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Forgiveness – From The Wisdom Of Vemana

It is interesting to note that the poet saints of Hinduism who composed songs and poems in different parts of the country have similar thoughts and concerns to propagate. While upholding reformatory spirit and imparting practical wisdom through popular axioms that eventually became part of popular imagination and everyday sayings, they ushered in modern temperament. Their tone varied from one of chastisement, censure, castigation, condemnation of evil practices and superstitions to making appeals to uphold and cherish humanistic values. They all provided precepts for peaceful coexistence, healthy human relations marked by tolerance and fortitude. They all advised to shun violence for the benefit of humanity. On closer examination, it becomes clear that the issues they talked about have contemporary relevance for us. They are like visionaries who imbibed the essence of Bharatiyata, the idea of India, and passed it onto the next generations.

Vemana says:

Don’t think of avenging your bitter enemy
Even if caught. No harm needs to be done.
One generous gesture is enough to let him go and die.
Vema! the one endeared to the Creator, listen!

Kabir, the 16th century saint poet of North India, has expressed a similar view in his doha:

You felicitate the one who harmed you with flowers.
Those appear as flowers to you, but he feels the pinch of a trishul!

These poet-saints lived in different centuries but their utterances have the same message of peaceful means of living. Instead of conflict, means of compromise needs to be explored. Confrontation ought to be replaced by conciliatory methods. This is all the more relevant to the present age. Because conflict and confrontation have taught humanity bitter lessons in violence. Hindu culture always emphasized the importance of non-violence by enunciating ‘Ahimso parama dharmaha!’ in its epics and puranas. King Ashoka turning from a conqueror of lands to a propagator of peace gives a practical demonstration of this cherished tradition. The option of peace always needs be given a chance for humanity to progress.

A noble gesture of forgiveness may result in peaceful co-existence whereas conflict and punishment could only foment a sense of hurt. Thus, it is a virtue if put into practice, humanity will reap its immense benefits. The above axioms of Vemana and Kabir underline the essence of all religions – forgiveness.