Sin begins in the realm of consciousness. When we are young we are taught by our guardians that which is right from that which is wrong. We grow up with the understandingthat stealing our playmates toys or hitting our grandparents is wrong and therefore, a sin. As wemature the concept of sin begins to change; it is no longer quite so easy to define or to explainand its repercussions become much more severe than a grounding.

Sin is a malicious act, intent-full, deliberate and harmful. An act is considered sinful when, though the perpetrator maygain some form of momentary satisfaction, the action inflicts harm to someone or something else.In reference to Hinduism, a sin is an immoral act; It is ungodly or unethical. The conceptof ahimsa (to do or cause no harm) to a Hindu is very sacred and from childhood he is taught to respect and abide by this ideal. Therefore, any step towards dishonoring this paragon is a sin.The story of Svetaketu Aruneya offers a subtle definition of sin.

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The boy was so proud of himselffor having learned the Vedas that his high opinions of himself stood in the way of his most important lesson and understanding; that of faith. Here, Svetaketus ego served as a maya andkept him from realizing moksha. Since it is the Hindus ultimate goal to achieve moksha, allwhich stands as a barrier is a sin.

In a Hindus life there are different stages which he must pass through before he reaches the end of his life. Each stage is representative of different levels of learning, understanding and growth. Though sin (or rather its potential) is prevalent throughout the four stages, forgiveness becomes an extremely important factor towards reaching moksha. Forgiveness, for the Hindus, begins with self realization that one has sinned.

Without thisrealization, forgiveness cannot begin. The moment this realization is reached the sinner begins his process of forgiveness through growing from his mistakes. Much like the Western traditional views of sin and forgiveness, a Hindu is bound to the same principles; he must consciously realize his sin and with a sincere heart, ask for forgiveness, both to the person he has sinned against and then to God.

Shiva, the God of rebirth and destruction is revered by devout Hindus as a God with a very hot and unpredictable temper, but also as a very forgiving and just God. The Gods of Hinduism hold no grudges against repenting sinners and thus, good Hindus must not either. At the source of Hinduism lies transcendence. Not to forgive is a sin in itself for it furthers one from complete liberation. It is understood that in order to achieve peace within oneself, forgiveness is inevitable.

Karma, often misunderstood or improperly used in the Westernculture, can best be described 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 and mounting 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 of these exercises are performed in order to achieve a heightened sense of consciousness. 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 of egolessness (24).

The more one learns to forgive the happier and more peaceful they will feel. The obtainment of moksha, cannot be realized through the containment of negative energy which is associated with animosity, ill thoughts or malevolence. Rather, Hinduism teaches that it is better to forgive, to receive freedom and gain liberation for oneself, this is fulfillment, this is moksha. Religion Essays