News Delhi Anupama Jain (16 September) A friend’s special forgiveness card is lying in front of me. It says: “I can’t change past misdeeds,/ But can learn from them,/ Making amends and starting anew/ For whatever mistakes I might have made/ Knowingly or unknowingly with thoughts, words or deeds/ That caused you hurt and pain,/ Please forgive me and let us start on, afresh.”
She was a dear friend, but due to a misunderstanding we parted ways; now this card brought tears to my eyes, washing away all bitterness and that too, on the concluding day of Paryushan Parva or Das Lakshan Dharm Parva. It’s the most auspicious Jain festival, observed for 10 days in Chaturmas, a celebration of human values including forgiveness, nonviolence and truthfulness.
Kshama is termed as “veerasya abhushanam” – a strength, and not weakness. We cannot reverse the past; to look ahead we need to forgive and move on. On the auspicious day of Kshamavani Parva, members of the Jain community request their relatives and friends to pardon them for any mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly; if they have hurt them by way of speech, deed or thought.
Tirthankar Mahavira said, ‘‘Forgiveness is spiritual purification, it is uplift of Soul.’’ Forgiveness reveals high morale. It is a jewel worn by noble souls. Mahavira said: ‘‘The one whom you hurt or kill is you. All souls are equal and alike and have the similar nature and qualities. Anger begets more anger and forgiveness and love lead to more forgiveness and love.’’
Forgiveness is a boon for the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven. Forgiveness has been regarded the basis of all types of penance and meditation, but in the material world also, from the scientific and psychological viewpoint, forgiveness is believed to bestow physical vitality. It can help cure disease and engender mental development. Jainism says that forgiveness is gifted by the one who forgives, earned by the one seeking it, and is natural as part of our celestial nature.
Forgiveness can be earned by request or prayer, pratikramana or confession and repentance, and prayashchitta or willingness to suffer consequences. It could be described as a healing mantra to help us lead a healthy lifestyle free of anger, gloom, worry and hatred.
Forgiveness is part of ahimsa or nonviolence; it helps us triumph over anger and hatred and makes us more content and healthy. M K Gandhi forgave his assassin even as he was dying. Jesus Christ, when crucified, prayed to God to pardon his tormentors as they ‘‘know not what they do’’. In Buddhism, forgiveness is seen as a practice to avert harmful emotions from causing havoc on one’s mental well-being. In Islam, Allah is described as ‘‘the most forgiving’’. Hindu thought describes forgiveness as the highest virtue. Jains celebrate this great virtue as a celebratory ritual, as it is such an integral part of life.
All religions advocate forgiveness for it gives us strength; hence forgiveness is not to be seen as a sign of weakness or guilt. It is a divine attribute – hence the saying, “To err is human, to forgive divine.”
Here’s a prayer: God, forgive us for all our transgressions and mistakes and may all jivas, all beings including the environment remain peaceful, harmonious and coexist without conflict.
courtsey: Speaking Tree Times of india