The difference between a saint and a sinner is only that the life energy of one is creative and the life energy of the other is destructive. Thus, whoever creates can never act satanic. And one who creates nothing can never be a saint, no matter how much he deludes himself. The energy within has to be utilized one way or the other, for energy cannot remain stagnant; it has to flow. If you can love you dig new channels for your energy to flow towards love. If there is no love within you, what will your life energy do? It can only disrupt and destroy. If you cannot create you will destroy. Virtue is the positive state of the life energy; sin is the negative state of the same energy.
People come to me and say there is so much anger within them, what should they do? I tell them to stop thinking about anger. The more you think of anger the more energy you supply to your anger. Energy begins to flow in the direction of our thoughts. Energy flows and thoughts are its channels. Just as canals direct water from reservoirs to the fields, the canal for life energy is attention. Wherever your attention is, there your life flows. If your attention points in a wrong direction your energy flows in the wrong direction. If it is directed towards the right direction, your life flows in the right direction and the right attention is love.
Nanak says the day your love is directed towards his name you shall be dyed in his hue; you shall be cleansed. Not only will your past sins be washed away but also future possibility of sin; you will be washed and cleansed before you can even get dirty. You are bathed and cleansed every moment.
You must have had this feeling when in the presence of a saint – a sense of freshness of the morning dew, as if he has just come out of his bath. The reason is simply that the presence of love does not allow dust to gather on him. Love incessantly washes away all dirt – even before it can touch him.
So the first thing regarding love is for your life energy not to become destructive. Destruction is sin when it occurs for its own sake. There is another kind of destruction: a man tears down a house in order to build a new one. This is not destroying but a part of constructing. When you break for the sake of breaking, it becomes a sin.
If you have a small child whom you love very much, you sometimes give him a whack or two – because of your love you have beaten him for his good, to improve him. You hit him because you care. If you did not care for him you would not have bothered what he did and what he didn’t do; you would have been indifferent. But you love him enough not to allow him to go on doing what he pleases. You will stop him from going near fire; you will even hit him if he does not listen. This hitting is not sinful, but creative. You want to make something of him.
When you hit an opponent, it is the same hand; the slap is the same, the energy is the same. When the feeling within you is that of enmity, when you are hitting to destroy and not to create, it becomes a sin! An act in itself is not a sin. If the feeling within you is positive and creative, no act is a sin; if the feeling within is destructive, the same act becomes a sin.