Shikshapatri Q & A

Questions and Answers based on "Shikshapatri" Sloks
Shikshapatri - 11

"My dear followers should, under no circumstances kill any living being while being aware about that, not even minute insects like a lice or a bug, etc."

Q.: Why should we not kill any living being?
A.: Killing creates bad impressions on our subconscious mind and as a result of that we become aggressive, irritable and heartless.

Q.: Why should we not kill insects like lice, bugs, scorpions, serpents, rats, mosquitoes etc.?
A.: We create them through our negligence of hygiene and sanitation. By biting us they remind us about maintaining the cleanliness all around as well as within and outside the body. They are thus our teachers. So we should not kill them and at the same time create such condition that they neither born nor do they flourish.

Q.: Can sound kill insects?
A.: Yes, harsh and angry words can kill or harm microscopic insects flying in the air. So, loud, harsh, angry words are also violence. Such violent persons go to the hell names Andhakoopa.

Q.: Are there other ways of killing living beings?
A.: Yes. Those who raise the sword for killing, those who poison others, those who set fire to houses etc. and those who curse others, commit the sin of violence.

Q.: What about killing by proxy?
A.: If a man gets someone killed or instigates others to kill someone also commit the sin of killing.

Q.: Are there different kinds of killing?
A.: Yes. Killing gently, with some force and with all force are all different kinds of killing.

Q.: Can one kill himself except by suicide?
A.: Yes, starving the body to death or harming the body by over-eating, over working or by keeping awake unreasonably is slowly killing the body. It is also the sin of violence.

Q.: What about mercy-killing?
A.: Mercy-killing is also the sin of violence.

Q.: Is punishing a criminal or hanging him the sin of violence?
A.: Certainly. A criminal should be detained and kept in seclusion till he repents and improves himself.

Q.: Can there be exceptions in violence?
A.: Yes, a soldier kills the enemy or someone injures or kills someone to defend himself commits the sin of violence if he uses force more than necessary.

Q.: A teacher or a mother punishes a student or a child to improve him. Is it violence?
A.: Yes, if more force is used than necessary and if the motive is other than that of improving the child and that to in excitement, it is violence.

Q.: A doctor uses medicines to kill germs, and microbes. Does he commit the sin of violence?
A.: Yes, but he can wash off the sin of killing by doing meritorious acts.

Q.: Is killing out of ignorance a sin of violence?
A.: It is, but the punishment would be lighter for such a person.

Q.: Are carnivorous animals sinners?
A.: No. Nature has made them carnivorous to control the population of birds, animals and insects.

Q.: A person commits murder but engages a clever lawyer and the judge absolves the murderer. Will God punish him?
A.: Yes, and the punishment would be harsher as he has tried to cheat God.

Q.: God kills being. Will He be punished?
A.: No. He is above the religious code made for men alone. He creates and protects all beings.

Q.: Sexual act and breathing, heating water and cooking involve subtle violence without which we cannot live. Will we be punished for this?
A.: No. Because life would be impossible without that.

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Shikshapatri - 139

"My dear followers should serve the mother, the father, the spiritual teacher and the sick person, as long as they live and according to their capacity."

Q.: Why should we serve our parents?
A.: Indian parents pray God to give them ideal children and we are born out of the seed. Thus, we being part and parcel of our parents, when we serve them, in fact, we really serve ourselves.

Q.: Why should we serve our spiritual teacher?
A.: Our spiritual teacher moulds our mind and guides our soul for spiritual liberation. In return he deserves our service.

Q.: Why should we serve the sick people?
A.: This is our social obligation. Such service earns merits-punyas for us. It reminds us of how our Lord Shree Hari served Sevakram during His sylvan tour of India. It also pleases and satisfies our conscience.

Q.: What does all such service reflect?
A.: This spirit of service shows that we have developed maturity of mind which is essential to enjoy true bliss.

Q.: What is the significance of this commandment?
A.: This commandment is for followers of all religions and sects. It is for all classes, communities, castes and groups, civilized or uncivilized, cultured or uncultured. It is for any part of the world. It is applicable for all times. Therefore, this is Mahavrata, the universal vow.

