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  • Writer's pictureAshok Kumar Burra


Updated: Feb 5

By B.E.Sampath Kumar, Sri Ramachandrji Seva Trust, Kadapa.

Forgiveness is one of the divine qualities of Human beings such as fearlessness, purity of mind, penance, non-violence, truthfulness, compassion, gentleness, patience, devoid of ego, austerity, charity, etc., Sometimes we hurt others and sometimes we are hurt. In both cases, we cannot avoid mental suffering.

Usually, it is not always easy to forgive someone especially if great harm or hurt is caused by that person. The ego is the one that hurts and gets hurt. It plays an important role in personal conflicts and in hurting others or becoming hurt by them in the process.

Whenever we commit a mistake, we must be humble enough to keep our ego aside and admit it. Knowing when we are wrong and admitting our mistake,  is a sign of maturity and wisdom. Only courageous people can do this by not only admitting their mistakes but also beg forgiveness if they realize that they have done wrong to others and accept open-heartedly whatever the consequences would be to face.

Forgiveness is one of the great qualities everyone must possess to lead a happy life with their family members. By adopting it, one can acquire all other related virtues. Anyone can attain that stage by self-purification thereby learn to forgive others unconditionally irrespective of the circumstances, through spiritual practice under the guidance of a capable Master (Sadhguru).

In Bhagavath Githa forgiveness is mentioned as a virtue in conjunction with other divine qualities. One may seek forgiveness for inappropriate behavior, whether it is intentional or unintentional.

There are many instances in our scriptures in which many saintly persons who suffered much from others did not take revenge although they could have done so.

The Divine twins Aswin Kumars, were unique Devatas and are often associated with rescuing mortals and bringing them back to life. They were interested to learn Brahma Vidya. Indra, the Ruler of Heaven thought that if they acquire that spiritual knowledge, then they might threaten and make him incapable and become the Rulers of Heaven. Therefore, out of jealousy and fear Indra ordered that no one should teach Brahma Vidya (spiritual wisdom) to the Ashwin Kumaras, and if anyone disobeys his order, the head of that person would be broken into pieces.

Aswin Kumars, who were interested to learn Brahma Vidya approached Rishi Dadichi, master in Vedic Art i.e., Brahma Vidhya and requested him to teach the spiritual wisdom of the Vedic scriptures. They promised Rishi Dadichi that before Indra takes revenge, they will replace his head with that of a horse, and when Indra sever the horse head, they will replace it with his own head. Rishi Dadichi agreed and taught the spiritual wisdom to them. As soon as he had done so, Indra beheaded Rishi Dadichi with his sword. Afterward, Aswini Kumars regrafted the original head of the Rishi back on his trunk when the horse head had broken into pieces. Rishi Dadichi regained his life.

In due course of time, One Asura by the name Vritra who was the recipient of a boon which made him invulnerable to any known weapon invaded Heaven and drove out Indra. Then Indra prayed Lord Viṣṇu to help him. Lord Vishnu revealed to Indra that only weapons made from the bones of Rishi Dadichi could kill the Demon.

Indra became very nervous to hear this because he had earlier beheaded Rishi Dadhichi. But nevertheless, he went to Ṛiṣhi Dadhichi and begged for forgiveness and told him the reason for his approach.  Ṛiṣhi Dadhichi smiled and said, ” I know very well that you severed my head for teaching  Brahma Vidya to Aswin Kumars. But as a Rishi, I can excuse you for the great harm done to me and if I do not forgive you and do not give you my bones, then because of your past misdeeds, many innocent Devatas and other creatures will suffer. Therefore, I will forgive you and permit you to take my bones for the good cause”.

Ṛishi Dadhichi then sat in Yoga, till his soul left his body and merged with the Ultimate (God). Indra then got a weapon Vajrayudha and other weapons crafted from his bones and the Devatas were able to defeat Vṛitra in a battle.

The story of Rishi Dadhichi shows how we should forgive even our enemies by controlling our hatred and enmity towards them because forgiveness is the most beautiful form of love.

There is another instance in our scriptures about forgiveness which is described briefly hereunder:

When the Mahabharata war was concluded, Ashvathāmā, son of Dronacharya, the royal guru of Kauravas and Pandavas, killed all the five sons of Pandavas brutally in the darkness when they were sleeping in the night. Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas, after seeing the dead bodies of her sons wept with intense sorrow and asked Bhima and Arjuna to punish Aswathama. They immediately rushed to Veda Vyasa’s Ashram, where he was hiding.

They overpowered Aswathama and brought him before Draupadi. Arjuna asked her, to tell them what punishment should be given to Aswathama, the culprit,  as he deserves death for his heinous crime. Draupadi though she was in deep distress about her children’s death, said that “I do not want Ashvathāmā to be killed because he is the son of our Guru. I know the pain that a mother’s heart feels when her children die. I do not want Ashvathāmā’s mother to undergo the same sorrow which I am now facing”. So Ashvathāmā’s life was saved due to Draupadi’s forgiveness.

It is a fact that we all reap the fruit of our own Karma. A person who hurts us earns bad Karma and we can earn good karma by forgiving him or earn bad karma by taking revenge. Forgiveness can be developed through spiritual practice and by cultivating detachment and compassion, whereby ego becomes weak and kindness in heart sprouts.

In the New Testament of the Bible, a disciple asks Jesus Christ, “Lord, how many times should we forgive others, seven or seventy?” Lord Jesus replied, “Neither seven nor seventy, but seven times seventy.”

Lord Buddha says “Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything you will be happier. Love everything you will be happiest”. Your dreams become sweeter, you waken more easily, men and women will love you, angels and devils will love you. If you lose things they will be returned. People will welcome you everywhere when you are forgiving and loving. Your thoughts become pleasant.

Forgiveness is not always easy. At times it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forget the one that inflicted it. When we forgive we are in no way change the past but we sure do change the future.  If we do not forgive and forget, the anger and enmity in our hearts hurt us more than anyone else and the cycle of hate and violence continues endlessly and no one gains from it.  Forgiving others often benefits us more than anyone else and gives us ultimate peace.

There is no love without forgiveness and there is no forgiveness without love. Weak people take revenge, they never forgive. Strong people forgive as it is their virtue.

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them. Very often, the person who is forgiven is so moved by the kind gesture that he starts seeing his forgiver as a friend or even as a superior to himself. The quality of forgiveness brings everyone under control in this world. What cannot be achieved by forgiving? If one holds the sword of peace,  no one thinks of doing harm to him.

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