SIN is what we do and think. The definition of Sin varies from religion to religion; from belief to belief, but GUILT depends on the person and the “time” during which he “FEELS” guilty.
So essentially, SIN is based on what one DID or THOUGHT (Jesus says: if a man lusts after a woman, he has committed adultery in his heart) but GUILT is what a person “feels” or “is made to feel about what he did or thought”. Herein lies the difference.
Ashoka the Great killed millions in the war of Kalinga but did not feel Guilty, but somewhere thereafter he FEELS GUILTY, so he was CONVICTED OF HIS GUILT and gave up war.
David overcomes his guilt after committing adultery with Bathsheba till Nathan CONVICTS David of his guilt.
Guilt is a personal conviction, whereas SIN is an ACT..
The best part is that one could SIN and never FEEL GUILTY.
And if we are LUCKY, God will not bring up a person to show us our SINS and make us FEEL GUILTY!!
Almost anyone who is religious must have discovered that his religion, if it does not impose, recommends a period of abstinence and abnegation. The reasons attributed for such abstinence could be depending on your vocation/temperament/erudition/inveterate belief. Even though there is nothing in the NEW TESTAMENT directly stating that one should FAST or deprive oneself of food and good living at any point of time, CHRISTIANITY has competed with other religions and has prescribed through the Church establishment that the period from ASH WEDNESDAY till EASTER, every year, should be observed as a period of SELF-DENIAL, called THE LENT.
Coming to the NEW TESTAMENT averment made by me, Jesus was once asked by someone as to why, “when the Pharisees fasted often, why his disciples did not fast and observe the “regulations” imposed by the Jewish ecclesiastical regulations?, Jesus answered, ‘When the bridegroom is with them, where is the need for them to fast?” So the inference drawn is that there is no hard and fast rule regarding ABSTINENCE (do not mistake it for ABSTENTION which is what the legislators do to ensure that some bills are passed without having to take the blame for the passage of the bill!). However the same Jesus when asked, why his disciples were not able to drive out the evil spirit which possessed a boy brought to them for healing says, “Except through prayer and fasting it is not possible to drive out such an evil spirit.” So the counter inference is that YOU ARE AT LIBERTY TO FAST OR NOT TO FAST, BUT IF YOU WANT TO DO POWERFUL DEEDS, YOU BETTER FAST!
So stuck between these inference and counter-inference I stand as a Religious Christian, confused at the fork and letting my own interpretation take its course. But my mind has to be placated and subjugated to a line of reasoning which would give me the benefits of the “powerful deeds” yet not “clamp me down with any hard and fast rule”. So i follow ABSTINENCE not as a religious compulsion but as a religious compliance. But repeated compliance can make even oneself believe that THAT HAS TO BE DONE, COME WHAT MAY. But I believe that MIND was given to man, for his welfare just as EVE was given as a helper to ADAM, and not to be led by a MIND which is prone to habits and routine, therefore i make my own concessions to my LENTEN ABSTINENCE. Which i call as LENTEN MISCHIEF!
My idea of LENTEN MISCHIEF does not include binge drinking or for that matter drinking at all, as i am not tempted by drinks- i mean LIQUOR! And before the reader falls into slotting me as a teetotaler, i’d like to state that i have had it and i discovered that i was not REPRESSED enough to need liquor to UNLOCK my mental treasures hidden deeply in my sub-conscious! I discovered that LIQUOR has no effect on me and consequently, i prefer not to force myself to “ACQUIRE” a taste for the obnoxious peaty flavors emanating from those liquids preserved in oaken casks, for decades!
So my LENTEN MISCHIEF includes, but not limited to (ha ha aha!), forays into eating NON-VEGETARIAN food during the LENT. I have some convenient excuses, in that some of my close relatives’ birthdays fall during this period and i am “compelled” into making exceptions to my LENTEN ATTEMPTS!
So yesterday, i was asked by my friend to accompany him to a restaurant where non-vegetarian items, of almost all on flight except kites (not the bird, but the ones which are flown during festivals and windy seasons in India!) and anything on the run – except wheels-, were available on the menu. So he ordered for a slew of non-veg items and i ordered for appam and vegetable stew. I saw my friend have a hearty meal, surprisingly i found myself not tempted at the spread at all. I recalled that statement from Blake, which goes something like this : we control our passions not be cause we are strong, but because our passions are weak.
I came out of the restaurant crest-fallen, now I am not even tempted enough to breach and feel guilty! So i have decided to have the best of the non-vegetarian spread today. If the food has lost its temptation, what sacrifice am i doing? I am sure ……………i’ve found one more reason to break free! LENTEN MISCHIEF!
