I offered the Sunday feast lecture, which was well attended and received. I also visited the Govinda's restaurant in Milano, which is in good location and very popular. Downstairs is a spacious and cozy preaching center, where I was invited to conduct a program for newcomers.
The devotees had rented a hall in the old castle, which had a very cozy atmosphere. Vayasaki Prabhu lead kirtans, and devotees gave little talks. People bought SP's books and happily chanted in kirtan. It was a great outreach program, with the Ratha Yatra attracting people to hear more about Krishna consciousness. On the next day the program continued further in the same hall, with cultural presentations, kirtan, little speeches and again free prasadam distribution. It was a great arrangement to follow up on the newcomers who had attended Ratha Yatra.
During my visit to Villaggio Hare Krishna I offered four sessions of the false ego seminar during the morning program which was well received by the devotees. Our false ego is our constant companion and gives us unlimited miseries. One of them is feeling resentful and offended, not being able to forget, forgive and move on.
Let us take the opportunity to meditate on further aspects of forgiveness, simply endeavoring to imbibe their mood and wisdom, with an open heart and mind:
* Nelson Mandela shared: "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison."
* Another thinker discovers: "I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn't sorry, and accept an apology I never received." We can forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because we deserve peace.
* The truth is, unless we let go, unless we forgive ourselves, unless we forgive the situation and others around us, unless we realize the situation is over, we cannot move forward. In such moments it is of the greatest importance to have a confidential well-wishing friend on our side, who is senior to us and more experienced. He can help us in our internal battle to reach the point of acceptance to forgive. Without such assistance we may get entirely lost and drown in our pain of being offended.
* Forgiveness is not only something we do for other people. We also do it for ourselves-to get well and move on. Forgiveness doesn't excuse their behavior. It prevents their behavior to destroy our heart.
* Maybe it is not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it's about starting over and creating something better. Forgiveness is when I give up my right to hurt you for hurting me. It is not about letting someone off the hook for their actions, but freeing ourselves of negative energies that blind us to them.
* Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.
* Relationships get stronger when both are willing to understand mistakes and forgive each other. We can offer a prayer: "My dear Lord, if I hurt others give me the strength to apologize. If people hurt me, give me the strength to forgive." It takes a strong person to say sorry, and an even stronger person to forgive.
* Forgive those who have hurt you, betrayed you, or broken your heart, for they have helped us learn about trust and the importance of being cautious when we open your heart to others.
* To forgive is not always easy. At times it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. When we forgive we heal. When we let go, we grow.
* Forgiveness is about recognizing that staying resentful creates an 'active echo' of the pain the offender caused. By saying that the awful offence the offender did is 'beyond forgiving', we give them the power to keep their offence alive in our heart. We give the offender continued power over us.
* Forgiveness begins with the mind recognizing that there is a truthful logic in how the past cannot be changed, but happily the present and future can be. Eventually, forgiveness progresses to the heart - with the heart deciding it will no longer allow the offender's pain to take permanent residence. Eventually the heart and mind together recognize that the choice to forgive is both logical and spiritually uplifting.
On the 10th of September I traveled to Ukraine to attend the Bhakti Sangam Festival.....
Your servant, Devaki dd