Misguidance Is Injustice to Oneself
It may not be claimed that those who persist in their misguidance have been punished or have suffered an injustice because their misguidance was predetermined for them. Such an assertion would be naive, not deceptive, because the least amount of reasoning leads to the conclusion that whoever goes astray does indeed do injustice to himself. To clarify this argument, it is sufficient for us to consider the example of the compassionate father of a child standing close to a fire. If the child seeks to touch the fire, the father moves him away from it, explaining that it would burn him otherwise. But if he brings his child close to the fire again, the father would do so under the assumption that his child's fingers being burnt will give him a direct sensation of fire, a realization which will persist in his memory throughout his life. Once the child becomes an adult and touches the fire, or throws himself into it, he surely deserves the burns thus inflicted. His father is not to blame, and no one would expect the father to stand between his grown son and the fire in order to stop such a happening. A similar case is that of the father who explains to his son the evils of alcohol and of gambling. If, after attaining maturity, the child violates the commandment of his father and suffers for it, his father may not be declared unjust toward him, even though it may have been within his capability to prevent his son by force from drinking or gambling. Indeed, it would even be the duty of his father not to interfere and prevent such violation if the son's violation provides a moral and example to his brethren and relatives. If one considers as relatives and brethren the hundreds and thousands who inhabit the cities where temptations necessarily abound, it is good and just that some violators do suffer the consequences of their deeds so that the moral health of the community may be preserved, however regretful their personal suffering may be to the community. This example is an elementary case of justice as we apprehend it in our human community. How stronger should it be when we consider the universe as a whole, the millions upon millions of creatures in infinite space and time! Whatever punishment may fall upon any individual or people as the result of their injustice is indeed just in the purview of that vast cosmic picture which our imagination can hardly represent.