The Apostle asked Him, “Who is dearest to You? Is it the one who sits in continuous meditation?”

“The one who has the power to extract revenge, and the power to destroy, but instead chooses to forgive, and to heal – he will be the dearest to Me,” He answered.

My teacher would say that we are human and can make mistakes, but the one mistake to avoid is to lose the ease of being forgiving. Forgiveness says, “I am the goddess that cools the passions of anger, stills the tongue of hurtful speech, soaks up the tensions of rancor, and removes the roots of present and future potential of violence.” And for doing these acts, the Goddess of Forgiveness has many instruments in her armoury.

The first is a capacity to remain silent, in the face of extreme provocation. The second is the ability to be polite in speech and soothing in tone, even under abuse. And finally, the capacity to bear violence with calm fortitude. Mahatama Gandhi was a living example of such a life. He practiced silence (maun), and even his strident critics acknowledged his politeness. And finally, his capacity to answer violence with non-violence (ahimsa).

Saint Fareed’s words, as recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, guide us:

O Fareed, answer evil with goodness; do not fill your mind with anger;//Your body shall not suffer any disease, and you shall be blessed.//And, like Mahatama Gandhi, we are asked to answer violence with love://Fareed, do not turn around and strike those who strike you.// Kiss their feet, and you will return to your own (spiritual) home.

Guru Gobind Singh was asked about the principles needed for realizing ourselves. He mentioned five: Eat with restraint (alap ahar), sleep adequately without over sleep (sulp nidra), compassion (daya), 

forgiveness (kshima), and a body filled with love (preet).

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