Forgiveness

yasmin yada puskara-nabha-mayaya durantaya sprsta-dhiyah prthag-drsah

kurvanti tatra hy anukampaya krpam na sadhavo daiva-balat krte kramam

My dear lord, if in some places materialists, who are already bewildered by the insurmountable illusory energy of the Supreme Godhead, sometimes commit offenses, a saintly person, with compassion, does not take this seriously. Knowing that they commit offenses because they are overpowered by the illusory energy, he does not show his prowess to counteract them.

Srila Prabhupada in the purport writes that the beauty of a saintly person, is forgiveness. Similarly, cuckoo bird is black but its beauty is his sweet voice, beauty of a Brahmana is his knowledge and renunciation, vaishya is his skills to earn money and cow protection. A sudra’s beauty is his submissiveness and a Kshatriya’s beauty is his chivalry.  By these examples we can understand that these aspects are inherent and deep to these type of people and thus the aspect of forgiveness should be so inherent to a Vaishnava or a sadhaka.

Srila Prabhupada shared examples of such tolerant people like Parikshit Maharaja, who accepted the curse of Shringi and not counteracted it. Srila Prabhupada writes, “… he did not counteract the action of the brahmana boy but agreed to die within seven days. Because it was desired by Krsna that Pariksit Maharaja agree to the punishment so that the instruction of Srimad-Bhagavatam would thus be revealed to the world, Pariksit Maharaja was advised not to take action.” Thus, due to personalities like of him, glory of Srimad Bhagvatam forms and thus reveals to us.

A Vaisnava 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.

Srimad Bhagavatam is only about one behavior – tolerance. Parikshit Maharaj tolerated the curse. Kunti Maharani tolerated the atrocities of Kauravas. Bhishma Deva tolerated his vow. Cow and the bull tolerated Kali. Indradyumna Maharaj tolerated the curse of Agastya muni. Citraketu Maharaj tolerated the curse of Parvati Mata. Narada Muni tolerated the curse of Daksha. Ambarisha Maharaj tolerated the harassment of Durvasa muni. Gajendra tolerated the clutches of the crocodile for 1000 years and chanted prayers on top of that. In all the pain, they saw love of Krishna and tolerated it with grace and Krishna filled their heart with love.

Vishwanath Chatkravarti Thakur translates the verse as, “Whenever and wherever those who see difference, whose intelligence is controlled by Visnu’s maya, commit offenses to the devotees, the devotees show mercy to them and do not attack them, since karma will act upon them.”

VCT indicates on the role of Karma also, thus devotees should understand that they are not exempted from laws of Karma. We are not chanting, hearing or reading to nullify Karma but develop love for Krishna in our hearts. For instance, if we offer food made with vegetables infested with pesticides for lord them the prasadam will benefit us spiritually but the pesticides may harm us as well. Thus, by taking offenses, cursing others and responding to a provoking situation, we partake in the Karma process which we can avoiding by tolerating the situation and honoring it as Krishna’s will.

Tolerance and forgiveness go hand in hand alike other principles – amanina mana dena, dadati prati grhnati etc. These situations allow us to go closer to Krishna by praying to Lordship because it is not possible on our own but only if Krishna gives us the intelligence and strength. In BG Krishna says, “I am the ability in man…” I am remembrance and I am forgetfulness.

To develop a mood of surrender as in such situations we can realize that, we can change Krishna’s plan; this increases our acceptance of our identity of servant of Krishna.

 

The following article is an answer to the Open Book Exam (Canto 4.1-12), by Madhu Madhav Dasa

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