Karma, Purging of Sins, and Yoga

Q: “Guruji, so many books say doing pranayam cleanses one of all the sins. How does it work?”

Guruji: “On the surface level, sins and merits/virtues don’t change. But the sins get cleansed in a different manner. As I’ve said earlier, our body is made of menstrual blood. This has already been established. And a woman menstruates 432 times in 36 years. The more pranayam we do, the more we overcome the limits of menstrual blood, and that is called bhuta shuddhi (purification of elements), and that is called cleansing of sins. Using the word sin doesn’t really convey the correct meaning here. It narrowly means an adverse social behavior. But think of sin as our limitations, such as bodily impurities or the dormant talent or infinite possibilities hidden inside of us. When we understand all that and limitations completely go away, that is actual cleansing of sins.

“Nobody recognizes the truth that everybody is made of raja – menstrual blood. And when a female is menstruating, she is considered impure by religion. That’s why Christians also say you are born in sin. We are not! We just have to touch the limit of internal refinement of the body. Refined body leads to refined mind resulting in tremendous expansion of consciousness. That is essentially cleansing. Otherwise mostly all sins and merits are no more than social behavior in some sense. Society developed, and to keep it disciplined, laws were created. But as we’ve already established, dharma (religious law, righteousness) means career1. For yogis, dharma will always mean something else.

“You know the clean and peaceful feeling after yoga practice; we are already getting cleansed. We are fighting our own limitations, not any sins or merits. See, until we overcome our limitations, our point of view will remain limited. That’s the important thing. That’s the real motivation for doing yoga, and people start running after it instinctively, because it is in our genetic record somewhere, and our soul has a impression of it. When we make progress, we understand why are we actually doing it. The old song of Gita Dutt describes the situation exactly:

वक़्त ने किया क्या हसीं सितम / तुम रहे न तुम, हम रहे न हम
जायेंगे कहाँ, सूझता नहीं / चल पड़े मगर, रास्ता नहीं
तुम भी खो गए, हम भी खो गए / एक राह पर, चलके दो कदम
वक़्त ने किया, क्या हसीं सितम …

(What sweet destruction time has wrought / you are no longer you, me no longer me
Don’t know where to go from here / we’ve started but there’s no path forward
You got lost, I also got lost / taking couple of steps on the same path
What sweet destruction time has wrought..)

“It was a film by Guru Datt, all of its songs were great – “Kagaz Ke Phool”. You must listen to all its songs; you’ll develop vairagya (detachment) and will get lost in time as well (laughs). [Guru Datt] was a dreamer too. This song describes a yogi’s state of mind exactly.”

Q: “Guruji, it’s said that karma dictates the situation in life, whether you are going to lead a comfortable or a painful life, etc. Does it apply to animals as well?”

Guruji: “Of course! Animals have a destiny too. One stray animal gets beaten on the streets, while the other sits comfortably in air conditioning! Everything depends on the situation at birth, the planetary position at birth. We have cast horoscopes for the all the calves and puppies born here [in the academy], and their lives are closely following the pattern dictated by their planetary position at birth. Astrological principles apply to everybody, whether human or animal. Animals also have good or bad spirits. You’ll have to widen your perspective to understand all this. This is the mystery we are all trying to solve, that’s why it is so fascinating.”

[20090801] Conversation recorded on: June 26th, 2004


  1. Guruji explained it as follow: In Gita, Lord Krishna says ‘dharma is what sustains us’ (धार्येत, स धर्मः). Our career is what sustains us, hence our career is our real dharma.