Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

what are your views on repentance?

By on May 14, 2015 in Life with 93 Comments

Question to Radhanath Swami: What are your views on repentance?Radhanath Swami speaks on repentance

Radhanath Swami Answers- Repentance, in its higher form, is how we speak and how we live. In different religious schools, repentance is practiced in different ways: we can torture ourselves for what we’ve done, we can beg for pardon for what we have done.  In our tradition of Vaishnavism, real repentance is to stop doing the wrong thing and start doing the right thing. Why? Because if we just beg for forgiveness, but keep doing the same thing, there is not much benefit in that. If we really understand what we are doing is not right, we change our heart, we change the way we live and we seek out people who can help us change our values and help us make the right choices.

There is an analogy that in every heart there are two dogs: a good dog and a bad dog. The good dog is barking and calling us to a life of compassion, forgiveness, devotion, honesty, and love.  The bad dog is calling us to a life of envy, arrogance, greed, selfish passion of lust, and anger. So these two dogs are in each of our hearts.  Have you  experienced that? That’s the nature of the mind: sometimes you feel the voice of goodness, and at other times you want to take revenge and you are angry, dissatisfied, agitated and depressed. Those two dogs are fighting within all of us. Which one will win? The one that you and I choose to feed gets strength and the one we choose not to feed is going to get weak. And what is that feeding? The choices we make moment to moment in our life. In any situation, am I going to follow the bad dog by cheating, by being dishonest and by being greedy, or am I going to follow the good dog by being honest and by living with integrity? Am I going to take this intoxication or am I going to become sober? These are the bad dogs and the good dogs; they are always within us.And according to which one we have fed in the past, that’s the one that is barking the loudest now.

 

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  • Sumit Sharma

    Thanks for sharing wonderful answer by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. We must feed the good dog and starve the bad dog.

  • Vinay Malani

    Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for sharing your wonderful perspective on what true repentance actually stands for.

  • Steven Gonzalez

    The analogy with dogs for our desires that lies within our heart is simply eye-opener. Today, i understand crystal clear meaning of repentance.

  • amit

    Thank you for sharing with us the real meaning of repentance. In our tradition of Vaishnavism, real repentance is to stop doing the wrong thing and start doing the right thing

  • Piyush Singh

    Such a perfect answer. Yes it is very important to correct and not do repeat the same act again that caused us repentance. HH Radhanath Swami very clearly states this practical fact that one must ensure to not keep on doing the same mistake then only there is some value to any repentance.

  • Y Raja Shekar

    Radhanath Swami very rightly linked repentance to our moment to moment choice. Because it is very difficult to make those choices against the three modes of material nature mixed within us, its very prudent to depend on higher power of holy name along with our own endeavor and overcome the hurdles.

  • Betty Lee

    The analogy given in this context is very relevant. Before reading the articles of Radhanath swami my idea of repentance was just say sorry and FORGET…
    Thank you for giving the answer which is useful in day to day life…

    • Piyush Singh

      Ditto here.. say Sorry and forget was my understanding so far, which is thoroughly smashed by this answer by HH Radhanath Swami.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much for explaining about Repentance.

  • Piyush Singh

    Perfect answer and to the point clarification for this common misunderstanding. We often feel that the repentance will counteract the effect of our bad acts, but that is not of much real use unless we resolve to stop repeating the same mistake. HH Radhanath Swami so perfectly guides us here. Wonderful understanding.

  • Prahalad

    What a great analogy of understanding the good dog and bad dog mentality.

  • Rahul Gupta

    Wonderful analogy. Radhanath Swami and Bhakti Tirtha Swami often quoted this analogy – derived from Mexican culture.

  • Y Raja Shekar

    Making right choices and not to repeat the mistakes make the repentance meaningful which is nicely explained by Radhanath Swami. This requires tremendous amount of absorption and fully conscious actions moment to moment. Otherwise, its very easy to fall prey to the conditional and nurtured nature and repeat the same mistakes time and again.

  • Vinay Malani

    Without repentance there can be no salvation. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for giving us the deeper meaning of true repentance.

  • Satish Rane

    thank you maharaj for explaining real meaning of repentance. Hare Krishna.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Wonderful answer by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. It’s very inspiring.

  • Lalit

    Superb answer by Radhanath Swami Maharaj !

  • Prahalad

    Nectar of Devotion also confirms what Radhanath Swami says as real atonement or repentance is when one takes to bhakti which eradicates the root cause of all the sins & its proclivity which is ignorance.

    • Piyush Singh

      So true.

  • Sandip Bankar

    Very simple solution…. Feed the good dog. To not repeat the same mistake again and again needs the discrimination ability for making a right choice.

    • Dhaval Solera

      Truly said Sandip ji….

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice analogy. Thank you very much.

