॥ Shri Hari ॥
How to be Free from Evils
How to be Free from Evils
(from book ART OF LIVING)
Tvameva Maata Cha Pita Tvameva
Tvameva Bandhusha Sakhaa Tvameva
Tvameva Vidyaa Dravinam Tvameva
Tvameva Sarvam Mama Deva Deva
How to be Free from Evils
(from book ART OF LIVING)
Please pay full attention to what I say. A man perpetrates a sin when he has pride of his own and a desire for sensual pleasures. In the Gita, Arjuna asks Lord Krishna -
Why does a man commit a sin even though he does not want to do so?
Lord Krishna replies that a man commits a sin because he has a desire for sensual pleasures and accumulation of wealth. So long as this desire continues, he will go on committing a sin. In spite of being careful he will commit a mistake.
Question: What is the method to root out evil?
The real method is penance from one’s heart. The penance should be more than the pleasure enjoyed by committing the sin. The man who has committed the sin, should first take an oath never to commit such a mistake again and secondly stick to it. Thus the sin is rooted out. But if the man goes on committing sins even after taking an oath, he degrades himself. On the other hand, if he sticks to the decision once taken, his inner being will be purified. These two steps are very valuable to purify the inner being and to root out sins.
It should be kept in mind that man, being a part of God, is not a sinner himself, but becomes a sinner by having affinity with sensual pleasures. Pride and desire are the two factors responsible for degradation. They are not useful at all. This fact is always to be kept in mind. But brothers don’t seem to pay attention to this. To enjoy the sensual pleasures, they engage in covetousness. There can’t be anything more deceiving than this emotion of covetousness. It is man’s greatest enemy, which leads to nothing but loss. But it appears to be pleasurable to men.
Karahi moha bas nar agh naanaa,
swaarth rut parlok nasaanaa
Meaning - Being engrossed in selfishness and being driven by stupidity men commit different kinds of sins which spoil their life in the next world.
Because of his stupidity he thinks that he is doing something just, but actually he is degrading and killing himself.
Gentlemen, kindly give up doing injustice and sins. If you want to get peace and comfort, don’t think of having claim on others things, otherwise you will have to suffer a lot for it, because you have caught not only the sins but the creator of sins.
There is a story. There was a learned man who taught the people and held religious discourses with them. One day the learned man’s wife asked him, ‘What is the creator of sins?’ The learned man could not reply. So he felt very sad and in repentance, decided not to take a meal at home without gaining the answer to the pressing question. The learned man’s wife requested him to have his meal, but he refused. She felt sad, but kept quiet, so that he can quickly find the answer. The man started towards Kashi, the place where spiritual knowledge can be gained. On the way there was the house of a prostitute. She knew the learned man. She asked him why he was so perturbed and where was he going? The learned man said he was headed towards Kashi to study and gain more knowledge so he could answer the question asked by his uneducated wife. The prostitute wanted to know the question. The man told her it was ‘What is the creator of sins?’ She said that she would answer the question. He need not go to Kashi. The learned man thought that this would save him a trip to Kashi, thus saving him time and money, so he stayed there. The prostitute presented Rs. 100 to him and requested him to take food at her house. She told him that he could cook the food by himself, if he so chooses. She cleaned the kitchen and kept all the supplies for him to cook his meals. He said OK. She again presented Rs. 100 and requested him to oblige her by eating the food cooked by her. He agreed thinking that there was no harm in doing so. She prepared very delicious dishes, put before him and requested him to eat. In the meantime, she again presented Rs. 100 and requested to have a morsel fed by her hands. He agreed. But as soon as he opened his mouth to have a morsel of food, she slapped him on his face and said – “Have you not yet come to your senses? Be aware! Don’t eat a grain from my house. I do not want to demoralize you. You wanted to know the creator of sins. Have you not read in the scriptures that the food of a prostitute is forbidden? Then the learned man said – Yes. Then the prostitute said, ‘Then why were you prepared to eat it? Have you not had the answer to your question? Covetousness is the creator of sins. A man loses his senses because of covetousness.’
In the Gita, Shri Krishna has declared two kinds of attachments – worldly pleasures and accumulation of things for personal possession. Each of them blinds a man. If both of them are combined, they make the man totally blind. A man commits deadly sins because of them. He is prepared to eat and drink anything in the name of medicine, and do any action in the name of business. The orthodox believers supplied even meat for the military in the name of business. How degrading and unfortunate it is! If we think over it, it makes our hair stand on end. We do such injustice. But how long will this money stay with you? How long will you live? The deadly sins committed by you will bear fruits. The saints give us a warning to be fearful of committing sins.
“Bhogaishvarya prasaktaanaam” (Gita 2:44)
Paap karma se dar re mere manvaa re.
Meaning - Mind! be fearful of sinful actions and their related consequences.
