Monthly Archives: September 2013

Forgiving Those Who Wrong You

This morning, I remembered the story of Jagai and Madai. To give you a quick summary, Jagai and Madai were two brothers who possessed qualities that were not admirable – drinking alcohol, disrespectful, thieves, etc. On one occasion, they physically assaulted Nityananda, which angered Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Chaitanya was ready to end their lives as he was very angered by this. Jagai and Madai repented and sought his forgiveness, and Chaitanya said he would spare their lives if his devotee Nityananda forgave them.

So what do we learn from this?

We learn two things:

1. The importance of forgiveness

Many of us often hold things in our hearts against those who have wronged us. I am guilty of it as well. I forgive people and I don’t hold a grudge against them, but at the same time, I begin to avoid spending time with them. If I care about the person deeply, I will try to mend the relationship, otherwise I let it fade. But by not forgiving others, we fill our hearts with unnecessary feelings that just occupy space and cause us grief. By being forgiving, we exhibit the qualities of devotees. We exhibit compassion and understanding, and these qualities are pleasing to Krishna. As in the case of Jagai and Madai, by forgiving others, we may also prevent them from suffering further. Imagine for a minute that you are the offender and you have done something to anger your best friend. If your friend chooses not to forgive you, you suffer a lot, don’t you? You feel hurt and upset and are filled with regret for making a mistake. In this way, forgiveness mends those who are wrong and those who are wronged. Forgiveness needs to be practiced. It is most certainly not easy but it is absolutely freeing. We must learn to forgive because after all, Krishna forgives us, doesn’t he? Why shouldn’t we forgive others, then?

Forgiveness is a virtue of the weak, and an ornament of the strong. Forgiveness subdues (all) in this world; what is there that forgiveness cannot achieve? What can a wicked person do unto him who carries the sabre of forgiveness in his hand?     (From the Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva Section XXXIII, Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli). [Taken from Wikipedia]

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.    Matthew, 6.14-15

Needless to say, if someone is continuing to wrong you without truly repenting or feeling sorry for it, there is no reason for you to tolerate it. Simply let it slide and free yourself from the clutches of this person.

2. The authority God gives devotees

This incident of Jagai and Madai shows that as devotees, Krishna has given us certain authorities. Krishna is the ruler of this universe. He doesn’t need permission to take away someone’s life, yet he left the decision up to his devotee Nityananda. Even during the Mahabharat war, Krishna agreed to be Arjuna’s chariot driver. Again, giving his devotee the power to make decisions. Krishna steers the reins and guides the devotee’s from within, as he promises in the Gita:

“To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”    BG 10.10

I always find this incredibly amazing to think about. It fascinates me how the Creator of everything that exists sometimes follows the instructions of his devotees! It’s a lot like the way parents sometimes follow the orders of their children out of love. They don’t have to do it, yet they do because of the love that is shared. This is exactly why Krishna sometimes agrees to carry out the loving requests of his devotees. Isn’t he just the sweetest?

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Frustration

There are these moments in life where you feel frustrated and disillusioned. You don’t know whether to run or hide or whether you should take the bull by the horns or just let things fall where they may. Right now, this is how I feel. I’m frustrated because I have a psychological disorder that affects my life, because I have several dietary restrictions due to food intolerances, because I haven’t been unable to find a decent job.

I have been out of a job for the past few months. I’m not even keen on working for someone because of how abusive and manipulative employers can be. I feel like I’ve been through quite a lot, in the sense that my patience was really tested at my previous jobs. I don’t want to get into the details but lets say I have seen how companies can be unethical and blatantly lie to their clients, and I have had my employers be so controlling even when it came to things like taking lunch breaks and even a 2 minute break to drink water. Feeling abused and disheartened, I left my job because I felt like I was not being respected as a human being. I wouldn’t be surprised if things like this happened everywhere around the world, too. These are tough times we’re living in.

The reason for frustration, as I understand it, is when something is lacking. I mean this on a deep level, not in the sense of material desires like having the latest iPhone or the biggest house. I mean necessities like a job, security, shelter, etc. Frustration stems from this lack of security and protection. It leads to anxiety of the future because there is uncertainty and a lack of stability. While I am sitting here, feeling waves of frustration wash over me again and again, I thought I’ll have a look at what the Bhagavad Gita says in order to deal with my feeling of helplessness.

But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form–to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.      BG 9.22

Such deep consolation, knowing that Krishna will be there to assist you, by maintaining what you have and by making up for whatever it is that you lack. Everyone feels some sense of lacking in one way or another. Lack of strength, confidence, self-esteem, money, intelligence. So many other things. Let Krishna be your strength, your confidence, your pride, your wealth and your intelligence. Let him provide for you what you lack.

Anyone who prays unto Me and takes shelter from Me becomes My ward, and I protect him always from all sorts of calamities.     Lord Narasimhadeva, Narasimha Purana

This uncertainty of the future, of the state of my career, my wellbeing, my family, etc. are causing me great distress. I must remember to seek shelter of Krishna, and he will protect me from calamity.

He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.     BG 9:31

Ah, the peace that we are all looking for. Peace and promise of everlasting life.

The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.     BG 5:12

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have been praying and asking for things, asking for Krishna to get me out of this mess that I am in. Then I remembered that I must not hanker for the fruit of any activity. I must let Krishna decide the outcome, and I must offer the results of my activities to Gopinath and work for his sake. Do the best you can do and do what you must, but leave the results to Krishna.

Perform your duties to the best of your ability and offer the results to Krishna. He will preserve what you have and should be lacking anything, he will provide it for you, as he sees fit. All the while, he will protect you as he promises and he will give you peace. Frustration will rear its head again and again because it is the nature of this world. But lucky for us, Krishna is on our side. And we all know which side is going to win.

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