To answer this question, here is the message from Satguru Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma) appearing in Tamil Matruvani magazine Feb 2018 issue:
Knowingly or unknowingly, we may have caused pain and anguish to other people; practically all of us would have done some such thing at some time or other in our lives. Some people come to Amma (me) and say “Mother, I have done numerous mistakes in life; will God ever forgive me? Do I have the qualification even to pray to God? When I think about the wrongs I have done, I become weak out of guilty feeling. What am I supposed to do?”
By nature bad thoughts rule people’s minds more powerfully than good thoughts. So, every one is bound to do mistakes. The real valor in ourselves lies in accepting our mistakes, feeling truly sorry about them and practicing the mind to start doing good deeds. Keeping on thinking about the evil deeds for ever is akin to embracing a corpse. If we keep on thinking “Alas! I have done mistake; I am a sinner; I am a sinner”, all our skills will only get wasted. Our progress in life will be hampered.
When there is a wound in the body, is it not better to apply medicine to it instead of looking at it and crying? If we have consciously done mental or physical hurting on somebody, we should get the mindset to seek apology from them. We should try to console them. We should take a firm resolve saying “Hereafter, I will do only good deeds”
Knowingly or unknowingly we might have committed wrongs in many ways. We might have forcefully grabbed something that truly belong to others; We might have attained high posts and positions by wrong means without having any merit for it; We might have frustrated others from getting their genuine promotions or benefits; Due to a vengeance or hatred on a family, we might have lied and stopped the marriage of a girl in the family; Or we might have intentionally lied about the character of a woman in our town to her husband working abroad causing their marital bond to be shattered. Likewise, there may be people who have been suffering life long on account of our selfish and egoistic acts; there may be people who had lost all that they had in life; there may be people who committed suicide on account of our acts.
We cannot rewind the wheel of time; the time wheel always rotates forward. What has happened in the past is like a cancelled cheque. We only have the present moment for our use. We cannot get back in time and set right our wrong doings. Learn lessons from them and try to progress. The moment we have understood our mistake, we should start following the right path. If we think “Let me change from tomorrow” the tomorrow may never come — like the marriage of Lord Ganapathy.
‘Let me think of God only when the sins committed are all exhausted” – if we think like that, it is similar to thinking “let me take bath in the sea after all the waves have subdued” . It will never happen. It is like saying “let the disease get cured; then I will take the medicines”.
The only way to get rid of all sins is to think of God. We cannot ‘remove’ darkness. When light comes, darkness automatically goes away. Likewise, when we think of God, the sins will get gradually washed away and the heart will get purity. The darkness of ignorance will vanish. When we say think of God, it does not just include prayers, visiting temples, chanting hymns and mantras etc., but also includes stopping our bad habits, doing good deeds, living with discrimination, not giving trouble to others etc and these too are parts and parcel of worshiping God.
The moment sense of guilt comes, we should resolve to do prayachitta (remedial actions); correct our mistakes. This way heart gets purified. as we keep adding more and more pure water to a salty water, the saltiness will reduce. Likewise, if we keep an doing good deeds, it will automatically bring a change in our character.
But one thing is very important. Once we have identified and accepted our mistake, we should never repeat it. We should not be like an elephant that smears mud over its head again after taking a bath. When we write with a pencil on a piece of paper and a mistake happens in writing, we can use the eraser, erase the mistake and re write. But if we keep making writing mistakes again and again, repeated erasing will tear the paper. Likewise, you should ensure that mistakes are not repeated after correcting it in life.
Through prayer, the dirt in our heart will get cleaned and the light of goodness will start shining. Our prayer should be “My dear God! Please bless me that I do not cause any problem to others through my thoughts, speech or actions”
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I believe the above message contains the total guidance needed by you.
Words of Mahatmas are whole truths. What Amma has stated elaborately has been stated briefly by Sri Ramakrishna paramahamsa too: “One who says ‘I am a sinner; I am a sinner’ end up as sinner. We should have a firm conviction – ‘I am chanting God’s name. How can sin do anything with me?”