Shri Datta Swami

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Fate of Enjoyers of Sinful Wealth

Posted on: 07 Dec 2018
O Learned and Devoted Servants of God,

Discourse Podcast

 

Dr. Nikhil asked: Padanamaskarams Swamiji! With regard to the recent message given to Smt. Bindiya Chaudhry on December 1, 2018, You have stated that for sins done with intention, the direct doer of the sin, the employer of the direct doer, the promoter and the supporter; all share the fruit of the sin equally (kartā kārayitā caiva, prerakaścānumodakaḥ...). In this regard, I have the following questions for which I seek Your kind clarifications. Your servant. Nikhil.

Dr. Nikhil: Does anumodaka mean supporter or the enjoyer of the benefit?

Swami replied: Grammatically, you have every right to take the meaning of anumodaka in the sense of an enjoyer since the root verb mud’ means joy. But the word anumodaka means the supporter of a deed in the sense of appreciating the deed after it is performed. The words ‘anumodanam,’ ‘samarthanam’ or ‘sammatih’ have similar meaning and they convey the sense of supporting through acceptance, and through the expression of joy after the deed is performed.

If this word is taken in the sense of enjoying the fruit, it is also correct because the supporter enjoys the fruit equally along with the other three parties to the sin, who are involved before performing the deed or during the deed. The first three parties to the sin are the direct doer or kartaa, the indirect doer or Kaarayitaa, who is the employer of the doer, and the promoter or preraka. The fourth party to the sin, the supporter or anumodaka, comes into picture after the deed is done. An example is a lawyer pleading the case of a criminal. The prefix ‘anu’ which means ‘after,’ indicates that the supporter comes after the other three parties have planned and executed the deed. Thus, the first three belong to one category, while the supporter belongs to another category.

It is already said in the verse that all the four parties equally enjoy the punishment or the fruit of the sin (chatvaarah samabhaaginah). So, all four are ‘enjoyers’, in any case. Then if you take the meaning of anumodaka only in the sense of the person who enjoys the fruit, the former three parties also become anumodakas since they too enjoy the fruit of the deed. In that case, there cannot be a separate fourth party called anumodaka; there are only three parties. An independent fourth party cannot arise unless a different meaning such as supporter is assigned to the fourth term anumodaka.

The root verb ‘mud’ primarily means to enjoy, as per grammar. By adding the prefix ‘anu’, it means supporting the deed through the acceptance and appreciation of the deed. This is the actual meaning of the word anumodaka. In addition to the actual meaning as a supporter, you can also associate the sense of ‘enjoyer’ with the word as per the primary meaning of its root verb, since the supporter is also one of the enjoyers of the fruit. But it is important to remember that the meaning derived from the root verb, which is enjoyment, extends beyond just the term anumodaka, to include all the four parties. Thus, taking the meaning of anumodaka as the enjoyer, suffers from the defect of Ativyaapti or over-extension. Since, the meaning, enjoyer, applies to the first three parties, a separate fourth party disappears. This makes the verse false since it clearly mentions four parties (chatvaarah). So, to maintain four separate parties as mentioned in the verse, the word anumodaka should be understood in the sense of the supporter. This main sense of supporting is in accordance with grammar. Over and above that you can also add a secondary meaning as the enjoyer, since it is based on the root verb.

The case of Valmiki’s family

Dr. Nikhil asked: I request You to please throw light on the case of the enjoyer of the benefit too. Specifically, in the case of Valmiki’s story, his family said that they would not accept a share in the sin even though they were the enjoyers of the wealth earned through sinful means. They said that as the breadwinner, Valmiki was duty-bound to provide for his family; how he fulfilled his duty was none of their concern. They had never forced him to commit sin and rob others. So they would not accept a share in the sin. This was a specific case where the doer of the sin was duty-bound to provide for the enjoyers of the benefits. More importantly, the family members had no choice but to depend on Valmiki, the bread-winner.

But in general a person who enjoys the benefits of a sinful deed, should have a share in the sin especially when the doer of the sin is not duty-bound to provide for the enjoyment of the enjoyer. Or more correctly, the enjoyer who is not dependent on the doer of the sin should get a share in the sin. Could You please clarify this point.

