[Advaita-l] non performance of action and sin.

sthanunathan Ramakrishnan r_sthanu at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 17 00:51:39 CDT 2008

I have a question on the following:

>Kuntimaddi Sadananda wrote:
>My statement was Shankara does not subscribe to pratyavaya paapam for not >performing so called obligatory duties - in his discussion of jnanaakarma >saucchya vaada.

The argument given is that not doing something (a negative) cannot lead to a positive result (of sin, in this case, of abandoning nitya karma). So it is not accepted that leaving out obligatory duties is a sin.

But take this example: Suppose some innocent, unarmed person is getting killed in front of me. I have the power to stop this killing (lets say this person is a kshatriya). But still I do not do anything. Then by not doing anything, I have allowed an innocent man to be killed. Does this not cause sin. And In this case, has not the absence of action caused sin. 

In this case, an objection may be raised that the person who actively kills is the only one who gets the sin. So lets take a different example. Suppose there is a person who is nearly dying on the road due to thirst. In this case, I can give him water and save him. By not doing so, dont I incur the sin of allowing that person to die.

So in general, how do we say that non performance of an action cannot lead to a positive result.


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