FORGIVE & BE A SINNER

Yes you read it right, forgive and you commit a grave sin. But before we proceed further just pen down why would you forgive anyone? And under what circumstances?

Forgiveness has been considered as the biggest virtue, we assume forgiveness brings us close to God. But forgiving someone does absolute opposite of it. Whatever reason you wrote before reading it further, you assume the other person was wrong, had committed mistake or had hurt you. We become judgmental while forgiving someone, without considering the circumstances under which he acted the way he acted and without knowing what his intent was. We become judge, jury and the prosecution and handover a trophy of greatness to our own selves for that great judgement.

Before you forgave, you, for sure might have felt anger and pain, which you might have felt- emanated from actions of others. What you felt, happened because you see the world that ways. Thus, feelings of anger and pain cannot be ascribed to someone else. They are yours and you are responsible for them.

Biggest error in process of forgiveness is that we hold other person guilty, for doing that, we are not qualified, neither has God empowered us to do so. What the ‘erring’ person did to you was his Karma. The cosmic law of Karma will take its own course and reward or punish him. You are not entitled to forgive or seek retribution. Your role is to forget and move ahead, because cosmic law of Karma delivered to you what you deserved.

“I cannot forgive you because I have no grudge against you”- Lord Buddha.

Holy texts talk about forgiveness at length. But only when such texts are read and understood without considering their context. Whenever forgiveness is talked about, its talked about in the absence of duality of existence i.e. Oneness with God. Forgiveness is talked about in absence of existence of good and bad, day and night, fair and unfair and so on. Once concept of duality is put to rest purpose of forgiveness becomes infructuous.

For good to exist bad must exist, for darkness to be felt we must experience light, for us to be joyful we must experience grief. A counter force is necessary to experience all of them. But to experience divinity and for divinity to exist no counter force is needed and that is absence of duality, that is Oneness with God. A Hindi hymn sums it up very well “हर देश में तू, हर भेष में तू, तेरे नाम अनेक तू एकही है” (You manifest in every shape & form, but it’s only You that exists)

Shiva is one of the most revered deity in Hinduism, where Sanskrit word Shiva translates to – ‘The one who always does good to all’. A hymn addressed to Him says (replace Shiva with ‘one who does good to all’) There is nothing apart from Shiva; there is nothing other than Shiva; whatever there is, is Shiva; There is nothing that is not Shiva; there is no time that is not Shiva; there is no place that is not Shiva.

The core of discourse of forgiveness is pivoted on concept of Oneness and absence of Duality. When we understand that everything that exists, exists to do good to all, forgiveness loses its significance. Anything that does good to all cannot be source of anger, pain or grudge.

forget

The cosmic law of Karma ensures no injustice is inflicted upon anyone. By punishing someone for his sins or by forgiving him for the same we try to interfere with the law of Karma. Though we have no authority to do so and we are incapable of doing so. The only choice we have is choice of forgetting and moving ahead. We don’t forget and don’t move ahead just because our wisdom is eclipsed by cosmic delusion, we are thus a bewildered lot.

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Convert, Don’t Coerce

It’s Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, or may I take the liberty to say another birthday. What a man so frail and so small could do without power that all economic and military might in world could not do and will never be able to establish. The mightiest word and concept ‘Satyagrah’ he gifted to the world, so effortlessly. Request to follow the truth.

His basic premise, evil can be converted to good not destroyed, has power to change world order, only if we are courageous enough to follow it. Today world order and society works for concentration of power. Power is destructive; it instills fear, the mother of all evils.

Today we see all the powers in this world come to gather in search of peace. The UN was created, it became worlds biggest POWER to create peaceful world order. It, within its self has POWER hierarchy, the Security Council. If it was not enough, further groups of POWER emerged in name of G8 and other G’s. All these powers are taking the path of coercion to bring out much-needed change.

Coercion, which has largely become our way of life, whether its effort to change world order or bring about changes in family, at work or in society hasn’t worked and won’t work as well.

911 happened many years ago and it’s been equal number of years that US has been pounding Afghanistan and Pakistan, it has achieved nothing. They have successfully added to misery and poverty of people who see them as aliens and the Terrorists as ‘Hum Majhabi’ (belonging to same religion thus well wishers). After so many years of violence US is starting to learn it’s better to cut of money supplies to the terror groups than pound them with weapons, a better option, not best yet.

Power when juxtaposed with capability, which are two closely related synonyms of Coercion and conversion brings out strange contrasts. Power is convenient and thus gives signs of immediate confirmation, while Capability to convert needs courage and leads to long-term transformation. Someone rightly said “When society fails to leap forward to profound conversion, it slips backwards to severe coercion”. We don’t trust our capabilities fully and second we take a convenient path.

A research on bringing up of kids shows, harsh and capricious parents produce nonconforming and mendacious progeny. Ask a simple question to yourself, what does growth in hierarchy or high office signify? POWER is the unequivocal answer.

Power gives immediate ego satisfaction, while deployment of capability needs humility, usually seen as weakness. Power is weakness which leads people to coercive tactics; it’s used by people who are unable to bring out change either by persuasion or example.

