Karma and Astrology

August 2016 (by Anna Semyonova)

August – one of the most complex and demanding months of this year. The fate of many and great things in our lives is decided now, and therefore we have to live through it with  maximum concentration and keeping the most serious account of our actions. The thing we can definitely do, and it is in our power – it is to calm down and put in order the world around us, in area of our personal responsibility.

Is It Possible to Catch Karma? (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

Fun Medical MGD©.jpgToday we’ll address one of the aspects of karma that is of particular interest to a modern man. Material world is filled with all kinds of filthy things. So when people learn about karma, or more precisely, when they learn about bad karma, they develop a fear of getting it. What if karma is a sort of airborne disease? This is how our mentality works. I think of myself as a nice person. “Nothing’s the matter with me. The main thing is not to catch a bug from others – not to contract some evil karma from them.” Clearly enough, such thinking is laden with karma in itself. If one sees oneself as good and thinks that all misfortunes come from others, this suggests one’s own bad karma. It manifests as hatred of the entire world. Such flawed thinking arises as a result of one’s own wrong actions.

 

We really can and should be interested in the issue. Only we should approach it from the philosophical viewpoint. Is it actually possible to catch karma from another person? Today we’ll try to grasp this subtle point.

 

If to approach karma from this particular viewpoint, it would mean our movement direction in the material world. If we move to purity or sublimity, this is good karma. If we move in the opposite direction of meanness and viciousness, this is bad karma. If we go north, it’s getting colder and colder. This is karma of the north. If we go south, we are feeling warmer and warmer. Such is the karma of the south. Similarly, if we start following a particular person, we begin to “take his/her karma”, that is to follow their path. If he/she goes north and we follow, we get karma of the north – ever-frost. If he/she goes stealing and we follow him/her, we get karma for stealing and go to jail. Thus, we’re not becoming infected with karma. We get it because we don’t think where we are going to; where it might end up. Do you remember how mom used to tell us: “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”

 

If we follow someone who goes to the cinema to watch a comedy movie, we gain the karma of humor and scream with laughter for two hours straight. If we follow those who lead us to the same cinema, this time to watch a horror movie, we get the karma of horror movie respectively, and quake with fear for two hours. Therefore, scriptures give a very simple solution to all karmic problems. We need to follow the Absolute Truth, sages and saints – then there won’t be any karma at all. If I follow someone who knows how to go beyond karma, naturally I also go beyond karma. This is called akarma – to follow someone who knows what it is. “In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” This is what Bhagavat-Gita says on the subject. And these are clear signs of the absence of karma.

 

Life in itself means that we are living in the style of retribution for our past deeds. We receive what we deserve for living wrong in the past. Our current life goes to prove that. Life in the material body is retribution in itself. But we don’t want to pay off debt; we prefer to forget about it. Our human body goes to prove that we’re terribly indebted and all our life we’ll have to repay what we borrowed in the past. But we prefer to turn a blind eye to this fact and simply enjoy. This is really nonsense. This is what is called bad karma. However, if I honestly pay all my debts, if I put up with tough situations in life realizing that this is my duty to go through them, karma allows me to move in the direction of mindfulness and spirituality.

 

It is impossible to run away from karma. No way. Vedas state that ‘as a calf follows its mother among a thousand cows, so the good or bad deeds of a man follow him’. Therefore, one should possess a special quality that will gradually allow him/her to go beyond karma. This most important quality is the desire to act wisely. Wise people are never worried or troubled about things that happen in life. They realize these are just the consequences of their own actions. Thus, they struggle to repay all debts through patient discharge of their duties. If such a person has difficult relatives, he/she takes care of them the whole life, thus performing this duty and repaying the debt. And some day such a person gets beyond the influence of karma.

 

But it happens only if while doing it we remember: this is the law of God. If we simply endure something without understanding how birth and death are linked together, such forbearing doesn’t release us from karma. It only makes us a little more purified. In short, I must understand: everything that happens to me is absolutely lawful, and the Person who established this law did it for love. This is not the law for me alone. This law is for everyone. The word ‘cosmos’ means ‘an orderly or harmonious system’. The entire material world is under the influence of these laws of karma, and it doesn’t matter whether we believe it or not.

 

A few followers used to come to Guru Nanak. Once one of them met a prostitute and was fascinated by her. In the following days he left the house under the pretext that he was going to visit the guru, but in fact he visited the prostitute. A few days later his friend who daily came to offer respect to guru, was pricked by a thorn, while his neighbor who went to the prostitute, found a gold coin in the street.

