The beauty of Sanaatan Dharma is that it does not condemn anybody. Even the presumed sinners or ‘fallen’ persons are not expected to be full of remorse and guilt, but rather cultivate an attitude, a desire to better themselves. Reassurance and acceptance to this effect is offered by the Divine himself in the Bhagavadagita, the best known and most glorious of Indian Scriptures.
In Chapter 9, Verse 29, the Lord is assuring how he is equally disposed to all beings. I am equal for everyone he says, no one is dear to me nor hateful. But those who savour me joyfully, they are in me, and I am also in them.
In the next two verses he goes on to tell how even the most vicious person who has approached him wholeheartedly must be accounted as righteous since he has made the right resolve. He is a person who has realized the efficacy of devotion as a path and determined to walk it. Through this he soon becomes righteous and attains peace. Transformation is a real possibility and no cause is lost for one who realises his follies and approaches the Divine with devotion! At the end of Verse 31 he says to Arjuna – Know it Kaunteya that my devotee never perishes.
This philosophy of life offers remarkable reassurance. Where the Divine incarnation himself offers support to those who have lost their way, why would the faithful ever fear eternal damnation?
Lord Krishna has offered support to even the sinners who seek divine knowledge. In Chapter 4 Verse 36 when he says that even the worse sinners through the boat of knowledge can transcend the ocean of sin, how comforting is it! A call to mend one’s ways through knowing that what awaits is not retribution but deliverance.
Not only is there redemption for those who have erred, but there is a code of conduct for others too. The Lord specifies what the attitude of a Yogi , i.e., good people, has to be towards all people. In Chapter 6 Verse 9 he says that a Yogi has to have an even mind towards all – a benefactor, a friend, a foe, a neutral, an arbiter, the hateful, a relative, good people and even sinners.
The Bhagavadagita is one of the most beautiful and benevolent of all Indian scriptures. It does not just impart the ultimate understanding of life, but even for those seeking to understand the way to live it sheds light on the choices to make. In the Dhyaana shlokas that are meditated upon before beginning the study of it, the efficacy of these verses is exemplified. Particularly beautiful is the one which refers to the immortal nectar of the Gita. Where it says that all the Upanishads are cows; the Milker is Krishna, the cowherd boy; Arjuna is the calf; Wise and pure men drink the milk, the supreme, immortal nectar of the Gita.
May we all be wise enough to drink from it!
When this article in the Speaking Tree in December 2019 it had only my name in the byline. I wish to express my gratitude for the understanding & articulation to my friends Anantaji & Swami Nithyabodhanada and my brother Sanjay !