Michhami Dukkadam: Why I must forgive to be happy?

Click here for an audio podcast of this blog post (recorded Sep 13, 2013 in Boston)

I have a simple motto in life, “to be happy always”. This is what I wish for all my friends and all the people I interact with – that they be happy always. I’ve learnt that happiness is not something that comes with circumstances – you don’t become happy when you get something or achieve something. Similarly, happiness is not something you postpone UNTIL you get something or achieve something. We’ve got to be happy right here, right now! Happy with all that we have, and all that we don’t have. It is important to realize that You and I are not leaves, that can be blown away by circumstances – one person says an unpleasant word, and we become unhappy; the train is late and we become unhappy. It’s like exposing our cheeks to the whole wide world, where each person and each event is free to come slap us every now and then in whichever way it pleases. I read somewhere that happiness is an art that ought to be learnt, practised and perfected like playing an violin. I think it is true.

There is an important prerequisite to happiness — forgiveness. To be happy and in peace with ourselves and the entire world, we’ve got to forgive EACH and EVERY person in the world. I was once told a story where there was a man who said that he was ready to forgive the whole wide world, but he could NEVER forgive two people Mr X and Ms Y, who had really hurt him in the past. The fact is, nobody can hurt you without your permission. This person was told that if he wanted, he was free to hold grudges against the entire world…all he had to do was to forgive these two people.

Until we forgive people who’ve pained us, we continue to give them a lot of undue importance and they continue to dwell in our minds. Thus, contrary to our liking, we end up closely holding those people who we supposedly dislike.

The Jains have a lovely festival. Each year, at the end of an 8-day festival, they ask for forgiveness from all and sundry, saying, “Michhami Dukkadam” [Michchami=fruitless; Dukkadam=bad deeds] [“My bad deed (with you) be fruitless”] [“May any bad deeds I have committed towards you be forgiven”]. I got to know of this lovely festival when I received an email from a friend and his wife about two years ago with the subject: “Michchami Dukkadam”, and with words something like, “I request your forgiveness, if I may have hurt you, intentionally or unintentionally by thoughts, words or action.” I couldn’t remember them having hurt me, but it didn’t matter. The greeting (whether in person, on the phone, through a letter, email, sms, a facebook message or a tweet) is to be sent to (or felt for) one and all.

Today happens to be that day for 2009. So to everyone, Michchami Dukkadam!

क्षमा Kshama [forgiveness]
वीरस्य Veerasya [of the brave]
भूषणं Bhushnam [is the ornament]

Forgiveness is the ornament of the brave! So forgive all those who’ve hurt you, seek forgiveness from all those you’ve hurt, seek forgiveness from yourself. On this day, let us all endeavour to forgive and be happy!

If you want to practise forgiveness, I found the following steps on the world wide web, attributed most likely to Dr Christiane Northrup in her book on women: “Northrup, C. (2006). Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing, 3rd edition. Bantam Dell: New York, NY.”

step 1
close your eyes….for a moment just reflect on what the word
might really mean.

What is forgiveness?
[ponder for a short while and after contemplating goto next]

step 2
And now, very gently — no force — just as an experiment in truth —
just for a moment — allow the image of someone for whom you have
much resentment — someone from whom you have anger and a sense
of distance — let them just gently — gently, come into your mind —
As an image, as a feeling.

May be you feel them at the centre of your chest as fear, as resistance.
However they manifest in your mind body, just invite them in very gently
for this — moment — for this experiment.

And in your heart, silently say to them, ‘ I forgive you’.
‘I forgive you for whatever you have done in the past that caused me
pain, intentionally or unintentionally. However you have caused me pain,
I forgive you’.

Speak gently to them in your heart with your ownwords- in your own way.
[close your eyes and talk in your heart with them- only for forgiveness]

In your heart, say to them, ‘I forgive you for whatever you may have done in
the past, through your words, through your actions, through your thoughts
that caused me pain, intentionally or unintentionally. I forgive you.’

Allow….Allow them to be touched… power of your thought is immense
and it would touch them….
just for a moment at least…
by your forgiveness.
Allow forgiveness.

It is so painful to hold someone out of your heart.
How can you hold on to that pain,
that resentment, even a moment longer?
Fear, doubt… let it go… and for this moment,
touch them with your forgiveness.


Now let them go gently, let them leave quietly.
Let them go with your blessings.

step 3
Now picture someone who has great resentment for you.
Someone near or dear
May be a friend, customer/client oremployer/employee…..
staff or family…
supplier/creditor or a banker/broker of insurance
anyone who has any cause of resentment for you.
Could be spouse or parent, children or neighbour
who had any cause of resentment for you in recent past.

Feel them in your chest, may be in heart, seeing themin your mind as an image
— sense of their being. Invite them gently in.
Someone who has resentment, Anger —
someone who is unforgiving towards you.
Let them into your heart at this moment.
And in your heart, say to them ‘ I ask your forgiveness,
for whatever I may have done in the past that caused you pain,
intentionally or unintentionally —
through my words, through my actions, through my thoughts.
However I caused you pain,
I ask your forgiveness. I ask your forgiveness.’

‘Through my anger, my fear, my blindness, my laziness.
However I caused you pain,
intentionally or unintentionally — I ask your forgiveness.’

Let it be. Allow that forgiveness in.
Allow your self to be touched by their forgiveness.
Power of your thoughts is immense… they are forgiving you.
If the mind rises up
with thoughts like self-indulgence or doubt,
just see how profound our mercilessness is
with ourself and be open to the forgiveness.

Allow yourself to be forgiven.
Allow yourself to be forgiven.

However I caused you pain,
I ask for your forgiveness.
Allow yourself feel their forgiveness.
Let it be.
Let it be.

And gently …. very gently … let them go on their way
in forgiveness for you — in blessings foryou.

step 4
And turn to yourself in your own heart and say
‘ I forgive you’ to you/rself.
whatever tries to block that
the merciless and fear.
Let it go.

Let it be touched by your forgiveness andyour mercy.
And gently in your heart, calling yourselfby
your own first name, say,
‘ I FORGIVE YOU ‘ to you.

It is so painful to put yourself out of your heart.
Let yourself in. Allow yourself to be touched
by this forgiveness.
Let the healing in.
Say, ‘ I FORGIVE YOU ‘ to you.

[ you will feel very peaceful…light hearted and relieved
if not, try repeating step 2,3 & 4….
till you have softened your heart, feel your inner peace…
then goto step 5]

step 5

[ say with immense love and joy,….openly, loudly…]

Let that forgiveness be extended to the beings all around you.
May all beings forgive themselves.
May they discover joy.
May all being be freed of suffering.
May all beings be healed.
May they be at one with their thru nature.
May they be free from suffering.
May they be at peace.
Let that loving kindness,
that forgiveness,
extend to the whole planet…
extend to entire universe
to every level of existence, seen and unseen.
May all beings be freed of sufferings.

May they know the power of forgiveness,
may they know their true being.
May they know their vastness
their infinite peacefulness.
May all beings be free.
May all beings be free.


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