How to overcome guilt feeling?

“Dear Uday Garu, I have committed a huge sin in my life towards my family. I am not able to live with the guilt feeling. It always haunts me. I am scared of God’s punishment too…I belong to a Smartha Brahmin family. Can you suggest any karma for penance and free from sin?” a question from Pawan Shastry, Visakhapatnam.
“I believe you had convent education and well-versed in Indian history and Semitic religions but not exposed to our Hindu or Vedic scriptures…”
“Yes, Uday Garu, how did you know? I didn’t have the opportunity to learn any Hindu literature, though I follow a few Acharas (rituals and customs). I also have a lot of friends who follow the Semitic religion. But it is amazing, how did you know such things?”
“It’s easy to know when you talk about sin, guilt, penance, etc… In Semitic religions, sin is the action of disobeying God’s commandments as prescribed in their respective holy books. Sins are those actions that have been forbidden by their God as told by their respective prophets/messengers. Sin is directly linked with their God’s (read prophet/messenger) wishes and fancy…”
“We Hindus also have Sin…”
“It’s a different ball game altogether and nothing to do with Gods. Every Hindu is born as ‘Punyatma’ or ‘Amrutatma’. This Means a Hindu is born pure. He/She is not a sinner. And we neither have a Judgement Day nor heaven/hell. A Hindu’s Sin is not linked to God. So it is NOT God’s duty to punish you. God cannot send you to heaven or hell, as God has basic knowledge that there are no such places…So, Pawan, relax… No God is going to punish you.”
“Really? So there are no punishments?…”
“Wait. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Our ancestors taught us that thoughts become your actions. Actions become your habits.
Habits become your character. And character becomes your destiny. That’s if your thoughts are good (I am using this word good for the sake of explaining a concept and that’s a very relative word) will take you to an action, which can be called Sat Karma or Punya Karma (Good Karma). Similarly, the bad thoughts will lead you to Dushta Karma or Papa Karma (Bad Karma). The results (Phala) of those actions is called your destiny. So, you can enjoy the Punya Karma Phala or face Papa Karma Phala…”
“Are there any guidelines or commandments related to this? Like what is good and bad?”
“Not specific like those in Semitic religions. Those religions have set guidelines that were relevant during the period those were originated. But in real life, we always see people who go against commandments living happily or those who are following commandments face misery and struggle. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. We find solace by a superstition that you’ll get it after death! And they instill fear in you showing Judgement Day, heaven, and hell. Those believers can follow it, but we know it is not logical, reasonable, or scientific. Hindu sages focussed more on science (read truth) and not beliefs. They found a logical answer 5000 years ago. Papa and Punya depend upon your Varna (Profession), Ashrama (Age), Dharma (right, privilege, responsibility, and duty), and Desa-Kala-Patra (place-time-individual).”
“How will you know it? There are no guidelines on how to produce good thoughts to yield to Punya Karma Phala?”
“Our ancestors told us stories – Puranas and Epics. When you listen to those stories and follow the customs and rituals your imagination and thoughts would automatically sync with the existence and it will guide you. That’s why our Grandparents told us to listen to stories. They wanted to develop your logical mind and provide you the freedom of thought.”
“Unfortunately I didn’t learn any of those in my childhood days…”
“But you might have followed all superstitions in the tag name of ‘Brahmin’ right?”
“Yes, Uday Garu. I understand the folly. Please tell me how to overcome this guilt feeling and fear?”
“You did a bad Karma in the past. Thinking about it or feeling guilty about it won’t help anyway. If you carry this mental situation, you’re giving yourself for exploitation. Religions, greedy priests, and astrologers can easily exploit you. You might get placebo effects, but it won’t save you from the results.”
“You mean to say, there are no specific poojas, temple visits, or rituals to help me out?”
“If you have a lot of money, there is nothing wrong in spending for priests or temple management. But I am not sure it will help you. It may have some placebo effect on you, depending upon your beliefs. However, earnest prayers and dhyana can help. Acharas based on Shodasha Smaskara can also help…”
“But you said those things cannot undo my past”
“If you can undo what’s done, it is well and good. If you can’t, be prepared for the results. The impacts can considerably be reduced by doing good Karma…”
“Yes, yes, that’s what I want. How can I reduce the impact?”
“To the best of my understanding ‘Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah’. The best shield would be upholding your Dharma. Follow your Dharma. Do your Karma based on that Dharma. What we can do is help others to understand this so that they can live a happy life with Sat Karma. In turn, that would help you too – after all Manava Seva is Madhava Seva (service to mankind is service to God). So selflessly talk and spread the Dharmic messages rather than following superstitions.”
(Broadcast message no: 143, First published: January 02, 2022)

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