So Śukadeva Gosvāmī said, "My dear King, if before one's next death whatever impious acts one has performed in this life with the mind, words and body are not counteracted through the proper atonement according to the description of the Manu-saṁhitā and other dharma-śāstras, one will certainly enter the hellish planets after death and undergo terrible suffering, as I have previously described to you."
So atonement is prescribed in every scripture. Even in Christian Bible there is atonement. So in other scriptures also there is atonement. Just like a man who has committed murder, he must die. "Life for life." This is atonement. When the government punishes a murderer with capital punishment, death, that is a mercy upon him. That punishment is accepted practically all over the world from time immemorial. So there must be atonement. So if a person who has committed murder, killed somebody else, then if he is punished by death, then the sinful activities which he has committed, that is counteracted. Otherwise he will have to suffer next life very severely, four times. So people do not believe even in the next life, and what to speak of atonement and punishment. They are kept in darkness. Otherwise they would have been... If they would have followed actually the injunction of the śāstras... First of all one should not be killing anyone. In the Bible also it is said, "Thou shall not kill." Why it is forbidden? Because if he kills, he'll have to suffer. But they do not care for it. Therefore they suffer.
So Śukadeva Gosvāmī said that "Whatever punishment I have described in the Fifth Canto on account of different sinful activities, one has to suffer that unless he commits..., unless he performs atonement." This is the... Na ced ihaivāpacitiṁ yathāṁhasaḥ kṛtasya kuryān mana-ukta-pāṇibhiḥ. We can commit sinful activities in different ways. Mana, even by mind, we can commit sinful activities. If I contemplate something sinful by my mind, then we become affected. Therefore we must keep always sinless. Kaya-mana-vākya. This sannyāsa tridaṇḍa... There are three rods within the stick or the cover, three daṇḍas. Not three, four. Three is kaya—body, mind, kaya, mana, and words, and one he is personally. Therefore there are four sticks within the daṇḍa. Those who have taken sannyāsa, they know it. The idea is that "I surrender to my spiritual master or Kṛṣṇa." Spiritual master is identical with Kṛṣṇa because he gives true knowledge. Therefore he is as good as God. Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktas tathā bhāvyata **. A spiritual master is considered directly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sākṣād. Sākṣād means directly. Why? Because he is jñāna-prada. He gives knowledge, real knowledge. That is the qualification of spiritual master. Nobody can become spiritual master if he has no knowledge. If he's a speculator, he cannot become a spiritual master. He must give the right knowledge. Then he is bona fide spiritual master. Otherwise he's a bogus. Jñāna-prada. And without real knowledge, our life is useless.