Hell and Sins

harishankar

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Or maybe I dont understand what you mean by mild thoughts, words and actions....


Mild meaning that you retain control. You don't allow that thought to develop a life of its own. In other words, it is a passing feeling or a very idle thought.

For example, if I think very casually or mildly about something bad, that is not negative Karma. However, once that thought gains momentum in my mind and becomes serious that means I am beginning to lose control of that thought and that thought has gained control of my mind.

When a thought becomes really powerful, it becomes an obsession and rules your mind. That is the most dangerous because it reflects in your words and actions even without your own conscious effort.

In the final analysis, it is silly to think that each and every thought in our mind leads to Karma. That's wrong... I believe that only a thought that gains a force greater than a certain level leads to Karma - good or bad.

That's why even idle good thoughts aren't really good Karma. You can keep thinking idly about doing all the good deeds in the world, but it's not going to count to your Karma unless it really takes hold in your subconscious mind and reflects in words and actions without your conscious effort. And the same goes with bad thoughts too... just thinking idly that you're going to kill somebody is not really bad Karma...
 

Silverbackman

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How do Hindus define go out of your conscious control? As long as you keep it to yourself it is considered mild right? For example if a hot woman walks by you can look at her but as long as you don't slap her butt or start talking dirty in front of her its alright, right?

Also I'm quite suprised, Hinduism is more conservative than I thought!;) Another question why was the Kama Sutra invented when Hinduism discourages openess toward sex? I've always thought sex had a greater meaning in life, and Hindus right a religious book about sex that makes lusting a holy thing...........unless it things must be private for it to be holy.
 

Agnideva

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Silverbackman said:
Also I'm quite suprised, Hinduism is more conservative than I thought!
Hinduism can be as conservative or as liberal as you want depending on the path you choose to follow. Most orthodox branches of Hinduism are fairly conservative with regards to sexuality. There are four aims of life in Hinduism: dharma, artha (worldly gain), kama (love, including sex) and moksha (liberation). But dharma is supposed to be the guiding principle for the other three. Regarding sexuality, this means sex only with one’s spouse only within marriage, and only within the householder stage of life. In the epics, for example, men are told to look at all older women as their mothers, all younger women (except one’s wife) as sisters. I am NOT saying all Hindus accept or practice this, but this is the ideal.

Now, there are certain tantric branches called left-handed paths where all the normally discouraged behaviors are encouraged. In these left-handed paths sexuality may be used as a spiritual experience. This is where the idea of tantric sex comes from. Historically, these practices have been looked down upon, and were mostly practiced in secret. Perhaps you were thinking of one of these paths?

Another question why was the Kama Sutra invented when Hinduism discourages openess toward sex? I've always thought sex had a greater meaning in life, and Hindus right a religious book about sex that makes lusting a holy thing...........unless it things must be private for it to be holy.
I don’t know why the Kama Sutra was written, but I can tell you that it is definitely not considered a scripture or a holy book. It is only a book written by a man who was (probably) Hindu. I would say that, in general, Hinduism does not see sex as an unholy or ungodly thing. Sex and sexuality have a purpose and a place in life. Perhaps the kama sutra was written with this in mind.

Overall, Hinduism teaches that every human birth is an opportunity, a unique chance for progress toward God-realization and liberation from samsara. By pursuing thoughts, behaviors and actions that lead to further identification with the body, we only take ourselves off the spiritual path which is the ultimate goal of human life. This is the message of the Hindu masters.
 

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Agnideva said:
The concept of sin (paap) and merit (punya) through actions does exist in Hinduism. Alternatively, they may be called vices and virtues. Not every bad action is a sin, it depends on your intention. For example, I know that arson is wrong, but if I burn my neighbor's house down because I hate him, that would be a sinful act. Hating my neighbor or being angry with him are not by themselves sinful, but definitely bad karma and to be avoided :) But if I burned his house down by mistake (without intention), then is that a sin?

Thankyou Agnideva. Your posts are very educative and I appreciate your presence in this forum.

Yes I am aware of "paapa/punya". But I am reminded of a story...

A great sage was once sitting under a tree in meditation. Just then a few village people came running right in front of him. They seemed to be in great fear and they hid behind some trees and bushes. A few minutes later the reason for their fear became apparent. A group of dacoits came running along brandishing swords searching for the villagers. When they could not figure out where the folks had gone they asked the sage sitting under tree. The wise sage pointed in a direction opposite to where the villagers were hiding. Once the robbers were out of sight the village folks came out and thanked the sage. Then one of them asked him "Why have you committed the sin of lying just to save our lives?" The sage said "A falsehood told for the greater good is not sin. A truth uttered knowing the suffering it will cause is sin".

Sorry I narrate the story poorly, but my understanding is that there is no absolute definition for sin. Like you yourself pointed out ultimately what counts is what is in your heart.

A man may plot murder in his mind, but may not act on his intentions probably because of cold feet. If he had actually committed murder, I agree and I can see now that it would amount to "sin" and that probably amounts to a greater karmic debt. But is this not irrelevant?

Does the fact that he did not commit the act externally reduce his climb up the spiritual ladder?

Regards.
 

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Hi Silver,

Silverbackman said:
How do Hindus define go out of your conscious control? As long as you keep it to yourself it is considered mild right? For example if a hot woman walks by you can look at her but as long as you don't slap her butt or start talking dirty in front of her its alright, right?

This made me laugh :D . Not saying it in a bad way.. just amused that you have been so persistent with this question :p .

Not sure but I think what you are asking is how Hinduism views indulgence in sexuality. I would say not very different from indulgence in food but Agnideva and harishankar would probably be able to clarify?
 

