If anyone asks what is better, Paap or Punya, most of us think it’s Punya, because Punya gives comfort, happiness prosperity; unlike, Paap which gives suffering, troubles, loss..
But, from the perspective of spiritual progress, they both are equally bad, as they both bind us to the cycle of life/death. Punya/Paapa, both will make us take additional birth, in order to give their results.
In short, Punya may give us comfortable, easier life, but in terms of spiritual progress, we want to avoid it as much as paap.
Like we discussed in earlier posts, the trick here is to do nishkam-karma, i.e. to do work without generating either paap or punya.
Just to refresh our minds, in earlier posts, we already have discussed two methods of nishkam-karma:
1. Doing work for the sake of doing it, without expecting anything in return
2. Offering everything we do to the God, and accepting any outcome as Prasad.
In addition to this, Isha Upanishad suggest one more approach:
ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् । तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम् ॥
कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेत् सतं समाः । एवं त्वयि नान्यथेतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे ॥
This whole world is filled with only Isha (Brahman, God), there is nothing here apart from it. If we do work knowing this, work will not bind us.
If we consider everything including us, made of god, there is nothing to expect, nothing to prove to anyone, as there is no-one apart from us here.. And if we do work with this mindset, certainly we can achieve nishkam-karmayoga.
Choose whichever method works well for you, but choose and try to follow.. All the Best!