Question. I would just like to ask if a bad person can love himself (is it allowed to)? Can this help him to become a better person?
Romapada Swami answers: Each one of us is part and parcel of Krishna. Thus originally we are all pure; the soul itself is neither bad or good.
By turning away from God and coming into the association of material energy, one becomes infected with bad qualities – thus the solution is simply turn our loving attention back to Krishna or God and once again all the good qualities of demigods will become manifest in that person.
A ‘bad’ person certainly need not condemn himself. They can apply the teaching “Hate the sin, not the sinner” towards themselves – i.e. recognize that their previous conduct and mentality was not correct and regret it, but be willing to forgive themselves. The next important step is to see beyond this temporary setback into their original eternal nature as pure soul, in relation with God – as an eternal servant of God and thus very dear to Him. It is not unnatural for a reforming soul to feel some remorse for their previous misdeeds – such sincere regret can be helpful when rightly done as it burns away the consequences of those misdeeds. But one need not dwell in lamentation and self-reproach, rather forgive oneself and eagerly go forward to rectify oneself and reinstate in one’s relationship with God, which will prevent future downfalls.
Focusing too much on one’s own self independently may not be the best method to transform oneself, however. It may serve initially to heal deeply ingrained negative thought-patterns. What would make a more lasting and sustainable impact, however, is to cultivate the positive sense of one’s identity in loving relation with the Lord. When we do so, the Lord – being a person – reciprocates, by completely absolving us of all reactions to past mistakes. The Supreme Lord’s mercy is unlimited – He is always willing to give each of us a fresh chance, and thus one can happily reinstate oneself in serving Him. By doing so, all unwanted habits are quickly eradicated and one becomes fully righteous and peaceful. And when we repose our love in Him, then automatically we come to love and satisfy everyone else including ourselves – just as when the fingers work to bring food to the stomach, the fingers are automatically nourished and energized without separate endeavor to satisfy themselves.