What Is Dogma?

Our subject of discussion yesterday was action, the reaction of action, and doership.(1) In that connection, I explained what Parama Puruśa can do: what are the actions He performs directly and what are the actions He gets done through His agents. In this context a fundamental question arises – what are the steps Parama Puruśa adopts to redeem so-called sinners? People say that when sinners and evil-doers come under the shelter of Parama Puruśa, they attain salvation. Now if people can be redeemed from sin, intellectuals may naturally ask a question: “How to attain that salvation?”

You all know that the most detrimental thing for human society and human progress is dogma. What is dogma? Where there is no logic, where there is no support of intellectuality, where there is no debate and free discussion, but there is only a severe imposition forcing people to accept something, there is dogma. What type of people preach this sort of dogma? The answer is: the blind followers of religion. It is quite natural for the followers of religion to say all kinds of dogmatic things. That is why people say that there is no room for logic in religion. But genuine dharma is completely based on logic and supported by intellectuality. In the case of dharma, people are convinced by logic; and people analyse and accept it after free and frank discussion and accordingly start moving in the path of life. The question is: how can people follow something which is not properly understood by them? And another question is: can one get redemption from sins, or not? It is said:

Nábhuktaḿ kśiiyate karma kalpakot́ishataerapi;
Avashyameva bhoktavyaḿ krtaḿ karma shubháshubham.

“Unless one undergoes the requitals of one’s mental reactive momenta – good requitals to good actions, bad requitals to bad actions – one cannot attain liberation.” Avashyameva bhoktavyaḿ krtaḿ karma shubháshubham – “whether an action is good or bad, the reaction must be experienced.” Then, if one is bound to undergo a bad reaction to a bad action, how can one hope to be redeemed from sin, because we already know that the reactions of sins must be required? But Lord Krśńa declared, by way of consoling human beings: “However durácárii or sudurácárii a person may be, if he or she comes under My shelter I will certainly save him or her from all sins. I will help him or her to attain liberation or salvation.” Here durácárii means a sinner, a person whose actions are opposed to ideology, whose thoughts and activities are opposed to morality, justice and the spirit of dharma. And sudurácarii means a person whom even the durácáriis consider a sinner, and whose company they will try to avoid.

Are not these two things self-contradictory? On the one side it is said that one must reap the consequences of actions, and on the other side people are advised to take the shelter of Parama Puruśa to attain salvation. Is this also a dogma?

This is a knotty question indeed. Now the question is, who performs action? It is the human mind which performs action.

Mana eva manuśyáńáḿ kárańaḿ bandhamokśayoh;
Bandhasya viśayásaungii mukto nirviśayaḿ tathá.

Mano karoti karmáńi mano lipyate pátako;
Manashca tanmaná buddhayá na puńyaḿ na ca pátako.

“It is the human mind which is the cause of bondage or liberation. If the mind is in bondage, the person is also in bondage. Similarly, if the mind is liberated the person is also liberated. After all, it is the human mind which engages in auspicious actions. Now, if this mind is kept engrossed in the ideation of Parama Puruśa, then it gets totally merged in Consciousness. In that case, where is the scope for virtue or vice for that person?”

If an ordinary sinner or a confirmed sinner remains absorbed in the thought of Parama Puruśa to the exclusion of all other thoughts, then his or her mind becomes pointed. This is called agryábuddhi [pinnacled intellect] in Sanskrit. In that state of mind the spiritual aspirant gets well established in pinnacled intellect. Unless and until the ordinary human intellect is elevated to the level of pinnacled intellect or apexed intellect, the continuous rise and fall of innumerable vibrations within one’s existence continues. These psychic vibrations are sometimes the vibrations of virtue, sometimes the vibrations of vice, sometimes the vibrations of the reaction of sinful deeds, sometimes of virtuous deeds. Unless the human mind is pointed, this rise and fall of antagonistic psychic vibrations will go on. The moment the mind is centred on Parama Puruśa, then that mind will naturally become pointed. In that state there is no scope for the rise and fall of any wave – neither the wave of virtue nor the wave of vice. Thus it is said that when a spiritual aspirant is established in pinnacled intellect, there cannot be any question of virtue and vice. A person who has taken the Cosmic shelter goes far above the scope of virtue or vice. This is something very natural.

And thus so-called sinners and evil-doers should not be worried at all. Krśńa has rightly said, “If even a diehard criminal comes in My shelter, I will save him or her from all sins; I will see to it that the person attains liberation or salvation. Hence no one, no spiritual aspirant – however black or despicable one’s past life might be – should be worried about anything.” This statement of Parama Puruśa is unalterable, inviolable. This statement is neither a philosophical assertion nor any dogma. Then what sort of statement is it? It is clear and simple. It conveys the idea that human beings should not be anxious under any circumstances, Parama Puruśa is always with everyone. If one has love for Parama Puruśa, the door of liberation or salvation will immediately open.


(1) “Karma, Karmaphala o Kartrttva” in Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 19. –Eds.
     P. R. Sarkar/16 May 1980, Varanasi