Understanding Forgiveness

The next Sûtra is Nirvacharavaisharadye adhyatma prasadaha, which means “the experience of the state of thoughtlessness, being in the undisturbed state of hollowness, brings to the fore the grace of the being”.

More and more experiences of the thoughtless state of mind brings on adhyatma prasadaha — Grace of the Divine Lord. The grace of the soul is thus manifested. The spiritual awakening or spiritual blossoming then takes place. Nirvichara vaisharadye means “mastery over the emptiness”. Grace of the being blossoms only when you become hollow.

Now, we come to the next Sûtra: Ritambhara tatra pragna, meaning “in that state the consciousness is full of intuitive knowledge”. Ritambara is that knowledge which is flawless, beyond time, steady, benevolent and full of truth.

This is different from Shrutanumanaprajnabhyamanyavishaya vishesharthavat , which means “it is a special knowledge different from what you have heard, inferred or understood intellectually”. This knowledge, which comes from the depth of the being, is different from that which you have read, which you have heard or which you guess through the intellectual sense. It is different from everything else and very special.

Tajjaha samskaroanyasamskara pratibandhi  is the next Sûtra, meaning “the impression born from the experience of the highest state of consciousness can wipe out other impressions which cause bondage”.

Impressions of that state of consciousness can wipe out all other impressions in the mind that are useless.

To some degree, this keeps happening to every one of us. When we first sit down to meditate, we erase something of the past. The more we meditate, the more hollow we beome and we end up feeling like completely different people.

What has happened? The state of your being has been removed, erased. The other samskaaras or the other impressions from the mind have been removed. The whole experience has made you new; it has renewed you.

Have you experienced this — a feeling where when you think of something you did in the past, you simply cannot believe it was you who did it. You tell yourself, that could not have been you. You do not feel connected to that person at all. Think of some of the things that you did 15 or 20 years ago. Go ahead, turn back time. Don’t you wonder — “Am I the same person? I did not do it. It was somebody else.” Why? This is because the samskara of your consciousness has been erased, those things of the past have been erased. This makes you a new person, every time, every day. This is pure knowledge. If someone holds on to you for something you did in the past, just laugh at them. This is because you are not the same person now. You see it as though somebody else did it.

Have you heard this story from Buddha’s life? Once Buddha was in an assembly when a man walked in looking furious. He thought Buddha was doing something wrong. He was a restless businessman and he had found that his children were spending hours with Buddha when they could have engaged themselves in business at that time, making more and more money. He felt that spending four hours of their day seated next to someone whose eyes were always closed was incredulous. This was what had upset the businessman.

So, with furiousness walked straight up to Buddha looked him the eye and spat. He was so angry, he could not find the words to exprss them that he merely spat at Budha. Buddha simply smiled. He showed no anger, though the disciples around him were angry. They would have liked to react but could not because Buddha was there. So, everybody was holding their lips and fists tight. After the businessman spat at Buddha and realised his action was not drawing a reaction, simply walked away in a huff.

Buddha did not react or say anything. He just smiled. And that was enough to shock the angry man. For the first time in his life, the man had met someone who would just smile when he spat on his face. That man could not sleep all night and his whole body underwent such a transformation. He was shivering, shaking. He felt as if the whole world had turned upside down. The next day he went and fell at Buddha’s feet and said, “Please forgive me. I did not know what I did.” To which Buddha replied, “I cannot excuse you!”

Everyone including the man and Buddha’s disciples were flabbergasted. Buddha then explained the reason for his statement. He said, “Why should I forgive you when you have done nothing wrong”.

The businessman looked a little more surprised and told Buddha that it was he who had wronged him by spitting on him. Buddha simply said, “Oh! That person is not there now. If I ever meet that person whom you spat on, I will tell him to excuse you. To this person who is here, you have done no wrong.” That is real compassion.

Compassion is not saying, “I forgive you.” Your forgiveness should be such that the person who is forgiven, does not even know that you are forgiving them. They should not even feel guilty about their mistake.