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Hi All,

Thankyou Silver for starting this thread. It has been very interesting indeed and has made me think some :).

We have already discussed that the concept of heaven and hell is not central to Hinduism. It has no practical use in spritual practice. A person does good deeds neither in anticipation of heaven nor in fear of hell.

Can we similarly say that the concept of sin is also not of use in spiritual practice. The basic essence of hinduism is to purify your soul so as to become one with God. Am I right?

As I see it, the hindu has to focus on cleansing his heart and his mind of negative and evil thoughts. A person who habitually thinks negative thoughts but never acts on these will he attain moksha? I would think not.

We have also discussed that an action is not seperate from the intention and by itself cannot be classified as sin. So what use is the definition of sin in hinduism?

Does spiritual practice in hinduism revolve around "avoiding sin"? Does the Hindu then have to dwell on sin? Can he say that "As long as I dont commit sin I'm OK?"

On another note is there any thought in Hinduism which says a sin is an externally manifested action only?

Agnideva said:
Sin implies an intentional transgression from the path of righteousness (at least in my definition).
Is it equivalent then to adharma? A man who undresses a woman although mentally, without ever laying a finger on her..... is this an intentional transgression from the path of righteousness?


Regards.
 

harishankar

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If by being conservative you mean to ask whether or not Hinduism gives you the license to think, act and speak as you like, then no.

Hinduism definitely does not give any license... in that way it is conservative.

Regarding thoughts:

A thought goes out of your conscious control if it is intense and strong. As I mentioned before, if you have an obsession, then that controls you: you do not control the thought.

Thoughts which occur on the surface of the mind are seldom very powerful and can be easily controlled. Thoughts which gain a foothold so to speak in your subconcsious mind becomes very powerful in the sense that that thought predominates your whole mentality.

We call the predominant thought structure of your mind "personality." A person's personality is determined by what kind of thoughts he thinks on a regular basis. So if a person has predominantly good thoughts most of the time, he gets good Karma. If he has bad thoughts, it becomes negative Karma.

It's very simple really... I hope you can understand this:

"You are what you think!"

That's the basic one-line essence of Hinduism.

The answer to your question whether a thought by itself is a sin is this:

"If the thought you think is very powerful and intense within you and it is essentially a bad thought or a negative emotion, then it leads to bad Karma."

That's all in very simple terms...
 

Agnideva

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Hi everyone,

I am Free said:
Thankyou Agnideva. Your posts are very educative and I appreciate your presence in this forum.
I’m glad I could be of help. Thanks for the kind words, I am Free. I appreciate your (and everyone else’s) presence and participation in the forum as well. I think it’s enriching all our minds :).
A man may plot murder in his mind, but may not act on his intentions probably because of cold feet. If he had actually committed murder, I agree and I can see now that it would amount to "sin" and that probably amounts to a greater karmic debt. But is this not irrelevant?
Here’s my view on it (and I hope I am answering Silver’s question also). There’s varying degrees of karma; not every bad thought can be considered bad karma. You may have a passing bad thought; a bad thought that is persistent in your mind; a bad thought that takes over your mind, emotions and clouds your better judgment; a bad thought that gives you the impetus to perform bad actions, and finally a bad thought that results in a bad action. We can probably place several other intermediate steps in this analogy too. The point is that each one is worse than the previous one and leads to greater karmic debt. On the grand scheme of things, what’s most important, I think, is that we doesn’t allow our bad and evil thoughts to take over to mind to the point where our better judgment is clouded because this may result in bad actions. As we all know, actions begin as thoughts, and if we want to control your actions, we have to control our thoughts as well. Besides, smaller karmas may be worked off, but bigger karmic debts are harder to dissipate.
Does the fact that he did not commit the act externally reduce his climb up the spiritual ladder?
Not as much as if he had actually done the external act! ;)
Can we similarly say that the concept of sin is also not of use in spiritual practice. The basic essence of hinduism is to purify your soul so as to become one with God. Am I right?
Yes, in a nutshell. Sin is not a central concept in Hindu belief, but it is also important to know what is bad karma, sin, etc. so we know what to avoid and control.
A person who habitually thinks negative thoughts but never acts on these will he attain moksha?
Probably not in that lifetime, but we can't say for sure. But like everyone else s/he will attain moksha eventually.
Does spiritual practice in hinduism revolve around "avoiding sin"? Does the Hindu then have to dwell on sin? Can he say that "As long as I dont commit sin I'm OK?"
No, no, and no. :) Spiritual practice revolves around following dharma. When one follow her/his dharma perfectly, there’s nothing to worry about … not bad karma, not sin.
On another note is there any thought in Hinduism which says a sin is an externally manifested action only?
I generally think of “sin” as action, but I suppose words would also count. Thoughts, I’m not sure … what do you think?

Silverbackman said:
if a hot woman walks by you can look at her but as long as you don't slap her butt or start talking dirty in front of her its alright, right?
Silver, realistically speaking, I would say keep the thoughts to yourself and don’t let them take over your mind and emotions. That’s the best thing to do. We can’t really suppress our thoughts, and suppression of our thoughts is not healthy anyway. ;)

Harishankar said:
A thought goes out of your conscious control if it is intense and strong. As I mentioned before, if you have an obsession, then that controls you: you do not control the thought.
Thoughts which occur on the surface of the mind are seldom very powerful and can be easily controlled. Thoughts which gain a foothold so to speak in your subconcsious mind becomes very powerful in the sense that that thought predominates your whole mentality.
Very nice description! Thanks Harishankar.
 
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