BAPS Better Living
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BAPS Better Living

Because You Deserve Peace

The Value of Forgiveness

“Forgive Others Not Because They Deserve Forgiveness but Because You Deserve Peace.” — Jonathan Lockwood Huie.

Photo by Mark Tulin on Unsplash

Defining Forgiveness

Merriam-Webster defines forgiveness as,

to cease to feel resentment against (an offender).

There are many instances in our daily life where one may face or feel resentment towards others. There are times where this resentment may be something bigger than us — a grudge between two families, prejudice towards a group, a fight with your coworkers, etc. Or there are times where the resentment may seem trivial — a negative thought, feeling jealousy, the blame-game, etc.

Forgiveness in Hinduism

What better example of forgiveness than from the Ramayana.

Queen Kaikeyi asking King Dashrath (center) to exile Shri Ram (left) on Wikipedia
  • Leaving the throne and comforts
  • Leaving his father and never seeing him again
  • Spending exile in the forest and in isolation
  • His wife, Sitaji, being kidnapped
  • Waging a war, costing many lives
  • The love of my father
  • The virtues of Prince Bharat
  • The might of Hanumanji
  • The friendship of Sugriv
  • The devotion of Prince Lakshman
  • The purity of Sitaji
  • My own strength
  • The strength of my enemies

I Ask For Your Forgiveness

The second incident is from the life of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, whose birth centenary celebrations are being celebrated in 2022.

“I ask for your forgiveness. It was my mistake. We will arrange a special program for you all.”

On hearing Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s words, everyone calmed down and dispersed quietly. The youths who had organized the program felt ashamed and guilty. They regretted, “Pramukh Swami Maharaj took their mistake upon himself and also apologized on the occasion of his own welcome assembly.”

“You all do seva (selfless service) so shouldn’t I do this much for you!” ²

Pramukh Swami Maharaj teaches us the second lesson on forgiveness: Forgiving isn’t something that we should expect from others, rather we must bring it about ourselves.

His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj has always forgave and forgotten.

Start with the small things

It is human nature to find it difficult to forgive, espectially in grave situations. Through time and experience, forgiveness is possible. It does not begin with large gestures and words but rather small actions and thoughts.

  • Thinking negatively/ill about a person? Try to find 3 positive qualities in that person.
  • Holding on to a grudge? Find the fundamental cause of the grudge and see if there are any ways to resolve the conflict and clearly communicate with the other person.
  • Talking to someone that holds a different opinion compared to yourself? Listen to their opinion, express your opinion, and find common ground.
  • Have no idea where to start? Start by thinking positive thoughts and speaking positive words. (It goes a long way!) Even if others may keep bitterness and negativity in their life, it is on us to spread positivity.
¹Ramachandraji's Return: A Glass Half Full – Timeless Hindu Wisdom Series: Session 6,
²Pramukh Swami Maharaj: 100 Inspiring Experiences, 1st Edition, September 2019, pages 8–9.



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