What Did Yogananda Say About How to Forgive Others?


How to forgive someone and still love them even though they made us cry? Did Yogananda say anything related to this topic?

—Prachi, India


Dear Prachi,

Thank you for your question. This is something that most people struggle with. Here is something Yoganandaji said about forgiveness.

You must learn to control your speech and behavior, especially when you are mistreated. Don’t allow yourself to become a doormat, letting others trample on you, but never lose your unruffled calmness or attitude of forgiveness, especially when you are the target of criticism. Few people can control their outer behavior, and even fewer can control their inner balance during a bombardment of unkindness from others.

Always resist the impulse of acting under the influence of a spirit of revenge. It is easy to slap back with hurtful words when someone reviles you, but it takes great inner strength to refrain from doing so. Protect your inner peace and calmness by silently resisting all ill treatment.

The happiness people want in life is not found in egoic self-absorption, but by expanding the sense of self to embrace others. Kindness is the law of the spiritual world. Kindness springs from the inner self, and bestows the readiness to look upon everyone as a friend. At its essence, kindness consists of the simple acceptance of others in recognition that they are all, like you, striving for self-improvement. Become the friend of everyone, ever ready to help. Always try to include in your happiness the happiness of other needy ones.

To be spiritual is to be understanding and forgiving. Jesus had the power to destroy the world, but instead he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” God allowed Jesus to go through suffering in order to show the world how He wants His saints to live. When you can forgive someone toward whom you’ve held a grudge, you will begin to understand what it means to be inwardly free.

Freely forgive and forget those who offend you. Forgiveness means, in the last analysis, giving a person a chance to reform. If apologies on your part will bring out your self-styled enemy’s good qualities, by all means apologize. It takes spiritual development to be able to apologize graciously and sincerely. Do not, however, encourage a wrong-doer by being too humble and apologetic.

I hope this helps.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Dharmarajan