Hinduism talks about three Gunas. What are the Gunas? It can be quite complex but it is an analysis of our thoughts and actions. We can divide them into 3 types
Sattwa – pure and pious
Rajas – I call it the pleasure principle. Wanting to enjoy
Tamas – destructive, evil. Wanting to hurt others
Now of course many actions are a combination of above. Lets say you are a doctor and you help a sick patient. By itself you could say it is sattwa, after all you helped someone. But the moment you take money, that is something personal and it becomes more of Rajas and less of sattwa. Thus it can be quite complex
There are a few other principles.
Sattwa – gives pain initially and happiness is later
Rajas – gives happiness initially and then later unhappiness
Tamas – causes pain initially and pain later
For example : lets say someone is offensive to you. It hurts you and then you retaliate and then the other person retaliates…all across you had pain with being hurt and having anger and your actions from anger caused more pain.
Lets say you love food, and you eat something lovely, but later you gain…weight…Fun initially and painful later
Lets say you did good deeds all through our your life. You see no rewards, but after death, you go to heaven and in your next birth get good things coming to you all the time
So, now that you know the Gunas, how do we get affected by them and how do they control us.
One we are born with some tendencies based on our past habits and karma
Secondly the diet we eat influences us. It is not quick, but slowly changes us.
Third, the company we keep affects us. How does it affect us? By very subtle vibrations !. Those vibrations reach us by other people talking with us, (it is not just the content but the vibrations). And those vibrations reach us from the way the food was cooked too!
This is what Mother said, (Aurobindo)
I saw the realm that is under the influence of thought – the power of thought over the body – it is enormous! One cannot imagine how enormous it is. Even a subconscious or sometimes unconscious thought has an effect and produces incredible results! I’ve been studying this in detail for the last two years. It is incredible!
Even the tiniest mental or vital reactions – so infinitesimal that to our ordinary consciousness they don’t seem to have the least importance – have an effect on the cells of the body and can create disorders. When we watch very carefully, we may become aware of a slight uneasiness, and by tracking down its origin, we realize it stems from something that to our active consciousness is quite imperceptible and “insignificant” – yet it’s enough to create a disorder in the body.
One is under the impression that certain circumstances in the body are independent, not only of our will, but of our consciousness – but it isn’t true.
Then there is everything that comes from outside, and that’s the most dangerous. It’s constant – even when you eat, you catch something – oh, what a mishmash of vibrations! The vibrations of what you eat when it was alive (they always remain), the vibrations of the person who cooked the food, and so on. When you talk to another person or mix with people, of course you are a bit more conscious of what comes in; but even when you sit still, minding your own business, it comes in!
There is almost complete interdependence, and isolation is an illusion. By reinforcing your own atmosphere, you can hold things off to some extent, but the very effort to keep them at a distance creates disturbances.
Yet I know in an absolute way that once this whole mass of the physical mind is brought under control and the highest consciousness is brought into it in a continuous way, one _can_have control over one’s health.
This is why I tell people that this is not a matter of fate, not something that escapes our control altogether, not some “Law of Nature” over which we have no power. We are truly the masters of everything that has been brought together to create our transitory individuality; we have been given the power of control, provided we know how to use it.
It is a tremendous discipline.
But it’s worth remembering if only to escape this sense of fatality and subjugation that things are outside our control. “We’re born, we live, we die; Nature is bearing down on us and we are the playthings of something much bigger and stronger than we are.”
That is the Falsehood.
In my yoga, only after I knew that I am the Master of everything (provided I know how to be this Master and let myself be this Master, provided the outer stupidity accepts to stay in its place) did I know that one could gain control over Nature.
Whatever the effort involved, whatever the difficulty, whatever time it takes, you know you are the Master, that the Master and you are one and the same. All that’s necessary is to know it integrally with nothing denying it.
This is why I tell people that their health depends on their inner life.
The Mother, Notebook on Evolution, pages 57 – 58.