In every scripture... Just like in Christian, their prayascitta is to confess, similarly, there are different types of prayascitta

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"In every scripture... Just like in Christian, their prayascitta is to confess, similarly, there are different types of prayascitta"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

In every scripture... Just like in Christian, their prāyaścitta is to confess, similarly, there are different types of prāyaścitta. So here Parīkṣit Mahārāja is advised, yathā puraiva. Yathā evaṁ tasmāt pāpasya niṣkṛtau prāyaścitta yateta kadā mṛtyu puraiva. So prāyaścitta. If you want to be free from the reaction of the sinful activities in this life—exactly in the same way as Christian Bible advises that you have to make some atonement, go to the church and confess your sinful activities and pay some fine—exactly in the same way in Vedic scriptures also, that "Before death you must make some atonement; otherwise you will continue in your next life."
Lecture on SB 6.1.6 -- Bombay, November 6, 1970:

Prabhupāda: You have read in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta that one Buddhimanta Khan, he was formerly... He was very rich man and Nawab Hussain Shah was the servant when he was not Nawab. So he was menial servant. So he stole some money as servants are generally habituated. So he whipped him with his cane. So that whipping stripe was on his back side. When he was Nawab, so his wife saw it and inquired, "What is this scar?" So he replied the whole story, that "I was formerly a menial servant to this Buddhimanta Khan and I did something wrong. So as my father, he punished me. That's all. He was treating me as my son." So he admitted that he was so kind. But his wife said, "Oh, this scar is a defamation. If somebody sees and you explain, then it will be known that you were a menial servant previously." So the Nawab did not mind. He: "What is that? I may be... Now what I am, that's all." So the wife requested that "This man should be killed so that he may not disclose the secret of your life, that you were a menial servant in his house." And "No, no, no. This is... This cannot be. He is just like my father. How can I kill him? This is not possible." And just see. Then she advised, "At least make him Mohammedan. Convert him to be a Mohammedan." In those days it was not very difficult. If somebody, a Mohammedan, takes water from his water pot and simply sprinkle in somebody's body, he becomes Mohammedan. The Hindu society was so rascal. Still they are. Simply by sprinkling water from the pot of a Mohammedan he becomes Mohammedan. So this Nawab said, "All right, I shall sprinkle water. Let him do what he likes," to satisfy his wife. So he did it. When he did it—then the society was so strong—he went to the bhaṭṭācārya to consult: "Oh, sir, I have been sprinkled water by a Mohammedan. So what prāyaścitta?" What is called? What is the English of prāyaścitta, compensation?

Revatīnandana: Some penance.

Prabhupāda: No, no. Atonement. "So what kind of atonement I have to do?" So the bhaṭṭācārya advised him that "You take one kilo of lead and melt it and drink it, and that is your atonement." You see? So he said, "How it is possible?" "This is the atonement for such sinful activity. Yes." Just see. For the last five hundred, six hundred years... Why...? For thousands of years the Hindu society is so fallen. Therefore so many Mohammedans have increased here. They are not imported. In this way the Hindu population, they have been forced to accept Mohammedan religion. You see? By the Mohammedans. Just like Aurangzeb. He imposed one tax for the Hindus. So all the poor men class, to avoid the tax they became Mohammedans. And there was so much punishment by the Hindus. And so he became a Mohammedan, so-called Mohammedan, by the diagnosis of the bhaṭṭācārya. So this kind of prāyaścitta was current during the fallen days of the Vedic society.

But in the śāstras there are... In every scripture... Just like in Christian, their prāyaścitta is to confess, similarly, there are different types of prāyaścitta. So here Parīkṣit Mahārāja is advised, yathā puraiva. Yathā evaṁ tasmāt pāpasya niṣkṛtau prāyaścitta yateta kadā mṛtyu puraiva. So prāyaścitta. If you want to be free from the reaction of the sinful activities in this life—exactly in the same way as Christian Bible advises that you have to make some atonement, go to the church and confess your sinful activities and pay some fine—exactly in the same way in Vedic scriptures also, that "Before death you must make some atonement; otherwise you will continue in your next life." Tasmāt puraivaṣv iha pāpa-niṣkṛtau yateta mṛtyor avipadyatātmanā (SB 6.1.8). "Before you meet your death, that you should take." Doṣasya dṛṣṭvā guru-lāghavaṁ yathā. And you have to make atonement according to the gravity of your sinful activities. Yathā bhiṣak cikitseta rujāṁ nidānavit. Just like nidānavit. Nidāna means a expert physician. He prescribes medicine and advises treatment according to the gravity of the disease. Similarly, you have to undergo atonement for the sinful activities according to the gravity. That is the treatment. Then... The king is very intelligent. He is not only king but he's a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa conscious. So he replied, "What is the use of this kind of atonement?"

dṛṣṭa-śrutābhyāṁ yat pāpaṁ
jānann apy ātmano 'hitam
karoti bhūyo vivaśaḥ
prāyaścittam atho katham
(SB 6.1.9)

"Sir, what is the value of this atonement? If people continue to act sinfully, then what is the use of this kind of prāyaścitta?" This is a very intelligent question. Suppose a man suffering from venereal disease goes to a doctor and he prescribes some medicine and gives him some diagnosis that "You should live in this way, in that way." But after the disease is cured, immediately if he commits the same sinful act, then what is the value of the treatment? The same thing, just like nāmnād balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ. In every society this is going on. In our Kṛṣṇa conscious society, or those who are Vaiṣṇava, they are, some of them are thinking like that, that "I am chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, so if I commit some sinful act, then I shall again chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and it will be adjusted." And Christians also think like that, that "I may commit sins throughout the whole week, and on Sunday I shall go to the church and confess it. It will be counteracted." So this defective conclusion of the human society is interrupted here by the question of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, that

dṛṣṭa-śrutābhyāṁ yat pāpaṁ
jānann apy ātmano 'hitam
karoti bhūyo vivaśaḥ
prāyaścittam atho katham
(SB 6.1.9)

So people, they know that "There is resultant action of this kind of sinful activity." He knows. Even if he does not know, he sees. Just like a man who has stolen, committed theft. One sees that he is arrested or he is punished, he is put into the prison, and still, he commits stealing. He knows. So similarly, we are hearing from the śāstra that "If you commit this sin..." Just like māṁsa. Māṁsa, this very thing, means, māṁ sa khadati. Therefore flesh is called māṁsa. "The animal which I am killing, he will have the right to kill me and eat me." That is going on, repetition: "I kill you this life. Next life you kill me. In this life you have become a cow or goat. Next time I'll become a cow or goat. You have the right to kill me." This is called karma-bandhana.