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Types of sins

In order to understand this article, we recommend you familiarise yourself with the following article:

1. Introduction

All of us commit various sinful actions during our day-to-day activities. For example we may kill spiders while sweeping the floor, we may speak harshly with others at work, etc. In order to better understand the concept of sin, we will take a look at a few types of sins, and whom the consequence of the sin is faced by.

2. Types of sins

2.1 Types of sins depending on who is affected

Depending on who has been affected by the sin, there are sins which cause harm to the self and to others, as shown in the following table.

Types of sins

2.2 Types of sins according to body, speech and mind

An individual can decide in his mind to sin, pronounce it verbally or physically act it out. Thus he can commit a sinful action in three ways as shown in the following table.

Types of sins according to body, speech and mind

For more details about the mechanism of evil eye please refer to our article on Evil eye.

3. Can we commit sin through a mere thought?

The doctrine of karma states, while a mere thought of a meritorious action can invite merit, a sinful thought does not result in sin. For example, getting a thought to rob a bank wouldn’t incur sin, whereas actually robbing it would. Here, unlike the earlier example of mental sin, a mere thought does not incur sin due to the absence of an unfavourable effect on others.

However a seeker incurs sin even through bad thoughts. In this case, since a seeker’s aim is to develop Divine qualities and God graces the seeker with the required knowledge and energy for that, then bad thoughts amount to wasting God’s resources too. An exception to this would be uncontrollable thoughts occurring in a seeker who is severely troubled or possessed by negative energies.

4. Who faces the consequence of a sin?

4.1 Being party to the sin

Whether directly or indirectly and regardless of whether it is physical, verbal or mental, the individual abetting sin gets their share of the sin. They become a partner to the sin. Present day law too has similar provisions – the individual assisting in a murder is also guilty.

In fact, it is considered that actions like a conversation with a grave sinner, his touch, his company, sharing a meal with him, sharing a seat, a bed and travelling with him transfer the sin to the person who accompanies them.

Just like satsang is the company of Absolute Truth, kusang is the company of untruth. Remaining in kusang creates or augments wrong impressions in us and can be the cause of our spiritual downfall. Therefore it is not surprising that we caution those we care about to ‘keep away from bad company’.

4.2 Expansion of sin

One Holy text called the Matsyapuran states that sin is like a contagious or hereditary disease. Just like a hereditary disease may not be evident immediately, sin starts affecting the sinner slowly and destroys him from his very root. If the sinner does not pay for his sins then his son or grandson has to pay for them. In this way the sin shows its effect for up to three generations. Hence we have responsibility towards others in our family and our progeny as well.

There are several other instances where the consequences of sin are faced jointly, e.g. a husband and wife, a company director and the company workers etc.

4.3 Collective sin

Only human beings have been given the ability to overcome destiny and along with themselves, make the entire Creation happy. Yet, they use this potential for reasons like fulfilling individual selfish motives, inflicting injustice on innocent people, dominating others, etc. As a result, society gets polluted with collective destiny.

This affects the entire Creation and disrupts the balance of nature’s cycle. Consequently, calamities such as flood, drought, earthquake, war etc. befall the human race. Though these disasters are visible, the true underlying causes are invisible. When such collective destiny befalls the Earth, along with evildoers, virtuous people also have to suffer the consequences of these calamities.

5. In summary – types of sin

It is important to avoid committing sin as the consequences of sin affect us and may harm others too. It is equally important to understand the nature and actions of those we are close to, as turning a blind eye to their grave sin can make us party to it.

There is a saying that in life, sorrow teaches us more than what happiness does. We can try to keep the perspective that whatever destiny comes our way is a consequence of sin. If we develop an attitude that facing destiny is itself spiritual practice, then faster spiritual progress is possible.

Spiritual practice helps to nullify our destiny or gives us the strength to endure it.


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