There are eight factors which constantly influence us, and we need to understand them so that we can choose a better option and a better way of life.
The first and foremost factor is Desh(place). Irrespective of who we are and what we do, if we are in a place where the iniquity is dominant, we will end up being corrupted. For example, if a holy person ends up in a nightclub, he would definitely experience a change in his thoughts and his focus. Similarly, when an unholy person visits a religious place, he experiences guilt for his sins and ends up getting purifies.
The other aspect is the country/locality we live in, a person is more likely to realize God in India as compared to America, as India is a more advanced spiritually and the chances of finding a spiritual master in India are more as compared to America. One can surely do better business in America than in India.
Such are the influences of places, a place where people perform more spiritual activities becomes holy and pure and the holiness of the place spread to the people who live there. Same happens to an unholy place.
- Kaal(Time/Deterioration with Progress of Time)
Time plays an important role in influencing us. Time with respect to days. during a season or some emergency, all play equally important roles in influencing us.
Like in Hinduism, early morning is a good time for worship, and similarly, during the evening and late nights, the time is not appropriate for roaming about as evil forces are dominant.(and it can be observed clearly, that more crimes occur at night, because the tendency of people becomes corrupt during night)
Next comes the season, just like animals mate more during some seasons, Humans have a tendency to mate more during a season.
One more characteristic of time is deterioration(death). Suppose an earthquake occurs, and 5000 people die in it, does it mean that all those people were destined to die at the same moment. No, then one should understand that time is dominant at that moment.
- Kriya(Thoughts, words and deeds/Karma)
Karma, one of the major factors that influence us, our thoughts, words and deeds. Good thoughts give rise to good words and they give rise to good actions.
Each and every Karma we do has a consequence, which takes time to ripen. Some ripen instantly, like touching a hot plate, burns you instantly, but some Karmas take time to ripen like if you feed a cow, it won’t give you milk instantly, or it is not necessary that the same cow will come to give you milk.
The working of Karma is very complex to understand as many factors are involved to understand it.
The most influential factor is Sang, that is our company, the association we have. Let me explain, if we have a good association, automatically, our Kriya(karmas) become pure, and because of that our time also becomes good, which we do not encounter unnecessary problems, and automatically, the place around the good association becomes holy and pious. This is how great is the influence of association.
That is why it is important to have an association of a true saint so that he might save you from social as well as spiritual problems. They teach us how to conduct ourselves socially while automatically making us spiritually progressive.
- Mantra (Vedic hymn)
Out of all the words and sounds present in the world, a Vedic hymn is called a mantra. A mantra is not just a sound, but it has a spiritual significance as its vibrations make the mind steady and the soul pure.
A mantra has a deep meaning which reminds us of the constant association of the mantra with its meaning.
know more about the Swaminarayan Mantra
- Shastra (Books/Scriptures)
Let me name a few books of recent past that have gained popularity among people all over the world, “Game of Thrones”, “Fifty Shades of Grey” etc. These are the books which corrupt our mind. And people read these books as if their life depends on them.
Let us ask ourselves, how many of us have actually read our spiritual scriptures with the same interest, or a fraction of that interest? Have we even looked at the cover page of our scriptures? On a social platform, this much of discretion is enough, read good books, better biographies, instead of vulgar or violent work of fiction.
Now on a spiritual platform, books which are atheistic should not be read or the books which deny the existence of dharma etc., or they morph the religious texts for their personal deeds should not be read.
Here is a link to various scriptures: Books
- Diksha (Initiation)
Initiation is offered in various cults and religions. Even a school group offers initiation. The thing about initiation is, it affects the destination of the soul after death, so more of it cannot be seen in this life.
But let me explain if a saintly person is initiated in a non-Vedic cult, or a cult which offers devotion to black magic or those types of deities, impure deities(tamas devtas), then they will end up very low spiritually (philosophically).
The common examples are Mahakali or other such deities as Kaal bhairav or Shani, these are meagre deities who are nothing as compared to God.
Instead one should attain initiation in Vedic Vaishnav Sects. Because an initiation sets a destination for you, the aim of your spirituality. An initiation shows your faith in that religion, shows a sense of commitment.
Meditation is a very complex activity. But little advice is that one should always meditate upon God. Only God can be meditated upon, i.e. Select an image, or an idol of God(which is properly invoked by the respective religious authority of that particular Sect)
In Swaminarayan Sect, a murti(idol) which is invoked by an Acharya can only be meditated upon. The thing (entity) you meditate upon will be what you become, or what you attain ultimately. Sometimes people meditate upon energy (light) Brahmjyoti, then that becomes a problem, as the brahmjyoti is the energy of God, we need not be illusioned by it, we need to go beyond that light to the source of that light which is God.
I meditate on this murti :
The functioning of these factors
Each and every factor mentioned above has a significant effect at a particular time. The key is to understand the dominance of each factor while analyzing a particular situation. We cannot accept the dominance of each factor everywhere.
The God Exception
Let me talk about God now. All these factors affect a person who does not believe in God. And God Himself is independent of all these factors, governs all these factors. And he is potent enough to disregard the effect of any or all of these factors upon his true devotees. Then whatever happens in the life of a true devotee happens by the will of God personally.
God is beyond these 8 factors and by true devotion to Him, He makes independent of these factors too, that is why we require putting faith in God, to be dependent on God alone.
Rest whatever we instil our faith on, that will make us dance on its tune, then why don’t dance on the divine tune of God.