How to receive the gift of cleansing from the sacrifice of Jesus?

Jesus came to give himself as a sacrifice for all peoples.  This message is foreshadowed in the hymns of the ancient Rg Vedas as well as in the promises and Festivals of the ancient Hebrew Vedas.  Jesus is the answer to the question we ask every time we recite the prayer of the Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram.  How is this so?  The Bible (Veda Pusthakan) declares a Karmic Law that affects all of us:

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)

Below I show this karmic law through an illustration.  “Death” means separation.  When our soul separates from our body we are dead physically.  In a similar way we are separated from God spiritually.  This is true because God is Holy (sinless).

Slide1

We are separated from God by our sins like a chasm between two cliffs

We can picture ourselves as being on a cliff and God on another cliff and we are separated by this bottomless chasm of sin.

This separation causes guilt and fear.  So what we naturally try to do is build a bridge that will take us from our side (of death) to God’s side.  We offer sacrifices, perform pujas, practice asceticism, participate in festivals, go to temples, make many prayers and even try to reduce or stop our sins. This list of deeds to gain merit can be very long for some of us.  The problem is that our efforts, merits, sacrifices and ascetic practices etc., though in themselves not bad, are insufficient because the payment required (the ‘wages’) for our sins is ‘death’.  This is illustrated in the next figure.

Slide2

Religious merit – good though that may be – cannot bridge the separation between us and God

Through our religious efforts we try to build a ‘bridge’ to cross the divide separating ourselves from God.  Though this is not bad, it will not solve our problem because it does not succeed in going completely over to the other side.  Our efforts are not sufficient. It is like trying to heal cancer (which results in death) by eating veg only and by wearing bandages.  Wearing bandages and eating veg is not bad – but it will not cure cancer.  For that you need a totally different treatment.  We can illustrate these efforts with a ‘bridge’ of religious merit that goes only part-way across the chasm – leaving us still separated from God.

The Karmic law is Bad News – it is so bad we often do not even want to hear it and we often fill our lives with activities and things hoping this Law will go away – until the gravity of our situation sinks into our souls.  But the Bible does not end with this Karmic Law.

For the wages of sin is death but … (Romans 6:23)

The small word ‘but’ shows that the direction of the Law is now about to go the other way, to Good News – Gospel.  It is the Karmic Law reversed to one of Moksha and Enlightenment.  So what is this Good News of Moksha?.

For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

The good news of the gospel is that the sacrifice of Jesus’ death is sufficient to bridge this separation between us and God.  We know this because three days after his death Jesus rose bodily, coming alive again in a physical resurrection.   Though some people today choose to disbelieve the resurrection of Jesus a very strong case can be made for it shown in this public lecture I did at a university (video link here).

Jesus is the Purusa giving the perfect sacrifice.  Since he was a man he is able to be a bridge that spans the chasm and touches the human side and since he was perfect he also touches God’s side.  He is a Bridge to Life and this can be illustrated as below

Slide3

Jesus is the Bridge that spans the chasm between God and man. His sacrifice pays our sins.

Notice in this Moksha Principle how this sacrifice of Jesus is given to us.  It is given as a … ‘gift’.  Think about gifts.  No matter what the gift is, if it is really a gift it is something that you do not work for and that you do not earn by merit.  If you earned it the gift would no longer be a gift!  In the same way you cannot merit or earn the sacrifice of Jesus.  It is given to you as a gift.

And what is the gift?  It is ‘eternal life’.  This means that the sin which brought you death is now cancelled.  The sacrifice of Jesus is a bridge upon which you can cross to connect with God and receive life – that lasts forever.  This gift is given by Jesus who, by rising from the dead, shows himself to be ‘lord’.

So how do you and I ‘cross’ on this bridge of life that Jesus gives to us as a gift?  Again, think of gifts.  If someone comes and gives you a gift it is something you do not work for.  But to get any benefit from the gift you must ‘receive’ it.  Anytime a gift is offered there are two alternatives.  Either the gift is refused (“No thank you”) or it is received (“Thank you for your gift.  I will take it”).  So this gift that Jesus offers must be received.  It cannot simply be ‘believed’, studied, or understood.  This is illustrated in the next figure where we ‘walk’ on the Bridge by turning to God and receiving his gift he offers to us.

