Sin Is a Denial of One’s Own Deeper Nature

Why is murder a sin? Because the life that is in you is the same as the life in all beings. To deny anyone the right to live is to deny the reality of that universal life of which you, too, are an expression.

Spiritually speaking, murder is suicide.

Why is it sinful to steal? Because what you deny others you deny also yourself, in them, since the Self of others is also your own greater Self. The thief invariably, in the end, impoverishes himself.

By emphasizing selfish desires above the realization of his universal Self, he cuts himself off from the one true Source of life and of all abundance. By taking from others for selfish gain, he narrows his own self-identity instead of expanding it.

Giving of oneself to others, on the other hand, broadens that identity, and opens one to the unfailing Source of abundance.

Why is it sinful to tell lies? Because by untruthfulness one cuts oneself off from reality, and from that higher truth which alone, as Jesus said, “shall make you free.” By telling lies, one isolates oneself from the support which the universe offers freely and lovingly to all who would live in harmony with its laws.

The liar destroys the foundation of everything he tries to accomplish in this world. His turns out, finally, to be a house built on sand. The simple words of a man of truth, on the other hand, are binding on the universe.

And why is lustfulness a sin? Because lust is counterfeit love. It takes one in the opposite direction from the fulfillment that is found in true love. True love is divine. It is self-giving, never selfish.

The lustful man, in seeking his own pleasure of others, loses power, even while deluding himself that he is gaining it. He cuts himself off from soul-joy, even while imagining that he has attained the happiness he craves. He succeeds only, in the end, in creating disharmony within himself and in others.

Harmony is the way of love. Disharmony is the way of ego and sense enslavement. The lustful person loses his health, his peace of mind, and the very fulfillment he imagines himself to be finding. He becomes increasingly tired and nervous, and grows prematurely old, all because he denied divine love, the source of true and lasting well-being.

And so it is with every sin. Sin is a denial of one’s own deeper nature—of that Infinite Life which is the underlying reality of all beings.

Your Physical Senses Are Not Your True Self

A man walking in a part of the country where diamonds had been discovered came upon an area that was littered with little pieces of broken glass, all shining in the sunlight.

“Diamonds!” he thought excitedly. Stooping down to pick one of them up, he found that it was only a sliver of glass. Disappointed, he threw it away and reached for another. But it, too, proved to be only glass.

And so he went on picking up one piece of glass after another. Sometimes he cut himself on the sharp edges. Every piece he tried proved as illusory as the first.

Such is the way of sin. Its false glitter is attractive, but on experience it turns out to be nothing but “broken glass.” Often it cuts the one who indulges in it. Always, it proves disappointing.

Sense pleasures can only end in satiety, anguishing monotony, and disgust. Why? For the simple reason that your physical senses are not your true Self.

Excerpted from The Essence of Self-Realization: the Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda

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