What is Sin? || Acharya Prashant, on Vivekachudamani and Bible (2018)

Acharya Prashant
5 min readJun 23, 2024


A teacher is one, who is well versed in the scriptures, pure, unaffiliated by desire, a perfect knower of the supreme, who continuously abides in the supreme, who is as calm as the fire that has burnt-up its fuel, who is a spontaneous ocean of mercy that needs no cause for its expression, an intimate friend to all good people, who surrender to him.

~ Vivekachudamani (Verse 33)

*Acharya Prashant : Nimisha has quoted Vivekachudamani. So, she is asking what it means to be sinless?*

In the Bible it is said that man was born from the original sin that stemmed from Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden The Lord Jesus Christ had all the above mentioned qualities and died on the cross, to redeem a man of him. Yet the world is mired in sin and suffering like never before.

Please help me understand sin and sinlessness in right context.

The original sin is to assume a form you have, quoted the Bible. And there too, the sin was to taste the forbidden fruit and then as a punishment to be born in the world. As a punishment to be expelled from the holy garden of bliss and to be born as human beings in the world.

That’s sin, fundamentally.

To feel born. To be born. To be someone, inside whom the clock is ticking. Birth relates to time. Does it not? And the moment, you are born, you say, now I am six months old, now six years old, now 60 years old. The clock starts ticking from, when you were born. That’s the original sin.

To not to heed the advice of God, taste the forbidden fruit and set the clock ticking.

Tasting the fruit of knowledge is letting knowledge in. Once you have eaten the apple, the apple has gotten in. So, to taste the fruit of knowledge means to be identified with knowledge. Now knowledge is in. Knowledge is not merely something that you hold. Now knowledge is in. Knowledge is now a part of your system, your being. That’s sin.

Your being should have been purely the being of God. But now your being is your personal being. Now you are not residing as the innocent one.

The story says that Adam and Eve would wear no cloths. But once they have tasted the fruit, and the God came looking for them, they hid behind a few shrubs. Because, now they were ashamed of themselves. Now they are no more innocent. Now they are ashamed. Now they ‘know’ that to not to be wearing cloths is a matter of shame. Worldly knowledge has been taken-in. God never taught them that nakedness is a matter of shame. But now they have knowledge from elsewhere.

The apple represents the tempting world. The apple, you feel like eating it. Just as you look at the world and feel like, eating it.

World, nice apple!

So, many have fallen to the temptations of the apple, haven’t they? Once you have fallen to the apple, you are a sinner. Now you know a lot. And now you know that which did not need to be known. Now you are knowledgeable, but most of your knowledge is just a burden. And it’s not a problem that you have knowledge, the problem is that you consider yourself as the knowledgeable one.

That’s the sin. To depart from God and be born in the world of knowledge. Now your being is not just God, your being comprises of stuff, taken-in from the world. You have lost innocence. What then is innocence? To be purely innocent of this and that. This and that exists but cannot get in. That’s the statement of innocent mind. This and that exists but it cannot get-in. Its existence is undeniable. Remember, that the tempting fruit existed in the God’s garden itself. So, its existence cannot be denied, the world definitely exists.

The existence of this and that is not a problem, the problem is when this and that overwrites the instructions given by God. When this and that starts getting the same place, the same respect, same treatment as God’s being or the being gifted by the God, that is sin, to corrupt your identity, and that is why being born, has been variously called as the fundamental sin. Now, you are no more Gods.

No parents ever celebrated the birth of God. Nobody ever says, ‘This is God’. You are called, ‘My son or my daughter’. Your identity is spoiled, the moment you are born. The born ones cannot have innocent identity. This is sin. Departure from the Truth, departure from the God.

If the word God is too heavy for you, just understand it in basic term. To be born means, to be called the limited and to take oneself as limited one. And you very well know that no limitation pleases you. That is sin. To be irrevocably tied to a body, at least irrevocable till the time of physical death. To be irrevocably tied to a physical body, that is really incapable of giving you the fulfilment, is sin.

You have mentioned Christ. Because, he does not value limitations, therefore, he calls himself as the son of God. And because he does not value the limitations, therefore, he is prepared to give up the limited body so that the limitations of others can be removed.


This body is anyway limited, who can attach too much value to it, that’s what Christ say. So, if this limited body, is done away with, in the service of the Unlimited, it’s a good deal. I take the deal. I lose my body, others lose their limitations. I sacrifice my body and looking at this sacrifice, if others can sacrifice their limitations, then I would joyfully sacrifice this body because, what I am sacrificing is little, and what they are getting is Immense.

So, it’s a good deal. I take the deal.

You get, what the sin is?

To be bodied is sin. And you also get the meaning of the sacrifice, of many of the Prophets and Saints and Teachers. Their entire aim is to rid people of their self-imposed limitations.

After all, it was the ‘decision’, to taste the fruit.

The limitations are self-imposed.