3. Forgiveness

Kshama or forgiveness means to forgive the faults of others, and to have no thought of it in the mind thereafter. Persons without forgiveness fight each other and exterminate themselves. Millions of persons perish because of lack of this virtue.

Guru Nanak Sahib says:

Without forgiveness, millions have perished. No one can count them. Numberless persons have died.

Ram Kali Onkar M1, 937-5

A holy man wrote a book. His dog upset the lamp. All the manuscript was burnt. The holy man forgave the dog and only said, "You do not know the damage caused by you." He then rewrote the entire book.

That man can be embellished with forgiveness who has a compassionate nature. Unless there is compassion, there can be no forgiveness. By forgiveness quarrels are resolved and means for removing the suffering are found.

A person of forgiving nature is calm, humble, patient and forbearing. Even in the face of great difficulties, he does not give up forgiveness and is always cheerful. There are two powers in the world. One is justice and the other is forgiveness born out of mercy. Justice is good, but that which can be achieved by forgiveness cannot be had by justice. To err is human. It is not at all uncommon for man to err. If errors are to be invariably punished, it would result in extirpation of the erring individuals. How can blood be washed with blood? If we demand justice, it punishes the guilty. The guilty man undergoes the punishment. This, however, does not remove the hatred against the complainant and the spirit of revenge is there. The resolve to take revenge for getting him punished is very much strengthened. Whenever he passes by the complainant, the mental desire to take revenge always springs. He gets no rest until he avenges him. This leads to retribution by the other side. The dispute thus increases, justice cannot remove the thought of ill-will and revenge. But if we forgive any person out of kindness and mercy, it has great effect. The dispute is settled. The thought of revenge does not arise. On the other hand, the person forgiven feels grateful to the person forgiving him, and has a feeling of friendship for him. The feelings of inflicting punishment and taking revenge are spreading unrest, uneasiness and disorder in the world. The reaction correspond to the thoughts sent out, and they would affect us accordingly. If you send out currents of love you will get those of love as reaction. If you have thoughts of hatred against anyone, you will get the same in return. Actions beget reactions. If you propagate thoughts of love, you will get the fruits of love. If you sow thorns only, thorns will grow. Do not expect grapes if you sow thorns. Practise forgiveness, and people will forgive you. You reap what you sow. To hope for silk after giving wool for being spun is useless.

Oh Farid! how can you expect grapes after sowing thorns; how can silk be the product of spinning wool?

Farid, Salok, 1379-3

If we do not think ill of anyone, our love will be universal. When we forgive the guilty and do not wish them ill, we will have no enemy. A forgiving person is always happy. It is impossible to describe happiness, calmness of mind and peace which results from forgiveness.

It is only a brave man who can forgive. This is beyond the power of a weak man. The Lord is kind and compassionate. Where there is compassion, there the power to forgive can arise.

For this reason, the great Saint Kabir has assigned a very high position to forgiveness. He goes to the extent of saying that the Lord Himself dwells in a forgiving person. Where there is forgiveness, the Lord is there in the form of mercy.

Oh Kabir, where there is Gian (knowledge), there is Dharma (duty); where there is untruth, there is sin. Where there is attachment, there is death; where there is forgiveness, He is there Himself.

Kabir, Salok, 1372-13

Forgivesness has a glorious form. All say that forgiveness is good. He who has no feeling of forgiveness in his heart drowns in the ocean of this world.

Kabir Sahib says:

All say it is good.

The form of forgiveness is glorious. He who has no forgiveness in his heart Is drowned in the well of fear.

By adopting forgiveness, one gets contentment. A forgiving person is not attached by disease and he is not afraid of death. He gathers the wealth of truth through forgiveness.

Forgiveness includes fast, good conduct and contentment. He is not attacked by disease and is not afraid of death.

Gauri M1, 223-16

Forgiveness extinguishes the fire of anger. There is no other way to calm it. Man remains ignorant of the reality, owing to the veil of egoism. This can be understood on meeting a perfect Master only. The fire of desires and egoism is extinguished. Anger can be given up by giving place to forgiveness in one's mind by the Grace of the Master. Egoism and anger leave the mind wherein contentment dwells.

Guru Amar Das says:

On meeting the Master I have come to know the secret of the body. Egoism and desires are all gone. Anger has disappeared on adopting forgiveness.

Gauri M3, 233-8

An egoistic and angry person loses fear of the Lord. He acts like a reinless camel and commits sins and perpetrates very mean acts. We can learn the lesson of forgiveness from a mother. She does not punish her children for innumerable faults. The greatest merit of a mother is that she does not even think of the faults of her children.

Many faults are committed by the sons. A mother however does not mind them.

Kabir, Asa, 478-14

The highest embellishment of forgiveness is the divine glory of the saints and they preach its practice. A forgiving person forgives everything except breach of duty. It is generally seen that people do not forgive small matters. The spirit of non-forgiveness is the chief cause of unrest in the world.

Forgiveness is most sacred. By practising it, unrest disappears and man is saved from being burnt in the fire of anger. A man should therefore, always practise forgiveness.