(Jiva.org) – Can Guru Absolve Sins? – Jiva Institute of Vedic Studies
Question: Can a guru can forgive the sins of his disciples? Or only Kṛṣṇa can? Does Kṛṣṇa do it through the medium of the guru? This question arose from a statement made by a Christian: “Jesus is not merely a guru; he can forgive the sins of his disciples.” Can a Vaiṣṇava guru be compared with Jesus who can also forgive sins, as per the Bible?
Answer: Yes, the guru as well as Krsna can absolve sins. Please refer to Gītā ślokas 18.66, 12.7, 7.14, 8.5.
The guru also absolves the disciple from sins; this is the very meaning of dīkṣā.
divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt kuryāt pāpasya saṁkṣayam
tasmat dīkṣā iti proktā deśikaistattva-kovidaiḥ
(Viṣṇu-yāmala, cited in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 2.9)
“Because it gives (dī) divine knowledge and dispels all sins, the learned call it dīkṣā.”
There are many such references in śāstra.
Question: When Kṛṣṇa chooses to present the jīva with a bonafide spiritual master, does this mean that the jīva itself has done nothing to make this happen? If so, does Kṛṣṇa only offer this to sincere jīvas? If this is the case, then it seems that mercy is not causeless, as the jīva needs to be sincere in looking for Kṛṣṇa. Please clarify my understanding of this matter.
Answer: Causeless means without a cause. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa’s or His devotee’s mercy can come without any action or qualification on the part of the recipient jīva. But mercy is not just a one-time affair. Mercy can come again. When it comes again it may appear because of some action on the part of the jīva. Both are possible. Mother Yaśodā tried to bind Kṛṣṇa but was not successful. Seeing her laboring hard and sweating, Kṛṣṇa’s heart melted, and He became bound by His own grace. So, it is hard to say if Kṛṣṇa was bound by ropes or by grace or by both—dṛṣṭvā pariśramaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ kṛpayā āsīt sva-bandhane (SB 10.9.18)