Kshama (April 2014)

The topic for this month is Kshama (forgiveness). It is one of the key traits of the Hinduism. This trait has become victim of overuse abuse: it is often suggested without thoughtful considerations. Kshama has two perspectives: someone who seeks forgiveness and someone who forgives. There is widespread confusion on this topic: whether a weak person can forgive someone stronger; is it an act of cowardice or prowess; what effect does the observing – or not observing – of this trait have on the person forgiving someone. Before expounding on the virtues of Kshama, let’s focus on the deeper meaning and significance of this trait.
At a simplistic level, kshama is to let go. As humans, we pray to God for compassion and mercy for our mistakes. In the similar vein, isn’t it right to forgive others for their mistakes whether or not they asked for it?
At the core of it, kshama is an act of fortitude. When, because of the fear of confronting a difficult situation, a person lets a wrongdoer go but continues to harbor hatred, the act is not forgiveness; instead, it is sheer weakness.  It needs strength and conviction to forgive someone. Kshama is an internal act – done from heart.
Irrespective of its implications on others, forgiveness has comforting effect on the giver. When a person carries bitterness or ill wills for wrongdoer, the emotions hurt the person more than the wrongdoer. Not only carrying such emotions for long robs the person of peace of mind, it inevitably leads to diseases. It is like punishing yourself for someone’s mistakes. Forgiveness relieves you of those unpleasant effects.
Understanding it is a bit abstract topic, it will be good for parents to discuss it with kids. While doing so, please let the kids take lead and express their views. The discussion may unravel certain quandaries, which unfolds a greater, deeper meaning for you.
This month kids will present their understanding of the topic with real examples.
Harsh Mendiratta