RE: [bn-study] RE: Punya Why "do good?"
Nov 04, 2002 05:47 PM
Nov 4th 202
I am not looking for an antonym to "sin." or a translation. I am
looking at the thing: "A SIN" itself, as it requires a description,
especially when going from one language (Hindustani) to another.
Since, in our use of English we do not have the concept (or rather
have excised its true theological meaning) we have only an
MERIT sounds too much as though one did "good" under constraint (or a
threat), or in hope of a "reward." Is that a correct attitude? We
assume he is working in an ideal firm where the rule is: "the laborer
is worthy of his hire."
A man is hired in a business to perform a job. He does that job
repeatedly and is called trustworthy.
He deviates and then is reprimanded and corrected. He persists in
"wrong doing" -- either overtly or covertly, when this is discovered
(after warnings) he is fired. [ Note: In this illustration he sins
repeatedly against himself by being dishonest, and against the firm
employing him by not providing them with an honest return on their
investment in him, and the time frame of work he has contracted to do
in work for them. All recognize he deserves reformation, correction,
and has some recompense owed to the firm for the time he has
embezzled, from his responsibilities. This is sin. ]
Can this be wiped away? In our daily experience in this world of
pragmatism, and the condoning of irresponsibility and irregularities
it usually is. And this is called "leeway."
[Note: the "trustworthy man," if he has other qualities such as
patience, honesty, tolerance, interest in teaching skills to others,
may be "promoted" to a "Supervisor," and, so on up the scale to top
management. We suppose the sky is the limit and that existing "top
management" is willing to recognize and "reward" such an individual
with increasing responsibilities. In this illustration he does "no
Theosophy views humanity as such a "man hired to do a job -- as a
group." What is the work that belongs specifically to humanity?
I would say:
First: to know his own nature, character and capabilities. Value them
honestly and strive to improve them.
Second, to know the field in which he is working and the details that
provide for the knowledge of doing a job well.
Third: carrying out ones work at the highest level one is capable of.
This is what we are all trying to find out. Why have we lost a clear
cut view of responsibility ?
Lets turn to "sin."
The dictionary definition of SIN is: "Transgression of the laws of
God. An offence in general, misdemeanor. To violate the divine (or
human rights, law, or propriety) law by actual transgression, or by
neglect. To do or commit wrongly..." and so on.
As I read it the following is evident. There is assumed to be a
"God." (Powers, location of oversight, area, and work unknown and
undefined.) There are LAWS ( undefined but in existence). There are
offences ( in general, and we assume they are a deviation from, or a
breaking of LAW.) Breaking Law is either deliberate with knowledge
misapplied, or through ignorance. "Committing wrongly" appears to be
a good definition.
Knowledge misapplied is a definite evil, and sin is attached to the
power released by its performance. Where does this "power" go? Who
are its victims?
If we depersonalize these "victims" (in our minds) we lose the
importance of sinning.
Theosophy teaches that the first and closest victims to every one of
us are the little Monads that have aggregated to form our bodies and
vehicles, in which our INTELLIGENCE resides and acts. Next, are all
the rest of the Monads "out there," and also, of course, any actual
"victim" such as a person or an entity to which we owe honesty, good
faith, and cooperation in terms of the excellence of any
responsibilities we may have towards them. In Theosophy there are NO
STRANGERS or ALIENS.
If "god's powers" include noticing and then reforming wrong that is
done, it sounds very close to the action of KARMA. The method of
doing this remains to be discovered, analyzed and some conclusion
reached as to its effectiveness.
If one assumes that the UNIVERSE is operated under strict laws of
justice, and equal fairness to all, then "sin" is a deviation from
those laws. This implies the freedom to choose to "break the rules"
and thus a sin against NATURE originates. Every one, and everything
is involved, and not a speck of space is devoid of other residents or
responsibilities that are the common bonds between them and ourselves,
at all times .
Now the next question is why does "Man" have this power? Is it not
that he is on the threshold of becoming a kind of "supervisor ?" I
mean by this, an active assistant to Nature, and the development of
more MINDS such as we have out of the aggregated "Monads of lesser
experience" that surround us -- and which are, in effect, our
If so, then the period in our eternal living is one where we prove we
can be utterly harmless and cooperative, doing no harm under any
circumstances to other beings of any degree of intelligence. This
concept is the root of the practice of brotherhood and of cooperation,
as COMPASSION to others.
One could say we are in a desperate fight to change all aspects of
PASSION in our natures into WISE COMPASSION.
Theosophy says that all "bad" Karma starts -- in selfishness, hence,
seeking to isolate itself, such a chooser, abandons the concept of
brotherhood, charity, and fair dealing -- it thus creates a "bad"
desire, and thought following bad desire and developing it ( Lower
Manas or Kama-Manas comes into play ) the choice is finally expressed
in words and deeds on the physical plane.
I think these concepts need scrutiny and development, and I would like
to see if we can give good reasons for MERIT and MERITORIOUS DEEDS.
Best wishes, as always,
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 4:12 AM
Subject: : Punya Why "do good?"
I agree that from a theological perspective, developing VIRTUE in ones
self is as important as performing MERITS.
However, in this discussion, we are looking for the opposite of SIN,
which I still believe is MERIT. As stated previously, if SIN is an
deserving of punishment (or "bad" KARMA) then MERIT is action
of reward ("good" KARMA)
If we expand the concept of MERIT to include thought and feelings as
as action, then VIRTUE is indeed the word, but then we must also
transcend SIN to include thoughts and feelings on that side, and that
no longer SIN, but VICE.
To commit adultery is regarded as SIN, but to lust after someone is
VICE. To lend a helping hand is MERIT, but to feel compassion and
ones self about another is VIRTUE.
Take my take on it anyway.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application