Forgiveness leads you to inner peace

When you want to forgive someone simply forgive. Don’t judge whether the person is worthy or not. What matters is whether you feel forgiveness at your very core.  
Think about it. When does the context of forgiveness arise? Forgiveness becomes relevant when someone has acted in an irrational, resentful, violent and/or a hurtful way with you. Your hurt is causing you to feel miserable about the episode and you want to see that the person responsible for this is admonished, made accountable or even punished. This is what anyone will normally want done. But as long as the act of reprimand or retribution is not complete you will continue to grieve, you will continue to suffer. In some cases, the person who hurts you may realize her mistake and seek your forgiveness. It’s possible then that you may or may not forgive her. If you choose not to, you will still be carrying the angst of the injury, the hurt in you. But, if in any situation, you choose to forgive, you will be liberated – instantaneously.
Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, the Rajiv Assassination, Nalini Murugan
Picture Courtesy: Internet
There’s so much attention on the people responsible for former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassins, with the Indian Supreme Court, commuting the death sentences of some more of them to Life terms recently. This development, in the context of forgiveness, brings the focus back to what happened in March 2008. Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, Rajiv’s daughter, visited Nalini Murugan, one of those convicted in the assassination conspiracy, in Vellore jail in Tamil Nadu. According to what TIME magazine reported then: “The two women both wept when they met. Toward the end of their meeting, they compared stories about their children’s births (both have had caesareans) and even swapped small gifts, though neither revealed what they were. Nalini, whose initial death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment a few years ago after intervention by Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress Party, apparently found Priyanka’s visit Life-changing. Nalini told her brother P. S. Bhagyanathan that she feels as if “all my sins have been washed off by Priyanka’s visit… I feel she has pardoned me by calling on me at the prison… I am indebted to her all my life.” Whether Priyanka explicitly offered forgiveness will probably remain between them. In her statement, Priyanka said that “meeting with Nalini was my way of coming to peace with [the] violence and loss that I have experienced.” Perhaps Priyanka was not trying to forgive so much as she was trying not to hate — and their meeting was a very private gesture that, after becoming public (through a media leak), has come to appear heartbreakingly heroic. “I don’t believe in anger, hatred, and violence,” Priyanka said simply in her statement. “And I refuse to allow it to overpower my life.”

Priyanka’s effort to reach out, and to be human, in the face of such a traumatic personal loss, is as awakening now as it was then. That she chose to do what she did, without investing to evaluate whether Nalini deserved any forgiveness, if at all, or not, is inspiring.
We must remember that when we forgive someone, we let go of all the pent up, wasteful emotions like anger and hatred, within us. We forgive someone for our own sake first. And through our inner cleansing and peace, we help the one we forgive too to move on in Life. Forgiveness frees the person who is forgiving and therefore is not dependent on whether the person receiving it is deserving or not. If you understand this perspective, you will never carry any resentment, any hurt, any suffering in you – ever. And you will be at peace!
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“Do I deserve this?” – the most futile question in Life!

It doesn’t really matter to, and in, Life whether you deserve something or not. Life will simply keep happening to you. If what you get from Life meets or exceeds your expectation, you exult, celebrate, rejoice, and, often times, even vainly pride yourself for “your” achievements. And when what you get is not what you wanted or expected you lament – “Do I deserve this?” While the ideal state would be to remain unmoved by whatever happens to you, at least, over the years of growing up, it may be a good idea to learn not to grieve over what you get.
To be sure, Life has no principles of “deserving” and “undeserving”. Life operates on a “happening” principle. It just goes on happening. Judging a happening and labelling it as good or bad, or analyzing whether you deserved it or not, is a purely human activity. It is your mind at work. Life is mindless and so simply goes on, happening, from moment to moment to moment.
When you begin to analyze why you ended up with something you didn’t want, and didn’t deserve, you are sure to be consumed by depression and grief. These emotions will ruin your inner peace and drown you in sorrow. They will hold you back from living Life fully.
Laxmi – Commendable Spirit
(Picture – Shanker Chakravarty, The Hindu)
Ask 24-year-old Laxmi from New Delhi. She should know. Today’s Metro Plus in The Hindu tells Laxmi’s poignant story. Being a good singer, she was hoping to participate in the Indian Idol contest in 2005. But in February that year, a man who was twice her age, and whose proposition and overtures she rebuffed, poured acid on her face. The tragedy left her benumbed. Grieving. And lost. It took months of facing Life__feeling angry, helpless, while having to deal with the trauma everytime she looked into the mirror__to “understand” that what had happened to her was permanent and irreversible. That when she decided to battle it out. She moved the courts. The man, who in the meantime had managed to get married and father two children, got 10 years in jail. But Laxmi was not satisfied. She decided to move a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court – which she won recently, that has led to a ban on indiscriminate over-the-counter sale of acid across India. Laxmi tells The Hindu’s Sangeeta Barooah Pisaroty that she’s happy she has “found her voice finally”. And next on her agenda, apart from leading the “Stop Acid Attackers” campaign, is to hopefully get back to her “Life’s ambition” of contesting for the Indian Idol title!
Laxmi’s spirit is commendable. She too, as she admits, went through her “Do I deserve this?” moments. And as long as she was asking that question, she remained stuck. She became a recluse. She was always unhappy. But the moment she stopped asking that question, she found a new meaning to live and a purpose to her Life!
That’s our learning too. Whatever happens in Life, there’s no point asking “Why?” or “Why me?”. Because there are no answers in Life. You get what you get. And you have to accept what you get! Period.

You may have heard this or read this before. But it is pertinent to recall what ace tennis legend Arthur Ashe (1943~1993) is believed to have once said. Ashe was dying of AIDS, which he contracted due to an infected blood transfusion he received during a heart surgery in 1983. While in hospital, he would get letters from his fans, from all over the world. One of them asked him: “Why does GOD have to select you for such a horrible disease?” To this, Ashe is believed to have replied: The world over — 50 million children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the Grand Slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 make it to the semi-finals, 2 get to the finals, and only 1 wins. When I was holding a cup I never asked ‘Why me?’. And today in pain, and dying, I should not be asking ‘Why me?’ either!
Bravo Ashe! Bravo Laxmi!