In some religious sects a sinful man goes to a priest to confess his sinful acts and pay a fine, but then he again commits the same sins and returns to confess them again. This is the practice of a professional sinner.They atone for their crimes but then commit the same crimes again, as if forced to do so. Therefore, owing to this practical experience,the process of repeatedly sinning and atoning is pointless. Regardless of how many times he is punished, one who is attached to sense enjoyment will commit sinful acts again and again until he is trained to refrain from enjoying his senses. Even one who does not want to commit sinful acts will be forced to do so by habit.
Atonement may be carried out very nicely, but it will not help a person if he continues committing sins.There are different types of atonement. If a person commits a sin and counteracts it by penance, that is atonement. One has to execute the prescribed atonement according to the gravity of his sinful activities. A physician may prescribe an expensive medicine or a cheap medicine according to the gravity of the disease. For a headache, he may simply prescribe an aspirin, but if there is some severe illness he may prescribe a surgical operation which will cost thousands of dollars. Similarly, sinful activities are diseases, so one should follow the prescribed cures to become healthy.In any case, before death one should perform atonement so that he does not carry sinful activities into his next life and have to suffer then. If some atonement for our sinful activities is not performed, nature will not excuse us. We will have to suffer the effects of our sins in the next life. Such bondage to one’s material activities is called karma-bandhanah.