”Everyone wants be happy and not sad. Everyone wants be good and not bad.”
Firstly, Let us understand the definition of sin in Hinduism.
“Sin is any conscious act which intentionally causes suffering to another sentient being.” (paropakāra puṇyāya pāpāya para-piḍanam)
Secondly — 3 R’s are important for eradication of sins.
1. Recognise – that you you have hurt others and caused pain and suffering.
2. Regret (Repentance) – that you should not have done this
3. Rectify – by firstly requesting forgiveness from those whom you have hurt and promising never to do it again. Hereafter the person should be vigilant of his/her thoughts, words, actions, so as to avoid causing pain /suffering to others.
Then in order to perform acts of atonement and restitution there are a number of remedies recommended in scriptures:–
In Mahabharata, Yudhisthira says,’…a perpetrated sin is expiated by auspicious acts, by publishing it wildly, by repentance, by alms-giving, by penances, by trips to tirthas after renunciation of everything, by constant meditation on the scriptures. Of all these, he that has practiced renunciation is believed to be incapable of committing sins anew. ‘ –Mahabharata Santi Parva Section VII
Devotion to God will eradicate bad Karma.
Nanda: “But how can we obtain God’s grace? Has He really the power to bestow grace?”
Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): “I see. You think as the intellectuals do; one reaps the results of one’s actions. Give up these ideas. The effect of Karma wears away if one takes refuge in God. I prayed to the Divine Mother with flowers in my hand: ‘Here, Mother, take Thy sin; here take Thy virtue. I don’t want either of these; give me only real bhakti. Here, Mother, take Thy good; here take Thy bad. I don’t want any of Thy good or bad; give me only real bhakti. Here, Mother, take Thy dharma; here, take Thy adharma. I don’t want any of Thy dharma and adharma; give me only real bhakti. Here, Mother, take Thy knowledge; here take Thy ignorance. I don’t want any of Thy knowledge or ignorance; give me only real bhakti. Here, Mother, take Thy purity; here take Thy impurity. Give me only real bhakti [devotion].'”
– The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, July 28, 1885, p 817
Sri Suka said, ‘Austerity, charity, Japa and such other disciplines efface only the effects of sins, but not the heart, the source from which they spring. Even that source, the sinful tendency, is effaced by the service of the Lord’s feet. As the fire burns up a heap of fuel, the name of the Lord of holy fame, chanted whether with knowledge of its greatness or without it, destroys the sins of man.’
– Srimad Bhagavata Purana, VI.2.17-18.
Some of the practical remedies include:-
- Take a holy bath in the Ganga or other sacred rivers after going on a pilgrimage by foot and staying in choultries! (Traveling by a bus or train or flight and staying in luxurious or 5 star hotels will not work!)
Feed the poor and clothe the ragged, sponsor the education of disadvantaged girls, poor widows or destitute women. Empowering women is the only key to end poverty in a society.
- Undertake to construct a shelter or contribute towards building of shelters for the homeless, old aged or destitute.
- Make as big a donation as much as affordable to a genuine charitable hospital (of course without having your name plaque installed!!) – or make regular payments for a specific period.
- Perform, as advised by a competent Guru — periodic purificatory rituals like Udaka Śānti or Kuṣmāṇḍa Homa or Rig Veda Pavamana Suktha Homa and give generous donations to the priests, and the poor and feed as many people as possible.
- You can also consult a Vedic astrologer and he or she may provide you with more specific activities for restitution based on the birth chart and Prasnas (Divine guidance).
- Any charitable works that you do (pūrtī-kriya) has potential to efface sins. BUT IT MUST BE DONE ANONYMOUSLY! Getting kudos nullifies the merit (puṇya).
- At the lotus feet of a Guru or Holy person place all your burdens of sins and ask for forgiveness, atonement and Blessings for cleansing. Hereafter, give up attachment to material goals of life and seek salvation.
- Regular and prolonged chanting of holy names of the lord with supreme devotion and focus of mind exclusively on the image of Deity can burn all bad karmas and sins substantially.
- Gratitude and Forgiveness are the two important virtues which can accelerate the process of atonement and restitution.
- By systematically and consciously performing many of the 20 compassionate jobs, listed below, you will discover in quick spiritual growth and appreciable material gains, as all these actions algebraically work in your favour to modify the good and bad results of certain types of past actions that are to be experienced by our bodies and minds in the immediate and far future.
The twenty acts of compassion:
o To feed the hungry and the poor
o To give water or a drink to the thirsty
o To provide clothing to the naked
o To visit and enquire about the sick
o To visit the imprisoned and motivate them to lead better and moral lives
o To help in the burial of the dead
o To counsel the doubtful and the confused
o To clarify and instruct the ignorant and the deluded
o To reprimand and restore sinners
o To comfort the afflicted and the infected
o To forgive offences responsibly
o To tolerate wrongs patiently, to work towards correcting them
o To pray for the living and the dead (including our ancestors)
o To educate the poor
o To help the physically handicapped
o To donate your eyes and other organs after death
o To donate blood whenever possible
o To help maintain places of workship
o To water plants
o To feed animals and birds
Our Santana Dharma gives proper guidelines for salvation to people, to get rid of the effects of sins and to get into righteous way of conscious living. For this, one should approach a competent Guru, who is well versed with Vedic scriptures and Self knowledge, to find appropriate remedies for their sins. One can recognise, regret and rectify through acts of atonement and restitution. The ultimate goal of human life is to attain the supreme Self within everyone.
Most important requirement for eradication of a sin is determination not to repeat the sin again after following the 3 Rs and process of atonement and restitution.