 

This incident enraged the follower of the guru, who visited him daily. He mentioned it during the morning prayer. Guru Nanak heard it and was surprised. He said to the Sikh:

“Your friend was destined to find a treasure, but because of his demonic behavior the treasure had been reduced to a single coin. Whereas due to your past karma you were destined to be impaled. But you changed yourself and received only a thorn prick.”

 

Modern philosophy is divided into two major camps, with their representatives competing to death. Some say that everything in this world is predetermined, while others say we are absolutely free. Understanding the laws of karma enables to find the point of tangency between two different worldviews. Indeed, the fated will happen. But still we have our own free will. Karma is the final stage of action that cannot be changed. However, there are previous stages at which something can be changed.

 

The first stage of action is comprised of our desires. We may choose to think them over or reject them. Nothing prevents us from making a choice when a certain desire comes into our mind. If we give thought to it, an idea becomes entrenched in our heart and causes the seed of desire to germinate. It grows up in the form of decision. And again, it is for us to decide whether to fulfill this desire or not. We can apply all our efforts to stop and make a decision not to satisfy our desire. Or we can postpone decision-making if we feel some danger. We still have free will at this stage.

 

If an action is already performed, this is the stage of karma at which nothing can be changed. We’ve come full circle. Satisfied desire causes karma in the form of new desire that appears in our mind again. Only this time it is much stronger and more persistent. This is why it’s so hard to resist some of our desires. They went through this vicious circle a million times, and we are simply too weak to resist their roar in our mind independently. For this reason, laws of culture and morality are much-needed in a civilized society. They help us to control feelings, affecting the most powerful intrinsic motivation – our ego.

 

Culture determines what is shameful and what is acceptable in our day-to-day activities. No one wants to disgrace oneself, as it is extremely painful for our ego. If culture is properly directed, if it brings shame upon things that impede spiritual advancement, this is not just an ordinary culture. This is divine culture. This is precisely why we study the Vedic culture. It is perfectly adjusted to help people move to purification quickly and easily. Modern culture can’t understand the principle of sin sometimes. And sin often becomes natural. As the phrase goes, ‘what is natural is not dirty’. Spirituality vice versa is considered shameful or something. One hesitates to pray, worship God or simply read scriptures in public transport. Right now the doctor whom I consulted for liver problems has told me it’s no problem if I drink vodka or cognac. Therefore, in order to start a spiritual life, one must get into society where spiritual culture is more or less established. Then spiritual development comes easy and becomes enjoyable. This is why we are gathering together to see how culture affects our decision-making and our freedom of choice.

 

Now listen to the parable about karma.

 

There was once a stonemason who worked long and hard. From dawn till dusk, he had to draw stone from a rock quarry. His hands were rough and calloused, his back always bent and his stern face was as long as a fiddle.

 

And he was unhappy. One day he began to repine at his lot:

“Oh what cruel fate has befallen me! Why did it make me what I am? If only I were richer! If I were rich, I would be happy.”

 

All of a sudden, an angel stood before him and said:

“What’s the thing that can make you feel rich and happy?”

“Well, it’s easy. If I were rich, I would live in a city, in a magnificent penthouse apartment. I would feast my eyes on the sky. There would be a large four-poster bed with cool, silk sheets in my room. And I would sleep there all day long. That’s when I would be happy.”

 

“So be it!” said the angel, waving his hand.

 

Thus, a mason became rich. He lived in the city, in the magnificent bright penthouse apartment. He slept in the bed covered with cool, silk sheets, and was really happy.

 

It continued until, one day, early in the morning, he became disturbed by the noise. It was coming from the outside. He sprang from the bed and ran to the window. Looking down, he saw a huge golden chariot. It was drawn by beautiful horses. Soldiers walked behind it.

 

That was a king. People filled the streets to welcome and worship him.

 

Suddenly the rich man realized he was discontented with his lot.

 

“Poor wretch that I am! A king is more powerful than me. If only I were a king, I would be happy. “

 

Once again, an angel appeared and said:

“Be it so! You’re the king from now on!”

 

Thus, he became the king. And he was extremely pleased. He was aware of his power and influence. He liked it that people showed respect and served him; that he could decide if another man should live or die. He felt immense joy.

