Once we discover violence within, we may begin to observe the whole system of social conditioning; and perhaps we will recognize how punishment has been observed as another synonym of “justice.”
In general, in our society punishment is the settlement of an offense made by someone. Punishment increases, as the offense is deemed to be “worse.” Laws are in charge of judging the severity of those offenses, but the bottom line is that “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” still remains as the principle of retribution to compensate for a loss.
That principle of punishment is so ingrained in our society that even religions preaching peace, brotherhood, and forgiving another’s offense use the principle of punishment quite often in their philosophies and beliefs. Even “God” could be depicted as a vengeful being who supports a particular land or people over another.
Looking at the penal system in the world, we could see a wide variety of beliefs and approaches: From the popular “If you do the crime, you do the time” to a more restorative and rehabilitative system where the inmate is treated with dignity and high hopes to make him part of society again. The correctional system in Norway is well known for the later.
It could be easy to point out that the level of overall violence existing in a country, is proportional to the type of punishment that they will support. Violence uses punishment as another way of reciprocal violence under the label of “justice.”
When the collective consciousness is continuously fed with violence, there will be manifestation of it and retaliation in the form of punishment. It is interesting to look into this, for we could perceive how our conditioning will make us behave in violent ways even with our closest relatives and friends. When others do not behave according to our expectations, punishment is used to bring that person into compliance, although; our understanding of “fairness” and “justice” is biased by conditioning.
Someone stole a widget from a store. He could be penalized with jail time, a fine or even to chop that hand off. Very few will go into a way to rehabilitate that person and understand his circumstances. Who has the time in a busy society? Fear is the tool used to discourage the person from recidivism.
To understand punishment means to look into our own inner violence. That is the starting point. Someone harming another may be mentally ill or circumstances may be pushing that person. Rehabilitation is a more humane way to deal with violence.
If someone murders a close loved relative like your sibling, and you know who that person is; Wouldn’t avenging that person be the right action? Why is there the belief that by taking the life of the individual murdering a loved one, things will be even?
I could say through experience, that to deal with inner feelings of vengeance is the challenging part. That literally will poison us. Our inner violence will exacerbate and manifest. That is the hardest part. Vengeance cannot bring a loved one back, but it can destroy our own life; for our own violence will be completely unleashed and self destructive.
A “spiritual” person knows that we cannot take “justice” in our own hands. Humans do not have the power to decide over someone’s life and if we pretend to have it, consequences will be experienced. We know that Life is a gift, however; Life and Death are together. We can thank our parents for giving us Life as we have been told, but we forget that through that Life, there will be the experience of Death as well.
Life has its own “justice system,” which is not human: It never forgets and arrives at the “right time.” All we may need to be aware of, is what we keep in our hearts. If we keep the poison of vengeance, then the trauma that we will inflict into ourselves will make our life miserable. The emotion urging us to “get even” is the mind with its own conditioning, learned through living in a violent social system: “An eye for an eye.” Thus, we have the responsibility to look into this as we could experience the poison of vengeance.
We say “forgive and forget.” That is not for “normal” humans; but for those who are willing to go beyond their own little selves and open up their hearts to any experience that Life may bring. Experiences will not always be pleasant for we live in the world of duality; but for sure, those experiences will be exactly what we need to experience. This is not a matter of “luck” but destiny. It is not punishment but a test for growth. It is up to us to make it a lesson or a trauma.
Ananda went to the dentist. 🙂 In that office, different posters caught his attention.
“One American dies every hour from oral cancer.”
“One cavity is too many.”
“Is your diet too acidic? Find out the risks.”
That is called adding fear to an experience.
Paul is a heavy smoker. Paul has yellow teeth and a tobacco smelly breath. Paul cannot do any exercises anymore but only walking. Paul is easily out of breath.
“If you continue like that, you are going to die, Paul.”
That is the “caring” advice that Paul is hearing all the time.
We all are going to die someday… 🙂
That is the “art” of inculcating fear as if death was a terrible thing.
It is natural. Moreover, there is no death… Everything continues on… and we bring the consequences with us…
Life and death is a duality where only “existence” exists.
Paul may not have a quality of life. That is the consequence of his own actions.
