The path that lies before thieves who steal out of need is extremely narrow. The solution wholly depends on the strong economic foundation of the state concerned and of the whole world. If anybody is to be blamed for the poverty and social injustice which leads to crime, we will have to blame every national leader in the world. Those who make beasts of people by making them victims of circumstances, to my mind, are the very people to stand trial, if anyone is to be tried and judged at all.
Human Society I, 117
The first cause of sin is: shortage of physical and psychic resources. If there is lack of physical necessities, people are not able to follow the higher pursuits of life. A person’s discrimination is easily disturbed; with a little anger even an intellectual utters crude words. Hence, due to a shortage of physical wealth, people become restless, lose their discrimination, and become brutal. It is because of this that communism has tended toward brutality. Likewise, if there is a dearth of intellectual resources and the intellectual standard of the people is not high, they may confuse dos and don’ts. An example is a riot in which an innocent little boy is killed. The one who encourages the riot becomes the people’s leader. Because the intellectual standard of the people is low, they commit blunders prompted by these leaders and become beasts.
In those countries which are backward or where the socio-politico-economic consciousness is less, immoral, political pigs in the form of leaders misguide the people to collect votes. I say, they are political satans, political pigs. There, shortage of physical and intellectual wealth causes people to become beasts and commit sins and crimes. This is common everywhere in the entire world except for a few well-off countries, and even there this is present, but less prominently.
The second cause is non-utilization of over-accumulated physical and psychic resources. It is a mental disease to accumulate money. Those who accumulate it do not do so in order to fulfill their needs. Human needs are few, including food, shelter and clothing. For instance, if a person has a fruit grove which yields 500 mangoes and there are only five family members, what will be done with so many mangoes? There is very little chance of utilization in the case of over-accumulation. If sadvipras are not vigilant, where there is over-accumulation, human beings will tend to misutilize wealth by indulging in baser tendencies. Therefore you will note – I am making it crystal-clear to you - that the wealthy businessmen and most of the idle kings and aristocrats of ancient times were generally wicked and mean-minded.
The third cause is stagnancy. This is the greatest burden, the greatest disease of the human society. This sort of stagnancy is suicidal, for the sign of life is dynamism. To solve this cause of sin, an intellectual approach does not work. Dogmatic and traditional people do not listen to reason. They have to be struck. And those who do the striking are sadvipras. The striking has to be done with a hammer. Sweet gospels will not do. They must be hit not with a hammer but with a sledge hammer.
Suppose sadvipras do not hammer them, what will happen then? Because of the unnecessary presence of stagnant individuals, the speed of others will be retarded. Stagnant people commit suicide and become the cause of death for others. Humanity wants to move ahead and these stagnant people block its way and obstruct its movement. People will not tolerate these obstructions. The duty of the sadvipras will be to hammer appropriately these stagnant people who are the burden of the society so that the path of human progress may be straight, pure, and well-constructed.
(“The Three Causes of Sin”)
One of the notable causes of the present-day crimes is the scarcity of honest people. Those who are honest try to follow morality in their private lives, but at times are forced to desert morality under the unwieldy load of poverty. In the course of time, they may have to go to court under the charge of theft. Law has nothing to do with poverty which has goaded them to steal. And if they are convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, there is no provision in law for the maintenance of their families. As a result, the children of such families will have no other way to live than to become pickpockets or have recourse to stealing; and their mothers, unfortunate as they are, will have to find their way leading to the underworld and to maintain their existence, embrace an ignoble and sinful life. After their release from jail, their husbands will be hated and spoken ill of by society and, out of sensitivity to such affronts, they will be forced to resort to stealing as their profession. In this way hundreds of families are being ruined everyday. Nobody feels their agonies or comes forward to sympathize with them. Because today humanity is not the object of concern at all.
“Social Value and Human Cardinal Principle”
You will hear many a vain and assuming person speaking thus, “I need no one, I am doing well in isolation. I don’t want to concern myself with anybody’s affair and I don’t want anyone to come into mine. I don’t care for anybody.” Nothing can be more foolish than this statement. Medicines and nursing are necessary in diseases; active participation by the neighbours is imperative to burn a dead body and to do the needful preparations for it; the cooperation of the cultivators for food supply and of the spinners for cloth supply is essential. Remember, that no created being in this universe is independent by itself – it cannot exist all by itself. All of us have a supra-cosmic relation with the rest, at times prominent, elsewhere indistinguishable. In this plan of mutual relationship, even the slightest mistake or discord anywhere will raise a furor in the universe. In this mighty task of creation, the brilliantly luminous sun and the insignificant ant hold the same importance of existence, all these having combined to create the world family. In the same way, in human society, as well, the importance of a highly powerful and eminent person is at par with that of a disabled or dying patient. None can be ignored. The slightest injustice done to anyone will cause the breakdown of our entire social framework.
Supreme Expression II, 116
It is not nature’s desire that human beings should penalize one another. Whenever some action is taken to penalize someone, a sense of revenge or vindictiveness arises in the mind of the dispenser of justice and stifles the judge in him or her. Hence, I suggest that the words “penal code” should be eliminated from the social life of humanity. If anybody, whether a judge or a common citizen, takes some sort of requital against someone else, it should be corrective, not penal. Then the offender, no matter how great his or her guilt, will have no cause for accusing anyone. Regardless of flaws in the judgement, it will not harm him or her in any way.
Human Society I, 88
Human values will therefore be the basis of the penal code. Our social scripture says: first, persuade the offenders by sweet words. Secondly, use harsh words in order to convince them. At the third stage, tell them of penal measures. The fourth stage warrants the adoption of penal measures against them. The humane appeal is at the root of inflicting punishment in this way.
“Social Value and Human Cardinal Principle”
In my opinion, sentencing people to capital punishment just because one cannot cure their ills is as much a crime as killing them oneself. Why is nothing done to remedy their ills? Is it not tantamount to beheading oneself to escape a headache? Rather it is the bounden duty of civilized society to cure the ills of these criminals. We shall have to deal with criminals with a humane heart and guide them out of their ills.
Human Society I, 101
As long as people do not take humanistic measures for criminals, it is only a meaningless farce to let them sit in prisons uselessly. One must remember that they are (mentally) diseased and that their diseases are stubborn. They can be cured in a short time through spiritual practices and in a little more time through other Yogic methods; but for this, too, a congenial environment is essential. And so the environments of the prisons should be more pure, more humane.
Human Society I, 102