A brief synopsis on FORGIVENESS:
Full version of the speech for House of Lords remembering Holocausts and Genocides on 6th Feb 2012
Sikhism and the Guru Granth Sahib Ji welcomes all types of people to be on straight path of righteousness – to follow the path of Waheguru Ji and forgiveness of all sins. Even those including murderers, killers, traitors, dictators, terrorists are given the choices so that they too be forgiven because as per Sikh ethos the forgiving path is the ARDAS (Sikh daily prayer) in which each and every Sikh beseech Waheguru Ji to bless all with happiness, love, harmony and above all to forgive all for our daily sins.
I will dwell now for understanding of a few quotes on FORGIVENESS as Blessed by SAHIB GURU GRANTH SAHIB Ji – our everlasting GURU SAHIB JI :
“Forgiveness is fundamentally a moral relation between self and others.”
“Where there is forgiveness, there is God.”
Today, when the people of the world are, all too often, engaged in the instincts of sleaze, deception, greed, lust, attachments to worldly goods and even wars to prove the pride and authority on others ,this 6th of February 2012 meeting, in the mother of all parliaments – the palace of Westminster, we are having a dialogue on Holocausts, Harmony, Forgiveness. Therefore this is a right place to remind ourselves of the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I must take the opportunity to ensure awareness that Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not only for Sikhs but for the whole humanity. In this age of internet technology everywhere all of us should understand, learn, and practice the Blessings - NAAM as expressed in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Guru Ji says that the CREATOR is GREAT but HIS NAME (NAAM) is ever GREATER because without calling out HIS NAME again and again we would NOT be able to keep on re-affirming that all that we appreciate is the creation of the CREATOR. Guru Granth Sahib Ji says one must keep on praising, remembering, meditating upon this CREATOR who is called by many names such as SATNAM, WAHEGURU, GOBIND, ALLAH, RAM, GOD etc. because the human goal of life is to achieve ONENESS with GOD in this life-form and be mindful of that “where there is FORGIVENESS there is GOD. “
Therefore, let us today on the 6th of February 2012 reaffirm that FORGIVENESS is yet another name of GOD.
Another quote from Guru Granth Sahib Ji:
“Forgiveness is as necessary to life as the food we eat and the air we breathe.”
Here Guru ji reminds us that the suffering of the world is bound to continue while the powerful leaders in positions of strength; heads of nations, corporations, institutions, murderers, terrorists, religious fanatics, who so ever, continue to move away from lives of honesty, truthfulness, compassion, humility, forgiveness, harmony, and service. When our main trade becomes the factories of arms of mass destructions the air we breathe will also become un-breathable.
Now, let us understand this very beautiful verse from Guru Granth Sahib Ji in which he tells us the state of the India in the 15 century that religions instead of fostering harmony and character building became rituals only because the main religions in India, Hindu, Islam were being used as tools for supremacy:
“Those who have truth as their fast, contentment as their pilgrimage, spiritual wisdom and meditation as their cleansing bath, kindness as their deity, and forgiveness as their chanting beads, they are the most excellent people ”.
"When you are under the power of sexual desire, anger and worldly attachment, or a greedy miser in love with your wealth; if you have committed the four great sins and other mistakes; even if you are a murderous fiend who has never taken the time to listen to sacred books, hymns and poetry - if you then come to remember the Supreme Lord God, and contemplate Him, even for a moment, you shall be saved." M.5, p. 70 - Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
We are forgiven of all our misdemeanors when we submit to the will of God .
Forgiveness can be a challenge too. We must not confuse forgiveness with condoning what someone has done to us: “That’s OK. because he/she will do it again?”
Forgiveness is sometimes difficult too when the person who wronged us doesn’t seem to deserve our forgiveness -- in these sitiuations we may have to remind ourselves that forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the one who is forgiven.
Ultimately, forgiveness is especially challenging because it’s hard to let go of what’s happened. However, it’s important to let go and forgive.
We must not also, confuse forgiveness with forgetting and remembrance because we must not forget or remember the Genocides, the Holcausts, the killings of common peoples for one own’s ego, pride and supremacy. Last year, at this very place(House of Lords, London) when speaking on Genocides I coined the phrase Silent Genocides which are taking place in the world today. Silent Genocides are: teaching children that it is okay to kill non-believers/ infidels, grooming young people, forced eating of food of one’s choice, forced conversion of people from one faith to another, even trading in weapons of mass destructions instead of sharing and spending on feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless.
The SIKH Guru Sahibs helped to established many communities where the principles of caring, of community cohesion, of kindness and forgiveness, ( I am still focused on my allocated topic) of sharing and respect for all were strongly emphasised. Interfaith Dialogues were first practiced by our first Guru Nanak Sahib Ji who travelled from India to China and to Iran and to Mecca to have dialogues and to acknowledge the fact that we all belong to the one same God, the Creator, Sustainer and the Destroyer. God is everywhere east, west, north and south and the primary message is to become a divine person by passing all the tracks of Divinity –i.e. to achieve Oneness with God.,
Truth, contentment, wisdom, meditation, kindness and forgiveness are the main virtues of SIKHISM.
Can we before leaving this Palace of People give a hug to each other and remind to ask for forgiveness if we have hurt them with our words, deeds, and actions. Finally, I need to ask for forgiveness from all of you because some of my words could have hurt some people.
We pray for Satguru Guru Granth Sahib Ji to bless the whole humanity with happiness, peace, and love for all.
Paramjit Singh Kohli
Sikhi Sewa Academy.
p.s.: a shorter version of the above was delivered because of the time bound and a recording is available for people who request it.