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What is Sin?

Dear Acharyaji,

In prayer (of my school days) there is a line "God Please forgive my sins and those who sin against me".

1. Is it a meaningful statement?
2. Is God the authority to forgive the sin or the one
who has borne the brunt of sin.
3. Is the other person really capable of forgiving and
nullifying the effect of the sin or does it behave
according to the universal law of cause and effect.
4. Does the same sin put into action on various stages
of evolved persons - like a bad person, a good person, a
renunciate, a powerful yogi etc., bring about the same

Please clear my about confusions.

Thanks and Best wishes

My response:

Namaskar Premjit prabhu!

1. Yes, this is an absolutely meaningful statement.

By acknowledging our shortcomings we confirm that we realize we are in need of Divine favor and mercy. Without that we would be adrift. By forgiving others we not only assist in their progress but develop compassion and see things more clearly.

Master Y'shua [Jesus] tells of a poor man who owed a great debt to the king. He begged for pardon and received it.
Then another poor man approached the forgiven man. He owed a small sum to the man. Rather than forgive his debt the forgiven man had his fellow cast into debtor's prison. When the king learned of this he retracted his pardon and the once-forgiven was imprisoned. So too will our King forgive us as we forgive others.

2. The answer to this question would depend on one's belief system. I would say there is no sin (as a "thing" to be overcome). There is karma; sin can be understood as negative karma. When it is, we "sin" against ourselves alone. "Sin" is an archery term. It means "to miss the mark." When you don't get a "bull's eye" you "sin."

God is our eternal well-wisher and knows full well that negative karma keeps us bound to samsara (the cycle of rebirth) and destroys our bliss. When we ask God's forgiveness we are empowered to forgive ourselves.

It is like a child who steals a cookie and feels guilt. The parent doesn't care about the cookie, its nothing, but the guilt the child feels from his/her action, her/his "sin" blocks the open fellowship with the parent, it creates a barrier between them. So the child feels guilt and apologizes and the parent accepts due to love for the child, and the child smiles...

3. Karma, the laws of cause and effect, are not easily understood. The goal of karma is not punishment but reunification in peace and harmony. When the wrong is forgiven it is as though it never happened. This is why one who sincerely accepts a guru (Jesus, Srila Prabhupada, Bodhayan Maharaja, Sree Ma, Ananda Mayi etc.) is freed from all karma (sins). But to really, fully accept a guru is uncommon...

4. First, there are no "good persons," "bad persons," etc. There are only jiva (souls) seeking the Light. In some jiva there is the presence of more illusion and negativity, in others less.

The impact of the sinful act, karmically speaking, depends on the consciousness of the individual. Again this is why Guru Maharaja can accept the karma of so many chela (disciples) with little if any repercussions. The sadhu, the yogi, performs this sinful act, acknowledges the error, and lets it go, realizing it is but the dross of material existence. The "bad person" buries the sinful act deeply within, seeks to justify it, to cover it up, to deny it, and karma eats away at the consciousness. Forgiveness is there, but one must accept it.

Understand prabhuji [my dear friend] that we are not these material bodies. We are pure spirit entities, untainted by all negativities. For a time we have entered into this Dark Cloud of material existence and accepted these conditioned lives. While we are here everything seems so important, but once we return Home to our natural state as pure jiva-atman all of this, our entire existence within the Dark Cloud throughout our myriad forms, reincarnations and experiences, will be but a twinkling of eye, a shiver up the spine.

Karma is not "real"
Fear is not "real"
Sin is not "real"
Even forgiveness is not "real"

Or better... these things are but temporary constructs, learning devises the jiva employs.

Bhagavad Gita 4:5: The Blessed One said: Many, many births both you and I have passed through. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O chastiser of enemies

Consciousness is of the utmost importance.

You are Spirit
You are free of sin

Jaya Radhe!
~John of AllFaith
Jagannatha Prakasa

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