Question: Is it right for a lawyer to accept a case in which the client is definitely guilty and then try to save the client from going to jail?

Sri Chinmoy: If a lawyer accepts a particular case, then naturally his duty is to try to save the client, no matter how bad the client is. From the highest spiritual point of view, the guilty person is less illumined, infinitely less illumined, than the one who has not committed a crime. But here on earth, if a lawyer has to defend a client for his livelihood, then what can he do? This is the vocation that he has chosen, and if the physical does not eat, then it cannot stay on earth. So, for someone who does not care for the higher life or God-life, for someone who does not care for spirituality, if he feels it is necessary to defend undivine people in order to live, then he should do it. Then, after twenty or fifty years, light may enter into him and he will try to follow the path of truth.

Now, if someone is a seeker, then always he should try to follow the path of truth. If he adopts a wrong method just to make money, then he is making a serious mistake. If he is a seeker, then he has to be very careful. Again, he also has to eat. And in certain cases it may be necessary for him to defend a person whom he feels is guilty in order to maintain his physical existence. If this happens, then he has to do one thing. He has to pray to the Supreme for forgiveness, for illumination. You may say that it is a funny game if you do this, telling lies and then praying to God for forgiveness. Many times a lawyer will defend the right cause and always he will try to get a case where his client is innocent. But it may not be always possible for a lawyer to get a case where he is on the right side. Still, he has every right to pray and meditate. In order to support himself, he has done something wrong, he has entered into darkness. But God gives him the opportunity to return to light through his soulful prayer. His soulful prayer for forgiveness can easily nullify the mistakes that he has committed by defending a wrong party.

There are some lawyers who don't mind mixing with falsehood. Their conscience is not awakened, and for them, telling lies is like drinking water. Again, there are some lawyers who will not take any case if they feel that their clients are guilty. They are spiritual seekers, seeker-lawyers, and they feel that it is better to starve than to defend a guilty person. I have seen some lawyers in India who have not taken any cases because of this. They were starving, but they refused to accept a client who had committed a crime.