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Scriptural Authority For The Cancellation Of Sins Discourse Podcast Shri Kishore Ram asked: Is there authority from the scripture regarding the cancellation of pending punishments by reformation, especially in this Kali Age? Some of my friends are asking for scriptural authority on this point. Swami replied: This concept is based on logic and hence, it is valid in any age because the logic of the concept is beyond time. The logic is as follows. The meaning of reformation is that the soul passes through realization, repentance and finally non-repetition of the sin in practice. What is the aim of the punishment for sin? It is not revenge or breast for tat! It is only to create fear in the mind of the soul so that the soul does not repeat the sin. But mere punishment without giving spiritual knowledge can only bring fear in the soul; not realization. In the absence of realization, there is no question of repentance and the non-repetition of the sin in practice. Of course, due to the fear, there will be a temporary avoidance of the sin. The non-repetition of sin is most important since it is the final practical step. Therefore, the soul is punished for its sins here on earth as well as in hell so that the soul does not repeat the sin at least for some time. After being punished in hell, when the soul is reborn on earth, its tendency to commit the sin is greatly reduced. As the child grows, it learns from its surroundings. Based on these external influences, the child picks up different qualities. But generally, the soul picks up qualities that are matching with its own inherent qualities. These inherent qualities have been accumulated by the soul over numerous previous births. As a result, in each birth, the soul usually develops a nature matching with his or her own inherent qualities. A change is possible only when the soul receives the true spiritual knowledge preached by the Human Incarnation of God. Such spiritual knowledge may bring total or partial reformation in the soul depending on how intense the soul’s inherent qualities are. To speed up the reformation, God uses a combination of fear through punishment and realization through spiritual knowledge. It is like administering antibiotics along with vitamin B-complex to a patient so that the weakness caused by the antibiotics is overcome by the vitamins. The simultaneous exposure of the soul to both spiritual knowledge and the punishment for its sins is very essential. The punishment creates fear and weakness in the soul. The spiritual knowledge not only brings some strength to the soul overcoming the weakness but it also gradually brings permanent reformation in the soul. This is the basis of the divine system of God for managing and reforming souls. It involves these two simultaneous efforts of punishing souls for their sins and preaching spiritual knowledge to them through divine Incarnations. Now, the main point is the cancelation of the soul’s pending punishments upon attaining total reformation. This cancelation is perfectly justified by logic since the aim of the punishment is basically to bring about the reformation of the soul. By instilling fear in the soul, it prevents the repetition of the sin by the soul temporarily. The non-repetition of the sin is the final step and the practical proof of reformation, which is achieved through punishment even if temporarily. So, it is clear that the intention behind the punishment for sins is only the soul’s reformation. But spiritual knowledge is far more effective in reforming the soul. Reformation attained through spiritual knowledge is permanent. When permanent reformation has already been attained by a soul through spiritual knowledge, what is the use of punishing the soul further in order to bring temporary reformation? The aim of the punishment was never taking revenge against the soul for committing the sin. The aim was only the soul’s reformation, which has already been achieved in a permanent manner through the spiritual knowledge. So, the pending punishments for sins already done, get canceled. Actually, the file of these pending punishments is kept in an inactive state in hell as if in cold storage. It is never activated again as long as the reformed soul stays reformed. So, it is important that the soul remembers this point and does not go back to committing sins, thinking that the file of its deeds has been totally destroyed! Importance of Logical Analysis There is a reason why I explained this concept on the basis of logic. The powerful logic behind the concept itself is the strongest scriptural authority. When such strong logic exists, no separate theoretical quotation from the scripture is needed. If strong logic to support a concept is absent and it is only supported by quoting the scripture, it must be rejected. If it is not logical, it should be treated as some insertion in the scripture. Such inserted wrong concepts should be rejected. There is no need to feel sorry about calling such an insertion in the scripture as an insertion. In fact, knowingly treating a wrong insertion in the scripture to be genuine is very bad. It is said that if you are bitten on your finger by a snake, you should immediately cut off the finger without any foolish attachment towards it or else the poison will spread all over your body and kill you (Anguliivoragakshataa). A certain concept from a genuine scripture like the Veda or Gita might be accepted by others to be genuine. But if it is proved to be wrong upon analysis, it must be rejected. One must leave foolish and blind attachment towards the scripture in favor of the truth. Logical analysis is greater than the scripture. Please do not think that I am criticizing the divine scripture by lowering its value. I have to say this because your blind fascination for the scripture, setting aside logical analysis, must be condemned. I am not criticizing the divine scripture. The wrong concept is not genuinely part of the genuine scripture. It is only an insertion made by an ignorant person who wants his wrong concept to be accepted by people like you. He inserted it in a genuine scripture so that people will accept it without question. He is exploiting the position of sacredness given to the divine scripture. You