Let’s resolve on this holy day of Mahatma’s birth, not to fall in trap of weakness of power. Let’s resolve to pick up weapon of humility to build capacity. Let’s resolve to live in light of hope and not in darkness of power.

If I have to choose truth and pain against comfort of power and hopelessness I will choose former. Satya Saarthak Sarwatha ( truth shall always prevail).

WHO DECIDES?

You are at sabzi mandi (vegetable market) with your wife, you just manage to stay clear of rotten or semi rotten veggies strewn on sabzi mandi floor. While she shops veggies and you look around, you pull out a candy from your pocket tear off wrapper eat the candy and drop its wrapper where you are standing. Few days later you are flying with your family for holidays. At airport, you again pop up a candy and look around for a dustbin, you find none, and silently slip wrapper into your pocket to be disposed properly later. Which action of yours was good? Who decides?

You are at office working on a very important project; your team has been working on this project for stretched hours. At around 8 pm you walk up to a female coworker, seeing her tired, you, out of reflex give a light message with your fingers on her shoulder. She complains of sexual harassment, you plead it was not intended the way it was interpreted. Were you guilty or not? Who decides? Was your coworker correct in blaming you or was your friendly gesture misinterpreted?

Your son/daughter has just graduated from a business school and found job in another city. He wants to move into a live in relationship and both want to give it a try before they marry. You disapprove it as immoral act, on contrary, your son calls you narrow minded. Is your son right or are you right? Who decides?

We all come across many such issues in our routine life, at times we have conflict with others and at times we are at conflict within. How do we decide what is correct and what not? Is it really always important to determine what is correct and what not?

In absolute terms, there is nothing correct or incorrect, every thing is dynamic. What society today deems correct, tomorrow, it might call it a sin. What I find to be correct behavior might be immoral behavior by your measure.

Before we judge someone based on his behavior or reaction to a situation, or we cast aspersions on someone and hold him guilty, while being prosecutor, judge and jury, it’s important; we weigh him with all fairness. In case of frivolous issues it might not have immediate and palpable impact. In case of serious issues it might define the future of people involved. Also, our ability to stay fair and equitable will define our future. The interpretation of small, not so serious issues will become tradition or parampara, as we call it in Hindi. Parampars put to gather will be called Dharma. Paramparas, and thus Dharm are in constant transition.

The principles which help us define what is correct and what is wrong will remain constant over centuries, but, their interpretations are in constant drift of change.

First principle of social, religious and intellectual justice is ‘Karuna’, this Hindi word, perhaps has no equivalent word in English. It can be defined as a mix of empathy, sympathy, kindness and forgiveness.

Any Decision made with indifference, hatred, intolerance and intent to punish will always be wrong. Only virtues take you on right path vices don’t.

Freedom from fear is second principle. Fearlessness is one virtue which leads to self empowerment. Nothing empowers you as much; and no one is as fair as an empowered person is. Fearlessness at the same time stems from complete surrender in front of God. Decisions made in state of fearlessness make consequences inconsequential, but, with a caveat, it should be free from hubris and arrogance. There is often a thin, indistinguishable line between fearlessness and ego, power & arrogance.

Nothing can be fair till the time both parties involved are measured on same scale, what applies to Gander applies to Goose too. Equality dismantles the power structure in the family, organization or society, making discussions more objective and with clear accountabilities for decisions and actions. Power, on the other hand has unique quality to destroy any thing that is constructive, be it dialogue or action. Once, power is replaced by capability decisions and actions become extremely effective. Capability inspires confidence and kills fear in ones self and others, while power creates environment of threat and uncertainty.

Having said all this, one question still goes unanswered, is it always important for us as individuals and collectively as society to decide upon what is correct and what is not. Is it necessary to make judgment on morality of acts of others? Is it at all required that we raise eye brows on everything which by our standards is wrong? What I believe on this might sound a queer, and thus, is open for debate and discussion.

For all firmly laid down rules and traditions of society its important we adhere to them, anywhere, when ever we disagree, its important we initiate debate on that and this shall become the initiation for much needed change, finally nothing is permanent but change. Just consider, Indian society, firmly, is against prostitution, and many countries have it as legal trade and prostitutes pay taxes like all tax payers. We personally are entitled to our own view point on this till the time it does not impact society at large, and no one can stop us from acting according to our beliefs. Still, visiting a prostitute will be considered a sin in India, though it remains individual choice and should be decided upon by person in question himself.

Still more do we have right to forgive or punish someone for the apparent deceit or harm he did to us? We can’t unilaterally decide if deceit or harm was actually done, still we are entitled to think the way we think and hold others as knave. This is followed by a series of curses we shower upon others or take punitive actions wherever we have power to do so, and even displaying our greatness we forgive them. Morally, we are entitled to none of above, only choice we have is of forgetting and moving ahead. We should not curse as it erodes our spiritual being. We can’t forgive anyone as it means we have presumed him to be guilty that too unilaterally, while every thing is wide and open for debate and discussion. Punishment can not be a choice as it involves use of power, which, by very nature is destructive.

I don’t decide for you. You make your own decisions.

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