Spirituality and Mythology

How to let go of resentment and anger in a relationship

Learning to let go of resentment may be the secret to reducing the pain of any relationship

He could not have been less than 80 years old. In fact, there were many of them on the flight, cheerful and all between 60 and perhaps 80, flying to the Pink City Jaipur. Shirish bhai, the gentleman seated next to me, was a physicist in a leading university in the US and was now on a different quest now that he had retired. “From ‘x’ and ‘y’ I am now fascinated with ‘I’,’’ he said. “Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? What do I do with what is left of me, in me? These questions have intrigued me all my life. Finally I have time to take it up more seriously,” he said. “All the others here, almost toppers in their respective fields, are in the same boat too.” He grinned.

I learnt that the entire bunch were disciples of Dada Bhagwan and his teachings, which essentially deal with the science of Akram Vignan – the science of Self Realisation. We got talking about soul, karma and of course my favourite subject, coupledom. The moment I told him about my quest, understanding man-woman relationships, Shirish bhai had me in his thrall. Such deep concepts explained so simply.

Related reading: When Lord Krishna taught Arjuna to choose love over vanity

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“You have karmic attachment with your spouse. You both are bonded over Raga and Dvesha.” Seeing my confused expression he took a small jibe at us, the so-called ‘English speaking gen, who are a little too alienated from their roots’. We both grinned. And then with the same smile he went on to explain.

Raga means desire, attachment, want, need… These are the things you want to do, keep, have, feel, experience with regards to your spouse. He brings happiness, pleasure, makes you feel perhaps secure… cares for you.”

I nodded in agreement.

“But then you are also fused with him on dvesha, which is resentment. Dvesha means anger, pain, disappointment, at times even hatred…depression.” He had my full attention then. How could a man know so much and express it so simply without passing any judgment on the very unpleasant dvesha which I seemed to have in plenty too? Almost as if reading my mind he said, “I have been married for a good 45 years so I have probably experienced far more of bothraga and dvesha. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Every person in this flight has felt both in as much degree too,” he said, calming me immediately.

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“So, what does one do?” He asked me.

“Raga and dvesha is the glue that binds a couple together, or any relationship in our lives for that matter,” he continued. “Causing them to heap pain on each other, resulting in more and more karmic debt. We have to take steps to resolve this debt, resolve our karmic debt on each other.”

“How?” I asked.

“Very simple. If you are responsible for beginning the hurt, take a moment and step back. When you are ready, go to him and confess your wrongdoing. After that ask for his forgiveness and assure him that you will try your best not to repeat it.”

Related reading: Osho on love as a disease and meditation as medicine

“Even if I do that, I know I would be lying…I mean how can I not repeat it. I will, he would!” I said vehemently.

“Just mean it then,” he said calmly, “When you are asking for absolution, mean it at least then. All of us operate from different levels of consciousness through the day. At least then operate from the higher levels. If you are convinced in your heart that you are the one starting the cycle of hurt wait for the moment till you feel genuine remorse and it is enough if you mean sorry then. Do not bother where you will be next time or even if you would do it again.”

“Hmmm….”, I said, not convinced.

“It will be a start, of something big or small I can’t tell you that. But it will be a start I promise you.” He said. There was so much faith in his voice as he told me that.

“What when he has started the cycle of hurt?” I asked.

“Forgive him that instant. Do not tie more karma. Tell him, ‘I know it is not you, the pure soul who is hurting me. It is the man xyz that you are now who is hurting me and I am letting it go.’

“When you care for someone and he cares back, it will be difficult for him to continue with new cycles of hurt if you do not hurt him back for the old ones. In fact it will be impossible for him.”

“Very Zen,” I told him. “Will it work?”

“Well, you must have tried many ways I am sure. Try this now,” Shirish bhai told me.

I am going to…

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