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The Hindu religion says that individual people suffer for their sins and get rewarded for their merits.

My question is, do groups of people, like entire countries, suffer punishment for their sins?

In the course of human history, at some times countries will harbor evil ideologies, evil rulers, and hence the people will become evil, in any yuga. Do these countries face punishment?

If so, in what form? And which Devas carry out such punishments?

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Do entire countries suffer punishment for their sins?

Yes, Lord Rudra destroys evil countries.

From the Mahabharata:

In consequence of the sins perpetrated by sinful men, the god Rudra appears in the kingdom. Indeed, the sinful by their sins bring upon them that god of vengeance. He then destroys all, the honest and the wicked alike (without making any distinction).

.....

Whence does Rudra spring? What also is his form?

Kasyapa said, 'Rudra exists in the hearts of men. He destroys the bodies themselves in which he dwells as also the bodies of others...'

"Aila said, '....it is seen among men that they lose their senses and are slain through lust and malice.'

"Kasyapa said, 'Fire, blazing forth in one house, burneth a whole quarter or an entire village. Similarly, this deity stupefies the senses of some one and then that stupefaction touches all, the honest and the wicked alike, without any distinction.'

So, what this passage is saying is that Shiva punishes evil kingdoms with destruction, and how he does it is by inciting hatred, lust, and malice in the people of a country causing the people to kill each other.

Rudra may also punish a country by causing that country to be invaded by a foreign military, because even in that case the cause is hatred, lust, and malice, and Rudra is the deity presiding over those qualities and incites them in people.

As for what sins a country can commit to receive such a fate:

"Kasyapa said, 'Ruin overtakes the kingdom of the Kshatriya when the Brahmana and Kshatriya contend with each other. Robbers infest that kingdom in which confusion prevails, and all good men regard the ruler to be a Mlechcha. Their oxen do not thrive, nor their children. Their pots (of milk) are not churned, and no sacrifices are performed there. The children do not study the Vedas in kingdoms where Brahmanas abandon Kshatriyas. In their houses wealth does not increase. Their children do not become good and do not study the scriptures and perform sacrifices. Those Kshatriyas that abandon Brahmanas become impure in blood and assume the nature of robbers.....The four orders of men become confounded and destruction overtakes all. If the Brahmana. who is like a tree is protected, gold and honey are showered. If, on the other hand, he is not protected, it then tears and sins are showered, When Brahmanas fall away from the Vedas and (in the absence of a Kshatriya ruler) seek protection from the scriptures, then Indra does not pour rain seasonably and diverse kinds of calamities ceaselessly afflict the kingdom. When a sinful wretch having slain a woman or a Brahmana does not incur obloquy in assemblies of fellowmen and has not to stand in fear of the king, then danger threatens the Kshatriya ruler."

This answer explains why it is fair that entire countries get destroyed as punishment for the sins of evil people within that country.

  • As I understand from your answer, Shiva does causes destruction of whole countries, but in an indirect manner. like you would think that it is the people themselves who caused destruction without knowing that it was caused by Shiva. Do I understant correctly. – V.Aggarwal Jul 22 at 4:31
  • @V.Aggarwal It is Shiva who is the actual cause of the destruction of countries, but the way in which he does it is by inciting violence and discord among people; he uses evil people and armies as agents to destroy other countries. People are the agents, but he is the cause. – Ikshvaku Jul 22 at 14:08
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No, God does not punish entire countries for their sins.

The theory of karma only applies to individuals. God remains detached from the universe. It is primordial nature that runs the universe. Please check Gita verses given below. Gita's teaching overrides anything in other scriptures since Gita is the king of smritis.

Resorting to Prakrti, Nature, which is My own Power, I send forth again and again this multitude of beings that are without any freedom, owing to Nature's sway over them.

Gita 9.8

These activities do not in any way bind Me, because I remain detached like one unconcerned in their midst.

Gita 9.9

Under My direction and control, Nature brings out this mighty universe of living and non-living beings. Thus does the wheel of this world revolve.

Gita 9.10

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    Gita is the king of Smritis -- Is this your personal opinion or stated somewhere? Also Gita is part of an Itihasa called Mahabharata from which the other answer has quoted. Smrtis are the Dharmashastras which are apparently part of Vedangas. – Rickross Jul 25 at 15:08
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    Gita is one of the prasthana traya of Vedanta. You can't contradict Gita's main teachings. I actually read in one of Sankara writing that Gita is king of Smritis. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Jul 25 at 15:11
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    @PradipGangopadhyay None of the verses you have cited contradict the Mahabharata verse that says Shiva destroys evil countries. In fact he destroys evil countries because all the people in those countries are evil. Also, insentient Prakriti does not run on its own; the Lord controls the movement of Prakriti. – Ikshvaku Jul 25 at 15:20
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    @PradipGangopadhyay You say prakriti runs the universe, but the Gita verse you cite says prakriti operates under the direction and control of Krishna, which actually means that Krishna runs the universe. – Ikshvaku Jul 25 at 15:25
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    @PradipGangopadhyay Sure, but that doesn't mean he doesn't punish people or groups of bad people. – Ikshvaku Jul 25 at 15:29

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