There was this Muslim friend of mine, who was not merely curious to attend a church service but also eager. THE KORAN had said a lot about Jesus, and his discourses with me did not exactly match with my interpretation of Jesus. This must have triggered his curiosity and as planned, attended a Sunday morning service. He sat through the whole service- of course he stood up when the singing, gospel reading and Nicene creed were sung or uttered, as the case might be.
He was quite attentive during the sermon and i was under the mistaken belief that he was cogitating and comparing the various points said in the sermon.
After the service was over, the congregation came out of the church and were socializing with their friends and acquaintances. I had also met a lot of my friends and introduced them to my Muslim friend. All went well and on our way back, i asked him his impression of the church service. His epigrammatic statement was not merely withering, but made me look at what he uttered differently.
He said, “I SAW A LOT OF COWS IN CALVES’ CLOTHING!”
There was this guy called Ian, who was a cookie! A true blue COOKIE!
What the hell is a Cookie? A cookie is one who has shortage of Knowledge. Knowledge of the kind which is sceptical and asks himself whether what anyone says is TRUE or not.
This is a strategy “I TRUST you, therefore YOU TRUST me“! So Ian was the type who never showed that he suspected anyone and as a favour he wanted others to believe whatever he said.
He was in relationship with a woman called Wyes, who was a smart ass. She wanted to get him photographed in an ATM center so that she could prove that he was misusing her account! One day she told Ian, “why don’t you pull out some cash for me from my account? She handed over her CREDIT CARD and said that the PIN was 1793,” and that she wanted 500$ in cash
So he took the driver along and they reached the ATM booth. Ian tells the driver, “please pull out 500$ for Ma’am- the number is 1793”! The driver returned with the cash and asked Ian to take them back. Instead the driver was promptly told to retain the credit card and upon reaching home to hand over the Credit card with the cash to Wyes. The driver went handed over the cash with the credit card. She was stunned, did Ian hand over the cash? she asked.
The driver said No Ma’am. i used yr credit card and said Ma’am i myself typed 1793!
She saw that Ian had outwitted her! He left no trail for her to cook up stories!
The biggest hurdle one faces with asking God for Death, Destruction or Deprivation is that, like all other prayers, none of these would be taken up and granted IMMEDIATELY. Consequently, the human mind goes back to its bitchy ways and repents for having made those negative prayers.
But when any of those negative things aforementioned happens, the mind says, ” DO YOU REMEMBER THAT YOU WISHED FOR IT ONCE? NOW THEY ARE ANSWERED!”
Let me narrate a story concocted by me based on the above principle.
One day a snake met God and when God enquired him of his weal, the snake said that even though he was harmless people chased him and harmed him. So God asked what he wanted, the snake replied, “I WANT YOU TO GIVE ME FANGS AND POISON TO INJECT ON PERSONS AND ANIMALS WHICH ARE LIKELY HARM ME.”
God granted its wish and the snake immediately developed poison glands and the fangs to inject the same on whomsoever he wished. Armoured with his fangs and poison, he became a feared creature and both humans and other animals avoided the snake.
Many years later when God met the snake and enquired his health, the snake was thankful and added that now he was not molested as before as he had the minimum deterrent of poisonous fangs and that the animals have understood it.
When the years of the snake drew to an end, one day he felt a shooting pain on his mouth. He could not understand the reason, his body was heating up that he felt his blood on a boil. Unbearable, he shouted for God’s help and God appeared before him. The snake asked God to remove the excruciating pain he was going through.
God said, “See, the pain you feel now is nothing but the poison, which you had held back in your own glands, mixing in your own blood stream. It is merely the laws made by me which are taking their course. Now that your poison sac has lost its toughness, the poison is seeping into your blood stream and causing this pain. So please bear with it and go through it, as it is my PRINCIPLE that HE WHO LIVES BY THE SWORD SHALL DIE BY IT and I see no reason why I should change the principle.”
As God completed the line, the snake felt his life ebbing out, his resistance was gone and he surrendered to the principle. As he lay dead, a few rats which passed by said, “where was the need for him to inject the poison, when all he wanted was to eat us for food? I had seen our brother rats twitching in pain when the poison of this snake made their nerves jangle! Thank God he is dead.”The rats seldom realized that it was the same poison which got the snake.
All the Cigarette packets, sold in India, scream the Governmentally compelled negative advertisement, ” SMOKING KILLS.” How far is this advertisement legally, ethically and medically correct?
Firstly, the seller of the cigarette is compelled to state things against the very product the company/firm is selling.
Secondly, the Central Government levies Excise duty on Tobacco products and thereby benefits REVENUE-WISE from the sale of tobacco products.