 

But once he drew attention to the sun. He saw that the sun could do things he couldn’t even dream of. It turned green fields into yellow ones and yellow fields into brown ones. It dried the most extensive rivers and left nothing but parched coast covered with mud. It took away life from the very springs of life.

 

Once again he realized he was unhappy with his lot.

 

“What am I, poor wretch, to do? The sun is more powerful than me. If I could become the sun, I could be happy.”

 

That’s when an angel appeared to him and said:

“So be it! You are the sun now!”

 

Thus, he became the sun. He was very delighted. He felt his power and strength. He liked it that he could turn blooming green fields into brown ones, make rivers dry and change the world. He was boundlessly happy. He ruled the world standing at the zenith, rejoicing in his own strength.

 

It lasted until he noticed a cloud, a large black thundercloud. He saw how powerful it was, turning brown and withered fields into blooming carpets, filling rivers with force, pouring out water and returning life to the world. And he fell into depression again.

 

“I am so unlucky. This cloud is much more powerful than me. If only I could become the cloud! That’s when I would be happy forever.”

 

The angel showed up and said,

“You are the cloud now!”

 

He became the cloud and was unbelievably happy. He took great enjoyment in his power. He liked it that he could correct the work of the sun and revitalize life where, seemingly, there was nothing left alive.

 

For the short haul, he was happy to the max, until he saw a black rock one day. He saw how strong, unwavering and unchangeable it was. And he noticed that no matter how long and heavily it rained, nothing could alter or destroy the rock. The rock was solid and stable.

 

Once again, he felt the bitterness of adversity. And he said,

“I’m so unhappy. If I could be the rock, I would regain happiness.”

 

Again, the angel appeared and said,

“So be it!”

 

He became the rock and enjoyed his power and might, and was greatly happy. He rejoiced in his invincibility and superiority. He liked to feel that he could resist anything whatever nature prepared for him. He laughed at the sun and mocked at the thundercloud. And this went on until a stonemason came one day…

 

Month of June prediction/analysis (by Anna Semyonova)

file0001457574320.jpgJune – a month of battles with the duality of perception in our minds. This duality will hinder us to find a foothold, will make us wander among the many concepts, ideas, opinions and advice in attempts to arrive at least to some conclusion. This is the time when people, tired of endless exploration and debate, conclude that each person should have their own truth, and that’s fine … But others do not agree with this. And in the mind of such a person appears a treacherous condition of divorce …

The triumph of the principle of tolerance (which will be difficult to resist) certainly will manifest in planting some o’k-ing laws. However, the opposition “for” and “against” can only increase at all levels, and the people should expect a lot of dirty info. It is necessary to be afraid of any dirt which may manifest through speech. Swearing, black humor, black PR, a lot of roughness and stinging words. And it can be poured into a public plane. So be careful and do not get involved in such things (no gossip!) And watch the cleanliness of your own actions and reputation that no one could to do it to you. Especially do not let “well-wishers” into your family.

If we are to make a joke on this theme, the motto of the month: “The main thing is – do not spill!” Each of us has something in our mind, unfortunately, that might be spilled on the others, so that’s our goal – to thread carefully, that is, to remain sane.
By the way, even without words, our activity in this period is literally in front of everybody. It is very good for the developing person, because it will enable one to set an example of proper behavior in any situation. Therefore, live this month as if you are constantly watched by elevated people whom you respect and whose opinion is very important to you and you do not want to disappoint them.

The modern principle of tolerance persuades us that the person is free to do whatever one wants, provided that no one sees. If you do not disturb others by your pleasures, and you can satisfy yourself in such a way that no one is bothered, than it is considered to be the perfection. But the spiritually advanced people will never forget that God is in their heart, and sees not only each action, but also each thought that comes to mind. Therefore, remember that in this world everything is to the view. And again, no divorce, no matter how convincing an argument you can find for this!

How to Get into the Present Moment (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

DSC05228Material world consists of time and space. These two closely intertwined notions make up the whole structure of material creation. We got entangled in that structure and find it hard to live in a present moment. We either reflect on the past or dream about the future. But we never manage to bring our mind into the present.

 

Before we try to understand what the present is, we must have a closer look at the concept of time. Vedas give the definition of “the great time”, or atomic time. That’s the amount of time it takes for the light to pass through the atom. The whole world consists of atoms and light. Therefore, the definition of time is based on these most fundamental concepts. And we can see that science has reached the same conclusion: time must be atomic. Although they see it a little differently, they find a solution in a similar vein as the Vedic science.

