If someone is doing wrong with me, should I practice forgiveness?

If someone is doing wrong with me, should I practice forgiveness?

Question: You teach us that we should increase our tolerance, but if someone is doing wrong with me, should I practice forgiveness, or should I oppose him and stop the atrocity?

Answer: On the spiritual path, we naturally learn to practice tolerance, forgiveness and humility. However, this does not mean that we should knowingly allow others to exploit us. The scriptures instruct us to take whatever action is necessary, for protecting ourselves in self-defense, when attacked.

There is a charming story in this regard. In a neighborhood, there lived a venomous and foul-tempered snake. The children of that locality were scared of it to death. The moment they would spy it in the distance, they would run for their lives.

One day, Sage Narad Muni happened to come to that neighborhood. As was the snake’s habit, he approached Narad ji, with his hood raised menacingly and eyes fiercely red. Narad ji stood his ground peacefully, with a benevolent and serene smile on his face. The snake was astonished. “Everyone runs from me in fear. How come you are not scared of me and what is the secret of your peacefulness?”

Narad ji taught the snake the process of devotion, whereupon the snake became his disciple and began practicing Bhakti yoga. He shunned violence, giving up his old ways of scaring the neighborhood children.

Soon the children came to know that the snake was harmless and did not bite anyone. Now their fear vanished. They would not leave it alone. On sighting it, they would bombard it with a battery of stones and sticks. They would even come close and kick it with their heeled shoes. The poor snake was badly bruised.

One year later, Narad ji was visiting that area again. He thought, “Let me see how my disciple is doing.” He was dismayed to see the snake badly bruised, with a plaster cast on a portion of his body. “What happened to you, my dear disciple?” he asked.

The snake replied, “O Gurudev, this is the result of the Bhakti that you taught me. The people of the world, knowing I will not retaliate, do not let me live peacefully.”

Narad ji said, “I asked you to stop biting people, but I did not ask you to stop spreading your hood. Whenever the children attack, you should simply raise your head and hiss loudly; then no one will come near you.”

Henceforth, whenever the children came close to the snake, it would hiss loudly and frighten them all away. Soon, it was living peacefully again. Similarly, on the path of devotion, we should shun actions and thoughts directed at harming others, but we definitely have the right to perform legitimate actions in our self-defense.

  • Sanjay

    Self defence is the key. But there is a tolerance limit to all humans- what if you are getting verbally and mentally abused to the point of nearing suicide? It is better to confront the attackers- or else there is a possibility of either suicide or nervous breakdown and a slow painful death- we must remember that if we were perfect we wouldn’t even be here- but we must stick up for ourselves whilst we are here- of course when we get into the spiritual realm that is a different story as no bad people are there, but we don’t know when that will be- so act now on the Earth plane.

  • http://www.jkyog.org Mr. Akash Deep Kapil

    This is definetly the way to live in SANSAR with dignity. Bhakti should not mean to make someone weak. Without intellegence though one can face a lot of problem like SNAKE in the story did. We should all follow NARAD JI’s advice in the PATH OF DEVOTION. Otherwise we can end up battered and bruised inside out. INTELLEGENCE is the KEY to handle mischivieous people without using violence to live in PEACE.

  • vandana sharma

    Yes, My grand father repeatedly used to tell this story to us.
    So we children could protect us when needed but mostly practice kindness towards others.

  • madan mohan gupta

    THIS IS A NICE STORY TEACHING US OF OUR GREAT HINDUISM PHILOSPHY. TILL THE BEGINNING OF KALIYUGA THE ETERNAL FORCE PRESENT IN EACH AND EVERY HUMAN BEING WAS SO STRONG THAT SUPERNATURAL FORCES CAME AT THE RESCUE FROM PEOPLES DOING WRONG TO ANY BODY SIMPLY BY CALLING OF SUCH HELP FROM THESE PERSONS FOLLOWING THE PATH OF FORGIVENESS.
    HOWEVER IN KALIYUGA BY THE BIRTH OF MANY RELIGIONS OF THIS AGE WE WERE ALSO TOLD TO UPHOLD ARMS FOR SELF DEFENCE AND SNATCH THE RESOURCES FROM OTHERS OTHERWISE EVEN YOUR GENIUINE WAGES WILL EVEN BE PUT TO HOLD BY THESE MIGHTY RULERS AND PEOPLES.

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