Slide4

Jesus’ sacrifice is a Gift that each of us must choose to receive

So how do we receive this gift?  The Bible says that

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:12)

Notice that this promise is for ‘everyone’.  Since he rose from the dead Jesus is alive even now and he is ‘Lord’.  So if you call on him he will hear and extend his gift of life to you.  You need to call out to him and ask him – by having a conversation with him.  Perhaps you have never done this.  Here is a guide that can help you have this conversation and prayer with him.  It is not a magic incantation.  It is not the specific words that give power.  It is the trust that we have in his ability and willingness to give us this gift.  As we trust him he will hear us and respond.  So feel free to follow this guide as you either speak out loud or in your spirit to Jesus and receive his gift.

Dear Lord Jesus.  I understand that with the sins in my life I am separated from God.  Though I can try hard, no effort and sacrifice on my part will bridge this separation.  But I understand that your death was a sacrifice to wash away all sins – even my sins.  I believe that you rose from the dead after your sacrifice so I can know that your sacrifice was sufficient.  I ask you to please cleanse me from my sins and bridge me to God so I can have eternal life.  I do not want to live a life enslaved to sin so please free me from these sins that hold me in a grip of karma.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for doing all this for me and would you even now continue to guide me in my life so I can follow you as my Lord.

Diwali and the Lord Jesus

Diwali lamps

The first time I experienced Diwali ‘up close’ was when I was working in India. I had come to stay for a month and at the beginning of my stay Diwali was celebrated all around me. What I remember most were all the firecrackers – the air was thick with smoke and it made my eyes sting slightly. So with all that excitement going on around me I wanted to learn about Diwali, what it was and what it meant. And I fell in love with it.

The ‘festival of lights’ inspired me because I am a believer in, and follower of, Yeshu Satsang also known as the Lord Jesus. And the main message of his teaching was that His Light would overcome the darkness within us. So Diwali is a lot like the Lord Jesus.

Most of us realize that we have a problem with darkness in us. This is why so many millions participate in the Kumbh Mela festival – because millions of us know that we have sins and that we need to wash them off and cleanse ourselves. As well, the ancient prayer of the well-known Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram acknowledges this sin or darkness inside us.

I am a sinner. I am the result of sin. I am born in sin. My soul is under sin. I am the worst of sinners. O Lord who has the beautiful eyes, Save me, O Lord of the Sacrifice.

But all of these thoughts of darkness, or sin, inside us is not encouraging. In fact we sometimes think of it as ‘bad news’. This is why the thought of light overcoming the darkness gives us so much hope and celebration. And so, along with the candles, the sweets and the firecrackers, Diwali expresses this hope that light will overcome the darkness.

Lord Jesus – Light in the World

This is exactly what the Lord Jesus has done. The Gospel in the Veda Pusthakan (or Bible) describes Jesus in the following way:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1: 1-5)

So you see, this ‘Word’ is the fulfillment of the hope that Diwali expresses. And this hope comes in this ‘Word’ from God, which John later identifies as the Lord Jesus. The Gospel continues by stating that

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:9-13)

This is explaining how the Lord Jesus came to ‘give light to everyone’. Some think that this is only for Christians, but notice that it says that this offer is for ‘everyone’ in the ‘world’ to ‘become children of God’. This offer is one that everyone, at least everyone who is interested in, like Diwali, Light overcoming the darkness inside them.

Lord Jesus’ Life prophesied hundreds of years in advance

What is extraordinary about the Lord Jesus is that his incarnation was predicted and foretold in many different ways and instances from early human history and they are recorded in the Hebrew Vedas. So he was written about even before he was on this earth. And some of the predictions of his incarnation are also remembered in the most ancient hymns in the Rg Veda, which praises the coming of Purusa, and records some of the earliest events of mankind, such as the flood of Manu, the same person whom the Bible – Veda Pusthakan – calls ‘Noah’. These ancient accounts depict the darkness of the sins of people, while offering the hope of the coming Purusa, or the Lord Jesus.

In the foretellings of the Rg Veda, Purusa, the incarnation of God and perfect man, was going to be sacrificed. This sacrifice was going to be sufficient to pay for the karma of our sins and also to cleanse us on the inside. Washings and pujas are good, but they are limited to our outsides. We need a better sacrifice to cleanse us on the inside.

