Table of Contents
There is a time for all things. This is true for spiritual practice too. If the right thing happens at the wrong time, then the desired result is not achieved. For example, if seeds are sown in the dry months instead of the rainy season, they do not take root, no matter how fertile the land is. Similarly, certain types of spiritual practices are more conducive for spiritual growth depending on the era of the universe that they are practiced in.
2. Eras of the universe, spiritual level of humankind and recommended spiritual practice
2.1 Background information
- In our article on spiritual research into the age of the universe and its cycles, we explained that the Universe since its inception has gone through 4 main eras. They are Satyayug, Trētāyug, Dwāparyug and Kaliyug where Satyayug was the first era and Kaliyug (current era) is the era that we are currently live in. The average spiritual level of people on Earth differed significantly between these 4 eras.
- We also explained in our article on the 4th basic principle of spiritual practice, which is undertaking spiritual practice as per one’s spiritual level, that the spiritual practice of a person needs to adapt to their spiritual level. Accordingly, the spiritual practice recommended for each era of the universe would also be different.
- Please do refer to our article on spiritual level to understand this concept in detail.
2.2 Path of spiritual practice recommended for each era
In the following table, we display the average spiritual levels as per the 4 eras.
|Era in years
|Average spiritual level 2
|Recommended generic form of spiritual path
|% of personality defects
|% of ego
|Path of Knowledge
|Path of Penance and Meditation
|Path of Ritualistic Worship
|Kaliyug (Current Era) 1
|Path of Chanting the Name of God along with efforts in Personality Defect Removal (PDR) and Ego Removal (ER)
Source: Spiritual research
- As of 2016, we are 5118 years into the current era of Kaliyug also known as the ‘Era of Strife’.
- The average spiritual level decreased with each subsequent era.
- Until one reaches the 100% spiritual level, defects continue to exist at a minimal level with minimal intensity.
- This ego is in relation to the defects still present in a person until he or she reaches the spiritual level of 100%.
2.3 Type of spiritual practice recommended for each era
There are two types of spiritual practice that we have discussed on the SSRF website, namely vyashṭi sadhana and samashṭi sadhana. Vyashṭi sadhana means spiritual practice undertaken for one’s own spiritual growth. Samashṭi sadhana means spiritual practice undertaken to help spread the awareness of Spirituality and for other’s spiritual growth. Depending on the era, the importance of the two types of spiritual practice vary.
|Kaliyug (Current era)
- During the Satyayug everyone’s spiritual level was high, so there was no need for samashṭi sadhana.
- In the current era of Kaliyug there is an equal emphasis on samashṭi sadhana. This is because there is an overall increase in spiritual pollution in the environment and the spiritual level of people are lower and they are in need of spiritual help. However, the world in the period of 1999-2023 is currently going through a turbulent phase and there is an imminent threat of a Third World War. Only spiritual practice can help seekers survive these adverse times. Thus, in current era, 30% importance is given to vyashṭi sadhana and 70% importance is given to samashṭi sadhana.
2.4 Information of spiritual practice as per era
- Satyayug: This was a very spiritually pure era when the average spiritual level of a person was 80% (this is the level of a Saint of the highest order). The people of this era were so pure spiritually that the Path of Knowledge was best suited for them. This is because they had the potential to be in communion with God and the knowledge of the entire spiritual dimension was available to them. They had the ability to understand the implied meanings of all spiritual scriptures which were then only in a subtle form. (Holy scriptures came in the written form in later eras.)
- Trētāyug: In this era, the spiritual level of the average person dropped to 70% and thus they lost their potential to follow the Path of Knowledge. However, they were spiritually capable enough to undertake intense penance (the kind that allowed a seeker to stand on one foot for 12 years) and meditation (the kind that made a seeker meditate long enough for an ant hill to grow all over him).
- Dwāparyug: There was a further decline in spiritual levels and people lost their potential for rigorous penance and sustained meditation. Accordingly, it was divinely ordained that they could make progress through ritualistic worship. These rituals and sacrificial fires (yadnyas) were very time consuming and laborious as they had to be done maintaining a strict code of conduct. Along with this there were numerous steps which had to be followed to the last detail. However, people of this era were religious-minded enough to spend the time, effort and money to do them.
- Kaliyug: This is translated as the ‘Era of Strife’ and is the current era we live in. The average person’s spiritual level has dropped to a mere 20%. Our capacity to follow any of the spiritual paths of previous eras has greatly diminished. Also in the current era, the world environment is not as conducive for spiritual growth compared to previous eras. There is a significant increase in the Raja and Tama subtle components due to a high proportion of personality defects in people and higher activity of negative energies from the spiritual dimension. This has given rise to spiritual pollution which poses as a serious obstacle to any form of spiritual practice and hence hinders spiritual growth.
Considering the turbulent and stressful times in the current era and along with our lack of spiritual capacity – God has made a simple provision for us to grow spiritually against all odds. This is through making efforts to reduce our personality defects and ego and simply chanting the Name of God. Actually, chanting the Name of God in the true sense of the practice (i.e., with concentration and spiritual emotion, throughout the day) can only be done at a higher spiritual level. However, by working on oneself and eliminating the personality defects and ego from one’s mind, a person can stay focused. Due to this, one is able to practice chanting the Name of God continuously.