 

The fact that Vedas introduce atomic time measurement is not a limitation by itself. Theoretically, time can be measured by any means. Humanity came up with different clocks and watches: sand watches, water watches, sun watches, spring-loaded watches… We can measure time by our breath or even by cough, though others may refuse to adopt our system. We seem to have learnt how to measure it – but did we come to understand it? What if I decide to measure a computer with a ruler? It doesn’t make me a programmer at all. Those who measured a diameter of the Sun, have no idea how life works there. Having measured the Earth, we didn’t understand its structure. Imagine that you consulted a physician, but only had your height measured. Materialists hold the firm belief: “Whatever gets measured gets managed”. They think if they measure something, they come to understand it. But it’s the biggest miscomprehension. We have already measured the whole universe. But do we have what it takes to understand the meaning of life?

 

For a materialistic person, time remains inconceivable and unexplained. But the Vedas give a precise, unambiguous explanation of what time is. Time is the manifestation of the Absolute Truth. It is explicitly stated in the Bhagavat-Gita: “Time I am”. Through His energy, the Absolute Truth gives rise and puts an end to everything taking place in the material world. Because of this we can feel the presence of time and realize that everything will have to end at some point. In the material world time is described in terms of beginning and end, past and future. Something that started in the past is sure to be over in the future.

 

Time in the spiritual world has another impact. It exists only as the absolute present, something that’s happening at the given moment. This is far different from the material reality where it’s impossible to stay grounded in the present. As soon as you start thinking of something, it automatically recedes into the past. We can’t truly grasp the present moment with our perception. This is why spiritual world is of such great interest to us. It’s the world of eternal present.

 

In the material world, there’s only past and future. And no one can keep oneself in the present. So it’s just the opposite of the way things are in the spiritual world. There’s only present there, without any past or future.

 

In the material world, so many systems of philosophy were created. They try to explain what the present moment is. But the truth is that it can’t be perceived in the material world. Everything we can see or feel immediately becomes a thing of the past. And this is the source of all human anxiety. We can see life but can’t get into it…

 

Material life consists of hankering and lamentation. We either lament over something we failed to achieve in the past, or dream of things we can probably get in the future. But what are we doing right now? We’re trying to snatch the present moment, but it’s gone. Moment’s gone. Present instant is actually absent. You’re looking at me, but I’m not the same person I was a moment ago. You can only snatch the past. You see the reflexion of light that touched me in the past. Now another light reflects off me. Certainly, this is very recent past. But it’s apparently a thing of the past. Once I’ve said something, my mind has already changed. While speaking, I already changed my opinion on what I’ve said. Hence, what we call ‘present’ in this world is nothing else than the recent past…

 

So, to sum up, time has no impact on the spiritual world. But it does exert a powerful influence on the material reality. Here we consider the time factor to regulate our activities: routinely wake up, go to work, and celebrate our birthdays. Each day is divided into 24 hours; 60 minutes make an hour, and 60 seconds make a minute. This is the timing of modern civilization. In a Vedic system, they divide a day not into minutes, but into danas. A day consists of 8 danas. And dana is calculated based on the passage of light through the aggregation of 6 atoms. By the way, it was easily visible to the naked human eye. This is beyond our understanding. But the sharpness of vision in the Vedic times was such that people could see a tiny aggregation of atoms with the naked eye. For our civilization of lenses this is simply inconceivable.

 

Surprisingly enough, atomic time can’t easily be calculated even now. But this time scale was widely used in the Vedic civilization 5000 years ago. So it was far from being a primitive culture. Some historians suggest that people in those days just fought for life and food. But in reality, they had the same exact understanding of time, as modern physicists. Vedic astronomy accurately describes the motion of celestial bodies. It is contained in special treatises – Upavedas. Modern scientists have no clue what happens before our birth and after death. But Vedic astrology was so perfect that it was able to predict exactly what would happen in the next 30 minutes. Modern scholars, however, use the Vedic astrology to predict the outcome of football matches. They seriously discuss it at astrological forums…

 

There’s one historical text written by Madhvacharya. It contains mathematical calculations of planetary motion. This is so complicated that disciples of Madhvacharya worshipped this treatise as they couldn’t fully comprehend it. When this work was shown to modern scientists, they were amazed at how complex and precise the calculations were.