Lord Jesus prophesied in Hebew Vedas

Along with these hymns in the Rg Veda, the Hebrew Vedas prophesied of this Coming One. Prominent in the Hebrew Vedas was the Rsi Isaiah (who lived about 750 BC, in other words 750 years even before the Lord Jesus walked this earth). He had many insights into this Coming One. He anticipates Diwali when he announces about the Lord Jesus that:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned (Isaiah 9:2)

Why would this be the case? He continues

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

But though he was the Incarnation, he would become a Servant to us, to help us with our darkest needs.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Isaiah is describing the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. He does so 750 years before it happened, and he also describes the crucifixion as the sacrifice that heals us. And this work that the Servant would offer would be such that God would say to him

I will also make you a light to the Gentiles (non-Jews) that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6-7)

So you see! This is for me and it is for you. It is for everyone.

The example of Paul

In fact, one man who definitely did not think that the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice was for him was Paul, a man who opposed the name of Jesus. But he had an encounter with the Lord Jesus that caused him later on to write

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Co 4: 6)

Paul had a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus which caused light to ‘shine in his heart’.

Experiencing this Light of Jesus for you

So what must we do to get this ‘salvation’ from darkness and sin becoming light that Isaiah had prophesied, the Lord Jesus has obtained, and which Paul experienced? Paul answers this question in another letter where he writes

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

Notice how he says this is a ‘gift’. A gift, by definition, cannot be earned. Someone simply gives you a gift without you earning it or you meriting it. But the gift will never benefit you, never be in your possession unless you ‘receive’ it. This is why John, who I quoted at the beginning wrote

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12)

So you simply receive him. You can do so by asking him for this gift which is freely given. The reason you can ask is that he is alive. Yes, he was sacrificed for our sins, but three days later came back to life, just as the Rsi Isaiah had prophesied hundreds of years earlier when he wrote about the suffering servant that

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied. By his knowledge my righteous Servant will justify many (Isaiah 53:11)

So the Lord Jesus is alive and can hear you when you call out to him. You can pray the Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram to Him and He will hear and save because he sacrificed himself for you and now has all authority. Here again is that prayer that you can cry to him:

I am a sinner. I am the result of sin. I am born in sin. My soul is under sin. I am the worst of sinners. O Lord who has the beautiful eyes, Save me, O Lord of the Sacrifice.

You are welcome to browse other articles here. They start at the beginning of human history and show from the Sanskrit and the Hebrew Vedas this plan of God to save us from darkness and bring us into light, simply as a gift. And I will continue to add more articles as I have time.  You are also welcome to contact me if you have some questions.

This Diwali, as you light candles and exchange gifts, may you experience this gift of inner light from the Lord Jesus like Paul had experienced and had been changed by many years ago and which is also offered to you. Happy Diwali

Achieving Moksha – Freedom from Karma

Karma, like gravity, is a law that is acting on you and me.  Karma can mean many things, but the fundamental idea is that we have deeds, and the merit for virtuous deeds and the penalty for evil deeds attach to our souls.  Unless our deeds are completely virtuous then there is a payment required of us, and unless that payment is made we are in bondage.

All of us instinctively feel this in some way.  And by our knowledge and wisdom we have invented many ways to deal with accumulated karma.  There is karma marga (way of works) where we labor hard to have good works.  There are mantras and pujas that are recited.  There are festivals and bathings that are sought, such as the Kumbha Mela Festival.  These ways are all difficult and we never have assurance that our efforts have been sufficient.  Were the motives behind our actions good enough?  Were a sufficient number of deeds good enough?  We are never sure. And so, like gravity, we live in karma, unable to break free and attain Moksha.  This is why before doing pujas people say the Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram (“I am a sinner. I am the result of sin. I am born in sin. My soul is under sin. I am the worst of sinners. O Lord who has the beautiful eyes, Save me, O Lord of the Sacrifice.”)

Prajapati / Yahweh: God who Provides in Sacrifice

So who is this ‘Lord of the sacrifice’?  And how can He save us from this Law of Karma?  In the very earliest Veda texts, the God who was Lord of all Creation – the one who made and controlled the universe – was called Prajapati. It is through Prajapati that everything else came into being.

Around the same time that the Rg Veda was written down, about 1500 BC, another set of scriptures was also being recorded in another part of the earth – in what is now called the Middle East.  These earliest Hebrew texts of the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) is known as the Torah.  The Torah begins with the declaration that there is one God who is the Creator of the whole universe. In the transliteration from the original Hebrew this God was called either Elohim or Yahweh and these names are interchanged back and forth throughout in these Hebrew texts. Thus, like Prajapati in the Rg Veda, Yahweh or Elohim in the Torah was (and is) Lord of all Creation.

