How can we forgive not just with lips but with the heart?
Transcription by– Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj gupta
Question: How can we forgive from our heart because at times we may say that we forgive and we also want to forgive but we don’t really feel that forgiveness inside the heart?
Answer: Actually when sometimes we speak words, the words are not insubstantial. The words are the beginning but then from the words things have to move to the heart. There are two-three different things which we could do regarding that specific relationship. If we are not able to forgive that relationship then often we feel that I have done so much for that person and that person has repaid me like this. Why should I forgive that person? It is true that we have done lot for that person and that person has wronged us then instead of looking that relationship we can look at some other relationships where we have been more of receivers than givers and where we have been forgiven. As Jesus tells in the Bible that “forgive others because God has forgiven you”. That way by remembering that we are all wrong doers in our own ways and what to speak of our relationship with Krishna, even in our other relationships there may be situations where we have done wrong and others have forgiven us although they had done lot for us. So by thinking in that way we can say that ok, there I was a recipient, so here let me be the giver even if there is no reciprocation. Basically the whole idea of emotional acceptance of things is essentially persuading the mind. Intellectually we understand something but emotionally the mind doesn’t accept. We have to use different strategies for emotionally making the mind accept.
One of the strategies what I discussed just now is that we can try to think of other situations where we have been forgiven although we have done wrong. Second is that we can think broadly in terms of our relationship with Krishna and our spiritual advancement. Often when we don’t forgive then that person’s actions and the memory of the hurt becomes like mental glue that stays in our mind and heart. Not only it hurt us but it distracts us from Krishna. Therefore irrespective of that relationship, at least for the sake of our spiritual advancement we know that we have to think of Krishna always. Actually in one sense love and hate can both be very similar because love and hate are both very intensive emotions. If that residue of hatred is also there in our heart then it can also occupy our mind, the way we want love of Krishna to fill our mind with Krishna. By letting that resentment go away we will enable Krishna to enter in our heart and stay there. How do we do that? At one level it may be just by some mental exercises. Sometimes we can visualize. Feeling of resentment are like dirt that is sticking to the walls of our mind and then we clean it and all that falls of. Now just we can visualize in the mind and with broom I sweep it away. As Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur would say that beat the mind. He would say beat the mind in the morning, beat the mind in the evening, what does that beating the mind mean? It basically means getting the mind to get rid of its undesirable emotions, undesirable passions, undesirable agitations. So sometimes mental visualization exercises can also help.
Another aspect is that which is the most potent actually if we can do it, is to when the mind starts getting filled with those negative feelings towards others then absorbs ourselves in some devotionally fulfilling activity. Now if we have deities at home or we have pictures in the computer then we pray to those deities and take darshan of those deities. Some kirtan that we like to hear we absorb ourselves in those devotional impressions. Or there are some illuminating verses from scriptures. Basically we absorb ourselves in Krishna and by that way we drive away those feelings whenever they come.
In this way by remembering that we have been forgiven by others so we forgive or by remembering that this is what is best for our spiritual advancement therefore we visualize ourselves releasing those negativities and cleaning them away. Or we absorb ourselves in Krishna through devotional activities and in that way we can internalize the external expressions of forgiveness. Thank you.