 

If we can’t see the present, we can’t gain proper understanding of the past and the future. In our present we’ve got a man with no principles, no goal in life or knowledge of the soul. If we don’t pay heed to this fact, it would be extremely difficult to benefit by the knowledge that comes from more advanced civilizations.

 

We go to museums and see collections of pottery there. But culture is not about the pots. Culture is the ability to use knowledge accumulated and tried through practice over millenniums. Potsherds are not the embodiment of culture. This is just an ancient scrapyard. While the real study of culture is the study of scriptures, study of the sages’ message, study of experience saints had.  It seems that a modern man doesn’t have a clue. Culture is when we have something to see, hear or think about. But it’s a huge problem nowadays. Since we lack that sort of culture, people just stare at each other and become either lusty or aggressive. Even in material life it’s better to use knowledge that already exists. For instance, people pump oil from the ground by all means. But the point is that lack of oil causes earthquakes. Nowadays they occur with increasing frequency.

 

The most important knowledge, however, is spiritual knowledge. Krishna says in the Bhagavat-Gita: “Always think of Me”. And this is exactly the entry point into the present we are searching so hard. It gets you thinking. You think of the options to turn your mind to the Absolute Truth. And 20 years later you suddenly realize that it has been the object of your thought all that time! Maybe not directly, but still we thought about how to think of the Absolute Truth! This is the secret of Bhagavad-Gita. We don’t even notice how it brings our awareness into the present moment. We notice it only when we get into spiritual world. We ask one another: “How did you get here?” “I don’t know. I only thought my whole life about Krishna’s words when He told Arjuna that one should think of eternity, knowledge and bliss …”

 

Thus, the one who constantly remembers that one should think of eternity enters the Great Present. This is because the present moment can only be in eternity.

 

Last but not least, hear the parable.

 

One day a soldier guarding the road stopped a Buddhist monk. Snatching up a sword, he sternly asked the traveler:

“Who are you? Where are you going to? And why are you going there?”

The monk thought for a while and timidly inquired,

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Fire away!” – griped the soldier.

“How much does your chief pay you a week?”

“Two baskets of rice.”

“I’ll pay you four baskets of rice if you promise to ask me these questions each day.”

 

The Ultimate Day of Giving

file9851348465775This Sunday, May 8 (Pacific time), is Akshaya Tritiya, one of the most important days in the Vedic calendar.

The very word Akshaya means “that which never diminishes”. Any service or charity one performs on this day will be paid back many times over.

Traditionally, this is the best day for starting important endeavors. Vyasadeva and Ganesa chose this day to start writing the great epic Mahabharata, for example.

So please consider taking advantage of this auspicious occasion by making a contribution on this day.

Secrets of Prarabdha Karma: How to Catch Your Luck (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

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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!

Astrology of Good and Bad Time Patterns (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

file4741249480898.jpgToday we’ll engage in philosophical discussion about the astrological moment that is crucially important for consulting practice. I’m referring to life patterns that come and go creating so-called good and bad patches, or lucky and losing streaks in our life. It all happens under the influence of our past that affects our mind. The state of mind in the material world is called material conditioning. Modes of material nature affect us differently at different time periods called dasha in terms of astrology. And first and foremost, they exert influence on our mind. Therefore, understanding of time patterns is so important for astrology predictions. Planets determine when, how and what modes of nature will have the major impact on our consciousness. Planets are the very embodiment of these modes. This understanding enables an astrologer to define how the mind of a person is being affected at various times.

You must realize that these laws are fully applicable to materialists only. Materialistic people are fully under the influence of material energy. However, one must take a different approach for dealing with transcendentalists. It becomes not so direct and straightforward. Transcendentalist is the one who applies earnest efforts to transcend material nature. Hence, its laws no longer affect him fully. If we hold consultations for transcendentalists, we have to make allowances for their spirituality. Or else, our help will be ineffective and may even do harm. Remember: transcendentalist is not an ordinary man. He’s one in a million. He/she will soon be removed from the denizen list of the material world.

But in all other cases the laws of material nature exert their full influence. Remember: the exception only proves the rule.

Scriptures say if the mind is absorbed in thoughts of the Absolute Truth, influence of the modes will continue but won’t necessarily make itself felt. Therefore, it’s so dangerous, for example, to talk on the phone while at the wheel. The driver’s mind is distracted, and he/she is no longer able to control a car, feel the speed and danger. The same happens on the spiritual path. A transcendentalist deeply absorbed in spiritual thought no longer notices what happens on the material plane. The influence of the material world stops for him/her.

