Sunday, 10 June 2012

On my way to Hell, or not!

A Hindu by birth, a believer in the teachings of the Upanishads by long practice and thought.
All of them, in one voice proclaim: Good deeds and intentions never fail to reward.

"Accordingly as one behaves so does he become. The doer of good becomes good, the doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous actions. Others become evil by evil actions."

- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Chapter 4, Brahmana 4, Verse 5

"As is his desire, so is his will. As is his will so is the deed he does. Whatever deed he does that it is which he attains."

- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Chapter 4, Brahmana 4, Verse 5, in continuation

But also, there is the proverb, "The way to hell is paved with good intentions."

This set me thinking. How can good intentions take you to hell? Is it for lack of actions based on intentions, or is it because there are always unintended consequences?

My experiences over the years, on the surface, seem to prove the proverb right!

Working as a professor in college, I was entrusted with the organization of a camp for the students.
I had to take the students out, to a camping site, remain there for a few days, organize activities involving self-help, first-aid etc.

I embraced the task whole-heartedly. Working on it day and night for the period involved.

The principal, a communal frenetic, prejudiced as he was against me, unbelievably sponsored petitions, alleging misuse of funds on poor organization of the camp! The bureaucracy being what it is and my higher authorities knowing the character and caliber of those involved, dismissed the charges. What an escape it was!

A fitting reward for good intentions, indeed it was very nearly not so!

But faith, that wonderful thing, allows me consolation; That which happens in this world is immaterial to what awaits me in the one to which I go!


  1. But the great escape was your reward don't you think? I think that's wonderful!


  2. Dear Sir,
    It is wonderful reading posts on your website. It is great to hear (true) stories from the past.

    How fast things get forgotten. 1980's itself feels like a century old already. An old classic, if you may. It is good to transcend time by having chance to hear from you. I am 35 yrs old but already feel like 95 and feel good about it too:)

    Regarding this specific post, again, I can only theorize after reading Bhagavad gita and going through small-scale-experiences.
    Ultimately Isnt the aim to not be tied by "Goodness" too and transcend that.

    Ultimately, isnt true gyana / gnana to see lack-of-our-own-free-will and realize "Potruvaar poatralum, thootruvaar thootralum" ....?

    I know you wrote this post in a Rhetorical way. Still thought of using such an opportunity. Maybe we are supposed to proceed from Evil to Good. Vedantha and upanishads and our own Experiences in life takes us there.

    Then comes experiences again guided by Upanishads, purana and vedantha, which helps us transcend even goodness.
    (based on this rambling, you know why it is that I call myself as old)

  3. Respected Chellam Thatha,
    Very nice post,Glad to see that you are sharing your experiences thru this blog.Looking forward to your next post.
    Ramesh Varadharajan