When we want to escape from sin, we must thoroughly understand the nature and extent of sin. In order to closely examine the real meaning of the word sin, we must turn to the most standard revealed scriptural texts for help. Therefore let us now see what Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the most authentic, concise and comprehensive Vedanta text has to say regarding the subject sin.
sukha-duhkhe same krtva labhalabhau jayajayau ! tato yuddhaya yujyasva naivam papam avapsyasi ! ch2/38
When you confront with dualities such as profit/loss, victory/defeat, heat/cold etc which disturb the mind to lose peace and stability fluctuating between elation and depression, you must fight to maintain equanimity. You would not incur any sin in this battle.
Further by saying "aham tva sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami" (I get you out of all the sins) it indicates that sin is not a singular entity but plural.
According to the opinion of Seers, who interpret Gita from their own experience, sin means descending! or falling down! or slipping down! Let us now verify here.
atha kena prayukto 'yampapam carati purusah ! anicchann api varsneyabalad iva niyojitah ! ch3/36
What is it that provokes the man to act sinful, whether he likes it or not, as though compelled to act?
kama esa krodha esa rajo-guna-samudbhavah mahasano maha-papma viddhy enam iha vairinam ch3/37
Lust/anger born out of passion mode of nature is responsible for this. With insatiable appetite this is man's greatest and sinister enemy.
Lust and anger are two different words but mutually complimentary. They are like two faces of the same coin. One does not go without the other. Therefore they both literally mean only one thing as they aim and act always to produce one result. There are three modes of nature generally alternating in man to make his complex character. Out of these the passion mode, born out of affection is always associated with lust and becomes energy packed. This motivates and compels man to act sinfully. Acting sinfully means what? Whereas you are the embodied soul having in deed no necessity nor benefit to derive from by indulging in any activity, the desire/anger becoming intensified when you are under the influence of passion nature, gather momentum to force you to forget yourself and assume the place of either body or senses or mind, whichever is the subject of activity in the particular instant. Thus you are falling from your supreme position above all these into one or more of these positions. This is your commission of sin. If you have to remain in your position, you must overcome tendency to all kinds of sins.
The following three situations are conducive for committing sins. 1) Lack of education, 2) desire, 3) activity
Lack of education :- Because you simply do not know of yourself properly, you always assume the gross body in which you reside as yourself. By this you have descended from your supreme position to that of a material body. This is the 1st kind of sin situation.
We are learning of many things here and are calling ourselves educated. Diverse fields of education such as social, anthropological, political, economical, mathematical, legal, cultural, administrative, psychological, biological, meta physical, astronomical, philosophical etc. and different grades/degrees of recognition of the extent of knowledge we gain is these fields, such as under graduate, masters, scholars etc. All these assorted fields and levels of education may be useful for man to render services to himself and others, to amass material wealth, comforts, security, name and fame for the physical body. That is all. But are all these really useful to you? These may be at best useful to your body but not to you, the embodied. Suppose you (as body) are filthy, sweating and smelling bad, but are in a clean and beautiful house decorated with vibrant colours and comforts. Would that make you happy? Clean clothes and a clean water bath may be more important than a beautiful house of comforts. Similarly you need to equip with knowledge that is useful to you (embodied) than getting those degrees and scholarships in any of those assorted fields. When you quit this body and take a new body, all the education, wealth, comforts, name and fame that you have earned all through your life is of no use to you at all. Therefore it is imperative that you must use every opportunity to learn such knowledge called self knowledge that is really useful to you (embodied self). Unless you thoroughly know about yourself, you keep on assuming that you are the gross body or senses or mind or intellect and a host of other positions connected with these burying yourself in grave sin.
Desire :- Whenever the senses, or mind dwell in their respective matters, you (embodied), instead of simply remaining a mute witness, mingle with them and start liking what is good for them and disliking what bad for them. When you are under the influence of passion mode of nature, these feelings become intensive to the level of lust and anger. After all to whom or what do those likes and dislikes really belong? May be for the senses or the mind, but these likes or dislikes have no need or use for you, you being eternal, unlimited, perennial, fully self contented, all pervasive. The only possible natural desire for you is to remain all by yourself peaceful and contented all the time. However influenced by desire, you are falling from your supreme state into those senses or mind simply because of capturing their biases and feeling on their behalf, thus committing grave sin. This is 2nd kind of sin situation.
