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Forgiveness is the way to love

Forgiveness is a balm to soothe the mind that is full of hatred and aversion, says Sri Sri Ravishankar.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 13:52 IST

Forgiveness is a balm to soothe the mind that is full of hatred and aversion. Normally when somebody has committed a mistake, it brings a sense of guilt in the person. Asking for forgiveness frees one of this guilt.
Similarly forgiving others frees one from anger and hatred. The person with little knowledge forgives others to save himself while an egotist expects others to ask for forgiveness to satisfy his ego. When someone’s ego is hurt, he becomes destructive and hurts others, justifying his own pain as the cause for his actions and reinforcing his ego.

There are three levels of knowledge. At the first level, the person thinks, “Someone else can hurt me”. At the second level, a person thinks, “I am hurt”, and wants to get rid of pain by resorting to prayer. At the third level, the wise one knows that he is beyond hurt. He stays untainted at all times, recognises his karma and remains always ready to surrender to the divine will.

If you do not surrender, you get into the cause and effect cycle of karma.

The wise will always find good in other people, because he sees all of them (even a thief) as in struments of the divine.

An average person sees divinity in others sometimes. But most of the times, he sees negativity in others and hence stays in conflict. One who is emotionally disturbed will find fault even in a saint.

In Christianity the emphasis is on for giveness and not on cause and effect theory. The main objective here is to save the mind and have compassion. In Jainism, the emphasis is on non-violence. While in Jainism you ask for forgiveness from people, in Christianity you ask for forgiveness from God alone. Thus Christianity uses forgiveness to calm violence and anger in oneself, while Jainism uses forgiveness to reduce violence and anger in others.

However, Sage Ashtavakra uses forgiveness as a tool to free oneself from bondage. Guilt and anger also cause bondage and hence forgiveness is used to free oneself from these emotions. Ashtavakra advises forgiveness only for the seeker, not for the enlightened, when he says: “The seeker should be forgiving, focused and compassionate.”

First Published: Mar 23, 2006 11:16 IST