By Dinesh K. Nagpal

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”  ~ Alexander Pope

“Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.”  ~ Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.”  ~ Mother Teresa

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”  ~ Paul Boos

“Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.” ~ Cherie Carter-Scott

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”  ~ Robert Quillen

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”  ~ William Blake

“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.”  ~ Anonymous

“Forgiveness is the final form of love.”  ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

 

Today people of Jain community from India are celebrating ‘Kshamavani’ i.e. forgiveness day. It is to mark the end of ten days long Paryushan Parva, which signifies the purification of body and mind. They purify their body by fasting during this period. And the mind is purified by meditating on ten different virtues, one everyday. These are Supreme Forgiveness, Humility, Straight forwardness, Purity, Truthfulness, Self-restraint, Penance or Austerity, Renunciation, Non-attachment and Chastity or Celibacy.

Out of these ten virtues forgiveness has been accorded highest priority for an individual. At the end of ten days everyone seeks forgiveness from others by specific words, “Micchami Dukkadam” or “Uttam Kshama.” It means, ‘If I have caused you any offence in any form, either knowingly or unknowingly in my thoughts, words or deeds, then I seek your forgiveness.’ Seeking forgiveness for one’s sins is considered an act of brave and courageous people.

Forgiveness has been given high priority in almost all religions of the world. It is at the core of the Christianity. In Hinduism and Jainism forgiveness has been accorded as an act of courage and strength. Similarly in Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism it has been considered as a noble act.

Forgiveness has gained importance in almost all the countries of the world. And entire world celebrates International Forgiveness Day on first Sunday of August every year for forgiving others and being forgiven by others

Forgiveness signifies tolerance, opposing negative forces of animosity and to overlook the source of negative forces of anger. It is also defined as, ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claims on account of an offence or debt.’

Human mind is reactive. It responds almost instantly to the words and actions of the other person. There are two ways to react in every situation. One goes to negative direction and the other to positive. Negative responses may further lead to hurt feeling, bitterness, strained relationship, anger, hatred, jealousy or revengefulness etc. While in positive response, you practice, ‘let it go attitude and forgiveness.’

Forgiveness in itself is an extremely difficult task for everyone. At times, we are generous to say to ourselves that we are forgiving others but on the other hand on several occasions it seems that we are self centered and have yet to learn forgiveness.

There are several reasons to believe that forgiveness is a unique and wonderful gift given to you by yourself. From health aspect, you will find that several studies have revealed positive benefits of forgiveness. It is a wonderful tool that helps bringing Love, Understanding, Compassion, Happiness, Kindness, Contentment and Peace in you. It also helps you building healthier relationships with others.

Dr. Fred Luskin says learning to forgive helps people hurt less, experience less anger, feel less stress and suffer less depression. Those they learn to forgive and seek forgiveness become more helpful, optimistic and compassionate.

In addition, there are several physical health benefits of forgiveness. Practitioners of forgiveness have fewer symptoms of backache, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, upset stomach. It improves your appetite, sleep pattern, energy and general wellbeing.

Several studies have revealed that angry people with hypertension showed decrease in their level of anger and blood pressure on practicing forgiveness. In a nutshell, forgiveness helps you remain physically, mentally and emotionally fit.

It is a proven fact that forgiveness works well. It may be difficult to practice. But you must have faith in its efficacy. Forgiveness never happens at its own. You must choose to forgive others and seek forgiveness for your sins. Choice to forgive is yours but not to be forgiven. There is nothing so bad in your life which cannot be forgiven. Your health is most precious hence forgive for the sake of good health.

Do not forgive for the sake of someone else. Do it entirely for the self. People may or may not come to you for seeking forgiveness for their sins, but you must forgive them for your wellbeing.  Love, Compassion, Universal Brotherhood are the key ingredients for developing habits of forgiveness in you. If you want to live peacefully, do not be at war with others. Rather forgive and seek forgiveness. It also helps to make peace with your past, which is always haunting you with its negative experiences.

Are you deeply hurt and wounded by the words or actions of others? All of us have experienced the same at some point or the other. But what is the way to come out of those negative feelings except forgiveness?

A question always knocks at the door of my mind, when there are several physical, mental and social benefits of embracing forgiveness then why we all are not practicing the same sincerely with total honesty? Why still there is widespread hatred, jealousy, animosity, revengefulness and self centeredness amongst the people all over the world? Every one of us knew well these habits are detrimental for us; still we are following the same path. In some extreme cases even brothers and other family members is not seeing eye to eye to one another. The spirit of universal brotherhood seems to have lost somewhere. Language of love, compassion, co-operation etc. is losing its flavor.

The best way to take revenge from someone is to forgive him. It is one of the sweetest revenge. First learn to forgive the self, than forgive all others. Charity always begins at home. Learn to forgive everyone, irrespective of your relation with them. Cultivate this habit in such a way that it becomes an effortless exercise for you.

Please make it sure that these forgiveness days do not become merely an annual ritual of seeking forgiveness by sending text message or E-mail, making phone calls or advertising in newspapers. Forgiveness must come from within. Essence of forgiveness should not be lost.

Human beings are fighting with one another for ages. Now it is the time to make peace.

Let us make peace – Forgive and seek Forgiveness.

In Gita Arjuna is seeking forgiveness from Lord Krishna in following verses,

Sakheti matva prasabham yad uktam he krishna he yadava he sakheti
ajanata mahimanam tavedam maya pramadat pranayena vapi

yac cavahasartham asat-krto ’si vihara-sayyasana-bhojanesu
eko ’tha vapy acyuta tat-samaksham tat ksamaye tvam aham aprameyam  
Gita Ch. XI, V 41 & 42

It means, “Whatever has been spoken presumptuously by me thinking of You as my friend due to delusion or due to affection thus “O Krishna,” “O Yadava,” “O my friend,” not knowing Your glories and universal form, O infallible one, whatever I may have done in madness or in love and I have dishonored You many times, jesting as we relaxed, lay on the same bed, or sat or ate together, sometimes alone and also among companions, all these things I am beseeching You to please forgive.”

Keep reading and give your frank opinion. I honestly seek your forgiveness for all my mistakes of the past, present and future.

God bless you all.

 

 

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Dr. Dinesh K. Nagpal has been studying and practicing The Art and Science of Positivism for over 35 years. His zest for gathering ancient knowledge based on Vedas, Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures, which are full of living life in totality, for the benefit of mankind, brought him laurels. The motto of his life is ‘Caring and Sharing is the essence of life.’

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