Early In the Torah, Yahweh also reveals Himself as the God ‘who Provides’ in a remarkable encounter with the Rsi called Abraham. We will look at this encounter in more detail later. For the moment I just want to note the similarity with Yahweh who provides (transliterated from Hebrew as Yahweh-yireh) with that of Prajapati in Rg Veda who is “the protector or supporter of creatures”.

In what way does Yahweh provide? We have already noted the need we have to get free from Karma, and we have noted the mantram which prays to the ‘Lord of the Sacrifice’.   The Rg Veda expands on this by telling us:

“The actual sacrifice is Prajapati Himself” [Sanskrit: ‘Pajapatir yajnah’]

Sanskrit scholar H. Aguilar comments on this by translating from Sathapatha Brahmana the following:

“And indeed, there was no other (victim) meet for sacrifice but that one Prajapati, and the gods set about offering him up in sacrifice. Wherefore it is with reference to this that sage has said: ‘The gods offered up the sacrifice with the help of the sacrifice – for with the help of the sacrifice they did offer up him (Prajapati), the sacrifice – these were the first ordinances, for these laws were instituted first” H. Aguilar, The Sacrifice in the Rg Veda

The Vedas from the earliest time declares that Prajapati (or Yahweh) recognized the need we had so He provided for our Karma in a self-sacrifice. How He did it we look at in later articles as we concentrate on the Purusa-Prajapati sacrifice of the Purusasukta in Rg Veda, but for now just think how important this is. The Svetasvataropanisad says

‘there is no other way to enter eternal life ( Sanskrit: Nanyahpantha vidyate – ayanaya) Svetasvataropanisad 3:8

If you are interested in escaping Karma, if you desire Moksha or enlightenment then it would be wise to be informed about what has been revealed about how and why Prajapati (or Yahweh) provided for us through self-sacrifice of Jesus so that we can escape karma and gain heaven.  And the Vedas do not leave us hanging.  In Rg Veda is the Purusasukta which describes the incarnation of Prajapati and the sacrifice He made for us.  Click here to see the introduction to Purusasukta which describes Purusa like the Bible (Veda Pusthakam) describes Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) and his sacrifice to bring you Moksha or Mukti (immortality).  Then we continue through these vedas and see how the ancient Rsi Job could declare his freedom from Karma and his anticipation of eternal life – he had been given Moksha.

The universal need for sacrifice

Sages and rsis through the ages have known that people live in illusion and sin.  This has resulted in people through all religions, ages and education levels having an instinctive awareness that they need to be ‘cleansed’ in some way.  This is why so many participate in the Kumbh Mela Festival   and why before doing pujas people say the Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram (“I am a sinner. I am the result of sin.  I am born in sin.  My soul is under sin.  I am the worst of sinners.  O Lord who has the beautiful eyes,  Save me, O Lord of the Sacrifice.“) as explained in my post on the Kumbh Mela Festival.  Hand-in-hand with this instinctive need for cleansing is a sense of need to give a sacrifice to ‘pay’ in some way for our sins or the darkness (Tamas) of our lives.  And once again in the sacrifice of the pujas, or in the Kumbh Mela and other Festivals people give sacrifice of time, money, asceticism in order to meet this instinctive need to give sacrifice.  I have heard of people taking a cow and holding it by the tail as it swims across the river.  This is done as a puja or sacrifice in order to earn forgiveness.

This need to give sacrifice has been around as long as our oldest religious texts have been around. And these texts affirm what our instincts tell us – that sacrifice is very important and must be given.  For example consider the following teachings:

In the Kathopanisad (Hindu text) the protagonist Naciketa says:

“I indeed know that fire sacrifice leads to heaven and is the way to attain heaven” Kathopanisad 1.14

The book of the Hindus says:

“It is through sacrifice that man reaches heaven” Sathapatha Brahmana VIII.6.1.10

“by means of sacrifice, not only men but gods acquire immortality” Sathapatha Brahmana II.2.2.8-14

So it is through sacrifice that we gain immortality and heaven (Moksha).  But the question still remains as to what kind of sacrifice and how much is sufficient to meet the need to make a ‘payment’ or earn enough merit against our sins/tamas?  Will 5 years of asceticism be sufficient?  Will giving money to the poor be a sufficient sacrifice?  And if so, how much?

Prajapati / Yahweh: God who Provides in Sacrifice

In the very earliest Veda texts, the God who was Lord of all Creation – the one who made and controlled the universe – was called Prajapati.  It is through Prajapati that everything else came into being.