  • vidya karekar

    Nice instruction thru a wonderful analogy

  • NIRAV GOKANI

    In our tradition of Vaishnavism, real repentance is to stop doing the wrong thing and start doing the right thing. Why? Because if we just beg for forgiveness, but keep doing the same thing, there is not much benefit in that. If we really understand what we are doing is not right, we change our heart, we change the way we live and we seek out people who can help us change our values and help us make the right choices.

    JUST ADDED PARA FROM ABOVE FOR THOSE WHO READ ONLY COMMENTS..!!

    • Piyush Singh

      A nice trick Nirav to make people read the main text and thanks for making read this wonderful wisdom twice :).

    • Dhaval Solera

      Thank you Nirav ji….for your copy paste, rightly pointed out there people like me who reads comments full and part of article…lets follow whatever part of article we have read…

  • Meet Manik

    Very Inspiring

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much.

  • Rajeev

    Swami ji has explained repentance from a holistic perspective and also given details to the one which is making a lot of sense. Thank you.

  • Vidya Patham

    Thank you Radhanath Swami for speaking so clearly and profoundly on real repentance.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much for such a nice analogy.

  • Prahalad

    Correct understanding of repentance given by HH Radhanath Swami.

  • Prahalad

    True repentance has to come from the heart as described by Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • vilas bhujbal

    very good analogy of good dog and bad dog

  • Sandeep Bhilwadkar

    Radhanath maharaj has explained in very nice manner when the repentance will be really effective. Th analogy also explains how we can control our mind

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Thank you very much for such a nice article.

  • vidya karekar

    nicely explained by Maharaj, real repentance and how to stop making mistakes

  • Dhaval Solera

    the first few lines are amazing….. Repentance, in its higher form, is how we speak and how we live…. one should try best to practice such deeper wisdom by great personalities.

  • Raju K Mewada

    Seeking forgiveness is a really humbling experience. It is good to ask for forgiveness but as explained and more stressed here by H H Radhanath Swami is to stop doing wrong thing. Simply doing wrong thing and asking forgiveness every time may not change our heart. So if we wish to ask for forgiveness first let us try to follow that we will not make same mistake again. And than as explained here engage our self in good things and associate with good people who can guide us and help us to avoid such mistakes. This is a perfect solution suggested by H H Radhanath Swamiji here. Let us try to follow it.

    • Y Raja Shekar

      I agree with your comments sir. However, we need to have very strong desire not to repeat same mistakes. I have been trying very hard, but I tell you it is really difficult to change the deep rooted conditional nature. As you said association with good people is one solution, but we need to really have strong desire even for that. Otherwise good association is also very rare and not cheap. We need to really sincerely pray for it. Thanks for sharing a wonderful thought on this nice answer by Radhanath Swami, every word of which is very potent and have intense deep meaning.

      • Piyush Singh

        Actually this is true that deep rooted conditioning is really tough to overcome. While we are able to give up some of the non conducive things much quickly, few others may take little longer to go away and it is a matter of practice. I also struggle on certain weaknesses and as you also said I try to take more shelter and other measures to stay clear. One thing that I noticed that for any such weakness usually their is a trigger point, it may be a thought, an activity or something like that. We need to carefully analyse the pattern of each event that we didn’t want to do but still happened due to past conditioning. If we understand the pattern and the trigger point then we should take the possible measures to be careful at that trigger point itself and pull back from that situation by taking shelter of Holy names of the Lord.

        Just thought of sharing this but there must be more wisdom on this and it would be useful if others also share more tips to overcome such unwanted situations.

        • Anand Patil

          Very well said Piyush. Unless we nip the desire to do wrong in the bud it will not go away. I must admit, i have been also trying this a lot but haven’t been successful all the time. The other way is to intensify your devotion and pray out to the Lord to protect us from doing wrong. The Lord understands our inner desire and can protect us if our desire to overcome wrong things is genuine. And this comes by practice and experience. Nothing can be changed overnight. I like this discussion, its very relevant and needed our spiritual practice.

          • Piyush Singh

            Thanks Anand for sharing these valuable tips.

  • biswajit

    Very Inspiring,

  • Vinay Malani

    Repentance is an essential purificatory process without which we cannot really make spiritual advancement. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for bringing out the essence of true repentance.

  • Lalit

    Radhanath Swami told real repentance that is not to do wrong again.

  • Y Raja Shekar

    Very well said by Radhanath Swami. Repentance means not to repeat.

  • vidya karekar

    repentance nicely explained ; stop doing wrong things and start doing the right things

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nicely explained by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. Thank you very much.

  • Prahalad

    Explicit explaination by HH Radhanath Swami.

  • Prahalad

    The strength for true repentance comes only by following the bhakti yoga.

    • Piyush Singh

      Very well said.

