Vyāsa Pūjā at Bhaktivedānta Academy, Māyāpura. Unknown year and author. If you know, please tell us.

Prabhu: What does true forgiveness consist of and how to attain it? Because a lot of times they say, yeah, I forgive this person but I don’t forget, I will never forget, and then…

His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Svāmī Mahārāja: Forgive but don’t forget, isn’t that the saying?

Prabhu: And then it changes the relationship because one always remembers that. And at the same time being merciful to a person sometimes means one avoids that person or one deals in a particular way, but as Vaiṣṇavas we try to… the platform of true forgiveness. So what does that consist of?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: In a nutshell, because it’s kind of the end of the class. Something has happened, some interaction has happened that we don’t appreciate. But that interaction is actually the interaction of the field of activities. So if we identify with that field then whatever happened in that field is actually very important. If we don’t identify with that field then what happened is actually not so important. So then if there is some understanding of it, or we are having a good day, or some emotions then we may forgive, but like you said, not forget. But that forget is there, we don’t identify with the…in the field. It’s like I am a senior devotee, some junior devotee didn’t deal properly. But then we are identifying with the field. We are identifying I am senior devotee field, they are junior devotee field, it is material.


The forgiving and the not forgetting means that the form is there but not the actual mood of it. We haven’t taken the identity 'I am servant of Kṛṣṇa,' so therefore it doesn’t really matter. But on that still as a practical point, the forget doesn’t mean you are stupid. In other words, if they have proven themselves that they can be forgiven, then they are forgiven and you forget about it. But it doesn’t mean that if any symptoms come up of their previous behavior that wasn’t correct, you are not at that point not defending against it. It doesn’t mean you are just open and trust and therefore you get run over. This is not a sentimental thing, you use your intelligence. So as long as there is no symptom of it, you leave yourself open. As a relationship you have to leave yourself open. But as soon as a little bit of something pops its head up to that degree you pop up your defense. But it’s not from the past, you are dealing with the present. You have forgotten about the past doing wrong, but you know that they could do this, so it’s just there. And if they do do it, then you deal with it. If they don’t deal with it, it’s not dealt with.

So that’s the problem, it’s either you have to protect yourself and feel bad towards them, or throw it all out and leave yourself completely open and then get trashed again and then lose more faith in relationships and God. But intelligence means it’s a balance. You forgive, you forget, and as long as nothing shows up… Like Romaharṣaṇa-sūta, he is a sūta, so technically speaking, he is varṇa-saṅkara, which puts him outside Varṇāśrama. But being a sūta, that means his father is a kṣatriya, the mother is a brāhmana, then they could by association and by the nature of the parents, the mentality, he could take up brāhminical activities very nicely. He could take up kṣatriya activities and be a great king, he could take up, be a chariot driver, or he could go out and snare small animals. These are the mentalities that would work with this. So therefore the Vedic would be, he is varṇa-saṅkara, but where will he fit? So you see, so Romaharṣaṇa-sūta behaves as a brāhmana, so he is accepted as one and everybody forgives and forgets about his past. But as soon as Balarāma comes into the assembly and he doesn’t stand up due to pride, because that pride wouldn’t come from the brāhmanas or kṣatriyas if a superior came, and a chariot driver also would not be proud of a superior coming because that’s what he does, he serves on that mode of nobility. So it has to be dropping down into the small animal snare mentality. So therefore then they just go, 'Well, he was sūta anyway, it happens,' and so then they move on. But until that point no one ever brought it up. In fact, all the 18 Puranas are spoken by either Romaharṣaṇa-sūta or his son Ugraśravā-sūta. They are not spoken by some other brāhmana or this, they are all spoken by the sūtas. So when they are on that platform, no one thinks about it, nobody cares.

Just like the devotees, they are from whatever countries, from whatever background, this and that, nobody cares. But the same not caring still applies even as a devotee if they make a mistake. This idea, 'Oh, whatever you did before we can forgive that, but anything as a devotee that can’t be forgiven,' that doesn’t make sense. Some made some kind of mistake, sensual mistake or this or that kind of mistake, and that’s so big. But somehow or another eating a million cows is just let off like that. It doesn’t make sense. That’s why I am saying that it is very hard to bring about what Vedic adjudication on things if the mentality isn’t seen in balance. Because they’ll just write off having eaten cows so easily, but then someone else ran off with someone else’s wife and that’s it, they are eternally damned. But how is that? He says, it’s like somehow or another that, one, you can just figure out, 'This was stupid,' and get back to normal. The other one even you think it’s stupid it’s going to be in your genes for 2½ generations. Your grandchildren will be freed from your sin of eating cows. It takes that long. The other thing is just, ok, you get rid of that.

So that’s why therefore the Vedas, understanding these, they give different ways of dealing with the punishments that the modern mentality would not have an understanding at all with, because they look at the gross, they don’t understand subtle at all. If you are Supreme Court judge, they deal with that. High Court judges are supposed to be able to deal with that. But your common vigilante with pitch forks and torches doesn’t have any understanding of this at all. You are green, you have pointy ears, they go and burn your house down. That’s all. They don’t understand, maybe the ork is a nice guy. They can’t understand that. They can only see form. They can’t understand mentalities behind the form. Because until you can understand the gross and the subtle you are unqualified to make a judgment. So that’s why then in this case, don’t worry about his mentality, worry about your own. I can forgive, I am in control of that. But I am also in control of protecting myself by not being stupid. So as long as they don’t show any symptoms of behaving badly I’ll deal with them nicely. And they reciprocate nicely, it goes on, great. But as soon as they show any symptoms of behaving badly I will protect myself from their bad behavior. It doesn’t mean…so I throw it into, 'Oh, you did this, this, this...' No, you just deal with what’s right now.

From Lecture on Vedānta Psychology, Bhaktivedānta Academy, Śrīdhāma Māyāpura
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