RESENTMENT

ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਕਾਹੇ ਰੋਸੁ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥: Mere man kaahe rosu kareejai:
O my mind, why are you wrathful? (sggs 1262).
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Timeless Consciousness — Akaal Purakh, the Essence — is pure without form. So is our Essential Nature; for we are made in the true Image of the Divine (Joti-Svaroopa). However, when the intellect is cut off from the pure Consciousness by becoming opinionated and consumed in forms, it behaves as time-bound consciousness called false ego. It's also known by many other names such as knot, time and space, bondage, mind, worldliness, Haume and Jeeva (individual soul or being). Its rise makes past, present and future look real. Hence, although our True Nature is Divine, but the indwelling Divine Light of ours is at the present covered with the "filth" (Mall) of false ego. When a person is so represented by the conditioned intellect, his behavior becomes selfish, stubborn, unyielding and fanatic. Born of Maya (ignorance, illusion, mental conditionings, duality, egoism, mistaken self-identity, etc.), this inner "filth" only becomes thicker and stronger as we act more and more in egoism. The feeling of resentment is the manifestation of this body-identified ego.

  • ਜਗਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥: Jagg haumai mailu dukh paaiaa mall laagee doojai bhaai: On account of the filth of Haume (egotism), the world suffers in pain. Because of the (love of Maya), the filth of duality sticks to the world (sggs 39).
  • ਕਾਇਆ ਕੁਸੁਧ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਈ ॥: Kaaiaa kasudh haumai malu laaee: That body which is stained with the filth of egotism is false and impure (sggs 1045).
  • ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਸੁ ਕਰੇਇ ॥: Agiaanee mani rosu karaee: The ignorant person shows his anger (sggs 268).
  • ਸਿਆਮਲੰ ਮਧੁਰ ਮਾਨੁਖ੍ਯ੍ਯੰ ਰਿਦਯੰ ਭੂਮਿ ਵੈਰਣਹ ॥ ਨਿਵੰਤਿ ਹੋਵੰਤਿ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਚੇਤਨੰ ਸੰਤ ਸ੍ਵਜਨਹ ॥੬੦॥: A person (may look) beautiful and speak sweet words, (but if he) harbors vengeance in the farm of (his) heart; (then his) bowing (to others, in worship, etc.) is false. Good saintly beings remain conscious or cognizant (of this fault...). ||60||(sggs 1359).

Resentment is harboring of animosity, grudge and hatred against a person or group of people whom one feels has unjustly mistreated him in the past, and finds himself in emotional turmoil and hurt upon seeing them or hearing about them. It's the lack of forgiveness, compassion, patience, kindness, wisdom, trust, faith, confidence, contentment, assertiveness and fearlessness. Resentment can also be an irrational reaction to something that is no longer a real concern, danger or threat. A person burdened with resentment is wrathful and feels the world is unkind to him.

Resentment usually appears when painful memories of the negative events or experiences of the past come to mind. It develops from despair when one's self-will is threatened, from passively accepting negative treatment from others, from feeling being taken for granted or taken advantage of, from not being heard, from seeing others succeed who have not worked as hard as you have, from seeing others enjoying advantage, from seeing others unjustly recognized, from being unrecognized for your own accomplishments, from seeing others as hurdle in your success, from being rejected by someone you love or care for, from not knowing what others expect from you, from being humiliated and embarrassed, from being the victim of prejudice and bias or bigotry. It may also develop from the feeling of being consistently unapproved, unaccepted, abandoned, put down and scorned by those for whom you think you made sacrifices. Resentment could also be the result of infidelity, unfaithfulness, lies, spouse's affair, unresolved grief arising from a loss difficult to accept, being heartbroken after failure to achieve something, being betrayed and being ignored or denied of your rights. In nutshell, a sense of resentment is the result of sustained, unresolved, or internalized anger.

The negative effects of the emotion of resentment is that it burrows deeply into one's mind, undermining his creativity and wisdom. Hence it dims one's clarity of perception for long time and makes one feel inferior to the person or events that he hold resentment for. Not only that, it also attracts more resentment in the process, and thus become a greater threat to one's happiness than what it is he fears. When overtaken by the burning resentment, one feels angry, touchy, fearful, edgy, depressed, restless, hateful, hostile, cynical, sarcastic, incompetent, unworthy, confused, envy, suspicious of others, shy, miserable, bitter, crotchety, quarrelsome, retaliatory, vengeful, unhappy, lacking in confidence, overly critical of others, etc. It creates hurts, differences, breaches, bitter feuds and conflicts between members of families, groups, and nations.

Resentment is a barrier that separates people from each other. Therefore, we are urged by the Gurbani to uproot all negative trait (Bikaar) once for ever.

How resent can be overcome? First, it's imperative to understand that there is no such thing as justified resentment. It's learnt and programmed into our psyche as we grow. The more there is to resent, the more difficult it is to get rid of resentment. Therefore, we are advised not to resent; for it pulls us down to the animal level or lower consciousness.

