Not retaliating

There are any number of combinations and permutations in one’s inter and intra forms of communication between one person and another.

There are several ways of acting and reacting to comments and actions taken by one, but this piece intends to look at behaviour patterns which are, according to me, the most appropriate and worthy.

If a person has been nasty to us, should one return the nastiness with nastiness or with genuine good will? Though the latter is easier said than done, it is the philosophy of all great thinkers and saints.

Though it may be perceived as natural and normal to want to give the person a bit of one’s mind in a `tit for tat’ way, bear one’s fangs and explode in a retaliatory outburst, it would do one good to pause and think of the great thoughts of forgiveness voiced by several great religious thinkers and saints.

These thinkers have reiterated not to manifest a retaliatory response as this is tantamount to engendering more animosity, vileness and revenge, which is most unwanted in today’s already violent world.

The following is a true incident showing the forgiving nature and magnanimity of one of the greatest men of the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi.

 This was the Chauri Chaura incident of 1942, when several Indian policemen were burnt to death by being trapped in a building by the Britishers.
This incident created much furor, angst and ire among the Indians, particularly the political leaders.

It was strongly felt that the Indians should retaliate, and as one leader put it, “it’s only an eye for an eye”.

On hearing this, Gandhi, with his characteristic saintliness, shot back, softly but forcefully, “An eye for an eye will only succeed in making the whole world blind.”

Therefore, it would do one good, if as far as it is humanly possible, to refrain from retorting and retaliating, and instead, see the bigger picture devoid of the nitty gritties of fallible human behaviour.

One should try to express equanimity in all vicissitudes and forgive people from the heart without harbouring any vestiges of anger or ire. Forgiving gives one a great aura of calmness, serenity and inner peace of mind.

The second great saint, believed by Christians to be the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is another thinker and leader who espoused forgiving and not retaliating or striking back.

He was one of the greatest spiritual leaders ever, and even when he was in the throes of getting crucified on the cross, bore no ill will or rancour against his detractors.

He did not raise a ruckus, nor did he malign, criticise or condemn those who had conspired to crucify him.

Instead, he calmly said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”, he being suffused with purity, sacrifice and the beautiful concept of unconditionally being able to forgive.

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