Sin begins in the realm of consciousness.
When we are young we are taught by ourguardians that which is “right” from that which is “wrong”. We grow upwith the understanding that stealing our playmates toys or hitting ourgrandparents is wrong and therefore, a sin. As we mature the concept of sinbegins to change; it is no longer quite so easy to define or to explain and itsrepercussions become much more severe than a grounding. Sin is a malicious act,intent-full, deliberate and harmful. An act is considered sinful when, thoughthe perpetrator may gain some form of momentary satisfaction, the actioninflicts harm to someone or something else. In reference to Hinduism, a sin isan immoral act; It is ungodly or unethical.Order now
The concept of ahimsa (to do orcause no harm) to a Hindu is very sacred and from childhood he is taught torespect and abide by this ideal. Therefore, any step towards dishonoring thisparagon is a sin. The story of Svetaketu Aruneya offers a subtle definition ofsin. The boy was so proud of himself for having learned the Vedas that his highopinions of himself stood in the way of his most important lesson andunderstanding; that of faith. Here, Svetaketus ego served as a maya and kepthim from realizing moksha.
Since it is the Hindus ultimate goal to achievemoksha, all which stands as a barrier is a sin. In a Hindus life there aredifferent stages which he must pass through before he reaches the end of hislife. Each stage is representative of different levels of learning,understanding and growth. Though sin (or rather its potential) is prevalentthroughout the four stages, forgiveness becomes an extremely important factortowards reaching moksha. Forgiveness, for the Hindus, begins with selfrealization that one has sinned. Without this realization, forgiveness cannotbegin.
The moment this realization is reached the sinner begins his process offorgiveness through growing from his mistakes. Much like the Western traditionalviews of sin and forgiveness, a Hindu is bound to the same principles; he mustconsciously realize his sin and with a sincere heart, ask for forgiveness, bothto the person he has sinned against and then to God. Shiva, the God of rebirthand destruction is revered by devout Hindus as a God with a very hot andunpredictable temper, but also as a very forgiving and just God. The Gods ofHinduism hold no grudges against repenting sinners and thus, good Hindus mustnot either. At the source of Hinduism lies transcendence. Not to forgive is asin in itself for it furthers one from complete liberation.
It is understoodthat in order to achieve peace within oneself, forgiveness is inevitable. Karma,often misunderstood or improperly used in the Western culture, can best bedescribed as the proverbial “to each his own”. Therefore, it is not for theindependent individual to judge whether forgiveness is merited or not. Forgiveness offers relief: relief from pending tensions, ill-feeling andmounting egoism. Forgiveness saves one form becoming selfish and egotistical. Physical exercise, meditation through different forms of yoga, devotion,spiritual cleansing through prayer and “public chanting”(Sharma, 40), all ofthese exercises are performed in order to achieve a heightened sense ofconsciousness.
It is through consciousness that one may avoid that which is bad,harmful and evil, both to oneself and to others. This is the achievement ofegolessness (24). The more one learns to forgive the happier and more peacefulthey will feel. The obtainment of moksha, cannot be realized through thecontainment of negative energy which is associated with animosity, ill thoughtsor malevolence. Rather, Hinduism teaches that it is better to forgive, toreceive freedom and gain liberation for oneself, this is fulfillment, this ismoksha.