Activity :- Whenever your body or sense or mind or intellect is engaged in activities, you (embodied), instead of remaining mute witness, are claiming proprietorship for their activities. No doubt that they can not do anything without your presence. Your mere presence does not give you any right to claim share of their business. It is like Sun claiming any share of people's activities simply because they do those in his presence (day time). You are indeed formless, perennially self contented, pure, unattached, motionless, and without any limbs. How can you ever possibly engage in any activity at all? And what is the necessity or benefit of any such activity for you? Yet by claiming proprietorship of activities, you are inadvertently slipping into those mortal states of body/senses/mind/intellect thus committing sin. This is 3rs kind of sin situation.
All right! We agree that we are doing sins. Indeed all are doing sins. So what? What happens when we commit sins?
When we commit sins we suffer distress, anxiety, fear and death and be born again.
mam upetya punar janma duhkhalayam asasvatam ! napnuvanti mahatmanah samsiddhim paramam gatah ! ch8/15
Only those great souls having developed self consciousness and are prepared to realize their absolute self shall not be born again into impermanent mortal life that is the abode of distress and suffering.
It is amply clear from this that all of us shall be born again and again and suffer endlessly unless or until we develop our consciousness to recognize and realize our perennial self. Otherwise we can not escape from successive reincarnations howsoever great and lofty activities we are engaged in. Now some people may feel that there is nothing wrong being born again as they are already born in this life and so will it be in future.
Let us now see what kind of reincarnations await us and what happens then.
moghasa mogha-karmano mogha-jnana vicetasah ! raksasim asurim caiva prakrtim mohinim sritah ! ch9/12
Narrow minded people with baffled hopes and futile activities are infatuated by demonic sensualist nature.
asurim yonim apanna mudha janmani janmani ! mam aprapyaiva kaunteya tato yanty adhamam gatim ! ch16/20
Those stupid people with sensualist nature, unable to recollect consciousness of their real self shall be reincarnated again and again into totally sensualist species such as animals, birds, insects etc.
These kind of sensualist species are often subjected to extreme pain and suffering. There is no chance for them to retrieve their self consciousness during those lives because they can not distinguish between temporary and permanent states for want of intellectual insight exclusively available to humans. Therefore out of all the 8.4 million species of life on earth, man alone has the chance to realize eternal self and escape from apparently unending cycles of birth and death. If we waste this rare chance of human life, expending it like other non intelligent species, who knows if how many millions of lives we have to suffer as inferior species before we get another chance?
We have since birth till now, being ignorant of the reality, for the sake of bodily comforts, or for name or fame or for hegemony over others, have assumed responsibility for every action of body as well as senses and there by committed innumerable sins. We understand that these three situations viz; lack education, desires, and activities are pushing every one into sins.
Is there a way out of this at all for us? If so how and when we can ever crawl out of this abysmal situation?
The great Seers' teachings are indeed meant only for this purpose. Srimad Bhagavad Gita is in fact expressly for this lone purpose. But many people are talking of many things. Some say, "Do this worship. It will do you good." "Offer this prescribed devotional activity to that goddess, she will protect you." "Go on pilgrimage to such and such places"," pay such and such to such and such people as compensation for purifying yourself of sins." "Take bath in this pond or that river to wash your sins off." Innumerable free suggestions like these pour in the form of scriptural texts, popular holy men, good-samaritan kind of neighbours etc. If you believe in such prescriptions and try to follow them simply because many more people are following them, you might end up wasting your precious life for wrong purpose. You must not blindly believe any thing coming as it may from anyone however great, popular and revered he may be. You must apply the same rule even to scriptural texts. You must exert your intellect and verify the text of the scriptures or preaching of great people with a standard by which you are thoroughly convinced.
Greatest ever wealth of knowledge inherited by mankind is in the form of Vedas. Vedas provide lofty ideas and practical solutions to help man build harmonious civilized societies. Vedas demonstrate in wonderful way how knowledge can be dissipated from man to man without loss or degradation of essence over centuries. The final conclusions of Vedas are in the form of Upanishads known as Vedanta. This Vedanta philosophy is concisely made available in the form of aphorisms called Brahma Sutras. The essence of Upanishads, known as the highest knowledge is comprehensively and concisely made available in the form of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Coming as these are from great people's spiritual experience, the Vedanta texts consisting of Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Srimad Bhagavad Gita, all reflecting man's highest wisdom, have established superlative standards in scriptural texts. Whatever is said in these texts in different contexts is only mutually complimentary and never contradictory to each other. However the serious readers of these texts must bear in mind that the interpretation of these texts for the right meaning must be done only by a self realized and capable Mystics. But unfortunately most of the written commentaries available in book form today are riddled with innumerable contradictions. These only speak of the lack of experience and level of understanding by these writers. Serious students of these texts should be aware of these facts, lest they are confused. The aspirants to self knowledge must not depend on these writers' interpretations for their study. They must seek refuge in a capable Sadguru (self realized Master) and take his guidance to unravel the profound secrets hidden in these sacred texts.
api ced asi papebhyah sarvebhyah papa-krttamah ! sarvam jnana-plavenaiva vrjinam santarisyasi ! ch4/36
Even if you are the worst of all the sinners, but once you climb into the boat of knowledge, you can easily cross over the ocean of samsaara, the ostensibly endless cycles of birth and death.