Q.: What do scriptures say about this fourfold service?
A.: The scriptures declare as follows:
Even the step-father or the step-mother should be served. Manusmriti declares that, a person cannot reciprocate even if he serves his parents for a hundred years. When such a thankless son dies and goes to hell, his parents devour him and eat his flesh. Such a son is dead, though alive.
In Yajnavalkya Smriti-Mitakshara Commentary, Narada declares: A person who does not serve the parents is not entitled to inherit his parent’s property.
A sick person should be served with medicines, food, water, etc. A sick person means any person who is injured, according to Yajnavalkya, serving a patient is as good as giving away a cow or like serving a God.

Q.: If I don't love my parents what would happen?
You will be condemned by the society as a heartless fellow. You are likely to be antisocial and self-centered. As a thankless fellow, you will be trusted by none. No religious practice done by you will bear fruit. Shreeji Maharaj will be highly displeased with you and keep the gates of Akshardham closed for you. If your parents sigh, their sighs will become curses for you, leading you to hell.

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Shikshapatri - 20

"No one should level false accusations against anyone, even for achieving some selfish motive nor should anyone utter indecent (obscene) words."

Q. Why does a man/woman make false allegations?
A.: If a person is jealous of the power, prosperity and virtues of another person he would make false allegations against a person who is powerful, prosperous and virtuous. Satrajit had got a magical jewel that produced gold daily. When that jewel was lost, allegation of stealing the jewel was made against Lord Krishna. Kaliyuga was jealous of Chastity of Damyanti. So he stole the valuable necklace entrusted to her by a queen. So the queen told all that Damyanti had stolen the necklace.
Sometimes allegations are made out of ignorance. The washerman had alleged that Sita was unchaste.
Yajnavalkya, the writer of our Sat Shastra, in his Yajnavalkya Smriti declared that the person who makes such false allegation incurs double the sin alleged by him. He is punished for all the sins committed by the person who is the victim of his allegations.
Allegations are made many times for taking vengeance which cannot be otherwise taken. Shishupal knew that he can't kill Lord Krishna. Again he was a prospective candidate for marriage with Rukmini. He wanted to please his friend Rukmini, the brother of Rukmini. He wanted to please Duryodhana who was his intimate friend. So publicly made 99 allegations against Lord Krishna but upon making hundredth allegation Lord Krishna beheaded him with His Sudarshan Chakra.

Q.: How many types of allegations are there?
A.: There are two types of allegations: 1. Abuses which are direct allegations and 2. rumors which are spread to serve some personal interests.

Q.: What is the effect of allegations on the person who makes them?
A.: When the truth becomes known, the person who makes the allegations or spreads rumors is exposed and he is condemned by the people. None would trust him. None would stand by him. None would be friendly to him and all good people would avoid his company. His life would be miserable.

Q.: What is the effect of allegations on the victim of allegations?
A.: When the truth becomes known, he wins more respect from people. When king Bhartruhari renounced the world he used a stone as a pillow. A passer by criticized him for having a stone-pillow. When he threw away the stone he was again condemned as a sensitive person. Thus his renunciation became more firm. Q.: What is the difference between telling the truth and allegations?
A.: The saint tells the satsangi about his vices but his motive is to improve the satsangi. The Guru tells the disciple or a junior saint about his faults so that the disciple may improve. There is no such noble motive behind making allegations.

Q.: Why do some people use abusive words?
A.: Use of abusive words reflect anger or the morbid mind of the man or woman who uses abusive words. This shows that he/she is mentally sick. This mental sickness can be cured by avoiding the use of abusive, indecent and obscene words.

Q.: What is the origin of such words?
A.: Some of the abusive words reflect the vices of a person. Chor, Harami, the son of donkey, the son of a horse are examples of bad words which were introduced by invaders in India to run down local people.

Q.: Why should we not use such abusive, indecent and obscene words?
A.: Such words reflect the bad character of those who use them. In order to hide their own bad character, they use such words. The followers of Swaminarayan fellowship are well-known around the world for not using such words.

Q.: Why do the followeres of Shree Hari avoid such words?
A.: They love their God as He is always with them. They would never displease Shree Hari by using such words. On the contrary, they insist on using sweet words everywhere. They would never displease anyone with bitter words.

Q.: What is the impact of this verse on the followeres?
A.: The verse has created the best impression about all the followers on others and creates harmony among them.

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Swaminarayan Sampraday - Shikshapatri Q & A