We enjoy worldly pleasures by doing forbidden actions and having claim on things that belong to others. We quietly engage in prohibited actions for enjoyment. Just think a little bit. This human body has been bestowed upon us. We have been given the opportunity to listen and say wonderful things. In spite of that, we engage in sinful things? Brothers, divine Souls! Understand that the world can receive deliverance, but such men cannot be relieved of worldly distresses, and discharged from their debts. Such men who commit sin often ask - ‘Why does dispassion not remain for long in us?’ How can dispassion remain when we are full to the brim with attachment and desire for worldly pleasures? How can detachment remain? Detachment can never remain here.
They are contradictory propensities. They can't stay simultaneously. Being helplessly overpowered by attachments, a man cannot even escape and save himself from forbidden actions. Brothers, if we want to save ourselves from misfortunes, miseries, hell and cycle of 8.4 million different forms of species, have a firm determination from today, at this very moment! Not to have claim on other people’s things. In whatever way something has been taken from another, pay the amount back now! With interest. Forever remove from within any intention of taking what belongs to someone else. Gentlemen, Let us purify our life. Then we will begin to understand these spiritual teachings and these teachings will be instilled in our lives. But so long as our intent is not straight and motives are bad, we will be unable to understand these teachings. We may rote memorize them, even advise others to follow them, but as long as we have sin in our heart, nothing good is going to happen. Therefore, first have a firm determination neither to enjoy worldly pleasures, nor unjustly accumulate things.
In the book ‘God Realization through Renunciation’ the first step is the renunciation of forbidden actions such as falsehood, fraud, forgery, dishonesty and forbidden food etc. The seven forbidden steps mentioned in that book should never be practiced with either the mind or the body. They are a blot to the spiritual discipline. Therefore can’t you renounce even the blot? Give it up from the heart. Renunciation from one’s heart is important. In spite of this, if a sin is committed by error, it will create disquietude and burning sensation. That burning sensation has a power that will enable you not to commit a sin again. Have a firm determination of your own and pray to God to give you power not to do any action against His will. In that case God, Dharma, the scriptures and saints all will help you. If a person has true desire to attain God Realization, the entire world, including the sinners, become kind and willing to help.
I met a blind saint who said that because of dispassion he lived in a forest. In the winter season a votary gave him a blanket that was his only fine possession. At night he heard the sound of thieves, and his immediate thought was that they might take away his blanket. He started talking to them. The thieves came to know that he was a saint, so they spoke the truth and told him that they were not thieves by profession, but they were going to commit a robbery because they as honest citizens could not pay the exorbitant taxes levied by the government. The saint said that it was not proper on their part to commit robbery. They said that they agreed with him but didn’t take his blanket. Thus a man commits such a sin out of covetousness when he is in a miserable condition. But if a man commits such a crime without facing any financial hardship, how sinful and unjust it is!
I want to tell you something uncommon, that a man in spite of being poor should be prepared to live a life of adversity rather than commit sins and injustice.
The kings Sibi, Dadhici and Hariscandra suffered immense pains for righteousness (Dharma). But they did not give up righteousness and duty. Patience, righteousness, friend and wife are tested in the face of adversity as mentioned by Goswami Tulasidasa.
Dhiraj dharma mitra aru naari
aapad kaal parikhi ahin chaari
Therefore it is essential for a man not to lose patience. When a thunderstorm blows sometimes, the big trees are rooted out. But if a tree remains safe in that wind, there is no danger to it. In the same way, if you have patience in lust, anger and greed etc., their momentum comes to an end and everything is set right. You may face the worst of adversity, even die of starvation but have a firm determination not to do forbidden actions, injustice and sins. If you have nothing to eat, the severest punishment you may get is to die of starvation. But if you commit sins it will pave the way to 8.4 million forms of lives and hell and there is no more severe punishment than hell. But if you are once determined not to commit a sin, no power can force you to do so.
In the sacred books there is the description of the weapons of the three principal divinities of the Hindu scriptures. The weapon of Brahmadeva (the creator) is Brahma weapon, the weapon of Vishnu (the preserver) is Narayan weapon and the weapon of Mahesh (the destroyer) is Pasupata weapon.
These weapons are used by incantation. All the three weapons are very destructive. The method to control the Brahma weapon is to withdraw it by incantation. To check the destruction that may be caused by the name Narayana weapon is to surrender yourself to it. But as far as the Pashupata weapon is concerned, if once it is used, it will cause destruction even though you may surrender to it or adopt any other means. Only a few men possess it. In the war of Mahabharata, the war between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna had this weapon that was given to him by Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva told him, that it would not be needed to be used, its very presence would make them victorious. He advised him not to use it otherwise it would cause devastation in the world. Similarly gentlemen, I tell you about a Pashupata weapon. If you kindly listen to what I say and hold it, I’ll be very grateful to you. The Pashupata weapon is to have a firm determination not to do injustice and sin, even though you may die. To use it means to die of starvation. You will not have to use it i.e. you will not have to die without food. Its’ very presence will make you victorious. If you have a firm determination not to commit sins even though you may have to face the worst of calamity such as death, no one can force you to do sins and injustice. Besides this, have faith in God, remember Him and say to Him, ‘O Lord! This determination is mine, but I shall be able to stick to it only with your power.’
In Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, to become merely an instrument.
Nimit maatram bhav savyasaachin. (Gita 11:33)
I may become merely an instrument, but performing this work properly, is beyond my power. O Lord ! Bare with me. The Lord keeps the honor and promise of such a devotee.
Us sewak ki laaj, pratigyaa raakhe saayi.
Whatever God does, He only does what is good for us. Whatever happens through God is good and good only. Through Him there is protection, there is help and aid, there is gains, there is never any loss.
Bhoondi banai sou aapki
Evil is your very own doing.
Man himself does evil. If he is not willing to do so, no one can force him. Man makes all kinds of excuses and nothing else - The law did so and so, people did such and such, bad company was responsible for this, the environment and circumstances were such, it was our misfortune, we did not meet a proper spiritual guide etc. But all these are merely excuses and nothing else. No one can do anything to harm you, not in the least bit, until you are prepared to harm yourself. If you have a firm determination and dependence on only God, no one can degrade you. If you call from within - Oh Lord, without your grace, I will be unable to do this. When there is faith in such grace, then our downfall will never be possible. By taking refuge at the Lotus feet of the Lord alone, Bhagavan (God) says
Sarva dharmanparityajya maamekum sharanam vraj
Aham tvaa sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maasuchah.
Meaning - I shall liberate you from all sins, worry not."
‘Mamekum sharanam vraj’ - The condition is that if you seek refuge in wealth, in lies and falsehood, in fraud and in dishonesty, then brother, it is not in my hands. What does man do? He takes the support of lies, dishonesty, falsehood, and fraud. It is beyond God’s power to help you.
When it is said, do not commit sins, the people say, "Maharaj! In present times that will not be possible. Your advice is outdated and old fashioned. In present times, this will not do. If we do so, we shall die of starvation. Rather we cannot live. How can we live only by truthfulness? Almost 50% of our earnings go into some form of taxation. Nowadays man is not able to sustain by being honest and truthful. How can we earn our livelihood, with your advice?" My sincere response is - earn less and live within your income and means. With that no one will be able to make you commit sins. Then people say they need money to marry their daughters and maintain a certain standard of living in society. To maintain a high standard is called civilized in modern times. Therefore what is one to do? Kindly sever all connections with this sort of civilization and don't maintain it. Don't be afraid of being insulted or dishonored by doing just and righteous actions. If people criticize even after you follow the righteous path, then let them criticize.
Trividham naraksyedam dwaaram naashnamaatmanah. (Gita 16:21)
Meaning - Triple is the gate of hell, destructive of the self.
Passion, anger and greed are the triple gates that lead to hell. If a man remembers God and makes a firm determination never to commit a sin, his full penance will be done and by God’s grace he will get power, righteousness and become a saint. Outwardly the person may be a brother or a sister or a householder or anything else, but inwardly he should have pure feelings. God observes the feelings of the heart.
Whose inner sentiments are purified, becomes pure. It takes time to become pure and good outwardly, but on having the firm resolve not to commit sins, we are very quickly purified.
To those who are firm in their mind, there is but one decision. The firm in mind takes the decision to follow the spiritual discipline, no matter what happens.
Api chetsuduraachaaro, bhajate maam ananya bhaak
Saadhureva sa mantavyah samyagvyavasitohi saha (Gita 9:30)
Meaning - Even if the man has the most sinful conduct, he should be considered a saint, because he has rightly resolved. (Gita 9:30)
With a firm determination he is purified. God does not keep in mind the sins committed by a person but remembers the goodness of his heart a hundred times.
“Rahit ne Prabhu chit chuk kiye ki;
karat surati sai baar hiye ki” (Manasa I:29:3)
Gentlemen, why are you afraid in the presence of such a merciful Lord? Renounce the sins from our heart. Being driven by covetousness, you commit sins. But have you thought over the consequences? The money earned by foul means will be left here after death, but the sin committed to earn the money will go with you and you will be punished severely. Therefore a sensible person should be cautious immediately and have a firm determination never to commit a sinful and unjust act.
Narayan ! Narayan !! Narayan !!!
From book "Art of Living" by Swami Ramsukhdasji.
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A Note to the Reader
The special quality of the original is difficult to capture in a translation. Readers are earnestly requested, that if they have the knowledge of the Hindi language, to read the original book entitled ‘Jeevan Upyogi Pravachan’ in Hindi.