Rashtriya Digamber Jain Parishad (Regd)
Forgiving others and even forgiving ourselves is not always so easy. In fact, how do you forgive someone who has hurt you? How do you forgive yourself for regrets that you have? The truth is, even when we want to engage in the process of forgiving others or ourselves, we don’t always know how to go about it.
There are many articles and books on forgiveness that have been written to help us to understand the importance of forgiveness or क्षमा but when it comes right down to it we need specific tools to assist us in the process of forgiving others and in forgiving ourselves. But in the Jain Dharma it has a great significance and importance. In one of the Holy Speeches of भगवान् महावीर (Lord Mahavir), he said “Forgiveness is the ornament of brave persons” (क्षमा बहादुरों का आभूषण है.) But the bravery does not lie in proving the power but in Forgiving or क्षमा.
Forgiveness is the experience of finding inner peace which our saint have telling us since long. One of the most difficult things we have to do during the course of our lives is to forgive those who wrong us. When we are hurt, our first reaction is usually to seek revenge and strike back. Revenge may provide temporary satisfaction, but usually the satisfaction is replaced by guilt, sadness, and remorse. Forgiveness lightens our heart and our spirit in a way that no amount of satisfaction from revenge possibly can.
What is the importance of forgiveness in our life and what does it mean to forgive? We all have our own thoughts and feelings about what it means to forgive and why we should or shouldn’t do it. It is said that “forgiveness is a mental, and/or spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.” Forgiveness is about setting us free and we can do that by releasing the past so it no longer has control over our thoughts or the way we feel. It is true that forgiveness doesn’t mean that we are approving, accepting, dismissing or condoning what someone else did. It is about setting our self free and we can do that by releasing the past so it no longer has control over our thoughts or the way we feel.
Certainly, there are a wide range of situations that we often experience and witness throughout our lives and some are easier to forgive than others. However, forgiveness is or may be possible in all situations. As forgiveness takes place within our heart, we may receive inspired thoughts and ideas of ways to initiate reconciliation. We may even find that once we shift our emotional energy around the other person through forgiveness, they actually initiate reconciliation because whether they are conscious of it or not, they may feel the shift in our energy.
“Love is always the answer to healing of any sort. And the pathway to love is forgiveness.”
If we don’t forgive someone who has wronged us, we run the risk of holding on to the anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal. If we hold on to the anger, resentment and sense of betrayal, we can make our own life miserable. A vindictive, angry mind-set creates bitterness, increases stress levels, and can diminish overall health. When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each others’ presence.
When forgiveness takes place, we naturally release the disturbing thoughts and emotions that drain our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. The result is a greater level of health and happiness in addition to the endless benefits that forgiveness brings. Forgiveness can release us from the past and assist us in overcoming resentment or regrets that we may have.
Hence the importance of forgiveness can easily be realized in one’s life. It has everything to do with our own well being. Through forgiveness we literally set our self free.
Let us forgive one another on this day of KshamaVani Diwas