must realize one basic point: How can God, the author of the divine scripture speak such illogical wrong concepts? Such wrong and illogical concepts were definitely not told by Him! This one point makes logical analysis occupy a higher place than the scripture. The logical analysis reveals what is actually spoken by God and what is inserted by ignorant or crooked people in the scripture. The purpose of giving this entire background is to emphasize the point that a concept supported by sharp logical analysis itself is the scripture. Whether such a concept is found in the divine scripture or not is not important. In any case, there is always the possibility of insertions and corruption of any scripture, so accepting any statement from the scripture without analysis is foolish. Scriptural Authority This concept of the soul’s reformation is genuine not only based on logical analysis but also on the basis of the divine scripture. It has scriptural authority. The Veda says that a certain soul got rid of all its pending punishments (Apahata paapmaa) and that the sins done in the past cannot bind such a soul (Na karma lipyate nare). The Gita told by God directly, reveals this concept more clearly. God says that the realization attained through the fire of spiritual knowledge burns all the deeds done in the past along with their fruits (Jnaanaaginih sarvakarmaani bhasmasaat kurute...). The Gita praises this spiritual knowledge as the boat to cross the river of sins (Sarvam jnaanaplavenaiva vrujinam samtarishyasi). In this context, Shankara says that all the pending punishments are cancelled except for the present ongoing punishments (praarabdham). The reason for His statement is that total and perfect reformation of a soul is impossible due to its strong human tendencies. Some imperfection remains, which requires the continuation of the ongoing punishment for rectification. It is for the same reason that the file of pending punishments is never burnt to ash but instead, is only kept in an inactive state, as if in cold storage. It is almost equal to burning it completely. However, if a blessed soul attains total and perfect reformation, the omnipotent God burns the file of pending punishments including the ongoing punishment. If the reformation is absolutely real from the side of the soul, nothing is impossible from the side of the omnipotent God! This reformation resulting in the cancellation of the pending punishments is true in every age and in all times. This concept has become most significant in this Kali age since now sinners constitute the majority of humanity. During the Pongal festival, everyone wants to purchase new clothes. To attract customers to their shops, shopkeepers announce special discounts as a Pongal bumper offer. But customers should never forget that in spite of such high discounts and offers, the shopkeeper is smart enough to never undergo a loss. Similarly, God Datta has also announced this special bumper offer in this Kali age! Reformation Through Realization Observe this approach of preaching spiritual knowledge. A single question is answered and that single concept is thoroughly explained from all angles until the recipient gets full clarity. This approach is the best in this Kali age since the majority of human beings has fallen to very low standards of spiritual knowledge. A single concept preached with a clear and detailed explanation brings full satisfaction to a soul of any standard. This is one extreme end. The other extreme end is to simply mention many concepts without giving any explanation. The middle path is stating many concepts with brief explanations of each concept. The first extreme end is the Gita, in which God answered every question of Arjuna with clear and complete explanations. The other extreme end is the Upanishads, which merely state many concepts briefly without any explanation. The middle path is studying the Upanishads with the brief commentaries given by the three divine preachers. The Gita was told at the very end of the Dvaapara Age so it was the preaching meant for the Kali age. The three divine preachers wrote their commentaries on the Upanishads in the Kali age. The Gita serves the purpose of preaching to the majority of humanity while the Upanishads with the commentaries serve the purpose of a minority of scholars in the Kali age. However, the Gita is suitable for the whole of humanity. So, even scholars are advised to study the Gita since the Upanishads with the brief commentaries might sometimes be misunderstood by the scholars. Thus, detailed explanations which give complete clarity are necessary for every human being in the Kali age. -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: www.universal-spirituality.org) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
Can one's love for God miraculously cancel one's sins? Shri Anil asked: Jesus said that the sins of the devotee will be excused in proportion to the love possessed by the devotee for God. Does this mean that the love for God has such miraculous power to cancel sins? Swami replied: The love for God does not have any miraculous power. Even if it had any miraculous power, that miraculous power is not used to cancel the sins. Due to the devotee’s love for God, God comes down in human form to preach to the devotee about the path of reformation. It is only upon reformation that sins are cancelled. There are three steps in the reformation of the soul. The first is realization. It means the recognition of the sin. The person should confess that he or she has committed a sin and not try to use false and twisted arguments to defend the sin or prove that it was not a sin but a good deed. The second step is repentance for the committed sin. The third and final step is the practical non-repetition of the sin for the rest of one’s life. This step is the most essential step. Mere confession of the sin is not sufficient to cancel the sins. Confession, repentance and non-repetition of sin together complete the process of reformation of the soul. When God finds that the soul has been fully refomed through these three steps, He cancels the sins. Without the final practical step of non-repetition of the sins, sins are never cancelled. Both realization and repentance are theoretical steps. So, by