“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
समो ऽहं सर्व-भूतेषु
न मे द्वेष्यो ऽस्ति न प्रियः
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या
मयि ते तेषु चाप्य् अहम्
samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
“You hear this sometimes from preachers. It is a bold and sweeping declaration. Every person is a target. No one in the audience can say that they are exempt. A response there will be, as who would receive such an accusation without considering the consequences?
“The idea is that every person is a sinner. No one is entirely pure. To err is human. Man commits mistake after mistake, beginning from childhood. Even through receiving redemption, to meeting the purpose set forth by the higher powers, there is always the vulnerability to slipping back to the old ways.
“What is the Vedic point of view on this topic? What would be the entry into a group discussion? Are we indeed sinners? Does this mean that every person automatically incurs the wrath of God? Is His punishment incorporated into the way of living? Does that not make Him a petty person?”
Man is indeed fallible. This is one of the juxtapositions with the Almighty, to assist in understanding Him. He is the negation of so many conditions in duality we experience. As man is fallible, God is infallible, or achyuta. As we have a beginning in terms of this birth, He is without one, or anadi. As jara [old age] is one of the miseries affecting this existence, He is always fresh and new in the transcendental form [nava-yauvanam].
The real definition of sin, described as papa in Sanskrit, is turning away from service to the Divine. It is the wrong way to do something. It goes against dharma, which is the natural way of living. This means that birth and death and every misery experienced in between is the unnatural state.
This does not mean that there is necessarily a wrath incurred from the highest authority. As explained in the shastra of the Vedic tradition, He maintains a kind of passive interest in the material world. The effort at creating, maintaining and destroying isn’t much of one. Everything gets accomplished while the Supreme Lord lies down in rest.
मूर्तयः सम्भवन्ति याः
तासां ब्रह्म महद् योनिर्
अहं बीज-प्रदः पिता
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)
He is the seed-giver, and for every seed there is a field of development. This is the basic distinction between body and spirit, applying to every living thing. The knower of the field, kshetra-jna, is temporarily residing on and interacting with the field, kshetra.
The all-attractive one is without envy. He treats every living thing equally. Proof is there in the expansion known as Supersoul. God resides inside of every person, in a form that is there but cannot be seen through direct perception. In other words, just as the soul cannot be detected on medical machinery, the Supersoul can only be noticed by external symptoms.
The rules of the playing field bring the potential for misery. The wrath that I mistakenly attribute to an intelligently planned attack from a higher force is within the nature of the realm I inhabit. It is something like placing a hand in fire. It is not the fire’s fault that I get burned. It was my choice to contact the fire in the direct way.
The misery in this world is sourced in my choice. I made the decision at some point in the past to be under the spell of illusion that is maya. This force is so strong that I forget both my true identity as spirit and my eternal relation to Shri Krishna, which is one name for God.
As soon as the decision is made to leave maya’s association, the misery stops. Of course, through being in illusion even realizing that such a decision needs to be made is rare and difficult. The acharya arrives to open my eyes, to lift me out of darkness and into the light. He shows me the way to change the disposition of Krishna from neutral to friendly and supportive. I start the process with the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
As dreaded sinner to accuse,
But actually this life to choose.
Where misery automatically coming,
And into deep illusion becoming.
Not the Supreme Lord to blame,
For my desires to this world came.
For from neutral to interest matching,
Holy names for His interest catching.