What is true Justice?
In most definitions, justice is when the wrong done to a victim is corrected and the offender is punished.
In the cases of material theft, the wrong done to a victim can easily be corrected by recovery of stolen goods.
But what is to be done when a wrong has been inflicted to the very sense of self, consciousness and well being of the victim?
It could be the case of murder, rape or molestation or willful humiliation and degradation.
How will you correct this wrong to the victim?
It cannot be recovered or corrected to the victim, it can only be recovered and corrected when the offender who did this wrong, realises their sinful act and feels so remorseful and wretched that they have sunk to the lowest depths of human consciousness.
They are willing to do anything they can, even sacrifice their own lives and happiness to correct the wrongs they have done and never repeat it again, and dedicate their whole lives not just to the service of the victim but to all of mankind.
Only when such true remorse is felt by the offender, can there be a hope they will change and that the whole of mankind will benefit from their reformed behaviour.
Even if they have reformed, they still have to bear the Karma of their past sins.
This is the divine law of the Rtam, laid down by Brahman, who though most compassionate, trusting and forgiving, is still absolutely dispassionate in the dispensation of the Rtam.
That is why Brahman is beyond comprehension. A normal person can never understand the Rtam. It is too complex for any human mind to even comprehend. It is absolutely impossible for any human mind to even attempt to dispense it perfectly.
The Rtam is a continuous wheel. The wheel of Justice.
It is up to the individual as to how they react to their Karma that will determine the change in their character and the true worth of their remorse. If they are peaceful and accept their karma, they will eventually merge with Brahman and achieve Moksha.
Justice will never be achieved by giving the death penalty. The death penalty must be abolished.
Giving the death penalty to a person is actually doing them a huge favour.
They instantly escape the quantum and duration of punishment that was originally allocated for them.
Do not condemn the person entirely, condemn and punish the bad quality in that person until it is removed and they reform.
Punishment should be given to the Wicked, until they die.
They must not be put to death physically, their wicked spirit must die.
More than physical elimination, it is their wicked spirit which must be completely eliminated by the methods of deliverance of punishment that I have mentioned which must be used judiciously.
I firmly believe even the most wicked of people have at least one drop of sweetness in them.
We must punish them until all their poison is vomited and drained out, and all that is left in them is that one drop of sweetness.
This one drop can then become a big ocean and they drown in that ocean of sweetness and then they become Arya.
There are two ways to achieve justice and reform:
- Reformation by love and mercy
- Reformation by retribution and fear
But there is this important point to note:
Justice and reform for some people can achieved by love and mercy, and if a person is reformed to be full of love and mercy, they never be overcome.
When you truly love somebody and have mercy for somebody, you will never even dream of harming them.
Even a serial murderer like Angulimala, who was reformed by the love and mercy of the Sakyamuni, never used violence again, even when he was violently attacked and in mortal danger, and when he had all the power to save his life if he again resorted to violent means.
Justice achieved through fear and retribution will be overcome when a person gets over their fear of retribution.
Reformation achieved by Love and Mercy
Love and mercy can be shown only to people who recognise the value of love and mercy.
Sometimes people do hateful things because they have only been shown hatred and given hatred.
Sometimes the worst of men who have only felt the worst of humanity, can become better than the best of men, when they have been shown and felt the best of humanity.
The Sakyamuni said in the Dhammapada:
Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law.
The Sakyamuni did a perfect example of this with Angulimala.
He was the worst of men, but then showed loved and kindness by the Sakymuni, he became an Arhat.
Even though he became an Arhat, his past Karma for his sinful actions had to be repaid. But he accepted his Karma with peace and achieved Moksha.
Same was the case with Valmiki. In his early life he was a robber and a murderer.
He felt remorse, spent decades in penance and finally went on the write the Ramayana.
Both people had one thing in common to realise the folly of their actions.
They practiced ध्यान Dhyan sincerely and sustained it till they attained enlightenment, and even after that for the rest of their lives.
I believe that most criminals can reform if they realise the folly of their actions and this realisation comes with the sincere and sustained practice of ध्यान Dhyan.
Reformation achieved by Fear and Retribution
Some people will only obey the stick or the threat of the stick. You can never ward off a pack of wild dogs with sweet words or dog biscuits. You have to use the stick otherwise your own personal safety is at stake.
You can never drive a donkey or bull with sweet words or by frequently giving them jaggery.
If you want to plough your field or ride your donkey cart, you have to use the stick, or at least show the threat of the stick.
For such people, Justice is achieved by fear and retribution.
Sometimes even if people have been shown the best of humanity, they do not value it and turn out to be the worst of men.
Duryodhana and Ravana were examples of this. They were shown the best of humanity.
They were highly accomplished and had the best of material pleasures and the highest of posts as kings with vast and prosperous kingdoms. Ravana even got a boon from Shiva.
Even with all this they turned out to be the worst of men.
They became the worst of men because of their selfishness and ego. They only thought of themselves and had absolutely no empathy towards others or respect for others feelings. Also because of their ego, they did not listen to anybody.
Selfishness and Ego are the root cause of all suffering in this world.
It brings suffering not only to others, but also to the one who causes the suffering with their selfishness and ego.
Tulasidas said in the Ramcharitmanas:
However carefully you may bring up a crow and feed it with rice pudding, will it ever give up eating meat?
Ramcharitmanas Balakanda (1)
There is a saying in Kannada:
To take out a thorn you need to use a thorn.
There are some people in this world whose fire can only be put out by poison.
It is for such people that Justice is dispensed through fear and retribution.