Forgive Over and Over Again
In 2014, the year my mother passed away, I had seen her just staring blankly out into space with a kind of frown on her face. I asked her what’s wrong and then told her to forget the past and forgive all those who had hurt the family. I guess I hit a raw nerve, because she snapped back, “I have not taken any Guru, I cannot and will not forgive.” The words were so intense that I let go and did not push her. These incidents had happened more than 40 years ago but I guess they were imprinted in my mom’s psyche and every memory recall opened the wounds afresh. The only way one can get rid of such intense hurt is if we learn to forgive over and over again — every time the memory comes up we should consciously forgive all the players in that particular drama of life!
In Vedic literature, ‘Kshama’ describes the concept of forgiveness, and is combined with ‘Krupa’ (kindness), ‘Daya’ (mercy), and ‘Karuna’ (compassion). At the very root of forgiveness is the concept that the person who does not forgive carries a huge baggage of memories of the wrong, negative and harmful feelings of anger, hate and unresolved emotions that affect such persons both in the present as well as in the future. Not only should one learn to forgive others but one should first learn to forgive one’s own self — because if you cannot forgive yourself there is no way that you can forgive others! Also, if you feel you have wronged or hurt someone else then you should not hesitate to say sorry and seek forgiveness, regardless of what your ego tells you to do!
Some people consider saying sorry or apologising to be a sign of weakness, this is certainly not so, because being humble and saying sorry for a wrong which you know you have done is a sign of strength and a display of a solid character. This is a skill which is very difficult to master as it comes from higher levels of consciousness. It is always a mental battle to apologise as you have to rise extremely high to attain a neutral state in order to forgive. Undoubtedly, forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools in the world to heal yourself as well as to progress spiritually. The Bhagwad Gita (10.4) states that forgiveness is associated with other divine qualities such as knowledge, freedom from delusion, truthfulness, control of the senses, equanimity, contentment, fearlessness, charity and austerity.
When we hold a grudge against someone, we are bound to that person emotionally and we give him a place of residence in our ‘agya chakra’ (brow chakra). By forgiving we release that person from the rent-free accommodation given to such person till that point in time after which we clear our agya chakra.
To conclude — a quote from Greek philosopher Epictetus, “When you learn to forgive, others and yourself, and let go, you will be surprised to discover the lightness and freedom that unfolds thereafter within you. Forgiveness will not necessarily erase all your pain, but it does mean that the pain is no longer center stage.”