Did we fall into this material world by committing some sin? Or can we blame someone or something for our condition? The Vedas reveal that the first step in our fall is always caused by us, as we all have a minute independence. The great Vaisnava Acharya and poet Thakura Bhaktivinoda sings in one of his poems. “O Lord, forgetting You and coming to this material. world, I have experienced a host of sins and sorrows. Now I approach Your lotus feet and submit my tale of woe.” Why are we so prone to falling down? Our position is described as being an eternal servant of Krishna.
When we forget our secure position as someone who is eternally engaged in the service of the Lord, this forgetfulness is bound to create panic and misery. Due to this forgetfulness alone, we fully align ourselves with our temporary situation. And along with the temporary situation come interests, needs and concerns. For example, temporarily I have this body in India, and gradually I think that since I am an Indian, my interest also has to be Indian. I forget that another living being, who may be identifying himself as an American or Russian or German accepts that he is that particular body with a certain set of interests.
The Vedas insist that first of all this forgetfulness has to be rectified. Otherwise we will never come to a solution. A small error in the very first step of a complex mathematical equation cannot be neglected simply because it is very small. As we progress, we will be compounding the error. Thus an eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord wrongly thinks himself to be His competitor. Imagine a servant of a rich man starts thinking, “Why am I serving this master? Why not become a master myself?” An employee works in an office and every-day. he sees the managing director raking in all the money. Sometimes a revolt may occur to his mind. Similarly, when the living entity who is eternally a part and parcel of God and whose real position is to serve God — thinks. “Why I shall serve God? I shall enjoy myself; this is the beginning of downfall.
When the living entity thinks not of how to serve God but to become God, this is the original sin. Some Vedantic philosophers have excellent knowledge and understanding of philosophy, but still they try to become God, which is impossible or futile. They negate the meaning of God. If just by meditation and material efforts one can become God, what then is the true meaning of God? No one can become God. Artificially one may try to become God, but this artificial way of trying to become God is the beginning of sinful life.