Applying Principles of Forgiveness in our practical life as Sadhaka
I am paraphrasing the following principles taught in this Chapter “Brahma satisfies Lord Siva” with respect to forgiving someone :
1) Observe Paramātmā in each and every being and do not differentiate between one living being and another.
When someone praises me, I may feel, “He is my friend.” When someone finds fault with me, I may feel, “He is my enemy.” These conclusions arise due to false ego and identification with superficial observations. If I see the reality that every living entity has a Supersoul in his heart and are offered Remembrance, Knowledge, Forgetfulness as per their surrender, then I can easily ignore the `mistakes’ of others, which they commit with the sanction of Supersoul; I can avoid giving too much feedback to others, after all I should allow some feedback for his Supersoul to give, instead of posting myself as a second Supersoul in others’ lives. Also I will respect all devotees and even non-devotees, because they are accompanied by their Supreme father, the Supreme Lord as Supersoul in their hearts. I will try to see all souls to be of one quality, but only with different degrees of material coverings, that makes me see them as friend or enemy wrongly.
2) Never become overwhelmed by anger like animals, who can see nothing without differentiation.
I’ll try to remember the good qualities, great services rendered, the spiritual stature of devotees with whom I had an unpleasant encounter. By gratefully remembering these, I can avoid holding a negative opinion about them. I will try to see the reality that I have 8.4 million brothers and sisters, only wrapped up in different types of dresses. One brother wears a squirrel dress, another wears a plant dress, a third one wears a cow dress etc. This vision will help me see everyone as a child of God. Remembering the pure qualities of great Vaisnavas can help me to emulate their model of peaceful disposition, calmness, kindness, courtesy, benevolence even to enemies.
Although I theoretically understand that we should forgive those who act enviously towards us due to their minds infected by illusory energy and their attachment to fruitive activities, it will take me many years of practice to learn unconditional love, especially towards those who behave inimically. It is possible for me to have working relationship with even such people, but to have a open heart and sweet relationship, as if nothing has gone wrong is difficult. Probably I have to dissolve my false ego by sincere and pure chanting to be able to see everybody as a lover of Krishna and thus lovable.
3) When unexpected situations come our way, we should not find fault with Lord for sending adversities.
4) Mean-minded people cannot tolerate flourishing condition of others and thus they utter harsh and piercing words to cause pain to them; such people are already killed by providence (due to the anxiety and envy in their hearts); there is no need to take revenge.
5) A Vaiṣṇava is described as para-duḥkha-duḥkhī because although he is never distressed in any condition of life, he is distressed to see others in a distressed condition. Vaiṣṇavas, therefore, should not try to kill by any action of the body or mind, but should try to revive the Kṛṣṇa consciousness of others out of compassion for them. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has been started to deliver the envious persons of the world from the clutches of māyā, and even though devotees are sometimes put into trouble, they push on the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in all tolerance. “trinad api sunicena” [Cc. Ādi 17.31]
6) Knowing that the materialists are overpowered by illusory energy due to which they commit offenses, a devotee of the Lord should feel sorry for them and not show his prowess to counteract them.
7) The un-bewildered devotee should be merciful and forgiving towards those who are under the clutches of illusory potency and also attached to fruitive activities. A Vaiṣṇava should take care of those who are bewildered by this māyā instead of becoming angry with them, because without a Vaiṣṇava’s mercy they have no way to get out of the clutches of māyā.
8) Beauty of a tapasvī, or saintly person, is forgiveness. Even if a saintly person is unnecessarily harassed by someone, a saintly person tolerates. Parīkṣit Mahārāja was the emperor and was full in power both spiritually and materially, but out of compassion and out of respect for the brāhmaṇa community, he did not counteract the action of the brāhmaṇa boy but agreed to die within seven days. Because it was desired by Kṛṣṇa that Parīkṣit Mahārāja agree to the punishment so that the instruction of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam would thus be revealed to the world, Parīkṣit Mahārāja was advised not to take action. A Vaiṣṇava is personally tolerant for the benefit of others. When he does not show his prowess, this does not mean that he is lacking in strength; rather, it indicates that he is tolerant for the welfare of the entire human society.
The above article is an answer to the Open Book Exam (Canto 4.1-14), by Radheshyam Dasa, to the question: “How will you apply the principle of forgiveness explained in Chapter ‘Brahma satisfies Lord Siva’ in your personal life as a sadhaka?”