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Once upon a time Bali Maharaja approached Prahlada Maharaja and asked him, “Which is actually best, forgiveness or the use of strength?” Prahlada Maharaja thought for some time and replied, “Neither forgiveness nor the use of strength is good in all situations. If one were to always forgive, then his servants, dependents and even strangers would disrespect him. When one always forgives and never shows the strength to chastise and correct, then mean-minded servants gradually steal away all one’s wealth and fail to favorably respond to commands. On the other hand, one who simply punishes and never forgives soon finds himself bereft of all servants and friends. Indeed everyone comes to hate such an unforgiving person, and when there is the slightest opportunity, they will do something to inconvenience or harm him. Therefore, the conclusion is that strength and forgiveness should be exhibited at the proper times.

“My dear Bali, the following persons should be forgiven:

a. One who has done nice service in the past, even if guilty of a grave fault;
b. One who offends due to ignorance or foolishness;
c. One who is a first-time offender;
d. One who has committed some wrong against his will; and in addition,
e. Other offenders may sometimes be forgiven just to create a good public image.

The following persons should not be forgiven:

a. One who has knowingly offended but claims to be innocent, even if his offenses is slight;
b. A second-offender, no matter how small his misdemeanor.” — Mahabharata, Vana parva

Comment

If we are a manager, teacher or parent, it is not always clear how we should act when a subordinate or dependent misbehaves. Prahlada Maharaja’s advice helps to clarify things in this regard.

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Sevak
Comment by Bharat on October 31, 2018 at 5:21pm

Hare Krsna

Very insightful. Thank you

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