Thoughts on our mistakes, sins, crimes and repentance thereof.
ON SINCERE REGRETS
During the hustle and bustle of our life
Living in total harmony or in strife
Sometimes we fall into the pit of our own creation
And commit mistakes with lack of caution
And there arises an inner voice – a sudden realization
Time lost thus far after mistakes commission
Cannot be retrieved by any stretch of imagination
As the arrow has been shot from the bow unchecked
Single course left is the expression of sincere regret
Arisen out of inner recesses of our heart
May partly absolve us of our misdemeanor
Or may be further pain we’re constrained to undergo
For freeing or not freeing us of our blunder done entirely
Depends on severity
Of our blunder that we’ve committed willy-nilly
Which anyway cannot be hidden under the garb of regrets
Mere feeling sorry is no recompense for several mistakes made in the past
In that case we’ve to bear the brunt of our mistake
Firstly, accepting our mistake
With deep understanding of the error committed
And an honest promise not repeating the same slip-up further
Is the only mitigating factor
Which eases the process of repentance
And paves the way for our deliverance.
REPENTANCE & MISTAKES
Literal meaning of regret is to apologize, feel sorry or offer repentance for what an individual has done at conscious level which is ethically or morally incorrect – an act which has harmed other or spoiled a person’s image in the eyes of society. A Karma which one has already committed and a feeling has crept in that that karma is wrong or a realization has dawned after the commission of the mistake. This realisation should follow expression of regrets for having committed the blunder which eases the process of repentance. But here too, there is a rider, we have to be very careful that such careless attitude in committing errors is not repeated. Repetition of the same fault makes us a candidate for reprisal – may be from the person concerned or the karmic philosophy comes into force – what you give others comes back to you. Not that we humans can totally be immune from committing mistakes but that depends upon the extent to which we breach the code of behavior as far as our discretion is concerned. It is like learning to walk, talk etc in childhood which comes through practice. In life too, we can leave bad habits by expressing regrets and determine not to follow those habits.
In Holy Quran it has been made amply clear: Except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those – I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.
It is seen that due to some unforeseen circumstances or due to our lack of self control, we may fall in the company of anti-social elements and adopt some of their bad habits like drinking, smoking, telling lies, backbiting, zealousy, anger, greed, lust etc. Till such time these bad habits remain within the confines of conscious level or personal level efforts could be made to eradicate these totally by expressing regrets or repentance but if these habits cross the boundary of Natural Laws then these normal habits graduate to be sin or crime for which retribution is the natural corollary.
Being humans, we all commit mistakes, I should say almost on daily basis may be due to our ignorance or may be due to our forgetful nature. These mistakes could be condoned or forgotten after we have expressed repentance for the same – albeit with a promise to not to repeat the same. We should not make it a habit – to commit an indiscretion and ask for forgiveness or regret that times without number. It is both madness to repeat our faults and it goes beyond the level of tolerance. In such a scenario, it is a must that the subject should seek proper counseling to streamline the behaviour pattern. It is a shortcoming and required to be nipped in the bud to the extent possible but it is not so reprehensible as to warrant severe punishment. A meaningful rebuke will do good where a severe reprisal may make a person hardened criminal. What our youth in JNU in Delhi are resorting to through their utterances should be taken as a ‘learning process’ and if they are lead astray by outer influences, and further, there should be scope for course correction first and if still they go on repeating the same mistakes (cross limit by anti national sloganeering etc) then Law of the Land is there to provide justice, nobody should grude that. Alternatively, if our youths commit mistakes (beyond even freedom of speech and expression), accept the same and promise not to repeat then they should be forgiven for their indiscretions since with experiences only youths of today will learn. If one hides the evil, it adds and grows. If one bares it and repents, the sin dies out. Buddha says that the wise do not hide sin.
SIN & REPENTANCE
Now question arises as to when does a mistake or indiscretion or error becomes a sin? Here there are some limits of decency or otherwise when our indiscretion could come under the ambit of a normal mistake or fault or when it crosses that threshold then it under the definition of commission of a sin. A sin is said to have been committed if we infringe upon somebody’s religious sentiments with an intention to flare up or ignite agitation of an individual or amongst the communities; such acts are considered prejudicial to the harmony between the communities. The person concerned could be hauled by the law enforcing agencies for commission of such types of offenses.
The sin is also said to have been committed if we act in contravention to moral law. When we transgress an ethical norm which is against the norms set by the society – sin is said to be committed. This act is considered to be highly uncalled for and the perpetrator could be taken to task by the society in which that person is living. Here both legal and at societic level action could be considered before it turns cancerous. It could be in the form of expression of sincere regret or repentance if considered by the affected community and also penalty considered suitable for the avoidance of recurrence. Introspection at the individual level too is a must so that refinement in the behaviour is made for upholding normal social etiquette that an individual has with the society at large. It could be said the sinning is both against the Moral Laws and God’s Laws besides Natural Laws. Sincere repentance may be of solace but with a condition that it should never be repeated but it should be with due concurrence of the society and with due diligence. Consequences of sinning is thus appropriate punishment after expression of sincere repentance. There is no shortcuts in this.
CRIME & RULE OF LAW
It should be kept in mind that no society or country can have inclusive growth and development without upholding the rule of law. A message should go that all are equal before the law. Communal harmony is crying need of the hour and narrow parochialism or regionalism should not stand in the way of peace and prosperity for all. Even then, if somebody commits an act or offense which is prejudicial to the law of the land, this offense could be in the form of economic offenses (as bank frauds – such as taking loans from the bank and not paying the same due to one reason or other; as has been done by Mr. Mallya), to follow corrupt practices to amass wealth, evading willfully payment of legitimate taxes, physically harming others which could attract punishment by the courts, using force to harm other physically, etc. All these offenses attract punishment in accordanace with the law of the land and are not just condoned or regretted in the normal course.
Taking into consideration the differences between a normal mistake, sin and crime it is worthwhile to note the actual meaning of the three and function within the ambit of our rights and duties and perform our multifarious functions as a responsible members of the society. And finally, if regrets or repentance is expressed, it should spring from within us.
Holy Bible About Repentance-God calls his people unto repentance and turn from the wicked ways of this world, so it is important to know the Scriptures and his commands for his people.