merely realizing and repenting, the sins are not practically cancelled. If the person continues to repeat the sin practically, the person has not really reformed. In that case, the person’s apparent theoretical reformation is meaningless. So, God too, will only cancel the sin only theoretically and not practically. In other words, it will appear that the sin has been cancelled, but in reality, it will not be canelled. God’s behavior with us is just a reflection of our behavior towards Him (Pratirūpo babhūva—Veda). When Mary Magdelena worshiped Jesus with expensive perfumes, one devotee commented that the money used to purchase the perfumes could instead have been used to feed beggars. Jesus told the devotee to let her worship Him to her satisfaction, saying that there would always be beggars in the world to feed. Actually, the devotee who passed that comment was not eligible to do so. The immediate question to him would have been “Have you stopped spending money on all pleasures and started using it only to feed beggars?” One should comment on others’ practice only after perfectly practicing it oneself. Jesus also told the devotee that her sins will be cancelled in proportion to her love for Him. This means that even if God preaches the total concept of reformation to a soul, the soul will digest it only in proportion to his or her devotion. If the devotee’s devotion is complete, the concept of reformation will also be completely digested. If the devotion is partial, the digestion of the concept will be also partial. If the concept is only partially digested, the person’s reformation will also be partial. When the reformation is not complete, ideally, sins cannot be cancelled. This would mean that unless one has full devotion to God, who preaches this concept of reformation, the sins would not be cancelled. In other words, unless the devotee has full devotion, has fully digested the concept of reformation and has practically been fully reformed, the devotee’s sins would not be cancelled at all. But Jesus said that partial cancellation of sins does take place when the devotee digests the concept partially, as a result of his or her partial devotion. This clearly means that partial devotion results in the partial reformation of the soul. Reformation happens in the context of some lighter sins. As a result, some sins committed by the soul earlier are cancelled by God, even though not all sins are cancelled. The more serious sins require a deeper reformation, which takes a longer time. Some say that Jesus married this lady and even had children with her. Whether Jesus got married or not, how does it matter to us? What matters to us, is only His valuable preaching, which alone is going to benefit us. If you go to a teacher to study a subject, you are only concerned with the teacher’s teaching of the subject. You need not bother about the personal life of the teacher. Moreover, Jesus got legally married to her and then had children. There is nothing unjust or illegitimate in it and there is absolutely no cause for criticism. In a Human Incarnation, even though God exists in the human medium, the human medium retains its own natural characteristics and needs including hunger, thirst, sleep and legitimate sex. All these are the inevitable biological needs of the human body. I do not understand why people make a big issue out of sex alone. Nobody is bothered if the Human Incarnation eats food, drinks water or sleeps to get rest! Why then, should the Human Incarnation or God-man be looked down upon, if He is involved in legitimate sex? In that case, the God-man eating food, drinking water and sleeping, must also be looked down upon for not having conquered those biological needs of the body! The Human Incarnation could be criticized only if He has been involved in illegitimate sex. But even in that case, careful analysis is necessary before any such criticism. Krishna was misunderstood for His involvement with the Gopikās. The negative qualities of rajas (desire and activity) and tamas (ignorance and inertia) are sometimes, deliberately exhibited by God-in-human-form. Exhibiting these negative qualities is helpful in repelling selfish souls who have positive qualities. Such selfish people come to the Incarnation to exploit His miraculous powers for their selfish benefits. In order to avoid their exploitation, He exhibits negative qualities, which repel them. Sometimes, negative qualities are also exhibited by God, to test the firmness of the faith of devotees. Deep analysis shows that the negative qualities shown by the Incarnation are only superficial and were meant to severely test certain devotees. The Gopikās, who possessed the topmost level of devotion, were tested by God Krishna for their ability to overcome all their worldly bonds for His sake. The Gopikās, were cowherd ladies and Krishna stole their butter, which was the wealth of the cowherds. They had stored the butter for the sake of their children. By stealing their butter, He was simultaneously testing their bond with wealth (dhaneṣanā) and their bond with their children (putreṣaṇā). He was competing with their wealth and children combined, forcing them to choose between their bond with Him and their bond with wealth and children. Similarly, Krishna danced with the Gopikās at midnight, on the banks of the Yamuna, to test the strength of their bond with their life-partners (dāreṣaṇā), forcing them to choose between Him and their life-partners. When Krishna died, the Gopikās jumped into fire and ended their lives, proving that their bond with Krishna was stronger than their bond with their own lives (prāṇeṣaṇā). Upon deep analysis, one can find that Krishna did not do these activities with any selfish motive. Once His tests were completed, Krishna never returned to Bṛndāvanam and He never repeated such tests elsewhere in His life. Similarly, Shirdi Sai Baba appeared to be a smoker, but it was not His weakness. It was meant to test the faith of orthodox devotees in Him. Hence, we should not jump to hasty conclusions in the case of God-men. Of course, false God-men appear before us as unmarried bachelors, pretending to have conquered the desire for sex, but in reality, they are involved in illegitimate sex secretly! Universal Spirituality for World Peace