This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through an affiliate link, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you. Please see the full disclosure for more information.
If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my newsletter – on the sidebar, right there! Thanks for visiting! And while you are here, you might want to check out the giveaway on my blog (check below the Subscribe box on my sidebar)
A Day for Forgiveness
Since last night, I have been seeing a few posts on FB from friends with the words ‘Micchami Dukkadam’, and I recalled them from the last couple of years as well around this time of the year. One of the most important annual events of the Jain religion is Paryushana, which is celebrated around August or September each year. During this festival, followers focus on the main tenets of their religion, including their five main vows of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, chastity, and non-possession, as well as the ten righteous virtues known as Das-Dharma. On the last day of Paryushana, they seek forgiveness, using the words ‘Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ’. Any quarrel or strife is not to be retained or carried over after this. Jains also use this phrase throughout the year to say ‘I am sorry’.
So, what do these words mean? These words, from the ancient Prakrit language, translate to – ‘may all the evil that has been done be fruitless’.
michchha meaning to become void or fruitless (प्राकृत/Prakrit – मिच्छा/michchha । हिंदी/Hindi -मिथ्या/miththyaa)
mi meaning my / for me (Prakrit-मि/mi । Hindi-मेरे/mere)
dukkaḍam meaning wrongdoings (प्राकृत-दुक्कड़म/dukkaḍam । हिंदी-दुष्कृत/duṣhkṛta )
This is a wonderful sentiment indeed, as reconfirmed in the many ways in those many posts I was talking about.
What I did find interesting was that Rosh Hashanah, also celebrated around this time of the year, also is a Day of Repentance(known as Teshuvah) and Forgiveness. Like the Jains, the Jews seek forgiveness for the wrongs they may have done to others, to move forward in the New Year on a clean slate.
Update on Rosh Hashanah- thanks to Roy (you can read his truly wonderful, chockful of information blog here), in his own words – ‘ In our culture, the forgiveness must be sought from other humans- in person, contritely. That starts a month before Rosh Hashana and Yom Kipur. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kipur only deal with the forgiveness sought (and hopefully received) from the Supreme Being.’
And in both cases, in the spirit of ‘Seek, and ye shall receive’, forgiveness is asked for and given. (forgiven!)
No matter where we are from, our cultures, our traditions, our rituals, our everydays – they all seem to have so many intersecting points. This is just one such small coincidental example – not just in the ritual of asking for and giving forgiveness, but also doing it to clean our slates and move forward (and around the same time of the year in two cultures around the world! Maybe there are more to discover for this specific example if I dig deeper!). Discovering these intersecting points has always been a fascination for me and those discoveries will inevitably find their way into this blog. I believe this just shows us that, we all have more in common than we know…
And, now … the Book List…..
Forgiveness, however, requires strength. Like Gandhi said ‘The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.’ And as adults, we know that this is true. It indeed takes strength both to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Learning how to acquire this strength and teaching it to our next generation can be challenging, but as for everything else, there are books to help us towards that goal. Here are a few suggestions (for ranges from the lil ones to us older adults!). I have read most of them and enjoyed the read (but never got around to reviewing any of the ones I did read), the others that I have included are ones I have read a lot about and will be reading (and hopefully reviewing them as well as the others) on my blog soon.
A few comments on couple of the books however. The Kite Runner is definitely a book for older kids and adults. My teenage son read it this past summer, and had to read it all over again for school this year. His insights into the book surprised me. One of the first things he asked me after he finished reading it the first time around was why I never told him how sad it was. The Hundred Dresses was a book I discovered from my son’s reading list back in elementary school, and was glad of this discovery!
On a side note, my practical side believes in Thomas Szasz’s words – ‘The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.‘ but given my faulty memory, I can also confirm Rita Mae Brown’s words, that “One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.” 🙂
To end this post, using the words for Samvatsari, “If I have offended you in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness.”