Shall we punish Paul with eternal fire?
Shall we punish Paul by informing him that he cannot go to heaven, because no one smokes in heaven? 🙂
Life is about experiences. Every experience has a consequence. We will assume the consequences.
That is the fine letter behind the movie of punishment… starring “good and evil” as the main actors.
Watching that movie will bring guilt and fear in life, just like coke and popcorn are a “must” while watching a movie in a theater near you…
The rating of that movie is “G” that means that a child could watch it and learn something from it…but an adult watching it, could believe in that movie “forever.” 🙂
“Your life could have been better/more successful if you would have listened to me and accomplished what I told you with great love and care.”
Cheap advice. “Monday morning quarterbacks” are out of fashion.
Life is about experiences. If we are joyful in that experience, you’ve made it! 🙂
Ray: “NOOO! He is not doing the right thing…”
Marc: He will go to hell… 🙂
Ray: “He is ‘bad.’ ”
Marc: He will be punished forever….
Are we happy with that story?
It is a childish tale.
If we learn to live life now as it is, we could realize that what is happening are just consequences. The fruit of previous experiences.
All we need to add is joy to it as cherry on top of the cake.
That is the energy that is needed at this time.
That smile will change our day. That cherry will become the consequence for joyous days to come….
Our joy will be contagious… and that is a “good disease” to have.
Don’t take life as a job, because it is a game.
Play it, enjoy it, laugh at it… that is “be good.” 🙂
In order to shape up a child, society has adopted a way to get the little rascals to behave; that is the world of punishment.
Punishment occurs in many creative ways: From a very savage slap in the face or some physical aggression to some sort of “judgment,” where the judge selects the rules of the game and the “consequences” for following the rules in a “numberwise” manner.
“If you do this, then this thing will happen to you.”
Similarly in a monotheistic view or religion, “ Big Daddy” will name the rules of the game, then automatically; punishment will be created for not everyone will follow the rules in the same manner. That is the trick.
However, to make sure that the ideal “big child” follows the rules completely; punishment and reward has to be long lasting to be worthwhile. To be remembered.
Welcome to the word “eternity.”
If punished, it has to be eternal. But to get eternal reward, you better follow everything to the dot.
Stories may be told as well: “Eat your broccoli completely, if you want ice cream afterwards.” Never mind if there is no place in your stomach to eat ice cream afterwards.
That is the Godly trick. 🙂
“If you don’t eat your broccoli then, the cookie monster will come at night and will change you into an ugly frog.”
In the “big child” world that is translated into an “ugly sinner,” “the lowest of the lowest.” The ones who were born only by “mistake,” for should have been better not to be born rather than pay with their lives with the steep price tag of “eternal damnation.”
As it has been and still is, fear is a very powerful incentive.
Nevertheless, in the world of religious beliefs, there is a tendency for those beliefs to collapse due to the inborn contradiction among those beliefs.
Contradiction does not mean that a belief is wrong. It just means; that it is not totally accurate in the way it was explained.
How is this?
Life is non dualistic. It is one thing, a continuous perceived as several things. Our perception is dualistic. That perception is represented by the use of our language. Language is dualistic by nature, because it reflects our dualistic perception.
It is impossible to explain accurately something which is non-dualistic through dualistic words.
Please remember the above when there is a fight about “who has the truth.” All there is….an interpretation.
Nevertheless, when someone joins a religious group; a dogma is needed for all, to accept something literally, which by nature cannot be put into words. See the issue?
Ladies and gentlemen, if we could understand the above, we will be able to see the limitations of language and therefore of logic and reasoning which is based on….language. 🙂
Paraphrasing Galileo: “Give me any belief system and I will find a contradiction within that belief system.”
The above is not for “big children.” The above is not for apologists of logic and reason.
When a child is unable to grasp the common good, that child will need boundaries of “good and evil” to behave.
When a child is unable to perceive oneness, that child will need a hierarchical figure to depend on for instructions.
When a child is self absorbed, that child needs rewards and punishment to shape up, for otherwise; that self absorption will eventually destroy him.
That is why spiritual teachings are not the same for everyone. They are given according to consciousness.
