Forgiveness leads to the End of False Pride
By the word forgiveness, we generally understand forgiving someone, however, this is not what it stands for. Forgiveness first stands for ‘asking for forgiveness’ and then ‘to forgive.’ The belief that ‘I am forgiving others’ leads to false pride. As Kabir says:
“Forgiveness leads you to Dharma, greed leads you to sin,
anger leads you to sin, forgiveness leads you to your true self.”
Forgiveness is the fundamental Dharma of the world. After taking birth in this world, the ultimate Dharma of the soul remain vigilant within the self and by making its birth meaningful to become a traveler of the path of salvation. Nevertheless, it is difficult for a man to always remain vigilant and follow Dharma every moment in this world. The man is bound by the outer layers of the world and acts against Dharma or so happens through him. When such an act happens, he comes to know, he realizes that something has gone wrong and then the definite question arises that what should be the way out of it. Then, he gets involved in finding the remedies and spontaneously, the Jain concept of forgiveness comes to his mind. Forgiveness, patience, peace of mind, bliss and divine love are the ornaments of a man. Chanakya avers in this regard:
“Beauty of a cuckoo lies in its sweet voice,
beauty of a woman lies in chastity.
Beauty of education lies in compassion,
beauty of an ascetic lies in forgiveness.”
The form of forgiveness is the form of austerity. It is true that the stone-like anger can break a chicken-head, but we should not forget that the forgiveness is like water that can break the stone-like anger. Mahavir Swami was an incarnation of forgiveness. Although he faced many obstacles, he always lived with compassion towards all living beings. Jagadguru Shankaracharya says ‘Kshamamdale’ – i.e., the meaning of the earth is forgiveness. The earth is a symbol of love and motherhood.
If we look at the principle of forgiveness, it says we should accept our wrong deeds we committed towards our teachers, our elders and all those towards whom we have done anything wrong by our mind, speech and action and we should seek forgiveness from them. Those deeds should not be repeated in future, and we should become active for the Nirjara of the deeds done. The burden of punishment can be borne by sinning, but the burden of forgiveness cannot be borne. Forgiveness is greater than punishment. To err is human and to forgive is divine. There is pleasure in punishing, but not peace. There is peace and joy in forgiveness. Vedvyas says:
“Forgiveness is Brahman, forgiveness is truth,
forgiveness is past, forgiveness is future,
forgiveness is penance, and forgiveness is purity.
Forgiveness holds the whole world.”
Secondly, we must remove hatred, and attachment towards others from our mind. Almost all our philosophies have accepted the principle of Karma Shastra (discourse of deeds), but the minute reasoning of Jain philosophy is not found anywhere else. Every person in this world is responsible for his own actions. We have no right to punish others for their actions. If we think we ‘forgive’ someone, we become judges and form an opinion about others, create anger and hatred in our mind towards them. To stay away from judging is also forgiveness. We must be free from the bondage of Karma, not to get entangled in it. In this way, forgiveness is a process of salvation of the mankind. It should be remembered that judging makes us sinner, it is an obstacle, everything is the consequence of our actions. When we think in this manner, the path of forgiveness will become easier.
Thus, after taking birth in Jainism it is necessary to understand this true philosophy of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a process of returning to yourself and making your self-study more sacred. Shrimad Rajchandra has said:
‘Forgiveness is the grand gate of salvation.’
You must practice forgiveness if you are willing to open that divine gate.
Rahim has said:
“The characteristic of a mature person is forgiveness whereas the characteristic of an immature person is mischief.”
Only those who do not have understanding, education, and knowledge, do not forgive. Judging is always done with a sense of revenge, so even if such a person attempts to do good deeds, it will be in vain.
It is said in ‘Samukta Nikaya’ (1/11/24) written in Pali language:
“O seekers, there are two types of fools, one who does not see his own crime as a crime and the other who does not accept and forgive the fault of others.”
To forgive the transgressions of others is the magnanimity of the one with a large heart. Let me end my talk with Kalapi, a renowned Gujarati poet:
“It is true! The repentance is a spring of abundant descended from the heaven.
A sinner can cleanse himself by bathing in that spring.”
Dr.Sejal Shah (Ph.D)