What a warm and comforting piece of information! It is enough if we can board the boat of knowledge! It is possible to cross over an ocean of sins within this life span itself! To overcome sins the only solitary route is knowledge way. This is prescribed and established by Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Where is the scope for any doubt in this?
yathaidhamsi samiddho 'gnir bhasmasat kurute 'rjuna ! jnanagnih sarva-karmani bhasmasat kurute tatha ! ch4/37
Just like a well lit fire burns dried up wooden logs howsoever large and weighty, the fire of knowledge like wise burns up all the sins howsoever big and mighty.
It is very clear from this that in order to incinerate the sins accumulated over innumerable lives of the past, there is no other way but seeking to acquire knowledge. Moreover "na hi jnanena sadrsam pavitram iha vidyate" meaning that nothing else in this world can make you as pure and pious as knowledge can make you. That is fine and alright! But where do we find this knowledge? How do we acquire it? Let us find out what Gita says regarding this.
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya ! upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah ! ch4/34
That you must approach the knowledgeable Seer who has experienced the reality, surrender to him all that you know about yourself. With total faith and reverence with folded hands, must pray and seek answers to all your genuine questions. Then that great Seer positively encourage your intellect to closely experience the reality.
You must search for such a great realized Master. Wise people have provided guidance to us on how to identify such a great Master thus: 1) In whosoever presence all your anxiety, worry and distress die down and you instantly start experiencing peace and serenity in your mind, 2) Where self knowledge is preached in accordance with a revealed scriptural text of highest standard, 3) Where all the ambiguities and fears in your mind are instantly removed with the right input of knowledge that you can absorb, know that to be a Capable Sadguru's abode and he is your Master by all means and you must seek refuge in him.
At the feet of such a kind Master and divine personality, you must wholeheartedly surrender yourself viz; your chest as a token of all that you hold near and dear (affectionate) to you, your head as a token of your ego and body consciousness, your mind as a token of all your knowledge, ideas, plans and projections, your eyes as a token of all that you have seen and formed opinion about, your tongue as a token of all that you have learned to speak so far, your feet as a token of the way you been living (conducting yourself), your hands as a token of how and what you have been doing so far, your ears as a token of all that you have heard. When you thus surrender everything of your personality, and empty yourself, and pray him to guide you further.
The compassionate Sadguru shall initiate you to mystical life of peace and serenity, devoid of fear, worry, anxiety, lust, anger, jealousy, bias and perplexity. He tells you who you really are, what you must hold dear to you, how you must see and understand the world around, what must fill your thoughts, how and what you must speak, how you must conduct your life, how and what you must do, what you must hear, etc.. Thus he fills you up with the knowledge you really need. He may convey to you in secrecy a mantra (a few syllables) which you should never give out to others but always to remember and repeat within yourself using a technique he teaches you. He may give you a garland of beads to aid you in your mystical practice. This mantra shall henceforth be your constant companion, protector and guide. When you conduct yourself in accordance with Sadguru's instructions and intensely practice the mantra japa, along with certain other practices instructed to you from time to time, your life shall soon be filled with peace, tranquility, happiness, contentment, equanimity, positive outlook, friendship, compassion, devoid of anger, jealousy, desire, greed, and hatred. It is not possible for others howsoever educated they are in assorted fields of knowledge available in universities to adapt to this kind of divine life style.
sraddhavan labhate jnanam tat-parah samyatendriyah ! jnanam labdhva param santim acirenadhigacchati ! ch4/39
With faith, steadfastness and self discipline one can acquire self knowledge. Once this knowledge is realized, absolute peace is experienced soon.
One should develop unshakable confidence in his Guru and the revealed scripture. That is faith. Steadfastness is relentless application of Guru's instruction that is in accordance with the revealed scripture. One should believe this as the most important thing in one's life, and accordingly give it the topmost priority in allocation of one's time and efforts. Then only one can qualify to realize the self knowledge. Absolute peace is of course a sequel to this. This is Gita's firm expression. This peace is not the kind of peace that is intermittent. It is eternal peace and happiness belonging to the absolute self.
brahmany adhaya karmanisangam tyaktva karoti yah ! lipyate na sa papenapadma-patram ivambhasa ! ch5/10
Whenever actions occur, one who does not mix up with either the senses or the fruit of the actions and remembers within his mind that he is not the body or senses but the embodied self, is not touched by sin just as water drops on lotus leaf.