That consciousness is not related with intellectual understanding; as a matter of fact; that type of understanding is the furthest away from spiritual realization. Nevertheless, that is the type of language used by the “authorities,” “learned individuals,” the “intelligent people.” 🙂
That is the irony.
Not complying with Godly law, has been known as “sin” throughout history.
The issue is that a “sin” 300 years ago is not a “sin” today or vice versa. Different God or Different law.
A known God yesterday is not the same one today.
Ananda recalls the times when he was doing his mischievous activities as a 10-year-old kid and then his father’s voice was heard with something concise and to the point like: “God will punish you.” 😦
That was enough to send the chills of fear throughout Ananda’s spine. Then, Ananda went to confession and thanks to the power of reciting some prayers to the saintly images… magically, everything was absolved.
As the years went by, Ananda learned another concept, called the “law of karma.” In this concept, there was no need for a God punishing left and right for sinful activities, but it was an automatic boomerang. Everyone knew that “what goes around comes around.” Punishment then became less of a personal matter. 🙂
So what happened with God as a provider of “justice for all” through punishment?
We don’t know. But somehow, the idea still remained in Ananda’s later years in life.
Anada asked the following questions to his “magic mirror:”
How can I perform a “sin” if I know better? Don’t I know about Godly scriptures and “words of God”?
Then the issue becomes in finding which scripture is the “true” version of God…a matter of belief.
How is it possible for some people to understand things in one way while others have a different understanding?
How is it possible for some people to have a Godly experience which is not the same for others?
Is it possible for God to choose some and not others to understand and recognize Him?
Ananda was confused.
“You shall not kill.” It is a well-known Godly commandment. What is the extent of it? Some say God really means not to kill animals as well as human beings. Others say that it is only referred to human beings for animals have been created “for” human beings. Is it possible for people to see suffering in animals as well as human beings and do nothing about it? Is it OK for animals to suffer and die so we could satisfy our taste buds? If “my country” sent me to war, is then OK to kill?
Was that part of God’s instructions/commandment? or perhaps a reformed, up-to-date version of it? Or what about defending my religion in the name of God? Is killing only at the physical level or we could kill someone when that person is mistreated to the point of losing her mind?
What about experimenting with human beings? Through the wonders of a new genetically modified item or something else to “study” the antibodies reaction in humans in the next 5 years… I wonder if the law of God had room for all those little “loopholes.” 🙂
There are some individuals who need to be told what to do. Specifically, to the point.
These individuals need to follow a piece of paper, someone’s advice because they are unable to feel, to sense, to observe.
There is no empathy. There is no life in their lives. It is all about procuring pleasure, power and accumulating possessions. The 3 deadly “Ps.” 🙂
Certainly for these kind of individuals, the “law of God” needs to be very specific until their lives are controlled to the point of not knowing if taking a bath is OK or sinful for they could be worry about seeing their naked body…
When empathy, concern, mercy, compassion and all of those words are practical in our lives, then there will be “law” in our lives, at that point the “law of God” will be immersed in our veins, circulating throughout our internal system and pumping our heart with that blood which is needed to give a blood transfusion to this world, so we can resuscitate our feelings again.
It is a matter of a healthy, spiritual heart.
When I learned in “depth” about the law of karma (action) a few things were constantly repeated as the “facts” of this law.
1) If you do something to someone, that will come back to you.
2) Actions are neutral, sinful or just actions.
3) This is the time to “close” karmic accounts. Therefore, avoid opening “new” accounts.
4) Yoga and suffering are the 2 ways of “paying” the “price” of karmic accounts that are “unsettled,”
5) There is a “new” type of actions at this time: Elevated actions.
Of course, after learning such a concise list, there was another list to remember about the Drama of life, the movie which is predestined and eternally repetitive.
1) The Drama of life is beneficial for all.
2) The Drama of life is an eternally repeating movie.
3) Actors (souls) have a predetermined part to play.
4) At this time, we should close our karmic accounts to play the role of “angels” in the Drama of life.
5) Because we don’t know what we have done before in the Drama, we should strive to do “good” now, for otherwise we will repeat the same “wrong” actions again.