Thirdly, the moment one steps into a hospital for any check-up, the first and invariable question asked is, “ARE YOU A SMOKER?” That makes the Physician’s job simpler. He now knows what to look for! He is taught in his medical school how a smoker’s lungs is clogged, how his arteries are blocked and how the tar and nicotine have spoilt his whole system. So he starts with a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test……) , a scan on all his arteries, especially of his limbs and finally a test to see the functioning of his heart! Lo and Behold! the diagnosis is that the PATIENT (the nomenclature changes the moment a minor deviation is noticed from the referral values!) HAS TO QUIT SMOKING OTHERWISE………that silence can frighten even the stout hearted!
I know that for a non-smoker, it could be quite annoying to have a smoker puffing in the vicinity and being forced to inhale those caustic and toxic fumes emanating from the nostrils of a smoker, but merely because it is annoying, should the LAWS be made so as to MALIGN any smoker? I think not. The laws should be made in such a way, so that the smokers could be provided a place, just like the SULABH washrooms, which would facilitate smokers have a PEACEFUL SMOKE without scowls and having to smoke furtively as if they were thieves!
Every smoker contributes to the CONSOLIDATED FUND OF INDIA. Look at the percentage of excise on tobacco products-
If the excise burden is measured as a percentage of the retail price, the burden on handmade bidis is 8.8% while the burden on cigarettes is 33% or higher.
The money paid by a smoker for a cigarette costing in retail at Rs. 5/- would have been excised to the extent of Rs. 1.70 per cigarette. So smokers are persons who are contributing on a regular basis- assuming that a person smokes 10 cigarettes a day, he contributes Rs. 17/- per day every day as Central Excise. Is there a social obligation on the part of the Government to alleviate the illnesses of smokers from the consequences of smoking? Surely they do, otherwise, there would be NO JUSTIFICATION for keeping the Excise so high. But, how many hospitals have been built for treatment of smokers? I know of none, instead, whenever a smoker goes to a Physician, and the Doctor tells him that his problems are all because of smoking!
There was a research conducted by the University of North Carolina says as follows;-
As per www.reuters.com, the findings of the study revealed that a change in the chromosome 11 from DNA code is responsible for imbibing the habit of smoking while chromosome 9 hinted at an association with the ability to quit smoking. The study also revealed that genes are also responsible for higher chances of lung cancer.
The research study may help develop better treatment for quitting the habit of smoking. “This lends support to the idea that smoking is not just a question of will power alone, but that genetics plays a role in how much a person smokes and their ability to quit smoking,” explained Dr. Helena Furberg, lead researcher, University of North Carolina.
So if the proclivity to get stuck with smoke lies with one’s genes, why not do research on the money gained by the Government through Excise and get smokers to adequately bolster their “chromosome 9” instead of bad-mouthing smokers and seeing smoking as willful behaviour of a smoker?
This witch hunt should end and the Government should spend more on research in India on this aspect and create a healthy nation. The Physicians should also realize that SMOKING is a condition which should be rectified through their sane medical advice and not exploit the lack of knowledge by the medical community to set right the maladies which get aggravated through smoking.
MORALITY SHOULD BE ALIENATED FROM MEDICAL CONDITION.
The government should utilize the money gained through sale of tobacco products for the betterment of the health of the smokers. The non-smokers should not be allowed to enjoy the excise collected through sale of Tobacco products- as that would mean, the non-smoker would bad-mouth a smoker and yet be shameless enough to use the excise duties collected through sale of tobacco products for his/her own benefit.
The issue of COMPELLING A CIGARETTE COMPANY TO PLACE AN ADVERTISEMENT ON THE PRODUCT AGAINST THE COMPANY’S OWN INTEREST IS CHEAP! The government should educate the people through its own spending and not COMPEL on moral grounds.
Coming to the smokers, they should also choose spots not frequented by non-smokers and smoke tobacco so that their habits do not deleteriously affect the “supposed” health of non-smokers.
The Government advt, at the cost of the company, SMOKING KILLS, seems as if the non-smokers are exempt from premature death or even death itself. I can give enough examples of persons who had smoked their way to glory well into their late eighties. We make generalizations with the hope that such generalizations would have a salubrious effect on humans, but these bold type SMOKING KILLS looks like a big joke……. with no purpose…and to boot at someone’s cost!
AS RESPONSIBLE INDIANS, LET US TELL THAT THE EXCISE COLLECTED ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS BE EXCLUSIVELY USED FOR THE WEAL OF TOBACCO USERS ONLY- LET US DEVELOP SOME SELF-RESPECT.