  • Rajeev

    Swami Ji has given such an elaborate account of repentence .. giving us an opportunity to channelize it to do the right thing … thank you

    • Jerry Richard

      That’s such a good explanation! I like hearing Radhanath Swami

  • Y Raja Shekar

    Very logical answer by Radhanath Swami with an excellent example of bad dog and good dog.

  • Anthony Davis

    Really inspiring analogy and answer….

  • Prahalad

    True repentance has to follow in action.

  • vani

    Real repentance is to make the right choice. Thank you very much.

  • Balkrishna

    HH Radhanath Swami inspires with each word and expression.

  • Balaram Acharya Das

    Very inspiring. Thank you HH Radhanath Swami.

  • Gokul Sundari Devi Dasi

    Wonderful and very inspiring. Thank you HH Radhanth Swami.

  • Betty Lee

    “real repentance is to stop doing the wrong thing and start doing the right thing” – This shows the authors deep understanding over the subject matter of ‘repentance’. Thanks for sharing !!!

    • Lisa Perez

      Yes..Completely agree with you Ms Betty…

  • Jeff Smith

    “”Real repentance is to stop doing the wrong thing and start doing the right thing”” They are the words of wisdom which carry a powerful message but need a lot of determination to live by it.

    • Betty Lee

      i agree with you jeff “words of wisdom” repentance gives strength to fight back the negativity within .

      • Y Raja Shekar

        Thanks to both of you Jeff and Betty for eliciting the essence of what Radhanath Swami answers. Strength to fight back negativity within, comes from our determination and mercy of God.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Amazing definition of repentance – Stop doing the wrong thing and start doing the right thing! We should follow these nuggets of wisdom if we want to perfect our lives.

  • biswajit

    Very nicely explained by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • Deepika

    Thank you maharaj for giving us such pearls of wisdom.

  • Satish Rane

    real repentance means not to repeat mistake again. Thank you maharaj for wonderful understanding of repentance.

  • Kevin White

    Real repentance begins when we realize our mistake. When we realize our mistake, we will never commit it again. Swami ji has explained very well

  • william miller

    Real repentance has been very well explained

  • Lalit

    really Repentance means we arefeeling sorry for the mistake.

  • CS Sandeep S. Shinde

    Very nice article on repentance.

  • Rajeev

    Swami Ji gives us practical way to transform repentance to positive way of life. Thank you very much Swami Ji.

  • Kimberley Martin

    Real repentance means dropping the wrong and picking up the right. Nice explaination

  • Keshav Kishor Das

    Nectarine drop………..! Just cant stop relishing……again and again…..!

  • Anthony Davis

    Very true

  • Vinay Malani

    Great thoughts by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. The analogy of good dog & bad dog is so effective in driving home the point that we are what we choose to be.

    • Piyush Singh

      Yes.. to remember this good and bad dog can certainly help to make the right choices at the crucial moments.

  • Chandala Potdar

    In our tradition of Vaishnavism, real repentance is to stop doing the wrong thing and start doi ng the right thing. And Thank you Radhanath Swami maharaj for nice anology .

    • Piyush Singh

      Amazing point. Thank you for sharing this wisdom from Vaishnavism.

  • vidya karekar

    how we speak and how we live . so true!

  • vidya karekar

    such beautiful analogies to make us understand each and every aspect of devotional service

  • Satish Rane

    penance and repentance has a power to transfer us to good devotee.. thank u maharaja hare krishna

  • datta kamat

    The analogy of the two dogs barking in our hearts is such a beautiful way to explain how we can curb our sinful instincts and lead a pure and holy life by engaging ourselves in the service of the Lord. Thank you Guru Maharaj.

    • Anand Patil

      very true. Thanks

  • vidya karekar

    Maharaj has so nicely said : to stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right thing. repentance so practically defined !

  • Keshav Kishor Das

    Such an illustrative explanation……….! Repentance is precious pro-activity; which transforms our heart. In contrast, sheer lamentation is the symptom of mode of ignorance and it simply drains our energy with no transformation of heart.

    • Piyush Singh

      So well said. Repenting really transforms our heart in a very positive way.

  • Piyush Singh

    The analogy of the good and bad dogs constantly fighting is so practical. With this analogy HH Radhanath Swami guides us to be more responsible and alert to ensure that we always feed only the good dog to eventually force the bad dog to starve to death. Sounds little cruel :), but it is for ultimate good of everyone if all the bad dogs are get rid of.

  • laxmikanth

    the example given about the good dog and bad dog is very appropriate and very relevent, whatever dog we feed the same dog becomes strong and strong and makes the other dog very weak and weak.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very nice explanation of what exactly is real repentance. The analogy of the good and bad dog is very illustrative as to how we should make the right choices.

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