Forgive Thyself

Forgiveness is an evolved state of consciousness. In the mundane rigmarole of daily life we hurt people, sometimes consciously but many a time unconsciously. We feel offended at others hurting us but never feel spontaneously the desirability of asking for forgiveness promptly. Basically it is because we don’t perceive any reprisal or penalty for our act of hurting others. We hurt in three ways: manasa, vaacha, karmana or in thought, speech, deeds. Those physically strong hurt the physically weaker either to assert their self-perceived superiority or just to dominate the weak for social, economic, cultural, racial or gender considerations. This kind of hurt is called violence, which is prevalent in every society; tempered in civilized ones and unbridled in pre-modernization societies. This is visibly the worst form of violence, as it injures the body. This form of violence is noticeable by society and its perpetrators are made to compensate for it in the form of penalty imposed by law. But this is no less violent than the other forms of hurt.

The other form of hurt is even more painful. It is verbal hurt. The abuse of speech to hurt others, though causes no visible physical injury, inflicts more excruciating pain than simple physical hurt. Words sting. They stay for long, may be even lifelong. Words have the power to even start wars between nations. At individual level they can cause injury to the pride, self-respect or esteem of the person. Many times it is unintentional, though generally it is used intentionally as a weapon of hurt. The victim is shaken and feels angry and even revengeful. His or her blood-pressure shoots up sharply and if not controlled can end up in brain hemorrhage or even instant murderous assault on the spur of the moment. A physically stronger or otherwise more advantaged person might hurt someone and move 0n without seeking an apology or expressing regrets, mistaking it as his/her right as a better placed individual in social, political, economic, cultural or any other terms. Obviously, for such individuals “equality” is just another concept which is difficult to practice in real life fully. It is this illusion of superiority that prompts people to hurt

Nurturing ideas of finding ways to hurt the others, planning all the time ways to hurt the interests of others, thinking always how to cause maximum pain to others and similar other emotions and thoughts are described as violence of thinking (manasa). This subject occupies equal space with heroes in all world literature and other forms of art, including films. It is not necessary that there is any reason for an individual to be so possessed of such evil designs. It is without any motive (motiveless malignity). Such persons convert their thoughts into action and hurt innocent people.

Acts which hurt others fall in the category of hurtful deeds (karmana). Prompted by self-interest, people succumb to hurting actions which hurt others. Life is a continuing game of this play. People pursue their own interests in life and can hardly afford to care for others. Isn’t it a tough competition? Are ambitions not in conflict at every stage every moment in life? Exceptions apart, is it normal for individuals to sacrifice their interests for others? If done, it is likely to end in starvation of the sacrifice!

The funny thing about it all is that all this violence happens without our remaining conscious about it all the time. But we can atone for it by asking for forgiveness. Actually in forgiving others we are forgiving ourselves for the hurt we too have caused without remembering it as we remember only the hurt caused to us. Unless we clear the account of hurt caused to others here and now, we might have to settle it later in life or in the next life. If matter or energy do not die and only change form, human body and mind too are destined to gain another form. If the seed continues to form physical body in all things living, there ought to be one single thread to continue our account from one birth to the next.

The best case study of all the three forms of violence and hurt is Galileo, as he was subjected to physical, mental, verbal, thought and action agony for his discovery of a reality and conveying it.

In India the followers of the Jainism observe every year a Forgiveness Day (Kshamavaani). Practitioners ask for forgiveness of their family, friends and society for any hurt they might have caused to them during the last one year. Isn’t it worth emulation globally? Not that the violence has lessened in any significant way, but at least it reduces its impact. What is there to lose in cooling tempers? It is good to be careful not to hurt others, not to become host to the Devil to engage in mind games making plans to hurt others. The poor Devil has neither a heaven nor hell for it to reside- it dwell only on earth! The variety of sources of pleasure created by the Creator were meant for happiness of the created, which the Devil has converted into its levers of corrupting the human mind, body, soul and language. What relevance of the Devil unless he converts pleasure to pain, happiness to unhappiness and comfort to misery. He can lead one to disgrace but provide no bliss. True bliss and happiness  comes from forgiving and being forgiven. Seeking evolved human beings, listening to them and constantly improving oneself is rewarding. It is certainly invigorating and elevating to listen to positive thoughts delivered in sweet words and always speak the language that is courteous, polite and sweet. Vaaniyog translates to exercising such control over language.

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