“O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached, seated as though neutral.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.9)
Friend1: When first becoming familiar with Vedic teachings, and more specifically those descending from the chain of teachers in the bhakti tradition, one of the things that immediately struck me was the equality of piety and sin.
Friend2: What do you mean by equality?
Friend1: That they are more or less the same.
Friend2: What are you trying to say, that killing someone is no big deal? Helping a poor person get back on their feet is meaningless?
Friend1: I know what you are trying to do. I will explain, if you want.
Friend2: Please do.
Friend1: I had the same doubts when I first learned of the secret. And I consider it a secret since it’s not something openly told to every person.
Friend2: We’ve likely never heard it before.
Friend1: The idea is that there is the original sin of leaving the spiritual world.
Friend2: It’s described as a fall or descent.
Friend1: A fall from grace. The grace was the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the all-attractive Shri Krishna. In His company there is no dividing line between piety and sin. Everything is wonderful, blissful, amazing, great, what have you.
Friend2: What causes the fall?
Friend1: That is what I’m getting to. The slightest hint of desire to enjoy separate from Him results in birth in the material world. From there the dualities commence. Birth and death. Heat and cold. Happiness and sadness. Night and day.
Friend2: Man and woman. Child and adult.
Friend1: You could go on and on. Piety and sin is added to the list. Doing things the right way is pious behavior. It brings some positive result.
Friend2: If it’s positive then how can it be the same as sin?
Friend1: The result is temporary. The topmost achievement is residence in the heavenly realm. This comes after death. Sin is the opposite. At the most basic level it’s doing something the wrong way. The more you sin, the more negative consequences you accumulate. The nature is the same, however. Temporary. If you get sent to the hellish planets to suffer, eventually there is a chance at redemption.
Friend2: There you go. That’s a pretty good explanation.
Friend1: A question I often get relates to Krishna and His outlook. People take offense when I tell them that God doesn’t really care about what happens in the material world.
Friend2: Why are they offended?
Friend1: They consider it appalling. Murder, theft, rape, pain, suffering, loss, heartache. What kind of person sits back and doesn’t care about those things?
Friend2: Do you explain the nature of piety and sin to them? Do you direct them to the Bhagavad-gita, where Krishna Himself says that He sits back, as if neutral?
Friend1: I try. That’s why I brought it up today. Hoping you can explain it better.
Friend2: I’m not some genius here. I’m just referencing what is said in the open, in the famous discussion between Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Friend1: God expands as Supersoul. I know that. He is in the heart of both the thief and the victim of the theft.
Friend2: Exactly. He is with everyone. He must be neutral; otherwise He would be implicated in the activities of everyone. He would have the greatest debt of karma imaginable. As we know, He is above karma. None of the work binds Him.
Friend1: Does He work?
Friend2: You could say that He does more work than anyone. The entire creation, maintenance, and dissolution are attributable to Him. So much is going on, and everything is due to His potency. He sits back, not being overly concerned, but nothing could occur without His intervention first.
Friend1: Why would He allow the bad things to happen, though? Are those the results of someone’s karma? The people committed sins in the past and so they have to suffer eventually.
Friend2: That is the immediate cause, for sure. A harsh reality of life, no doubt. Think about it this way. If you have a bad dream and tell me about it the next day, what will my reaction be?
Friend1: I have no idea. You’ll listen and probably think I am messed up in the head.
Friend2: I came to that conclusion a long time ago [smiles]. Seriously, though, I probably won’t care that much. I’m not going to get really upset, am I?
Friend1: No; why would you? It’s just a dream.
Friend2: And there you have it. Material existence is just like a dream. One second it’s there, the next it’s gone. The emotions are real, but nothing from the experience lasts, including the vehicle on which the travel occurs: the body. The lone reality is God Himself, and so when a person tries to reconnect Krishna breaks from His neutrality. He actively helps the person return to the spiritual world, the land free of dualities.
In introduction key knowledge to gain,
That piety and sin on level the same.
Since experience in life like a dream,
Temporary, though real it seems.
Reason for God’s position why,
Neutral, not intervening to try.
For devotees an exception making,
Towards right direction taking.