Pardon These People
The founder of the Arya Samaj was a great soul called Swami Dayananda Saraswati. He preached Hinduism and propagated against idol worship, caste-ism, child marriage and other social evils. This was not acceptable to many Hindus. Resultantly, he made many enemies within the Hindu fold as well as in other religious sects.
History stands testimony that attempts were made to poison him thirteen times but he survived due to his yogic powers. The fourteenth attempt however, proved to be fatal. Here is the gist of the facts:
A devotee gave him pan-supari (betel leaves and nuts) containing poison. Soon Swami Dayananda realized that he had been poisoned and went to the river to wash his stomach by using a Yogic technique. He survived but did not utter a single word about this to anyone. The Tehsildar of the place came to know of the incident and arrested the culprit. This angered Swami Dayananda, who told the Tehsildar that he had come with a mission to free people from bondage and not to imprison them.
Sometime later, Swami Dayanand went to stay as the guest of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. The Prince was a characterless man who was in love with a girl called Nanhi Jan. Swamiji expressed his disapproval of this immoral relationship.
At night Swamiji slept as usual after drinking some milk. He woke up in the middle of the night with an excruciating stomach ache. He vomited to clean his stomach but the poison had already entered his blood and spread all over his body. He was given medical attention, but it did not help, for he was in a terrible state.
His condition worsened and blood oozed out of his body. The cook of the Maharaja broke down and wept saying, “I mixed powdered glass with your milk. I have sinned. Please forgive me. I was wrong to listen to the traitors.” To this the great teacher said, “This was my destiny. Don’t blame yourself. If the Maharaja comes to know, you will be punished. Here, take these two hundred rupees and run away to Nepal. Go now!”
This great man, being at the threshold of death, was able to forgive the person who had poisoned him. Not only that, he also made sure that the man would not be punished, because he had realized his mistake and was full of remorse. For this cook and the traitors who had poisoned him, this great teacher said a prayer. “Lord, forgive these people, for they know not what they are doing.”
Swami Dayananda Saraswati died on the evening of Diwali in 1883. Just before his death he had a bath and then he recited the Gayathri Mantra and closed his eyes in Samadhi, uttering the Primordial sound OM.
It is said, “To err is human but to forgive is Divine.”
India has given birth to so many such great saints and social reformers. We should consider ourselves lucky that we have had such noble torch bearers in our country and try to emulate their lives and their teachings.