What is sin according to Vedanta?

In Vedanta, Veda means knowledge and anta means last, final, conclusion. Simply put, Vedanta means the last knowledge beyond which no one can speak. For example, Upanishads, which form the final section of the Vedas, come under Vedanta. The core teaching of Vedanta is to experience one’s true nature.

To understand sin in Vedanta, we need to first understand what an ego is.

It is called ego (ahamkara in Sanskrit) when you identify yourself with something you are not. The ego is founded on identification with your body and mind. In reality, the body is not you; the mind is not you.

If you are not identified with any name, form, or anything, then you are the innermost Self (atman in Sanskrit). The innermost Self is that which you are born with; it is your very being. You can never lose the innermost Self.

If you just say “I am,” it is the innermost Self, the greatest Truth, but if you add any word after “I am,” it is ego.

The absence of the innermost Self is ego, just as the absence of light is darkness. To get rid of ego, just be identified with the innermost Self — the pure I-awareness. So simple!

According to Vedanta, the ego is the sinner. If you get rid of the ego, there would be no sinner. Once the ego leaves, you will have the awareness of your own true nature.

Think yourself as the I-awareness/consciousness ( “I am the innermost Self”) instead of “I am a sinner.” Your thought has great power. Every thought has its effect. One becomes what one thinks about all the time. Therefore, there is no point in identifying yourself as a sinner. Your mind becomes bad when you have bad thoughts (and vice versa).

When you experience the pure I-awareness — your own true nature, you get rid of all your sins. In other words, no sin can ever reach the innermost Self.

You are against yourself when you impose the belief of sin into the pure I-awareness because the pure I-awareness is forever pure and free of sin.

If you’d like to learn more, and for an account of spiritual experiences, I suggest the book Play of Consciousness by Swami ‘Baba’ Muktananda (1908-1982). Explaining what a firm faith can do, Swami Muktananda said, “I receive so many letters from people who were reading Play of Consciousness and received shaktipat from the book. They put the book against their hearts and began to meditate.”

I would also suggest a book I wrote myself, called Building a Noble World. In this book, you will find my own experience of Kundalini awakening: transcending physical body and mind and experiencing absolute reality. I also answer questions about body, mind, and Spirit as well as the fundamental truth we all share.

May you experience the bliss of your innermost Self!

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