Therefore, we should close karmic accounts and forget anything related with the physical world and become engaged in giving this knowledge to others at this time as this is an “elevated action.”
The above was the simplistic view of Karma. As a consequence, most will operate from the premise of fear. Fear of the eternal “punishment” of repeating the same “wrong” action. In different religions that eternal “punishment” has been portrayed as “eternal hell.”
If the actions of a soul are predetermined roles; then; why is there a need for “punishment”?
If the actions or roles running through a soul are part of the Drama, then why label some actions as “good or bad”?
If the Drama of life is beneficial, then everything, every activity, is beneficial.
Therefore, why “opening” new karmic accounts is not desirable?
What about if those “new karmic accounts” are necessary to settle other karmic accounts?
How do I recognize when opening a karmic account is OK and when it is not OK? 🙂
How do I know if my aim of “closing” karmic accounts is in fact, not helping me to settle karmic accounts?
I could come up with many questions like the above and I could expand into several “theories.”
The above just illustrates that whenever I use “logic” to understand a spiritual principle, I will “dogmatize” that spiritual principle; and thus I will become one with a rigid understanding. Fear, without a doubt, will surround my life.
Fear of making mistakes, that is, fear of living and learning.
When the law of karma is explained as if there was a bank of karmic accounts with debits and credits, automatically duality will enter into that concept and even though the explanation is simple, it will be inaccurate.
One of the main teachings in Spirituality is to understand the egoic mind, and how ego makes up a personality which in turn will only think about “earning credits” that is to “gain” Paradise in return.
The above concept merely strengthens ego. That is known as “Spiritual ego.” Which I ‘d like to rename as “religious ego.”
The difference between “earning credits” to gain Paradise or to buy a car is minimal. It is basically the same concept.
When we look at Spirituality from a deeper perspective, we could see that the “law of Karma” is simply reduced into: “What you do, you do it to yourself. There is no “other.”
Therefore, rather than trying to figure it out if what you do is “good” or “bad” simply, eradicate that “you,” and then “doing” will be there for the sake of it. (As BapDada has mentioned as well as Lao Tzu and Zen masters.) That is called “witnessing” or a “detached observer.”
How is this possible?
When we observe the inner self, we will find that many emotional disturbances and complexes are still within us and our activities will be triggered under their influence.
A lack of self esteem will trigger certain activity, which even though may look “good” is colored with that emotional disturbance. That disturbance is known as desires by many.
You see, in general desires will always be there in one way or another. They are not “bad,” but our attachment to them, that is, the emotional disturbance makes that desire “impure,” “sinful” and all of that.
Once the emotional disturbances of our psyche are healed (this is the journey) in the experience of serenity and peace and the practice of virtuous living through undivided service to all, then ego will start dissolving. At that point that “you” will not be there and then, activities will not be coming out of emotions but rather from insight, from inner goodness as they will manifest feelings from the soul.
At that point, concepts are not needed. “Laws” or booklets explaining whether I am performing “good or bad” karma will not be needed. Fear of living life will cease and accepting the opportunities that life offers will not be rejected due to being afraid of not enjoying paradise in a forthcoming birth.
Please see this point: Do you think that God will “punish” you because you are not “making effort” to go to Paradise or to get a “good status” in heaven because you have decided to take care of “now” instead, that means your thoughts, feelings and relationships with all at this time? Isn’t it that what you do “now” will decide what you will become tomorrow due to the law of karma? Or do you believe that praying, asking for “salvation” performing devotion and defending your beliefs about the “afterlife” is what is important?
Honesty resides in being your most refined, elevated self not out of a reward in the future or in this life, but just because it is in your heart to be so as an offering to the common good, the world, as it is “now.”
By observing, taking care of my thoughts, my feelings then my activities will become naturally aligned, then my “karma” will be aligned with the common good.
At that point, Spirituality will be practiced “naturally,” that is in harmonious unity with all.
That is the most elevated “karma,” I “do” without doing because there is no “I” in between.
Therefore, what is the purpose of looking at what kind of actions “I” perform according to the concepts and definitions, when everything starts in my thoughts and feelings? 🙂 Take care of them, then karma will take care of itself.
Thank you for your question!
