sin and virtue

Q: What is right and what is wrong varies with habit and custom.  Standards vary with societies.

Discard all traditional standards.  Leave them to the hypocrites.  Only what liberates you from desire and fear and wrong ideas is good.  As long as you worry about sin and virtue you will have no peace.

Sin and virtue refer to a person only.  Without a sinful or virtuous person what is sin or virtue?  At the level of the absolute there are no persons; the ocean of pure awareness is neither virtuous nor sinful.  Sin and virtue are invariably relative.

(You will know you are beyond sin and virtue) by being free from all desire and fear, from the very idea of being a person.  To nourish the ideas: “I am a sinner,” “I am not a sinner,” is sin.  To identify oneself with the particular is all the sin there is.  The impersonal is real, the personal appears and disappears.  “I am” is the impersonal Being.  I am this is the person.  The person is relative and the pure Being – fundamental.

True virtue is divine nature (swarupa).  What you are really is your virtue.  But the opposite of sin which you call virtue is only obedience born out of fear.

Sri Nisargadatta

from Who Am I? in I Am That

then, what is love

variations of kanji character for "Compassion"

From I am That: Talks with Sri Nisagardatta Maharaj, Chapter 52:

A man went to see Sri Nisagadartta.  He described a tormented relationship with his mother.  He found solace in his work and in spiritual search.  Yet he found himself unable to reconcile his feelings of growth with love for his mother.  He said to Nisagardatta, “Words are good for shaping feelings; words without feeling are like clothes with no body inside – cold and limp.

This mother of mine – she drained me of all feelings – my sources have run dry….

(I want) simply to love and be loved.  My mother was not only not loving, she was also not lovable.”

Nisagardatta lead him to a realization of love:

“Whichever way you put it, unless you love there is no happiness.  But does love make you always happy?… Is love merely the expectation of pleasure?”

The man replied, “Of course not.  There can be much suffering in love.”

The Master asked, Then, what is love?

“Is it not a state of being rather than a state of mind?  Must you know that you love in order to love?  Did you not love your mother unknowingly?
Your craving for her love, for an opportunity to love her, is it not the movement of love?
Is not love as much a part of you, as consciousness of being?
You sought the love of your mother, because you loved her.”

He responded, “But she would not let me!”

Nisagardatta said, “She could not stop you.”