This is what makes spiritual miracle. It’s not that one doesn’t come down with disease. One is taken ill as before – but an illness doesn’t affect his/her consciousness. One continues to be absorbed in spiritual life. One is even more deeply engaged in it. Again, the miracle is not that wealth comes to you but that poverty no longer causes distress. More than this – lack of means even facilitates spiritual advancement. In a nutshell, if one embarks on a spiritual path, not only lucky streaks do good, but losing streaks, as well. Moreover, they even compete which of them will be of more help.

In brief, if the mind is absorbed in spirituality, it transcends matter. The modes of material nature don’t have a strong severe effect on that person. They ease their grip. They have little or no influence on him/her at all.

Three methods to enter spiritual reality are described in the scriptures. The first one requires constant thinking of the Absolute Truth. One may find it the most difficult, however. To be really into that the heart of a person must be crystal clear. Therefore, another method is given. It involves rendering service to the Absolute Truth in the form of a deity, or murti. This is much easier since not only our mind but all our senses are engaged in service. In this way, it becomes much easier for the mind to focus on the Absolute Truth.

Although, it may also seem complicated. Therefore, the third method is recommended. It involves the ability to act for the higher purpose, with due regard to one’s inborn nature and innate skills. This is called daivi-varnashrama. By doing things we have natural inclination to we can fully engage our mind and protect ourselves from the influence of matter. This is the easiest method to be explained to a person not so deeply versed in philosophy. But don’t forget to highlight the importance of service leading to the supreme goal. One shouldn’t fall under the impression that following one’s vocation is the supreme goal in itself. It must be dovetailed with the service to the Absolute Truth. It’s just that by doing things we are talented for it’s much easier to get focused. We can reach the Absolute Truth quicker then. Hence, the secret of finding your calling is not to perform better by using your innate skills. The secret is that you get more focused on the Absolute Truth by dovetailing your talents for service.

However, there’s another, fourth method known to the sages. It consists of imparting spiritual knowledge to those who don’t yet possess it. This powerful method includes all the three mentioned above. When we try to convey knowledge of the Absolute Truth, we have to always think of Him, serve Him, engage the entire body in service to the Absolute Truth.

We won’t be able to get rid of material entanglement by means of cunning, bribery and fulfilling gross material desires at the cost of spirituality. For instance, in one of spiritual traditions the mantra “Om Namo Narayanaya” is chanted for attaining spiritual perfection. Yet those who want to fulfill their material desires shorten it and chant only “Narayanaya”.

Spirituality is not the alternative way to fulfill your material wishes. Spirituality means independence from material wishes. Materialists like to criticize transcendentalists that they use all amenities and comforts of modern day life, as other people do. But the essence of spirituality is not to reject the blessings of civilization but rather not to be dependent on them. When deprived of modern facilities, a materialist begins to suffer, while a transcendentalist is happy regardless of whether he/she has these facilities or not. Moreover, a transcendentalist becomes even happier being deprived of facilities for some reason or other. That is the difference. Ignorant people want transcendentalists to sleep on the grass and eat stale bread. But we don’t change our body – we change our consciousness. Or, to be more precise, we transfer our consciousness from the influence of material modes and place it in the sphere of spirituality and thus, eternity, knowledge and bliss.

For our mind to transcend matter, being interested in the Absolute Truth is not enough. We must get the Absolute Truth interested in us. Unfortunately, spiritually absorbed person becomes so exalted sometimes that surrounding people can no longer understand him/her. This is a bad sign. The Absolute Truth is also personal, but how do we expect Him to understand us if we can’t find common language even with our relatives? With the express purpose of keeping us from this trap, knowledge transfer method is given. Indeed, in order to explain something I’ve realized I must make myself understandable. Remember this secret: if people understood my spiritual knowledge, this means that the Absolute Truth Himself has understood me. It goes to show that I’m getting beyond the influence of matter.

