Friday, was the first day of Das Lakshan Parva. The first in the series of the facets of the soul is Uttam Kshamaa. Uttam means Supreme and Kshamaa means forgiveness.
All souls with 5 senses and a mind can cultivate these soul facets. The Tirthankars, Siddhas and Kevalees have perfected these to reach their Supreme state of Higher Consiousness/Uttam. Those on the path would practice forgiveness/ Kshamaa.
Forgiveness evolved in society to allow for natural selection as members of same family, clan or region were able to forgive, their numbers increased as aggressive behavior was decreased.
Let us understand what happens in absence of Forgiveness, there is anger, in reaction to the external provocation, a response to the hurt, and which if it persists over a long period of time, leads to chronic stress.
From, society point of view, absence of forgiveness, and presence of desire of revenge secondary to perceived hurt, lends itself to excess aggressiveness. note here the use of perceived: it comes from understanding of the principle of Anekantvad.
From psychological point of view, forgiveness is the act of consiousness that liberates the individual from harmful effects of anger [ by Viney Jain, Uttam Kashama]. The degree to which someone is able to forgive depends on their spiritual and religious states and their personality, a simplified view.
Forgiveness can be conditional depending on individual asking for forgiveness and repenting for his mistakes. Uttam Kshamaa is unconditional and emanates from individuals who are Arhants and Siddhas. At the other end of conditional and unconditional forgiveness is Non forgiveness.
In the Jain Path, karma bondage, determines ability to forgive, if heavy, it suggests high attachment to ego, or identification to the body, and decreased ability to forgive.
An individual can engage in process of Self realization, and this can
- Decrease Karmic bondage through dis- solution of Karma [ Nirjara].
- New Karmas can be avoided [ Samvara] through practice of Self restraint [Sanyam] against the 4 Kshayas [ passions] of anger/ Krodh, Maan [ conceit, Maya [deceit] and Lobh [greed].
- And self restraint can be strengthened through daily practice of Tapa [ penance], Pratikraman [ Introspection about performing non ethical actions], and Dhyan [meditation].
If you are interested in understanding more about this topic, read this by Viney Jain.
The last day of Paryushan is when we ask for forgiveness, as is true of the last day of Das Lakshan, when we celebrate Kshamaa Vani Diwas [Forgiveness Day]. We seek and grant forgiveness, we take vows not to repeat the same actions that have hurt other lliving creatures, by choosing, to follow the path of self restraint.
A summary of Paryushan could be thus stated: figuring out what was not ethical in my behavior over the last 7 days, most likely those are the things I am doing a lot of in the remaining 358 days of the year, mind you, I focused only on the action yoga, did not reflect on the thought [mana] and word [vachana] yoga at all in the last 7 days, the pictures and words are a proof of that. Maybe, those areas are part of introspection, I engage in, after instances of anger, praise, attachment and greed.
Developing a SMART goal plan for some of the acitons that build self restraint by engaging more in:
-Pratikraman, [ twice daily is ideal] and I can try to start at once a week or every other week [ this will help my daughter as well to develop a habit of introspection, esp since she considers me her role model] ,
-Karyotsarga [meditation], at least once a week, and
-Tapa [penance, not sure how to apply this, need to research this more].