Question: Why do some people commit horrible crimes without the slightest remorse? Do they have no conscience?
Answer: Our conscience is like our internal watchdog. It barks and warns us whenever the thief of immorality comes to plunder our integrity. Those who heed the watchdog’s warning drive away the thief; they reject the immoral temptation by activating their intelligence. Others get so allured by the temptation that they beat the dog instead of the thief! They silence the voice of their conscience and delight in immoral pleasures.
The Bhagavad-gita (15.15) explains that the Lord personally resides in our hearts as the Supersoul to guide us on our life’s journey. Our conscience, when pure, is actually the voice of God guiding from within. When a person knowingly and repeatedly acts contrary to the inner voice, he is telling god by his actions: “I will do what I want to; I don’t want your guidance.” Due to this adamance and defiance, God withdraws his guidance; the inner voice starts fading until it becomes almost mute. Then that person unhesitatingly does unconscionable acts.
We are all free to neglect the inner voice, but we cannot neglect the consequences of that neglect.