(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 05 June 2016, Radhadesh, Belgium, Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 25.57)
Question: How do we survive exploitation and abuse and at the same time not become an impersonalist who just renounces everything? We also need to continue to have a soft-heart in order to love Krsna.
Abuse is very disgusting. As I said earlier, yayedaà dhäryate jagat (Bhagavad-gita 7.5), exploitation exists among living beings in this world. It becomes even more distasteful when such exploitive mentality enters into the relationship between devotees but at the same time it can be expected that it will exist. It is inevitable because we bring it with us in our hand luggage, as part of our material conditioning. Our contamination does not go away. So in that sense, we must learn to forgive. One feature of renunciation which every vaisnava has to renounce is a sense of anger, a sense of, “I am the victim.” When there is abuse, there are two parties – there is the abuser and there is the victim. Many of us are professional victims, living a life in the conviction of, “I have been abused.” But how can we rise above that trap? How can we get out of that cage, the I-am-a-victim cage that locks us up for years? The cage that will not allow us to be free and to enjoy at Krsna’s lotus feet, in past times and in service to him? How can we get rid of that victim mentality? ONLY FORGIVENESS CAN DO IT.
To forgive, we have to be very generous and see that the abusive mentality is also in us, whether we let it out to some extent or whether I kept it inside that tendency is there. Look at children – they are not only sweet; they are cruel to other children at times. Children have not yet learned how to edit their behaviour to conform to social norms of being a nice and civilized person. They are just the animal that we all are. So how about that?
But if you learn to forgive, it is the only way we can rise above the remnants of abuse that still is with us, and release us from the cage of the victim which is like another trap.