Another consulting trap consists of too much immersion in mysticism. The desire for mystic powers is nothing else but the desire to gain a form of control over living beings. The urge is there to tell mysteries about the influence of planets. Or one may crave to give a mystic method of release from karma, by saying something like “throw black mustard seeds over your left shoulder”. If I want power and authority over others, it means that I simply want to enjoy myself. I’m not at all desirous of making others happy; teaching them how to enjoy. Hence, those who help others must always watch their motives. Can’t it be that I want clients to feel that I have great knowledge; that they are now dependent on me? Isn’t it that I’m taking power into my own hands, overriding even the Absolute Truth? This is all very, very dangerous.

One more problem when lending assistance is as follows. When a person is not too spiritually advanced, we may feel the urge to impart the desire of spiritual growth as quickly as possible. But since they can’t think for themselves on that platform yet, they won’t be able to pursue it anyway. They’ll have to come back to the consultant each time to restore their spiritual vision. Since no one is eager to do so, people become disappointed in consultancy as such. Therefore, to give a person spiritual sight is not enough. We must welcome consultees to the good spiritual society where they can preserve their spiritual achievements.

It also has to do with hankering after power. You can’t give help to people with the purpose of having ascendance over them. Subconsciously they’ll feel they can’t maintain their choice on their own. They’ll feel dependent on the consultant.

Indeed, we begin making positive changes if we confide in a more experienced counselor. It’s a counselor who steers us in the right direction towards the sublime. And it’s true that in the early stages of personal growth one can’t stand on one’s own feet, unable to think things out for oneself. But still, if it becomes a habit, one is sure to be overpowered by weakness. Therefore, positive help means to invigorate someone’s consciousness through reasoning, conversations, joint discussions, questions and answers. Only in a well-balanced society is this possible. Proper conclusion to be made is: “First I gave it the benefit of the doubt, but now I’m fully convinced that was a right decision.”

Special days of April

Days that are especially beneficial for inner self improvement and all kinds of spiritual activities  called Ekadasi (11th day  of  waning and waxing moon). In April it will happen on 3rd and 17th. To get the advantage of these days you could limit yourself in some material pleasure, spend less energy on bodily matters, do any kind of spiritual activity. Along   with it is highly recommended to abstain from grains and beans in your food. Ekadasi days recipes are on our food page.

On April 15th is annual spiritual festival and it is advantageous to fast till sunset or exercise any type of lighter diet, that will free your time and energy for meditation, mantra or other uplifting activities.

APRIL Astro-Forecast (by Anna Semyonova, Dean of Astro-Ved School of Astrology)

IMG_6867April – a month of authority self-assertion, which means that we will see a lot of the power struggle, unfortunately hard one, and perhaps even with severe consequences for those who participate in it.

Therefore, in ordinary relationship competition for a place under the sun, and the struggle for leadership will exacerbate. And if in the past month it was a struggle of ideas, than now it may go down to a simple natural selection. The motto of April is “Survival of the fittest.”

We sould exercise particular caution in family relationships. April dictates black-and-white perception of the actions of others, thus we run the risk of no longer understanding our loved ones. Such an approach is especially dangerous if the family is not well. There may be a desire to punish others and loved ones for the smallest offenses, taking any misbehavior as disobedience to our will. Our decisions can take politicized, dishonest tone.

In early April, a year of negative Mars fully comes into its right, and therefore it is very important to start it in such a way so we will not let the aggressive part of our nature to dictate its terms to us. It is obvious that the main recommendation would be not to watch TV this month …

Oh, how difficult it would be to refrain from anger. Remember this simple rule: be angry not with the patient, but with the disease, because they are, in our strange time, so easily confused …

However, this month we will see a lot of victories. April will also give strength to successfully complete what we have started, to protect the weak, to address social issues, and most importantly – attract followers and with them achieve any results no matter what!

April is the month of focus on a specific, clear and solid result, that does not tolerate ignorance, laziness, sentimentality. As they say in school “on an A+.” This means this month we can plan to find solutions even the most serious matter that requires high impact, skill, concentration, logic and responsibility. It is also good to begin the most difficult and global tasks like spring cleaning. The physical work and sports will really come in handy and help remove heavy thoughts, if it will come. It is good to do swimming and have contact with water. This will calm the mind and have a therapeutic effect.

And since we know that the most important work in this world – it is work on betterment of the inner self, we will get the best results if we continue to cultivate the right spiritual outlook on life. When we will remember that nothing in this world belongs to us and we will depart empty-handed, then we will realize that only our piety will stand next to us at that moment. If we do not drive it away right now, of course …

Revelations of hereditary Vedic astrologer

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A seminar by Koladwip das. Click here to watch