“Punishment” is a “little child” word. We cannot be “punished” for a role running through us. The issue which give us suffering is when ego comes up and would like to control things based on intellectual thinking, analysis and morality ( as following black or white laws in our understanding of what is good and proper.) There are different levels of consciousness. If you tell “John Doe” to follow his heart and do what he feels to be natural; he will certainly think that his vices are part of that. That is why, to align with “our” Drama, requires a previous work to understand the self, which very few people are willing to do.
The right word is “settlement.” That word does not have the meaning of being “beaten up” as punishment does. In fact, “settlement” is the end of the experience of duality for souls. As we are numberwise, some souls are able to settle their accounts (duality) and when “death” is experienced there will not be any suffering. That suffering increases in other souls, but at the same time settlement is proportional to a soul’s capacity. In other words, nothing could be overwhelming for a soul to experience. The proof is that we are still here.. 😉
Let us say that John Doe lived a life surrounded by all sorts of pleasure. He was into the senses and the pleasurable sensations of them. John had many people in his life to fulfill his needs and whims because he thought that “variety is the spice of life.” Thus, he developed serious attachments to physical things. When it was time for John to leave his body, John wasn’t ready. He was fighting it. When death came he was suffering for he wasn’t prepared to leave his current life style. That suffering means “lots of suffering” for John; due to his inability to cope with changes. That same experience of death may not have the same impact on another soul who has worked in the self. That is the difference. That is what is known as “punishment,” in “the children language.”
More vices means more suffering.
Thank you for your great question!
Dear soul, I appreciate your kind words and I am glad to know that there is benefit in these sharings.
Let me explain myself fully.
Spiritual teachings are according to time. An intellect which is childlike will move if there is the element of fear in it. A child like intellect is not necessarily an uneducated, young intellect, but it is an intellect which has been “brainwashed” by society and their traditions and belief systems. In that category we see that even well known “erudites, scientists, philosophers, “ etc belong to.
Religions have been able to dominate their “people” through fear. Fear of not getting to heaven, fear of being punished by eternal hell, fear of disgracing their families in this life and the after life.
Back in the Sakar days, we find extremely devotional minds. The only way on Earth those souls could have become Brahmins is by an experience like trance or something outrageously different. Those souls wouldn’t be able to understand knowledge as we can do that now. They wouldn’t be able to join “God” just because they realized the truth behind gyan. Even now; this is rare.
And why we can do this now and not before? Because we have learned about the different civilizations, different ways of doing things in the world through communication. So we can see that Hindus do not believe in eternal hell and still have a pretty good life, and we are able to “challenge” or think about our own traditions and laws.
If a woman in India wants to throw herself into the burial of her husband, she may do so if she thinks that this is the only way. If on the other hand, she has the experience of other civilizations and see that rather than committing suicide, she can re-marry instead, then she has a different view.
As you mentioned God is beyond fear. He is love. In love there is no fear.
It is very possible as you mentioned that Brahma Baba had those sanskars based on his religious beliefs of the past. Also, it is possible that he wanted to make sure that the children wouldn’t leave the study and somehow used this tool of fear and guilt to shape them up, or it could be something else like “translations,” “revisions,” “avoidance of waste thoughts,” etc, etc. which are “unknown variables.”
The issue is that once a religion is created, followers are needed. It is important to keep them in the “loop.” However, the spirituality of those teachings are usually forgotten. In Brahmin life, it is about being soul conscious. That is it. The rest are supports or “training wheels,” while we grow up. We need to become strong by getting rid of all those supports little by little.
This is something usual with all religions. Then you have people “against religions,” two extremes. Those against religions are incapable of seeing the spiritual teachings as well and it is more convenient for them to reject everything religious.
The reason why I can express myself in this way, is because I have experienced that and also, because I do not have an “agenda.” I am not sharing this so you can join a religion. I am just concerned with the truth behind this wonderful knowledge-Gyan- and I just want to share what I have found. I am not protecting a religious “dogma” neither I have to worry about not being part of the hierarchy. No agenda at all.
Then perhaps, we can see things with different lenses and understand God as love, pristine, unconditional, everlasting. No fear is allowed there.