SIN AND RELIGIOUS MERIT
Sri Chandramoulisvaraya Namah:
We are doing certain acts in the householder’s (grihastha) life in order that we as well as our children, relatives and others can eat to their heart’s content. Just as we have to do certain mundane acts in order to procure cloth to cover our body, food to remove hunger, house to live and other facilities to look after our children and others, we have to do certain acts for living happily in the world to which we would eventually go. That act is Dharma.
There arises a doubt now. All our time is spent in working for our food; there is no time for doing dharma; this appears to be the difficulty. If people who talk this way spend all their time in making money, then it may be understood at least. A lot of time is indeed wasted in useless talk, thought, mocking others and having fun. One can do acts for benefitting the Self (Atma) in the time left after spending for making money, without wasting that time. Where there is will, there will be no shortage of time. While travelling in tram, train and bus, one can chant the names of God. Will even a paisa of our earnings here be useful to us in the next world? The only currency valid in those worlds is the name of God. Hence we should chant God’s names without fail. It is falsehood to say there is no time.
We can perform dharma in four ways; we can do with our body, tongue, mind and money. Money can be used for the benefit of Self; we can do danam (ceremonial gift) and dharma. A doubt arises on how to do danam and dharma while in poverty. Even in poverty it is possible to curtail expenses and give danam of one paisa at least. Everyone should resolve to donate at least one paisa or ¼ anna every day.
Everyone spends a lot of time in sleeping and gossiping. One can stop that and meditate on Bhagavan’s feet. That is the only ‘income’; all else is ‘expense’. All that is time spent on flesh. Our body is flesh; time spent in relation to that is spent on flesh only.
We should not feel scared that we have sinned a lot. People like us have become devotees and attained to good state. Even those who have been much worse sinners than us have attained to good state. Iswara is great because he protects sinners. Hence we should have courage and faith and keep doing good acts.
In Bhagavad Gita Sri Krishna tells Arjuna:
Let us consider how we commit sins. We commit sins with tongue, mind, body and money. With tongue we spread gossip enthusiastically and do sin. With body we do evil acts and do sin. With money we commit many types of sins. Even if we think that we should not commit such sins, we are unable to stop them. Like an evil spirit the habit of committing sins has caught us; it always encircles us. We have committed sins for a long time. That is why that habit has not left us. How to get rid of that habit?
We should change the habit with the same way with which we commit sins. We should put in efforts in the four ways mentioned earlier.
Mahanarayana Upanishad says that we should annul our sins by dharma. What is dharma? That which is directly opposed to adharma is dharma. That which is opposed to evil is good. That is dharma. What is evil? That which induces us to commit sins. Sin is doing an act out of desire. That desire drags us by force into committing sin.
The fruit of merit is to be comfortable, free from trouble. All are desirous of that fruit only. That makes the mind peaceful; happiness results. We desire the fruit of merit; but the majority of our actions are sinful. Our mind is itself the witness of the sins we commit. In the matter of doing acts of merit, there is laziness; when it comes to doing acts of sin, there is enthusiasm.
The fruit of sin is trouble. Actions prohibited by our conscience are sinful. We think we should avoid such acts; but there is no desire to stop doing them. Everyone born in this world desires comfort. People think they should only do acts of merit. They also know they should not commit sin. But sin constitutes 80% of their actions; only 20% is merit. Coming to think of it, this is very funny. We do not desire that we should commit sin; but our load of sins keeps increasing. The cause of this wonder is not known. We cannot answer why it is like this. A long time ago Arjuna, on behalf of all of us, put this question to Bhagavan and got the reply.
Man desires for an object; he works for it. If he cannot get it in a proper way, he adopts improper methods to get it. That is sin. The cause of that sin is the desire to possess. That is called Kama. That is an enemy of us. There is another enemy, called Krodha (anger). When we desire for an object and that object is not available to us, anger develops towards those who prevented us from getting that object. When kama is deflected, it becomes krodha. Hence both can be said to be the same.
That which was kama itself becomes krodha. We throw rubber ball on the wall; it bounces back at us. While throwing the ball, it is like kama. While bouncing back, it is like krodha. When kama is not fulfilled, it becomes krodha. Kama dos not get satisfied with anything. Howsoever much it consumes, it is not enough. If we feed that hunger, kama flourishes. Desire does not get subdued when it is fulfilled. Kama is like fire. Fire, when given food, spreads and multiplies. Kama is like that fire. Fire also does not get extinguished when it is fed. Fire has a name, ‘krishnavartma’. It means that wherever it goes, it leaves a black trail. Kama is also the same. Initially there is happiness. Then there is weeping as the object is not available more and more. Kama increases when it is fed. Kama has insatiable hunger. It is called ‘Mahaasana’ (great eater).
Krodha occurs when kama returns unfulfilled. It is higher than kama. This has been pointed out in ‘Naishadham’. Kali (Kalipurusha) arrives. He is accompanied by his army commanders like Kama and Krodha. Panegyrists praise the greatness of each commander. Krodha is also eulogised. It is said that there is no place not entered by Kama. But Krodha is stronger than him. Kama’s arrow cannot penetrate the fort of Krodha. Krodha used to say that from within his fort he would attack even Devas like Indra. Which is that fort? That is the heart of Durvasa. Kama’s arrow cannot enter there.
