83 QUESTION: To what extent should humans take it upon themselves to punish a criminal?
ANSWER: It is not up to human beings to punish. Your course of action should be, and one day will be, to also take upon yourself the responsibility that any crime can happen through wrong values, wrong systems, wrong education, wrong attitudes. With that recognition, the weight will be shifted from punishment to healing.
But the possibility of perpetrating further crimes by such people should be strictly avoided by curtailing their outer freedom, while helping them to gain their inner freedom through treatment. This would feel like punishment anyway for the criminal, for the infringement of personal freedom, as well as the painful process of healing the soul, may be every bit as difficult as death or life in prison, only it would be much more constructive. All this will come about one day.
96 QUESTION: Is a criminal, especially a habitual one, necessarily in a state of low spiritual development?
ANSWER: I am very careful about generalizations. Perhaps, or it might also be a question of an uneven development: one part of the person may have developed to a certain degree, and another has stagnated to a disproportionate extent. If such a disproportionate lag occurs, the resultant inner friction needs an outlet. Sometimes such outlets take the form of antisocial acts. Then the criminality is an outlet to relieve the inner pressure.
QUESTION: Are the members of the same family always on the same level?
ANSWER: Oh, no, not at all! In one human family you may have members of very different spiritual families.