. Before the contract is signed, everyone feels nervous and sweaty and holds oneself still, fearing to endanger the success of an undertaking. Now imagine you had overslept and didn’t come. What can be sillier than that? It would be too late to amend anything. In exactly the same way, we may lose small chances with ease, but if it becomes our habit, we’ll end up losing vital opportunities someday.
Hence, morality and ethics state that we must be smart and consistent in everything we do. A moral person is attentive, commitment-minded and observant of details. It means that, for one thing, he/she appreciates opportunities offered by fate. For another thing, it suggests the willingness not to miss the major opportunity – accomplishment of the main goal of life.
How often do we engross in thought about the major goal of life? It is said that if one lives with no real purpose, one doesn’t even think how arising opportunities are connected with it. Such people simply waste their lives. Although the doors swing open before them, they ignore these opportunities.
In former times, people knew that leaving the body at certain times of the year, one could go to certain places after death. For this reason yogis waited for the right time to leave their body. It is said that grandfather Bhishma was lying on the bed of arrows which had been shot through his body, for five months. Only in the sixth month when all blood dripped out of him, he started to give instructions to Pandavas. He waited for the special astrological moment – uttarayana. It is when the sun starts on its course towards the northern hemisphere. At this time, great yogis pass from this world to continue their path of self-realization on the planets of sages. How can one let such a moment slip away?
Therefore, yoga teaches about the positive influence of different time patterns, and how to benefit from them.
For example, every yogi knows about:
1) brahma-muhurta – one and a half hours before sunrise – the prime time for mantra-meditation;
2) sankhya – dawn, noon, and sunset – the prime time for gayatri-meditation;
3) ekadashi – the 11th day after the new moon and the 11th day after the full moon – the best time to fast from grains and legumes;
4) chaturmasya – four best months for performance of any austerities;
5) spiritual holidays and other auspicious events that take place by the mercy of time energy.
Time is the energy of the Absolute Truth that opens and closes the doors to favorable possibilities.
Certainly, the laws of time are applicable mostly to material activities, yet even the greatest of sages don’t disregard these laws. These are the laws of God, and they must be duly respected. Although it must be said that truly spiritual activities are beyond the influence of material energies. There’s no such thing as right or wrong time for spiritual deeds. Spiritual things belong to a different reality. They are above the influence of time. You can pray at all hours, at each point in time – and it will do you good. Even pious activities partially transcend these laws. Recently I was asked what moon days are the most favorable for borrowing money and paying off debt. And I said that in any moon days it’s bad to lend money while it’s good to repay your debts on any moon days.
Moreover, it is said in the treatises that it’s not enough to know the opportune times and not to miss out on them. One should also find appropriate words to say. For instance, to know the opportune time for meditation and prayer is not enough. One should know how to pray, whom to pray, what to pray for. If we use this time to talk to friends on the phone or to borrow from pay-day lenders, this can hardly be called effective use of time. One should know the proper words that fit the occasion. Words can open the door to another reality. Speech may be meaningless – then it is called prajalpa, or the crows’ caws. And it can also be powerful, capable of changing our karma. Then it is called mantra chanting – something that purifies our consciousness. Mantras are to be recited at particular times. Hence, one can hear various prayers recited in the temples at different times of the day. Mantra is the password to give us access to transcendental reality. Without the password, we won’t be allowed in. Such a mysterious place the spiritual world is…
There is more to it, however. We must also engage in spiritual development at the right time, and it must suit our abilities. That is, we must be realistic about the scope of our anger. Here I’m talking about interrelated things. If we don’t consider our abilities while practicing spiritual life, it may result in dissatisfaction which, in turn, will lead to uncontrollable anger. Prarabdha-karma has already given us our innate abilities, utilizing which we can feel content with life. If we use our inborn nature, something we were destined for since birth, in the course of spiritual development, we can feel both material satisfaction and spiritual bliss.
At the initial stages of spiritual growth this very balance is required. Later, as one goes beyond the influence of prarabdha-karma, one may not pay heed to inborn conditioning. But for that, one must know for sure one has really transcended its influence. Believe me, it doesn’t happen often. Otherwise, it will cause uncontrollable outburst of anger. Anger can also manifest as lust, envy, pride, and finally, as depression and discontent. Therefore, we don’t ignore our natural interests – rather, we regulate and channel them properly. We don’t reject money – we learn to rationally spend it.
How can we ignore our nature? Can we pay no heed to thirst, hunger or desire to sleep ourselves out? I may say to myself: “From this day on I’m rejecting all this”, but what of it? Hunger and thirst absolutely don’t care what we think about them. They are simply present, and that’s it. They don’t depend on our decisions about them. Similarly, we can’t just get rid of our innate needs. They came to us for this lifetime. They have a residence permit in our body. We can’t go without them. Can you kick someone out of the house if they have a life-long lease? So it’s better to engage your inborn needs positively. Especially since spirituality gives every opportunity for that. In spiritual life, you can eat, drink and sleep with much greater gusto.
In the end, let’s list the signs showing that the doors of karma have burst open:
- If you got spare time in your material life, it means that the energy of time enables you to focus on the most important things. You can now put your material plans on the back burner and start fulfilling your life intended purpose. If we don’t use this chance, punishment in the form of depression and moral decay will come. For a materialist, spare time is quite rare, after all!
- If you lead spiritual life already and have no free time, it means that time energy enables you to fully focus on self-realization process. Avail yourself of this chance. Don’t overtax yourself. But still try to find your spiritual breakthrough in the purification of your heart!
- Whenever events present a chance to do a good deed, never throw this chance away. It can change your future for the better. It enhances your opportunities for spiritual advancement. But remember: we make ourselves useful not because this is beneficial for us. We simply can’t help but do good deeds, as we feel the pain of other living beings.
- If the chance presents itself to impart spiritual knowledge to others – never squander this opportunity. It enables you to have a real breakthrough in your spiritual life!