Sins

“This is placing the burden of a men’s celibacy on women.”

I have this vague memory of an old Hindi talk show – probably Tabassum’s – where the guest had this story about going to visit a guru recommended by a friend. So, she sits in front of the baba, and then realises she can’t see his face. So, out of curiosity, she leans to catch a glimpse. And the baba moves his face. Then someone tells her, Baba is celibate, so he doesn’t look at women. And then the lady being interviewed says, “Why should I follow a guru who doesn’t have control over himself.”

This always reminds me of a buddhist story. Two monks, one old, one young, were out in the secular world where they met at the banks of a river a woman who wanted to cross but was hesitating. The monks were forbidden from touching women, but the older monk, offered to and then carried the woman across the river. Then they parted ways, and the monks started walking onwards. After a while, the younger monk said, “We are not permitted to touch women, how could you pick her up?” “I left her at the banks of the river. Why are you still carrying her?”

Anyway, in one of George Carlin’s comedy pieces on Catholicism, he said that in Catholicism, “Mortal sin had to be a grievous offense, sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. Ya had’ta WANNA!” Another point he made is that, one could sin, and as long as one confessed really truly seeking forgiveness, and did the penance, it wasn’t not a biggie.

So, if I got this right, you couldn’t commit a sin by mistake. And you couldn’t be absolved of one by accident either.

I half remember this story from Indian mythology where a person ascends to heaven because at the moment of his death he calls out for his son named Narayan and thus dies with the name of a god on his lips.

Similarly, at the end of the Mahabharata, there is this brief period when the younger Pandavas are in hell and the Kauravas are in heaven, surprising Yudhisthir. The point was that even the evil had moments of good, and the good had moments of evil.

Thus in Hinduism, you could perform a great act of veneration by accident, or commit a great sin by mistake.

So, I have been wondering if the attitude to sin in Hinduism is the exact opposite of that in Catholicism. That in Hinduism, it doesn’t matter whether you wanted to or were aware. As long as you sin, you sin.

Of course, there is some point to this long piece of text. Though I am not sure what.

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