Voice of the Youth on Forgiveness

January, 2023 by Youth
Tirthankar Mahavir always lived with absolute equanimity and calmness. Despite encountering multiple hindrances, his compassion remained persistent, and he granted forgiveness to even Gosalak, Chandkaushik and the peasant who drilled nails in his ears. 

Is such unconditional forgiveness possible today or it’s just an Ideology?

We asked this question to Jaina youth to understand their perspective and here are their well thought answers to ponder over for everyone.

Aditi Dalal – MA Advanced Theatre Practice:

Jainism is an eternal religion and so is its philosophy. The absolute truth from a fundamental perspective (Nishchay nay) remains the same through the past, present, and future. The preaching of the Tirthankars is also the same at the core, irrespective of which era they live in. And so, I believe that unconditional forgiveness is possible today.

I think the biggest barrier in forgiving someone is one’s ego. It’s when one is deeply hurt that it’s hardest to forgive. And where does the deep hurt come from? From attachment – to a person, situation, thing, or oneself. And attachment (raag) is the root cause of all suffering, along with hatred (dvesh) which continues the cycle of misery.

If one recalls the basic law of karma, that whatever happens to you is a result of your own actions, forgiveness becomes easier. If someone has hurt you, knowing that is it because you have hurt them previously (even if you don’t remember, as it may well be in a previous birth), you can interpret the present situation simply as a consequence of past actions. You now have a choice – do you want to hold on to enmity and continue the cycle of karma or choose to forgive and close accounts with that person?

Forgiving unconditionally like Tirthankar Mahavir swami happens at a supremely elevated state when one’s attachments towards others and oneself (in terms of the body and this current human form) have greatly reduced. But until we reach that stage, I believe it is possible to practice forgiveness by taking baby steps and once it becomes a habit, a default setting in which we respond to circumstances, it gets easier to do it more and deeply.

Dhara Shroff – Architect:

Accept, forgive, and move on!!

Unconditional forgiveness is necessary not to make another person feel any better but for one’s own mental health.

An act of forgiveness liberates one’s mind from any negative emotion attached with that person/situation. Let go not because the offender deserves mercy, but because you deserve that peace of mind!

We often hold on to past actions & run/shy away from our mistakes too, instead it’s best to first embrace them and then forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean it’s for others only, it is a practice towards one’s own actions/thoughts too.

In my opinion, our day-to-day life is governed by these five Art of Living principles and Forgiveness comes from a deep level of understanding and practising these:

  1. Accept people and situations as they are.
  2. Do not speculate on intentions behind other people’s mistakes.
  3. Do not be a football of other people’s opinion and continue doing what you think is right.
  4. Opposite values are complimentary.
  5. Be in the present moment.

Nothing in this world is constant. Change is the only constant. So, when such awareness arises, it’s easy for us to forgive ourselves and others too. It comes with gradual practice, but it definitely can be achieved.

Anonymous- Software Professional:

All religious stories bring up an impossible scenario – something impossible happening to a devoted human as a reward for the devotion and faith, or something impossible being done by an all-knowing human/God. Putting aside the impossibility of the stories, they are written to drive into our head certain qualities in an exaggerated manner to make an impact, making them memorable enough, that they are repeated generation after generation and hopefully followed. I think true forgiveness is sometimes not possible, and it is more of an ideology that religion propagates to stop people from being unhappy and bitter.

True forgiveness does happen sometimes – when someone does something bad to you, but that leads to something even better for you instead – when you can truly see the bad event as redirection. It’s also possible to let go and move forward from someone doing you wrong if you progress, but their life goes in a downward spiral, making the bad event not the most important thing that happened in your life along with feeling like circumstances gave you your revenge.

This is not always possible though, sometimes crappy things happen, and nothing better happens to overwrite that. This is when forgiveness as an ideology becomes important, because 1) The person who needs to forgive is typically the person hurting until they let it go 2) Very rarely in life does the assailant do something to make amends …or even genuinely feels sorry.

Which means if people don’t practice forgiveness, they only hurt themselves.

spiritual-forgiveness

Yashvi Shah – Digital Marketing Professional:

Forgiveness is not just for the forgiven, but it also helps bring peace and calm in the life of the forgiver.

In today’s generation such forgiveness can be seen, but extremely rare. Lot of people have huge ego and forgiveness requires a lot of equanimity and maturity.

Many times, when people are forgiven easily, not only do they take person for granted but also may repeat the same thing again and again. Such fear of taken for granted and manipulated, leads people not to forgive easily.

But the life story of Tirthankar Mahavir and values taught by him, does provide inspiration to think positively and consider forgiveness as a more mature option for forgiver for his own peace and solitude.

 

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