Forgive (dictionary meanings):
- To grant pardon to (a person)
- To cease to feel resentment against (to forgive one’s enemies)
- To give up all claim on account of (a debt, obligation, etc.)
- To grant pardon for or remission of (an offence, debt, etc.) absolve
The subject matter of this blog focuses on definitions 1 & 2.
I find myself thinking – is it even remotely possible to gain enough wisdom in our lifetime to achieve the state mentioned in 1 & 2. How enlightened must a person be to actually achieve this?? I wonder if philosophers and architects of ‘social thought’ could ever have elevated themselves to the level of moral high ground that they prescribed!
There are so many quotes on the virtue of ‘forgiving’.
The New Testament: “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also”.
Now they are probably playing on reverse psychology here! If someone slaps you, the natural reaction is to slap back but by showing the other cheek; you are likely to shock the person who slapped (colloquially the slapper!). In the days that the testament was written, the thought process might have been that the slapper would show enough remorse and repent his act. In this day and age where everything is about self gratification and self preservation, I doubt if anyone would feel the slightest amount of guilt or remorse!
Subramanya Bharati, my favourite poet who I believe is a ‘poet of a lifetime’ says:
Pagaivanukku Arulvaai Nan Nenje Pagaivanukku Arulvaai
(Oh Good Heart … Forgive your Enemy)
Pugai Naduvinil Thee iruppadai Bhoomiyil Kandome
(We’ve found that there is fire in the midst of all the smoke)
Pagai Naduvil Anburuvaana nam Paraman Vaazhgindran
(There must be some godliness in the enemy camp)
(So …. Forgive your Enemy)
Pretty lofty morals for mere mortals like us! I wonder if he truly believed in what he wrote and that what he wrote was really achievable!
Mr Thiruvalluvar took idealism to the next level with the following couplets:
“Agazhvaarai Taangum Nilam Pola Tannai Igazhvaarai Poruthal Thalai”
(As Mother Earth bears up with diggers To bear revilers is a prime virtue)
How true! Mother Earth rewards all the injustice we pile upon her by giving us everything we need for sustenance and being so bountiful. To even suggest we emulate Mother Earth is the heights of idealism, isn’t it?
“Poruthal Irappinai Endrum Adanai Marathal Adaninum Nandru”
(Forgiving insults is a great virtue But greater is to forget it)
“Oruthaarkku Oru Naalai Inbam Poruthaarkku Pondrum Tunaiyum Pugazh”
(Revenge gives joy just for one day while Patience carries its praise for ages)
Now, I am not trying to be disrespectful, but I am beginning to suspect that Mr Valluvar lived in a very lonely world if he surrounded himself with people who subscribed to his philosophy! He would have been elevated to the status of Godliness if he truly personified his philosophy. We do need high goals to aspire to is this practical?
At the risk of admitting to my inadequacies, I have not reached the level of magnanimity that is being recommended by these GREAT men. I honestly do a lot of self introspection and try to improve myself and make myself a better person but I have to confess unabashedly that I have a while to go before (or might never ever) I achieve the state of mind that these enlightened souls have encouraged. I try to forgive and block out resentment but it still surfaces with vengeance : ) Maybe I am a ‘lesser’ human being and have a lot of growing up to do – and so does the rest of the world!!!