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It is fair to say that if we had behaved badly or done something unfair to someone, we cannot just ignore it as if it never happened. It may be possible that the person who was mistreated has gone away and may not be accessible or traceable any more. In such a situation, it may not be possible to make up for what we had done to him/her. However, there is another way to accomplish it. Every person is a part of society. Hence, damage or harm caused to any individual is, in reality, damage caused to society. We can compensate damage we caused to that individual by doing as much good to society. When the amount of good done to society makes up for the amount of harm done to the individual, it can be safely said that we have atoned for the wrongdoing and have come to a point where we can free us from any sense of guilt. 

It is absolutely impossible to set us free from any wrongdoing by means of observing some cheap religious rituals. Reading sacred texts and good thoughts, satasanga (staying in touch with people of great character), listening to discourses and devotional songs, going on pilgrimage, fasting, etc. help us to purify our mind and also enlighten us to restrain, from now on, our tendency to commit anything wrong. The scriptures speak about religious rites and observances having a grand ability to cleanse us from our sins. They only mean to say that the cleansing of the mind (achieved through such observances) may negate any possibility of that individual committing sinful acts in future. 

The inescapable justice system of God directs that anyone who wishes to absolve them from the consequences of their wrongdoing should devote themselves to selfless services to the community that can boost up its goodness or merits. This can help anyone to cleanse him/herself from any past wrongdoings and thus, imparts peace and freedom from guilt and unworthy intentions. 

-Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya
Translated from – Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya’s work
YUG NIRMAN YOJANA – DARSHAN, SWAROOP AND KARYAKRAM – 66 (6.18)

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