Swami replied: It is said that the above-mentioned four parties equally share the fruit of the sin. It means that each of the four, separately and fully enjoys the fruit of the deed. For instance, if the fruit of a sin is a hundred beatings, then each of the above four, receives a hundred beatings in hell. It certainly does not mean that each will get just twenty-five beatings, which is one-fourth of the share of the total beatings. Coming to the main point, sage Narada met the robber Valmiki in the forest and asked him to ask his family if they were ready to share the fruit of his sin. Valmiki’s family replied that they would not share his sin since they were not directly involved in the sin of robbing others. The family members gave that answer due to their ignorance about the actual concept. But that answer shocked Valmiki, who left his sinful ways and later became a sage. The conversion of Valmiki was a positive outcome. It need not be criticized just because it was based on his family’s false understanding of the cycle of deeds.

When Valmiki returned to Narada, on hearing his family’s ignorant answer, Narada did not correct it. Narada was a real preacher or Guru, and not a mere scholar. The Guru does not bother about the truth of a concept as much as the upliftment of the soul. If a concept is false but if it can help the soul progress to the next higher level, the Guru will even preach that false concept for the immediate spiritual progress of the soul. Such a lie told for a good purpose is called arthavaada. Sometimes, the truth can cause damage and prevent the spiritual progress of the soul. In that case, it should not be revealed for the time being. The real Guru has this tendency to give more importance to the progress of the soul than simply revealing the truth carelessly. The real Guru preaches and reveals the truth carefully based on the psychology of the receivers. This tendency is clearly seen in the three divine preachers, Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva.

If in a court, a party or its advocate make any claim, it need not be accepted by the judge, who is the final authority on the constitution. Hence, the answer given by the family to Valmiki need not be taken as the final authority. Our understanding of the actual concept need not be based on their answer. It is the ignorance of the family to think that they would not have to undergo the punishment for the sin. Actually, they come under the fourth category of the supporters of the sin or anumodakas, and they cannot escape punishment. The family obviously knew that Valmiki was bringing money and jewels by robbing other people. They knew that he was not earning money through hard work. When Valmiki went to his home as per Narada’s instructions, he did not ask his family whether they knew that the wealth he was bringing home was robbed from other people, and not earned through hard work. He simply asked the family whether they would share the sin or not. The family too was not shocked to find out that Valmiki was a robber. They merely refused to share the sin, which clearly proves that they were already fully aware that Valmiki was earning through sinful means.

They were enjoying that sinfully-earned wealth with full awareness. They replied ignorantly saying that they would not share the sin even though they were enjoying the fruit of the deed, which was the wealth. They falsely claimed that they would not suffer the punishment for the sinful deed since they were not the direct doers of the sin. The ignorant family had limited the responsibility of the sin to only the first party, which is the kartaa or the direct doer of the sin. The ignorance of the family was exploited by sage Narada for doing the good work of reforming Valmiki.

Some people might not agree with sage Narada’s approach. Let us understand their objection through the following conversation between an opponent and Swami.

Opponent: Valmiki was under the wrong impression that if his family shared his sin, his share of the punishment would get reduced. Why did Narada not reveal the truth to Valmiki? The truth is that the punishment for a sin is never divided among those responsible for the sin, and that each one gets the full punishment for the sin separately. So, both Valmiki and his family would have to bear the full punishment for the sin. There was no need for Narada to hide this truth from Valmiki. Even if Narada had revealed this truth, Valmiki would still have given up his sinful ways. He would have reformed with the knowledge that the punishment for his sin would not be reduced at any cost.

Swami: If you are told that not only will you have to bear the full punishment for your sin, but also that your family will not get any punishment at all, you will immediately give up your sinful ways and get reformed with double the force. You will think it is foolish to continue the sinful deeds when even though both you and your family equally share the sinfully-earned wealth, you alone will be punished while your family totally escapes punishment. On the other hand, if you are told the truth that both you and your family will have to separately bear the full punishment for the sin, there will be some satisfaction and even some sympathy towards your family. It will reduce your vigor in reformation. Hence, sage Narada did not reveal the truth to Valmiki. Such is the intensity of a Guru’s interest in uplifting a soul!

