Friday February 23, 2018

Kshama: The importance of forgiveness in life

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By Nithin Sridhar

Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures – Part 9

The previous installment of the series dealt with how daya/compassion and love should be shown towards everyone. Another tenet of dharma (duty/righteousness) that is intimately connected to compassion is “kshama” or forgiveness.

Picture credit: thecounselingmarriagefamily.com
Picture credit: thecounselingmarriagefamily.com

Forgiving is generally understood as forgiving someone for some action that may have offended us. At times, this forgiveness may have been imposed on us due to various factors. The general understanding of forgiveness is that one gives up any grudges that he/she holds against another person. And even this may not always be the case.

A person may not truly give up grudges against another, even after he or she might have rendered forgiveness. Often, the grudges and the frustrations stay as bitter memories in the subconscious mind.

As a result, many people are prone to anger, insecurity, hatred, and other such negative emotions. This in turn prevents them practice compassion towards everyone. Therefore, it becomes crucial to understand what forgiveness means and how to practice it. Shandilya Upanishad (1.1) says:

kshamA nAma priyApriyEshu sarvEshu tADanapUjayEShu sahanam!

BuddhaShakyamuni

Translation: The forbearance of pleasant and the unpleasant, the praise as well as the abuse is termed as “Kshama”
Therefore, Kshama is just not just about forgiving someone for their mistakes or offenses. It is about handling the good and the bad, the sorrow and the happiness in a patient and self-restrained manner.

The human nature is such that, people love getting praised. They always look forward to get appreciated by others. It may be a student looking for the teacher’s appreciation, or an employee expecting good words from his boss. The same is the case with a wife expecting a compliment about her beauty from her husband.

On the other hand, people cannot tolerate even mild criticism. People’s anger will burst out if anybody criticizes them openly. An insult or verbal abuse may lead to a physical fight as well.

The fact of the matter is, people find it hard to control their own thoughts and emotions. A famous quote attributed to Buddha says it is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand wars. And the key to conquer one’s own mind is in practicing Kshama.

The happy memories linger in the mind for a shorter duration compared to bitter memories that can linger for years and years. Kshama means removing those bitter memories from their very roots.

This uprooting of grudges even from the sub-conscious level is truly possible, when one realizes that the happiness or sorrow, the praise or the insult one faces in life are nothing but fruits of one’s own past actions- actions that were committed over many lives.

Therefore, there is no meaning in blaming other’s for one’s own fall and suffering. Hence, one should forgive the other person for his faults. One should forgive even those who try to harm us.

Kshama is the key to unburden the mind from the burdens like frustration, hate, anger, and enmity. Let Kshama not be misunderstood as a sign of weakness, instead it is a sign of strength.

Once, a person realizes that he or she is the master of his/her own destiny, the person will stop getting affected by what others say or do. The praise or criticism will cease to be a burden on the mind. Instead, such a person will take criticism constructively and act upon it if he finds any merit in it.

Further, forgiving someone does not mean turning a blind eye towards his actions or pacifism. Instead, only a person endowed with Kshama can truly act in a righteous and dharmic manner. Therefore, the practice of Kshama is very vital for practicing dharma and the key to this practice is development of equal-sightedness- perceiving every person and their actions on the basis of merit and not prejudice; and not letting any of those affect the mind or the decisions.

More in this segment:
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 1
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 2
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 3
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 4
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 5
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 6

Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 7

Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 8

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In Pakistan, Hindus don’t get even a ‘Crematorium:’ Will you believe that?

There are a lot of Hindu family residing all over Pakistan and still, there are very few cremation grounds where their last rites can be performed in that area

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Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long. Wikimedia Commons
Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long. Wikimedia Commons
  • Due to the lack of cremation grounds, some Hindus and Sikhs travel hundreds of kilometres just to perform the last rites as per their religious practices
  • As per reports, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence
  • Unfortunately, Hindu’s and Sikh’s have to face the same problem in the neighbouring state as well, that is Afghanistan

Death is said to be a great leveller. But the tragedy struck to some section of society in Muslim-dominated Pakistan is altogether different.

Due to the lack of cremation grounds, some Hindus and Sikhs travel hundreds of kilometres just to perform the last rites as per their religious practices. People who can’t even afford to travel, they have no option but to bury the mortal remains of their near and dear ones.

As per reports, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence. But with the passage of time, they vanished in the thin air of the terror-torn nation. Even in areas lying in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where about 35,000 Hindus and Sikhs live, the cremation grounds are also rare.

Also Read: Today’s Social Issues and their Answers to Children

The law of the land is non-existent for the minorities communities like Hindu’s and Sikh’s. Without taking no-objection certificate, people from these communities can’t move an inch even. The grief-stricken families have to wait for the clearances, as they are left with no other option.

People are forced to travel long distances to cremate their relatives from the areas like Swat Bannu, Kohat, Malakand etc. The cost to travel such long distances ranges from Rs 40,000 to Rs 70,000 and on the top of it, the fear of robbery during these travels cannot be ruled out. Not all the Hindu families can afford to perform the last rites in the manner they want.

Unfortunately, Hindu’s and Sikh’s have to face the same problem in the neighbouring state as well, that is Afghanistan. The minority communities are compelled to bury the dead because cremation grounds are vanishing fast in Pakistan.

Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Wikimedia Commons
Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Wikimedia Commons

Although, the administration of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has allowed the minorities communities to perform cremation near temples. But most of the temples are built on the agricultural lands and commercial areas, which have already been encroached upon by land mafia.

There are a lot of Hindu family residing in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and still, there are very few cremation grounds where their last rites can be performed in that area.

Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long.


After much of the protests, finally, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has started building the facility from the chief minister’s fund, as per some government sources.

There are almost 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus in Peshawar. And unfortunately, due to lack of proper facilities, people over there are also facing the same situation what others are facing in areas like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Also Read: 7 new-age social issues in India that need a check

To expect some kind of generosity from the war-torn state like Pakistan is out of the way. Instead of spending extravagantly on the military expansion, Pakistan should come forward and full-fill the basic amenities for the citizen of its country. It’s the people who make the country and not the other way round.