  • ਕਰਤੂਤਿ ਪਸੂ ਕੀ ਮਾਨਸ ਜਾਤਿ ॥: kartooti pasoo kee maanas jaati: They (ਮਾਇਆ-ਧਾਰੀ ਜੀਵ - those in love with Maya, etc.) belong to the human species, but they act like animals. (sggs 267).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਫਿਕੈ ਬੋਲਿਐ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਫਿਕਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Nanak fikai boliai tanu manu fikaa hoi: O Nanak, speaking insipid words, the body and mind become insipid (sggs 473).
  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਬੁਰੇ ਦਾ ਭਲਾ ਕਰਿ ਗੁਸਾ ਮਨਿ ਨ ਹਢਾਇ ॥: Fareedaa bure daa bhalaa kari gussaa mani na hadhaai: Fareed, answer evil with goodness; do not fill your mind with anger (sggs 1381).

Forgiveness is the antidote to resentment. We cannot be truly forgiving, or forgetting the past, without being in touch with our True Being within (Mool, Source...), the All-embracing Pure State. By becoming Spiritual Beings (Gurmukh), when we are in touch with this Source, we simply lose resentment for people and circumstances and become forgiving and interested in them. And we once again express the universal love which gushes out from the center of our Being.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬਖਸਿ ਜਮਾਈਅਨੁ ਮਨਮੁਖੀ ਮੂਲੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥: Gurmukh bakhasi jamaaeean manmukhee mool gavaaiaa: The Gurmukh grows the crop of forgiveness, while the Manmukh (material being) loses even his roots (sggs 304).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਵੈਰ ਵਿਰੋਧ ਗਵਾਵੈ ॥: Gurmukh vair virodh gavaavai: The Gurmukh eliminates hate and envy (sggs 942).
  • ਖਿਮਾ ਗਹੀ ਬ੍ਰਤੁ ਸੀਲ ਸੰਤੋਖੰ ॥: Khimaa gahee brat seel santhokham: To practice forgiveness is the true fast, good conduct and contentment (sggs 223).
  • ਜਹਾ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਹ ਕਾਲੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਤਹ ਆਪਿ ॥: Jahaa lobh tah kaal hai jahaa khimaa tah aapi: Where there is greed, there is death; where there is forgiveness, there is God Himself (sggs 1372).
  • ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਮੇਟਿ ਖਿਮਾ ਗਹਿ ਰਹਹੁ ॥: Dubidhaa meti khimaa gahi rahahu: So erase duality and hold tight to forgiveness (sggs 343).
  • ਬਿਨਸੇ ਬੈਰ ਨਾਹੀ ਕੋ ਬੈਰੀ ਸਭੁ ਏਕੋ ਹੈ ਭਾਲਣਾ ॥: Binase bair naahee ko bairee sabh eko hai bhaalanaa: Hatred is gone - I have no hatred at all; I see the One Divine in all (sggs 1077).
  • ਮਿਟਿ ਗਏ ਬੈਰ ਭਏ ਸਭ ਰੇਨ ॥: Miti gaye bair bhaye sabh ren: With hatred gone, I have become the dust of all (sggs 295).
  • If you forgive not others their trespasses neither will my Father forgive yours (Matt 6:15).
  • Forgiveness is one of the transcendental qualities belonging to godly men endowed with divine nature (Gita 16:3).
  • "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me"--those who do not harbour such thoughts still their hatred. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world; by non-hatred alone is hatred appeased (Buddha, Dhampada 4-6).
  • This is the self that has been touched by Allah's Mercy so that when it commits a sin or falls into disobedience, it blames itself and turns to forgiveness and repents to its Sustainer (Sufi Giani Shams Tabreiz).
  • In the presence of him who has perfected harmlessness, all enimity ceases (Rishi Patanjali).

However, in our day-to-day experience, we all expect and want to be forgiven, but seldom forgive others. As a matter of truth, we use resentment as a way to control and punish people. In fact, oftentimes we harbor resentment for those who are already dead! We even make God and the godly people the target of our resentment. Instead of focusing our attention on the "now", we waste our efforts and energy dwelling in the past which is over and done with. More we dwell on the past, the more we tend to resist and refuse to forgive and forget. The Gurbani reminds us that there is no "other"; therefore when one resents he only harms himself physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

  • ਮਨਿ ਰੋਸੁ ਕੀਜੈ ਜੇ ਦੂਜਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Mani rosu keejai je doojaa hoi: Why resent; there is no other (sggs 842).
  • ਇਕੁ ਫਿਕਾ ਨ ਗਾਲਾਇ ਸਭਨਾ ਮੈ ਸਚਾ ਧਣੀ ॥: Ik fikaa na gaalaai sabhanaa mai sachaa dhanee: Do not utter even a single harsh word; the One True God abides in all (sggs 1384).
  • ਖਿਮਾ ਵਿਹੂਣੇ ਖਪਿ ਗਏ ਖੂਹਣਿ ਲਖ ਅਸੰਖ ॥: Khimaa vihoone khapi gaye khoohani lakh asankh: Without patience and forgiveness, countless hundreds of thousands have perished (sggs 937).
  • ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਕਾਹੇ ਰੋਸੁ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਲਾਹਾ ਕਲਜੁਗਿ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਵੀਜੈ ॥: Mere mann kaahe ros kareejai. Laahaa kalajuga raam naam hai gurmati anadin hiradai raveejai: O my mind, why are you resentful? In Kaljug, Divine Name is the source of Spiritual Profit. Contemplate and appreciate the Gurmat (Divine Teaching) within your heart, night and day (sggs 1262).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org