Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble pranams! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
In Srimad Bhagavatam, we find that the sacrifice performed by Daksha was completely destroyed and left unfinished because of the fight between Daksha’s men and the followers of Lord Shiva. Hence Lord Brahma along with the demigods approach Lord Shiva in order to pacify the Lord and Lord Brahma speaks the following wonderful verse. Srimad Bhagavatam 4.6.48
yasmin yadā puṣkara-nābha-māyayā
durantayā spṛṣṭa-dhiyaḥ pṛthag-dṛśaḥ
kurvanti tatra hy anukampayā kṛpāṁ
na sādhavo daiva-balāt kṛte kramam
My dear lord, if in some places materialists, who are already bewildered by the insurmountable illusory energy of the Supreme Godhead, sometimes commit offenses, a saintly person, with compassion, does not take this seriously. Knowing that they commit offenses because they are overpowered by the illusory energy, he does not show his prowess to counteract them.
Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport that, "It is said that the beauty of a tapasvi, or saintly person, is forgiveness. There are many instances in the spiritual history of the world in which many saintly persons, although unnecessarily harassed, did not take action, although they could have done so. A Vaishnava is personally tolerant for the benefit of others. When he does not show his prowess, this does not mean that he is lacking in strength; rather, it indicates that he is tolerant for the welfare of the entire human society."
The following story very well illustrates this point. Once there was a tiger and it ran in pursuit of a hunter. The latter climbed up a tree. On the tree, there was already a bear which was perched on the branch of the tree. The tiger was standing at the foot of the tree and the tiger spoke the following words to the bear. "Look here, both of us are forest dwellers. The hunter is our common enemy. Therefore knock him down the tree." The bear, however, replied, "Having reached my abode, the hunter has in a way sought asylum with me. I am therefore not going to hurl him down. I would be deviating from my duty if I do so." Saying so, the bear went off to sleep on the branch of the tree. The tiger now turned to the hunter and said, "You push the bear down. If you do so, your life will be saved." The hunter who was extremely selfish and who forgot what the bear has done to him a few minutes back, without any sense of gratitude pushed the sleeping bear. The bear, however, clutched at another branch of the tree and thus escaped from falling down. The tiger now addressed the following appeal to the bear. "The hunter sought to hurl you down and has thus wronged you. Therefore push him down." Though pressed by the tiger, again and again, the bear refused to hurl him down and spoke the following verse.
na parah paapamaadatte pareshaam paapakarmanaam
samayo rakshitavyastu santashcharitrabhushanaah
A superior person does not take note of the sins of those who have committed an offense. The practice of not seeking revenge should be maintained by those saintly persons adorned with good qualities.
The above was the story narrated by Srimati Sita Mata to Hanumanji. The context is that after the demise of Raavana, Hanuman, the loyal servant to Shri Rama, goes into Ashoka grove (Ashoka vana) to tell the great news to Sita Mata. There, the raakshasis who still had not heard about Ravana’s death continued to torture Srimathi Sita. Hanuman, witnessing that scene, gets very angry at those rakshasis. He was unable to tolerate any more of the harm done to Sita Mata and sought Her permission to destroy them.
Hanuman said: "If you permit me, I wish to kill all these rakshasis who were intimidating you in the past. While you were suffering in the Ashoka grove, I heard these cruel and hideous rakshasis of terrible behavior and even more terrible eyes speak harshly to you a number of times on the orders of Ravana. I wish to kill these cruel, deformed and atrocious rakshasis with different kinds of blows. I wish to kill these rakshasis who spoke offensively to you and abused you by striking them with my fists, feet, long arms, shanks and knees, as well as by damaging their teeth, biting off their ears and noses and pulling out their hair. Please grant me this boon. By striking them in this way, I shall kill these grotesque rakshasis who threatened you in the past, O illustrious woman." To this Sita quotes the above verse spoken by the bear and continues (Srimad Ramayana 6-113-46 and 47)
paapaanaam vaa shubhaanaam vaa vadhaarhaanaam plavangama
kaaryam kaarunyamaaryena na kashchinnaaparaadhyati
Kindness is to be shown by a noble person either towards a sinner or to a virtuous person or even to a person who deserves death, for, there is none who never commits a wrong.
lokahimsaavihaaraanaam rakshasaam kaamarupinam
kurvataamapi paapaani naiva kaaryamashobhanam
No evil is to be done, even to those cruel persons of sinful deeds, who take pleasure to harm the life of others and continue to perpetrate their sinful acts.
By heeding Sita Mata's advice, Hanuman calmed down and refrained from causing hasty damage. Thus, the raakshasis were spared from the impending danger. This shows that Srimati Sita was a paragon of nobility at heart, a heart that has compassion for all the beings and forgives even those who have done injury to her. She is so powerful that she could have vanquished them in a second. She never did that nor did she permit Hanumanji to do that. She just conveys the reality that nobody is flawless and everybody is overpowered by the illusory energy of the Lord (pushkara naabha maayayaa) and even though the raakshasis never surrendered to her and asked her forgiveness, Sita Mata with all magnanimity and compassion so readily and naturally forgave them, she being the real mother of all the living entities.
Thus forgiveness is an important quality we should strive to cultivate and as our beloved Guru Maharaj often says, saintliness is not the monopoly of few. All of us should become saintly by cultivating these qualities. Then only we can be called sane human beings.
Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi,
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