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  1. Girish
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. 08 April 2019
Hari Om !

We learnt that Good action / good karma brings merit or Punya and Bad action / bad karma brings sin or Paap.

However, what is the distinction between good action & bad action?
If the answer to this question is "the attitude / intention with which the action is performed", then a robber stealing others to feed his family, is it a good action or bad action?

Thank you
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This will likely be clarified in upcoming chapters but from what I could gather:
1) Performance of duty is good karma which leads to punya -
2) how that punya is used depends on attitude of doer
a) selfish intent results in joy which can fructify now or later, but
b) selfless offering to God leads to purity of mind)
3) on similar lines, if it is not about performing duty or incomplete performance of duty etc there will be paapa which leads to sorrow

The discussion thread on “how to handle praise and criticism” had a diagram and example of making yoghurt that may be relevant

For the example of robber feeding family check the story of Ratnakar who became Sage Valmiki after realizing his family won’t share in the paapa arising out of his robbery - ie robbery is not a duty for Grihastha - that also came up in the other discussion

To take another example, Hiranyakashipu (father of Prahlad) performed action to gain that boon even though his attitude was extremely selfish - it did give him joy to the extent of conquering the worlds until his actions went out of bounds and became adharmic

All this applies only if there is doership i.e this will not apply to a Sthithapragnasya who remains as Self
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. # 1
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Thanks Mahavir for your input.

Yes, certainly "robbery is not a duty for Grihastha", and that's not the question.
In this case, duty for Grihastha - which includes feeding the family, the action performed in discharge of this duty is - robbery.
So the Q is whether the action performed (robbery) in discharge of one's duty (feeding the family - Grihastha dharma) is a good action or bad action?

I am thinking it would depend on whether the person has prior knowledge of the result of action.
In case of Ratnakar, I am assuming that he knew that robbing others would harm those people (who are innocent) and hence the action is bad.

Like another example could be, whilst I am walking to my office for performance of my duty, unknowingly I am killing many ants and insects on the road. But this killing doesn't qualify as bad action.

Any thoughts?
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  1. Mahavir
  2. 3 months ago
  3. #90
In the story, Ratnakar thought it is ok to feed his family by robbing others. Sage Narada meets him to explain he is earning Paapa since robbing is not righteous. He further asked him to check with his wife whether she will share the paapa. She refused saying it was not her duty to feed the family. That opened Ratnakar’s eyes and he was so distraught that he couldn’t chant name of God (Rama) as suggested by Sage Narada - so Sage Narada tells him to chant Mara ( dead) instead - he does that and in chanting Mara the chants becomes Rama. In all this, he abandons robbing (and his family) and becomes Sage Valmiki

The point of the story is robbing to feed family earns paapa since it is not righteous (and hence is not duty) - the end does not justify the means.

Both, the end (feeding the family) and means (action) have to be righteous -Br Vedji answered that point in the first Q&A

In the end, it is the scriptures that say what is duty and what is not just as the law of the land tells whether an action is a crime or not - I think there was reference to manu smriti in one of the discourse in chapter 1 -

Even in today’s world robbing to feed the family would get the robber behind bars if the judge doesn’t show leniency - lack of awareness of the law doesn’t result in a free pass in everyday life either!
  1. Nandini
  2. 3 months ago
  3. #94
Hari Om Mahavirji!

Isn't Divine Grace also the most important element in putting an end to the entire baggage of paapa and punya? When the Lord wishes , he redeems the sinner in a flash. While always doing good Karma in the spirit of Yajna, one should also pray for Divine Grace! Ultimately, Lord alone can cut the bondage of Karma and free us forever!
  1. Sujith
  2. 3 months ago
  3. #96
Hariom

All the living creatures has been set software to do action in this world , except Humans .....

A tiger cant eat grass and cow can't eat dead animals ....

They all act as per the set software ....

But, human give give full freedom .... Humans have choice ... no set software ... can go to greater heights or can fall down ...

here, we need to understand basic that God is not someone sit above the sky and dictate the actions ....

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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. # 2
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Can you please quote the exact verse in the scripture that defines a righteous action?
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  1. Mahavir
  2. 3 months ago
  3. #91
Hari Om! That's a question for Swamiji - Chapter 3 Karma Yoga and subsequent chapters should take us into that topic.
  1. Girish
  2. 3 months ago
  3. #92
Ok thanks. Hari Om!
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. # 3
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In Chapter 3 V8, it gives you information on what we should do and what we should not do since we have to perform action anyway.
Action – Karma is divided into 3
1. Enjoined (Vidhi) - Daily Duties (Nitya Karma) and Occasional Duties (Naimittika Karma)
2. Selfish (sakama karma) – Actions prompted by personal selfish desires
3. Prohibited (Nisheda) – stealing etc.
#2 needs to be reduced, #3 avoided. #1 needs to be done without looking for praise or criticism and these two Nitya and Naimittika together are called Niyata Karma which is our bounden duty. This would include all laws of the nation, society’s social norms, family duties, job responsibilities etc.
If you see the book ‘Tattva Bodha’ under chapter ‘Man of Realisation’ , there is a section on Karma – types of Karma – Agami, Sancita, Prarabdha and then a chapter on ‘Freedom from bondage of action’. It’ll give you more detail on punya / papa etc.
Hope this helps.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. # 4
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Hari om. All robbers very well know that robbery is bad action. That is why they do it stealthily. And robbery cannot be labeled as duty. As per Gurudev 's explanation elsewhere, all self -congratulatory actions are good actions; all self-insulting actions are bad actions;( honest estimation of oneself). Hari om.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. # 5
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