Question: What does sin mean to you? How can man liberate himself from sin? Does your spiritual philosophy incorporate the Christian concept of redemption?

Sri Chinmoy: To me, sin is a kind of imperfection or ignorance. It is not necessarily something very bad, ugly or untouchable. In the process of evolution we are aiming at perfection, but right now most of us are still wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance and self-indulgence. Each self-indulgent action of ours is a manifestation of our present ignorance. As long as we remain in ignorance, we will do things wrong, we will commit sins. But we must not feel that we are completely lost or covered in darkness. We are just progressing from less light to more light, and ultimately to liberation from ignorance-imperfection-sin.

Man can liberate himself from sin only by invoking God’s constant Grace. God’s Grace always descends abundantly and powerfully, but most human beings do not try to receive it. If the individual wants to free himself or herself from ignorance, and cries to receive God’s Compassion-Rain, then definitely he will be liberated from the snares of imperfection-sin. But this liberation comes gradually as the seeker becomes more illumined. We must not expect sudden and miraculous overnight transformations, although these do occasionally occur.

In a very broad sense my philosophy does include the concept of redemption, but it puts more emphasis on human liberation from ignorance. It is through conscious liberation from ignorance that today’s man the finite grows into tomorrow’s God the Infinite. According to my understanding, the Saviour Christ lived and died to liberate humanity from ignorance and imperfection-sin through the example of his own earth-experience.