Forgiveness. It is something that we seldom seek and something we should have in our hearts to give. This year, 7th September marks the Jain Festival of Forgiveness on the concluding day of Prayushana. When I look back, I am forced to think about how many people have I actually forgiven or said sorry to. Not many it seems.
The obvious question is Why? And therefore, before I set myself to be a part of this thoughtful day, I have set my soul to embark on yet another journey of finding the answers to these unanswered questions. Flaws and instincts are without which we cannot exist. Let’s admit it. There is no one who is perfect and most of the things that we do are a result of our gut feelings rather than thoughtful practical deliberation. So while we may believe that our decisions are right, they may have irked the patience of our fellow beings. Till the time we realize this, there is no turning back. And even if there is, our egos don’t let us to step back. Things get even worse, when it is not our flaws or instincts that are at play, but a planned maneuver of actions aimed directly to hurt people.
So what do we mean, when we say Sorry? I like to think of it as- as the realization of our mistakes and a new awakened sense of responsibility to make things correct, if there is a scope for such correction. More often than not, we do have the chance but we ignore it, for penance comes with its own weight of pain and sacrifice, and ignoring then seems to be a lucrative option, for we all know- Ignorance is a bliss.
This in effect means, when we say sorry, we agree to have been/done wrong. We agree to bow our head and give others the chance to forgive us. When they cannot find in their heart to forgive us, we do not give up. We try the best we can to make it upto them. And when deep within, we realize that we have liberated ourselves from burden of our mistake, we finally are good to go.
This sounds archaic. It was true in a world where sorry was not such a common word and meant something of value. When we thought about the consequences of our actions on the well being of others, rather than blabbering sorry in the aftermath. We have lost it in us, somewhere. Hollow is too soft a word to describe our souls.
On the flip side, we have forgotten to forgive. We make fake smiles and admit to have forgiven the people who pleaded guilty. But we never forgive, because we never forget. We hold on to the pain. We keep the grudges alive. Petty things, petty fights and talks, things that do not matter anymore. All are treasured. The gold begs us to cry and in its lustre our eyes shine.
In this perpetual self drawn war of being forgiven and forgiving, we have lost the very essence of these words. In the poem Shakti & Kshama, the poet writes-
Kshama shobhti uss bhujang ko jiske paas garal ho, uska kya jo dantheen, vishrahit, vinay saral ho
I read this poem when I was in the 7th Standard. Years later, I find so much relevance in his thoughts. The lines above mean that- it is in the hearts of the strong that one can find forgiveness. What power does a coward hold to forgive? – Strength should not be interpreted in its physical sense. Here strength is the epitome of righteousness. The courage to do what is right, to stand up against the wrong and to be fearless in one’s actions and words.
My thoughts have juggled so far between the true meaning of forgiveness and what do we really mean by the word Sorry. The conclusion is not very surprising, but still I find it too difficult to digest.
I don’t know if I have the strength. I do not know if I have accepted my mistakes. I still do not know if I can find a place in my heart to forget the things that have happened and forgive. But the thing I know for sure, is atleast I can try.
“If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness.”
Michchha Mi Dukkadam