Sadhana for Week 31

Mind Level: Forgiveness


Forgiveness is an ornament to men and women alike.

Forgiveness is the secret beauty in any spiritual seeker’s life.

Not to forgive,

Is to maintain the passions bottled up within us.

Then we are never empty enough to lift ourselves in our soaring meditations.


Sandalwood perfumes even the axe,

That hurls it down!

The more we rub sandalwood against a stone,

The more its fragrance spreads.

Burn it, and it wafts its glory through the entire neighbourhood.

Such is the enchanting beauty of forgiveness in life.


Anecdote 1:

Many pundits had criticised and even cursed Poojya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda that his tongue would get blasted into thousand pieces because he was speaking in English on the scriptures.  Swamiji did not take any offence. In time, these pundits turned around and became devotees.  Swamiji said, ‘i tore away your letter cursing me! I should have preserved it and shown it to you.’

Anecdote 2:

At the end of a Geeta Gnana Yagna of Swami Chinmayananda, after the Gurudakshina ceremony, when the counting was over, a devotee stole the whole gurudakshina and disappeared.  It upset everyone.  A few months later when the devotee realised the mistake and returned to apologise profusely, he was accepted unconditionally by Gurudev. 

What is Forgiveness?

A little girl replied: It’s the wonderful fruits that trees give us while we hurl sticks and stones at them.

Forgiveness is the voluntary act of letting go the hurt, anger, negative feelings etc towards another who has caused an offence to oneself.


Forgiveness is the fragrance,

Which crushed Tulasi leaves on the fingers that crushed them,

In a thoughtless act!

-       Swami Chinmayananda

Why Forgiveness?

1.    When we forgive there is immediate peace.  Otherwise night and day we burn in the fire of revenge, anger and hatred. 

2.    “God Gives and Forgives. 

Man gets and Forgets.”    
- Swami Chinmayananda

3.    The person hurt you once. For life, you constantly hurt yourself by remembering it again and again.

4.    Forgiveness is not for other person but for ourselves.  The person who did wrong is enjoying life but you are suffering.  Forgiveness frees you otherwise you are chained by your past. Free of negativity which over a period of time pervades the emotional personality of an individual and pulls the person down. This affects not just the person but also the people around because unknowingly one is exhibiting negative vibes.

5.    When you are sorrowful, the other person has become successful. When you are not sorrowful they are surprised.

6.    One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything every night before you go to bed. If you have not forgiven, then a part of your inner life energy is trapped in resentment, anger, pain, or suffering of some kind. This trapped life energy will limit you. By holding on, a pressure is inbuilt which could lead to bitterness, negative attitude, inability to connect with people, and many other such undesirable traits. It is like riding a bicycle with the brakes partly on all the time. Eventually one only harms oneself, no one else.

7.    See a video of Swami Chinmayananda on the importance of forgiveness:  https://youtu.be/bqIS_NLezBw

Glory of Forgiveness

Kshama hi shaktasya param vibhushanam. – Jaataka maalaa

Forgiveness is the crest-jewel of the mighty.

The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. - Mahatma Gandhi

Kshama is one of the names of mother earth.  It is said of Lord Rama that in forgiveness he was like Mother Earth.

Kshamaa shastram kare yasya durjanah kim karishyati

atrne patito vahnih svayamevopashaamyati.      
            -  Vidura neeti-Mahabharat Udyog Parva Section 33

What can the wicked do to one who has the weapon of forgiveness?  Fire that falls on grassless ground/sand gets extinguished on its own.

Isn’t that a sign of weakness?

What is easier; to retaliate and give back to the person who has hurt you or to let go and move on? Obviously the answer is the first one. It takes great strength to do the latter. Only a person with a strong character can forgive. 

For a seeker compassion and forgiveness is a very important quality to cultivate for the same divinity is there in all of us.

Levels in Forgiveness

•     Level 1: Retaliate and Forgive later

•     Level 2: Warn and Forgive once and don’t retaliate

•     Level 3: Forgive & Forget out of reasoning

•     Level 4: Forgive and Forget out of love/empathy

•     Level 5: Forgive inside. Fight outside.

Rama fights Ravana. Pandavas fight the Kauravas

When to FIGHT on?
Why don’t we forgive if countries attack us?You must know when to sacrifice and to fight.  Bharat was given the kingdom bec. Kingdom was in safe hands.Rama fought with Ravana to get back Sita.  He did not say let Ravana take her.  Rama fought with Ravana but had no hatred towards Ravana. He had forgiven Ravana once and then killed him. He even tells Vibheeshana to forgive Ravana.