The earliest Hebrew texts of the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) is known as the Torah. The Torah was written approximately 1500 BC, around the time that the Rg Veda was composed. The Torah begins with the declaration that there is a God who is the Creator of the whole universe. In the transliteration from the original Hebrew this God was called either Elohim or Yahweh and they are interchanged back and forth throughout in these Hebrew texts. Thus, like Prajapati in the Rg Veda, Yahweh, or Elohim, in the Torah was (and is) Lord of all Creation.

Early In the Torah, Yahweh also reveals Himself as the God ‘who Provides’ in a remarkable encounter with the Rsi called Abraham. We will look at this encounter in more detail later. For the moment I just want to note the similarity with Yahweh who provides (transliterated from Hebrew as Yahweh-yireh) with that of Prajapati in Rg Veda who is “the protector or supporter of creatures”.

In what way does Yahweh provide? We have already noted the instinctive need for people to give sacrifice, but vaguely without assurance that the sacrifice that we bring is sufficient. What is so interesting is that in this very specific area of our need the Tandyamaha Brahmana declares how Prajapati provides for our need. It says:

“Having made a self-sacrifice Prajapati (the Lord of all Creation) offered himself for the gods” Tandyamaha Brahmana, chapter 7 of 2nd khanda.

[the sanskrit transliteration is “Prajapatirddevebhyam atmanam Yajnam krtva prayacchat”].

Here Prajapati is in the singular.  There is only one Prajapati, just as in Torah there is only one Yahweh. Later in the Puranas literature (written from 500 – 1000AD) there are several Prajapatis identified. But in the earliest text quoted above Prajapati is in singular – there is only one. And in this statement we see that Prajapati himself gives or is the sacrifice and He gives it on behalf of others. The Rg Veda confirms this by saying:

“The actual sacrifice is Prajapati Himself” [Sanskrit: ‘Pajapatir yajnah’]

Sanskrit scholar H. Aguilar comments on this by translating from Sathapatha Brahmana the following:

“And indeed, there was no other (victim) meet for sacrifice but that one Prajapati, and the gods set about offering him up in sacrifice. Wherefore it is with reference to this that sage has said: ‘The gods offered up the sacrifice with the help of the sacrifice – for with the help of the sacrifice they did offer up him (Prajapati), the sacrifice – these were the first ordinances, for these laws were instituted first” H. Aguilar, The Sacrifice in the Rg Veda

The Vedas from the earliest time declares that Yahweh or Prajapati recognized the need we had so He provided for us in a self-sacrifice. How He did it we look at in later articles as we concentrate on the Purusa-Prajapati sacrifice of the Purusasukta in Rg Veda, but for now just think how important this is. The Svetasvataropanisad says

‘there is no other way to enter eternal life ( Sanskrit: Nanyahpantha vidyate – ayanaya)  Svetasvataropanisad 3:8

If you are interested in eternal life, if you desire Moksha or enlightenment then it would be wise to journey along to see what has been revealed about how and why Prajapati (or Yahweh) provided for us through self-sacrifice so that we can gain heaven.  And the Vedas do not leave us hanging.  In Rg Veda is the Purusasukta which describes the incarnation of Prajapati and the sacrifice He made for us.  Click here to see the introduction to Purusasukta which describes Purusa like the Bible (Veda Pusthakam) describes Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) and his sacrifice to bring you Moksha or Mukti (immortality).  Click here to understand how to receive cleansing from this sacrifice of Jesus.

The Kumbh Mela Festival: Showing Bad News of Sin & our need for cleansing

The largest gathering ever in human history happened this year in 2013 – the Kumbh Mela festival which is celebrated only once every 12 years. A staggering 100 million people  descended on the city of Allahabad by the shores of the Ganges River through the 55 day festival season, with 10 million having bathed in the Ganges just on the opening day alone.

Devotees at Ganges for Kumbh Mela Festival

Devotees at Ganges for Kumbh Mela Festival

Organizers expected 20 million bathers on the peak bathing day of February 15, according to NDTV. I have been to Allahabad and I cannot imagine how these many millions could be there at once without all functions seizing up.  The BBC reported that huge efforts were made to bring things like toilets and doctors to meet the day-to-day needs of these people. These Khumb Mela numbers dwarfed that of the annual Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca that Muslims make – a ‘mere’ 3.1 million in 2012.

So why did 100 million people spend 120 billion rupees to bathe in the Ganges river? One devotee from Nepal reported to the BBC that

“I have washed off my sins”.

Reuters reports that

“I wash away all my sins, from this life and before,” said wandering ascetic Swami Shankranand Saraswati, 77, shivering naked in the cold.