The Gita says that one should not leave one’s duties (Niyatam kuru…). But it does not mean that one should fulfill one’s duties even in an unjust way. A wife is said to be a partner in all the work done by a man to achieve the four goals of life. These four goals are called the puruṣārthās and they are: dharma or justice, artha or wealth, kaama or sex and moksha or the spiritual effort taken for salvation. The wife and grown-up children, who enjoy the wealth and benefits earned through sinful means, cannot escape the punishment for the same deeds. The wealth and benefits are the immediate fruits of the sinful deeds while punishments in hell are the delayed fruits of the same sinful deeds. Any human being with the slightest commonsense knows whether the head of the family is earning money through rightful or sinful means. After all, a wife is the partner of her husband in earning wealth, which is called as artha. If necessary, she might also have to take up a job and earn money along with her husband. Then how can she claim to be ignorant of her husband’s ways of earning money? Any family member can easily know when the head of their family is earning through sinful means. It is the duty of the family to advise and strongly urge the head of the family to stop the sinful earning and stick to only rightful means to meet the expenses of the family. Often times, the family does not do this important duty. That is why the family is also destroyed in course of time by the sinful money earned by the head of the family.

Let us say that the head of the family is doing a lawful job and earning a rightful salary. But along with it, he is also earning some sinful money through corrupt means. The family might not be able to identify the sinful money if it is small in amount. In that case, it is justified to say that the head alone should undergo the punishment for the sin as the kartaa or the doer of the sin. A higher officer, who receives a share of the money earned by his juniors through corrupt means, also undergoes the same punishment as the kaarayitaa or the indirect doer. Another employee, who encourages the doer of the deed, and also gets a share in the sinfully-earned money, undergoes the same punishment as the preraka or the promoter. The family enjoying the large amounts of sinful money, which is the fruit of the sinful deeds done by the doer, must also undergo the punishment, which also is the fruit of the sinful deed. Here the family is the anumodaka or the supporter. The family should naturally get suspicious when the head of the family earns large amounts of money beyond his or her salary and are expected to question the head. The family cannot simply keep silent and say that they never supported the sin. Such an excuse is not valid. It is their responsibility to question the sin and try to avoid it by controlling the head of the family.

A sinful employee, takes a bribe from another sinful person like a contractor. He says that he is taking the bribe from the sinful contractor, who in turn is looting a lot of money in a project. The employee claims that his sin is not serious since he is only taking money from a rich and corrupt contractor and not from a poor person. But neither the contractor nor the employee can escape punishment in hell. Both are earning sinful money for their selfish purpose. Both are accumulating that money for their families. If a person has earned such sinful money in the past, it should be donated for some good work like the work of God or for feeding beggars, helping the poor etc. Only then can one escape from the punishment. Apart from the fact that they will face inescapable punishment, the sinners do not realize that the very purpose for which they earned this sinful money will never be achieved. They earned money sinfully for the sake of their family. But the large amounts of sinful money accumulated by them will destroy their children and their future generations.

Sin should be avoided even in cases of emergency, which are called as Aapatdharma. It is said that sage Vishvaamitra was once forced to eat the flesh of a dog during a drought. But it should be noted that he only ate the flesh of a dog that had already died. He did not kill it to save his own life. Even Kaapaalikaas, who eat human flesh from dead bodies, are not sinners since they do not kill anyone. Flesh by itself is not sinful since it does not differ from vegetarian food in the basic chemical constituents. It is the killing of harmless living beings for food that is sinful. The judgment of God depends on His deep analysis based on the overall background of each case. He is able to analyze perfectly since He is omniscient. Souls, with their limited intellects, are incapable of analyzing perfectly. Hence, the Gita says that the analysis of deeds is too deep for souls to understand (Gahanaa karmano gatih).

 

(Second question – answer to be continued.)

 
   

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