Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 09 Jan 2019

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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 tit 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.

 
   

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