NDTV tells us that

Worshippers, who believe a dip in the holy waters cleanses them of their sins,

In the previous 2001 festival I noticed on the then-BBC interview that pilgrim Mohan Sharma reported that “the sins we have created are washed away here”.

The universal human sense of ‘sin’

In other words, multiple millions will spend money, travel on crowded trains, endure congested situations and bathe in The Ganges River to have their sins ‘washed away’. Before we look at what these devotees are doing, let us consider the problem that they are recognizing in their own lives – sin.

Śri Sathya Sai Baba and ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’

In my ‘About Me’ page I wrote about some moral teachings from Śri Sathya Sai Baba, whose precepts I thought admirable. I reproduce them again below. Ask yourself as you read them “Are these good moral precepts to live by? Should I live by them?”

“And what is dharma (Our moral duty)? Practicing what you preach, doing as you say it has to be done, keeping precept and practice in line. Earn virtuously, yearn piously; live in fear of God, live for reaching God: that is dharma” Sathya Sai Speaks 4, p. 339

“What exactly is your duty?…

  • First tend your parents with love and reverence and gratitude.
  • Second, speak the truth and act virtuously.
  • Third, whenever you have a few moments to spare, repeat the name of the Lord with the form in your mind.
  • Fourth, never indulge in talking ill of others or try to discover faults in others.
  • And finally, do not cause pain to others in any form”  Sathya Sai Speaks 4, pp.348-349

“Whoever subdues his egoism, conquers his selfish desires, destroys his bestial feelings and impulses, and gives up the natural tendency to regard the body as self, he is surely on the path of dharma” Dharma Vahini, p.4

As I read these I found that these were precepts that I should live – as a simple moral duty. But have you really been living by them? Have you (and I) measured up? What happens when we fail or do not measure up to these precepts. Śri Sathya Sai Baba continues his teachings by answering this question in the following way

“Generally, I speak sweet, but on this matter of discipline, I will not grant any concessions … I will insist on strict obedience. I shall not reduce the rigor to suit your level, ”  Sathya Sai Speaks 2, p.186

That level of rigor is fine – if you always meet the requirements. But what if you do not? This is where the concept of ‘sin’ then comes from. When I miss the moral target, or fall short in doing what I know I should do then I sin and I am a sinner. No one likes being told they are a ‘sinner’ – it is something that makes us uncomfortable and guilty, and in fact we spend much mental and emotional energy trying to rationalize all these thoughts away.  Perhaps we look to another teacher other than Śri Sathya Sai Baba, but if he is a ‘good’ teacher, his moral precepts will be very similar – too hard to do.

The Bible (Veda Pusthakam) says that all of us feel this sense of sin, regardless of religion or education level because this sense of sin comes from our conscience. The Veda Pusthakam expresses it this way

Indeed, when Gentiles (ie non-Jews), who do not have the law (Ten Commandments in Bible), do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them. (Romans 2:14-15)

Thus this is why millions of pilgrims feel their sin. It is just like the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) says

all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

Sin expressed in Pratasana Mantram

This notion is expressed in the well-known Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram which I reproduce below

I am a sinner. I am the result of sin.  I am born in sin.  My soul is under sin.  I am the worst of sinners.  O Lord who has the beautiful eyes,  Save me, O Lord of the Sacrifice.

This expresses the same spirit as the Upanishad prayer I referenced in Welcome to Vedic ConsiderTheGospel.

The Gospel ‘washes our sins’

The Gospel addresses the very issue that these devoted pilgrims are seeking – to have their ‘sins washed away’. It promises a blessing to those who wash their ‘robes’ (ie their moral actions). The blessing is one of immortality (tree of life) in heaven (‘the city’).

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

The Kumbh Mela Festival shows us the ‘bad news’ of the reality of our sin, and it thus should awaken us to look for cleansing.  Even if there exists only a remote possibility that this Promise from the Gospel is true, because it is so important, surely it is worthwhile to investigate it in a more thorough manner.

If you are interested in eternal life, if you desire freedom from Sin then it would be wise to journey along to see what has been revealed about how and why Prajapati (or Yahweh) provided for us through self-sacrifice of Jesus so that we can gain heaven. And the Vedas do not leave us hanging. In Rg Veda is the Purusasukta which describes the incarnation of Prajapati and the sacrifice He made for us. Click here to see the introduction to Purusasukta which describes Purusa like the Bible (Veda Pusthakam) describes Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) and his sacrifice to bring you Moksha or Mukti (immortality).