•     Level 6: Not to take offence. Eg. Finger poking the eye. Teeth biting the tongue Eg. Eknath Maharaj never took offence even when someone spit 100 times on him, Jesus was crucified and he said -“Forgive them O Lord! they know not what they do.”   Highest form of forgiveness is not to take offence.

See the video of Swami Chinmayananda on this vision of Oneness:  https://youtu.be/e4lj833B5uw

How to?

•   I must understand deeply that Forgiveness is choice-less.  If I’m hurt, there is no choice whether to forgive or not. 

•   ! must also understand the harmful effects of non-forgiveness.  It destroys our peace, potential, prosperity and happiness.  Fills our life with bitterness, pain, anger, resentment, jealousy, insecurity, hurt, …..

Forgiving oneself

Learning to forgive yourself is vitally important to be able to forgive others.  Hurting yourself, by refusing to forgive yourself, hurts others also. If you do not forgive yourself then you will punish yourself by denying yourself the good things in life. The more you deny yourself the less you have to give. The less you have to give the less you can benefit those around you. Everyone benefits when you forgive yourself as you then allow more good into your life, and have a lot more to share.

Forgive yourself;

Then only He can forgive you.

-       Swami Chinmayananda


–    Invoke love for yourself.  Drop guilt, regrets. 

–    Resolve the hurt, anger and embarrassment by acceptance. 
Learn the lesson. Let go of the incident.

–    Why am I hurt?  What am I attached to that I feel hurt?  Let go of that attachment mentally. 

–    You are not ‘BAD’, you made a mistake.
To err is human.  To forgive is also human. 

–    Go into nature and let it go.  Eg. Havan, Dip in the Ganges, Satsang is the triveni. Let go of your past and purify yourself.

–    Do atonement if required. Prayaschitta-karma


Forgiving OTHERS

–    To misunderstand man is easy;

To understand him is difficult.

                  - Swami Chinmayananda

If we can step back and try and think of why the person has done what he/she has done to offend us or put ourselves in that person’s shoes, it will give us a better understanding of the situation and help us to forgive out of reasoning or empathy.

Think of it from their standpoint.  Kshama comes from large-heartedness.

–    Trust Law of Karma / God.  To mete out justice is not our job.  Lord will take care of that. Prevent buildup of your negative karma.

–    Free yourself from the victimisation mode. 

–    Adveshtaa sarvabhootaanaam maitrah karuna eva ca
nirmamo nirahankaarah sama dukkhah sukhah kshami.  Geeta Ch.12.13

He who is not hateful towards any creature, who is friendly and compassionate, who is free from attachment and ego, equanimous and forgiving…such a devotee is dear to me.

–    All are only instruments.  Don’t blame yourself or others. 
Mentally invoke compassion & empathy

–    If its your duty then be strict and even punish if required, but having removed anger, hatred and revenge from your heart. 
Eg. Mother punishes the child but not with the intention of inflicting pain


Beginners and Advanced:


•          On a piece of paper, write about an incident or person, that you have been holding a grudge against.

•          Describe what happened in detail, and pour all anger and resentment out as you write.

•          Then, close your eyes and bring the incident to the forefront of your mind, and say with conviction ‘I LET GO! I FORGIVE YOU!’

•          Tear the piece of paper and throw it away/burn it, never looking back.

•          Visualise forgiving and letting go. Visualise that you are peaceful when you meet the person next time.  Sub-conscious mind needs to be addressed through auto suggestion like ‘I have forgiven and i’m free.’  because hurts resentments etc reside there.

•          Take a bath and feel the waters washing away all your hurt, leaving you positive and pure.

•          This is called - “Forgive and Forget”.  Forget the hurt and let go of the pain.  Functional memory of the incident may remain but psychological hurt is forgotten because of large heartedness and love.

•          Every night, Seek Forgiveness from the Lord for conscious and unconscious errors that you may have done and Forgive everyone every night before you sleep. 

•     Flood your mind with love. Look into the eyes of the other and embrace the person with whom you have quarrelled. - Swami Chinmayananda

Advanced seeker:

1.    Do as advised above.

•          Visualise loving interaction with someone who has hurt you.

The battle within ourselves is fierce,

But with the help of the Great Lord within,

Nothing is impossible.

-       Swami Chinmayananda