For intense mystical practice, one need not run away to a distant or solitary place, One should remain in his normal place, participate in all activities that come before him as destined, always reminding himself of his absolute self and assuming that the body is engaged in destined activities in order to enjoy or suffer the good or bad consequences thereof as inevitable. He should draw satisfaction within himself for whatever happens whether good or bad and remain in detached solitude, oblivious to the activities and their consequences
karma-jam buddhi-yukta hi phalam tyaktva manisinah ! janma-bandha-vinirmuktah padam gacchanty anamayam ! ch2/51
Great people having attuned their intellect with thoughts pertaining to their embodied state, leaving off the fruits of activities as not belonging to themselves, realize the absolute, untouched by anything and therefore are free from shackles of birth and death cycles. Being perennially all pervasive, changeless, motionless, eternal, indestructible, invisible, formless, pure, untouched and emotionless, why the self is falling prey to the demonic desire at all?
indriyani mano buddhir asyadhisthanam ucyate ! etair vimohayaty esa jnanam avrtya dehinam ! ch3/40
The senses, the mind and the intellect are the dwelling places for desires. These desires shroud the knowledge and infatuate the embodied self.
dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate ! sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho 'bhijayate ! ch2/62
krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah ! smrti-bhramsad buddhi-naso buddhi-nasat pranasyati ! ch2/63
When man meditates of worldly things the embodied self gets attachment to body, mind or senses. The attachment leads to desires. The desires produce anger. The anger causes infatuation. The infatuation disturbs the consciousness. The disturbed consciousness destroys the intellect (the determination of true self). Once the intellect (the determination of true self) is destroyed, the embodied self falls from its supreme state down to those states of mind, senses and gross body.
From the state of permanence the embodied self falls to transient states such as intellect, mind, senses and body. This is called sin. This happens because the intellect that distinguishes permanent from impermanent is destroyed in the sequence given above. Hence disarrayed intellect is responsible for sin.
indriyani parany ahur indriyebhyah param manah ! manasas tu para buddhir yo buddheh paratas tu sah ! ch3/42
The senses are subtler and hence greater than gross body. The mind is more subtle and greater than senses. The intellect is far more subtle and greater than even the mind. The embodied self is being infinite is the greatest of all.
From your supreme immortal state you have fallen into those mortal states and buried deep into the sin.
evam buddheh param buddhva samstabhyatmanam atmana ! jahi satrum maha-baho kama-rupam durasadam ! ch3/43
Only when you restore the intellect with perpetual thoughts of the embodied self, you can vanquish the unconquerable enemy called desire.
Only a capable Sadguru can help you in restoration of your intellect. No other people can ever help you in this regard. Like hammering a nail into the wall, Sadguru using the necessary force drives the point into your sub conscious intellect repeatedly that you are not the mortal body but the embodied, eternal, endless etc. until it sticks well in there. Then only you would really be disinterested in all these mortal things that allure you day in and day out. All that you have to do in the mean time is on the one side you have to vigorously intensify the mystical practices such as mantra japa etc, on the other side engage yourself in pious activities such as yajna, dana and tapas as prescribed in the revealed scripture and as guided by Sadguru in order to purify yourself of the past sins and shackles entangled over innumerable lives.
nasti buddhir ayuktasya na cayuktasya bhavana ! na cabhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham ! ch2/66
Whosoever intellect is not attuned with thought of embodied self remains chaotic. Peace does not remain stable in him. How can he be happy when there is no peace?
You should make perpetual efforts to make your intellect accommodate the idea that you are non active embodied witness when the body and the senses are engaged in activities.
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja ! aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah ! ch18/66
You are not the senses, nor are you the mind, nor the intellect, hence leave their responsibilities off to them. You remain all by yourself mute witness all the time. You shall be relieved of all the sins. Do not grieve anymore.
May all be comfortable! May all be happy and peaceful! May all be bountiful! May all be propitious!
Sparkling bits and pieces spilled out from immortal streams of enlightening discourses by the boundlessly compassionate, the divinely equipped, the personification of knowledge, the mystical Master, the authoritative Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, the most capable Sadguru, Sri Sri Sri Bhavaghni Guruji are assimilated here by one among the lowest order of his disciples, for his own comprehension. Others, who by chance examine this article are expected to note that while the truthful revelations found in this are from divine Guruji's immortal talks, the rest are concocted for harmony with the writer's level of understanding.