May 7, 2016

A Lesson in Forgiveness from the Mahabharata.

Photo: Agathe Padovani https://www.instagram.com/ifilmyoga/

We all have someone who has hurt our feelings or wronged us in one way or another.

It can be a small issue between loved ones that just snowballed for no reason or unspoken feelings of discontent that built up and exploded. Or it can be traumatic events, harmful actions or other more grievous situations. Regardless, if we have a place of irresolution in your heart, it is harming us. Whenever we have been wronged, we find someone to “blame” and cast ourself as a victim who is therefore bound to our persecutor. But with the power of forgiveness we can be free of it all.

If you cringe a little inside when a certain person’s name comes up, then you have the seed of bitterness. If you get triggered just by thinking of a certain event then you have some unforgiveness. And these seeds of suffering really only harm us.

Yogis are not immune to this despite our peace, love and happiness philosophy. Being a yogi doesn’t mean that we’re perfect. It means that we are willing to use every single thing in our life to better ourself, to grow our heart and to reach for wisdom.

I realized over the weekend that I was harboring unforgiveness toward someone. My feelings had been hurt and I never fully processed, released and resolved those feelings. It was a sore spot for me. But then, after talking the whole thing all the way through, it just hit me. That is when forgiveness settled in and lifted a weight off my heart. In order to forgive I needed first to realize that I was holding onto the seed of unforgiveness.

You can’t force forgiveness, but the start of the journey comes from the realization that you are holding onto negativity in your own heart.

This week’s yogi assignment is forgiveness. Defined in Sanskrit as kshama, forgiveness is an intentional and voluntary process to release feelings of negativity and reclaim compassion and generosity.

A passage in the Mahabharata defines forgiveness:

“One should forgive, under any injury. It has been said that the continuation of the species is due to man’s being forgiving. Forgiveness is holiness; by forgiveness, the universe is held together. Forgiveness is the might of the mighty; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is quiet of mind; forgiveness and gentleness are the qualities of the self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue.”

Take this lesson into your yogi’s life in three ways:

1. Recognize any seeds of unforgiveness or bitterness that are in your heart.
2. Ask for those seeds to be lifted. Surrender your attachments.
3. Forgive in three stages: forgive yourself, forgive the other person, and then ask for forgiveness.


Author: Kino MacGregor

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

Photo: Agathe Padovani/Instagram

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