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Author Topic: THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION By : Swami Chin may an an da  (Read 2552 times)

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THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION By : Swami Chin may an an da
« on: February 24, 2007, 01:09:54 AM »
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  • b]What Prompts Us to Sin[/b]

    Every religion and moral code in the world, irrespective of the era, age, race or language talks of sins and warns man to avoid them and to desist from committing them. But except in Vedanta we find in no other religion a direct explanation of what exactly "sin" is. Certain acts and attitudes are enumerated in the Bibles and the Qurans of the world, and even in Pauranic literature, we find such enumeration. But what exactly constitu¬tes a sin?

    The Rishis of the Upanishads ,are very clear on this point. To them an action is always neutral, neither a merit nor a sin. The motive, the deeper intentions in us make an act a sin or a merit. Thus a soldier -fighting for his country is not a murderer; a doctor operating upon a patient is not "wounding" him — and even if the patient collapses, the surgeon has not committed any "man-slaughter". When the intention is noble, the act is. also noble, whatever be the act. But having done an act, when it returns to the bosom in memory to make us regret our action, such self-insulting acts of compromise with our own knowledge are called sins.

    Then what prompts us to compromise with what we know to be the ideal, the virtuous, and the perfect way of life? Arjuna asks (111-36) "Now impelled by what, O Krishna, "does man commit sin, even against his own wishes, as though driven by a force?" This is AN ETERNAL question. Man has asked this question in the past. Every-one of us at one time or another must have felt the strong urge to compromise with what we know to be right. In spite of this, often we are driven to acts which we know are insulting to our knowledge and social status— the level of our life's evolution and our cultural dignity. Now Arjuna is asking, what is this terrible 'negative' force — the devil in man that impels him to compromise with his wisdom to commit sins? (atha Kena prayukthoyam paapam charathi purushah).

    Before the incident we know what is right and what is wrong. After the incident we regret the compromise we made during the incident. Why is it that at the actual moment of committing the wrong-act we have apparently no compunction, no hesitance?  spite of us we are guilty of regrettable acts of violence, of indecency, of immorality, of corruption, of falsehood? Why? Why? Why? What is the dark and dreary power that is compelling us to do, "even if we do not want to do it" (anicchannapi)" as though driven by a force" (balaadiva niyojithah.)

    This is a universal question — a doubt that arises in everyone's mind at least once during the lifetime, if one be even slightly introspective. The Lord's answer to this question is so plain, so straight, so direct and clear that there can be no more any lingering doubt about it in the mind.

    In the many religions of the world for the easy grasp of the average man, this evil power in our bosom is objectified and indicated by different names : the Hindus call it the Rakshasic-force; the Buddhists call it Mara; Christians call it Satan and, Muslims call it Shaitan. Every religion objectifies it and gives it a name and a very elaborately abominable form.

    In Vedanta alone   we find   pointers to the source of all our unhealthy   compromise,   as   something   subjectively   in   our own personality-com position.    Krishna says, (HI-37) "It is desire-lust, : it is anger, born of Rajas : it is insatiable and grossly wicked. Know this to be the enemy here in this world."    The negative force in man that compels him irresistably to act contrary to his own ideal is his "lust — it is anger, born of Rajas" (kaama esha krodha esha rajogunasamudbhavah).

    "Desire" for the possession of anything, when it grows out of proportion, it becomes "lust" to enjoy the object. When this lust is obstructed, then towards that obstruction, the desire pass¬ions putrefy to become "anger".

    And true enough, our ideals are defeated, and we callously compromise them when we have a desire or lust for something : or when anger distorts our vision-of-life. Justice, honesty, truth¬fulness, uprightness and such other noble traits cannot express themselves when the heart is stormed by lust or confused by anger. Under the immediate presence of the lust in us, we be¬come easily ready to compromise and even justify our default with a hundred hollow arguments,

    Lust and anger arise from Rajoguna — mental agitations (rajogunasamudbhavah). A sense of inner incompleteness makes us run out to possess, acquire, own and enjoy the objects of the world. So long as this restlessness disturbs a man, he will be running passionately to acquire and to enjoy, and thus discover a sense of fulfilment in life.

    But these desires to possess and to enjoy are by their very nature insatiable — the more we satisfy them, the more they multiply. There is no end to the mind's demands; man's desires. The lust alias anger is both insatiable and grossly wicked (maha-asano mahaapaapmaa). It is desire-lust (alias anger) that prompts individuals, communities, nay even nations, to commit crimes against each other, and has made history a meaningless and shameful bloody story of destruction of man organised by man.

    This lust-desire, otherwise expressed as anger, "is the grea¬test enemy of man" (viddhyenamiha vairinam) in this life. Every man of cultured living strives for a life wherein his anxiety is to live what he has understood as noble and great. He wants to live in love and peace, distributing maximum cheer and service to all around him. But when once he allows his bosom to be conquered by the baser desire-lusts his life soon becomes a compromise — a caricature of what he knows and believes.

    Therefore, the Satan in us is not some terrible, inexplicable force, with horns and taiis, but our own animal urges, expressing as the lust-anger in our hearts.

    All human beings have this lust-anger urge in them. Yet, its manifestations are of varying degrees of sin. That is the working of nature — everyone has 'a preponderance of one kind of tendencies : accordingly, their actions are of varying degrees of sin or merit.

    (Courtesy : Geeta Office, Powai)
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