By Dada J P Vaswani
Forgiveness releases us from being victim of our past, and helps us to transcend from our lower selves to the divine in us, says Dada J P Vaswani
Forgiveness is a bridge that all of us need to cross at one time or another in our lives. Forgiveness is an act of will which we have to carry out consciously and deliberately. Forgiveness is an attitude of compassion and understanding with which we choose to react to the world. Forgiveness is not a one-off action – it is a process by which we evolve towards tolerance and acceptance. Forgiveness is not a series of incidents – it is a way of life that we choose. Forgiveness is self-restraint, self-control, self-discipline, through which we transcend our lower selves. Above all, forgiveness is an effort on our part to bring out the divine that is in all of us.
George Macdonald, Scottish author and mentor of Lewis Carroll, writes: “It may be infinitely worse to refuse to forgive than to murder, because the latter may be the impulse of a moment of heat, whereas the former is a cold and deliberate choice of the heart.”
Forgiveness is not always easy. How can parents forgive the murderers of their children? How can mothers forgive the rapists of their daughters? How can anyone forgive those who have massacred their family and friends?
I am the first to admit it is not easy. But the alternative is to become like those offenders —intransigent, cruel and unfeeling. Forgiveness releases you from the fetters of hatred, and frees you from the pain, shame and humiliation of the past which is, thankfully, dead and gone!
The gift of forgiveness
Forgiveness need not be a struggle — if we realize that it is also a great gift and a blessing. It is a choice that we make — either to love or hate, to punish or pardon, to heal or hurt. We choose to tread the path of peace and reconciliation, rather than succumb to bitterness. It is said “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”
A holy man was invited to be present at a council of village elders. The council was to sit in judgment over a wrong-doer and decide on his punishment.
The holy man was extremely reluctant to join the council. However, on the appointed day, the president of the council sent him a message saying, “We are all assembled, and await your arrival. Do kindly join us!”
The holy man came to the council dragging behind him a basket full of holes, filled with sand. He left a trail of sand behind him as he walked into the council chamber.
“What is this that you are dragging behind you?” the elders asked him.
He said, “Like this sand, my sins are running out behind me. I do not see them, and today, I come to judge the sins of another!”
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