These kama and krodha are the cause of the many acts of sin we commit. They are caused by Rajoguna (quality of passion). Kama is extremely hungry; krodha is a great sinner. They are indeed our enemies.
When we do an act without desire, there is no sin. Doing the act with desire is sin. As the habit of committing sin is deep seated, it makes us commit sin now again.
We commit sin with all three instruments (thought, word and deed). There are evil thoughts in the mind. They are sin. With mouth we commit sins like telling lies. Why has Bhagavan given us alone the ability to speak? He has given that power in order for us to speak out that which is there in the heart. If we tell lies, Bhagavan will feel that there is no use giving that power to us and give us birth as bull. Bhagavan’s grant of the power of speech to us is only for speaking truth and chanting His names.
Sin has two powers. Let us consider a bad habit, say, inhaling snuff. It produces two types of bad results. One, the bad result of using snuff on that particular day; two, the evil of inducing us to commit that act again. In the same way an act of sin creates the habit of committing many more sins. That habit is called ‘Vasana’ (tendency). We should develop good vasanas and destroy bad vasanas.
Hence, realising that all sins arise from desire, we should perform acts without desire in the four ways mentioned above. We should always do good actions with mind, speech, body and money. Out of the money we get, we should set apart at least one paisa every day for dharma. That money should not be used for family, but used for dharma. We should always keep in mind that all of our money does not belong to us. As soon as this body is dropped, that money will lose its relation with us. If we are to make that money ours, we have to convert it into currency valid wherever we go. In the upper worlds, the money of this place will not be valid. If we convert this money into currency of dharma, it will be valid anywhere. Then that money will continue to belong to us.
Hence everybody from children to elders should keep a separate hundi for dharma. If we had such habits right from the time we were born, we would have accomplished much. We have forgotten our true act. We should institute hundi of dharma for children now itself. Do we not do insurance for them? As this insurance will be useful even after this life, this should be considered as ‘After-life insurance’.
We should do acts of merit with our tongue. We should chant names of Bhagavan at least a thousand times every day. It will be of use to us; it will also ward off troubles. By useless gossip, sin and trouble arise. By chanting the name of Bhagavan, the trouble is not there; further merit accrues. There are many names of Bhagavan. Elders have said: ‘O Great One, with thousands of names, worshipped by Devas’. We should chant one name of His a thousand times. We should learn the name from elders who have attained ‘siddhi’ (success in spiritual life from that name). For counting, we can keep a string. If we were to chant the name of Bhagavan on our own, there is no harm.
With our mind, we should again do good acts. We should sit in one place for some time and meditate on Bhagavan. Our mind has many thoughts. We should know whose abode our heart is. Heart is Bhagavan’s abode. We have dirtied that place. We have to scrub and clean that place, make Bhagavan sit there and we should also sit with him. We should meditate on God at least for five minutes every day. This should continue without fail at all times. This is like eating. This is higher than even Swaraj. This should be done even when we are unable to eat. Then there will be Grace of God. That Grace is beneficial in all respects. We spend so much of time for earning money. Should we not spend at least half an hour for doing this, which brings benefit to Atma? That half an hour is the time we earn the currency of dharma. If mind is engaged in meditation, tongue etc. will also do good acts in the same way.
We should do good acts with our body. We should go to temple, do pradakshina (circumambulation) and prostrate. Prostration (namaskara) is called ‘performing danda’. That is falling like a rod. Thinking that this body is not ours, but His, it should be dropped in His sannidhi (presence). By doing this, sin will automatically drop. Arrogance (I-ness, Ahamkara) will reduce. The more we come down, the higher will be the greatness.
It is enough for women to prostrate to husband. As husbands have willed not to go to temple, women now go to temple including for their husbands! It is not that they should not go to temple. You need not think it is not necessary. Some have darshan of the Moola Linga. It is enough for some if they have darshan of Dvaja Sthambha (Flag Staff). Merit comes to some just by having darshan of Gopuram (tower). For women, it is enough to worship the husband. There is a place of work for each; body must be surrendered accordingly.
We have committed sins in four ways; we continue to do so. The antidote for this is dharma. We must do that dharma with the three instruments (thought, word and deed) and money. With body, pradakshina etc. must be done. With the thought that this body is not mine, but Bhagavan’s, we must prostrate before God. If there is no temple, we may think of God and prostrate. With speech, we must chant the name of God. With mind, we must meditate on the lotus feet of God. With money we must do danam (charity) and dharma.
If we do not commit sin, there is no need for us to do punya (act of merit). As we have committed sin, we must definitely do these dharmas. Persons of all ages from child to old person and of all castes must do dharma in these four ways and sin will be washed off only then. As the strength of merit goes up, the sin will reduce. The capital required for the benefit of Self will accrue. These dharmas should be done when our limbs like hands and feet are under our control and we must thereby pay off the loan and also accrue capital. When the time to depart comes, our limbs will not be under our control. The tongue will not utter what the mind thinks. Ear will not hear. Hands and feet will not obey our commands. Eye will not see. When the sense organs are under our control, we should get rid of our sin by doing dharma. We should not procrastinate. We do not know what will happen tomorrow.
It has been said:
VEDA DHARMA SASTRA PARIPALANA SABHA
Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai
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