Bhrigu, one of the seven great Indian sages, the Saptarshis, was once given a difficult task of electing the most compassionate among Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. So, the sage decided to visit them one by one. First he met Brahma and spoke to him impolitely. Soon, Brahma lost temper and asked him to leave theBrahma Loka.
Bhrigu, thereafter, paid a visit to Shiva. He reached the Kailash at odd hours, and was stopped by Nandi, the Lord's loyal guard, at the gates. Bhrigu, however, insisted on meeting him at that time. Shiva got enraged and shot his trident at him when, despite Nandi's protests, the sage forced entry into his private chamber. Bhrigu saved his life with great difficulty by running away from Kailash.
By the time Bhrigu reached Baikunth Loka, Lord Vishnu's abode, he had lost his temper. Vishnu's two guards, Jay and Vijay, bore the brunt of his salvo when they tried to stop him. Loudly he cursed them to be born as ordinary humans. They made no protest, stood humbly and let him enter Vishnu's private quarter.
Vishnu was lying in a meditative sleep. Having lost his mind completely, Bhrigu assumed that Vishnu was pretending to be asleep. In a fit of anger, he kicked Vishnu hard on his chest. A dazed Vishnu woke up and saw a fuming Bhrigu cursing him. He understood the whole matter and started gently caressing Bhrigu's feet, saying: "O exalted sage! Kindly forgive me to be ignorant of your arrival. Sure you must have hurt your soft foot by hitting my rock-like chest. Please allow me to take care of it."
Bhrigu, realising his incoherent behaviour, cooled down. He understood the whole divine conspiracy, and sought exoneration for his imperious behaviour. The sage, then, proclaimed Vishnu to be the most compassionate of all gods.
"If we can't forgive others, then we break the bridge over which we must pass ourselves since every man needs to be forgiven. Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving others. Forgiveness is divine and the final form of love." Such words of divine wisdom continue to echo through different enlightened souls everywhere on this planet.
Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves. Cultivating forgiveness is the highest form of non-violence. Until we forgive others for what they did to us, we shall keep nurturing negative thoughts. This harms us as the other person may not even remember his or her action. Forgiving others may be easy, but to seek forgiveness is the virtue of the brave. When we seek forgiveness we may not change the past but can definitely change the future.
Till we remain pure and innocent like a child, we remain unmindful to the guilt and permanent pain of hurt. Kids do fight each other all the time but hold no grudge for long. But when we grow as adults, our ego also grows and gets embedded subtly in our subconsciousness. Then it becomes a great hurdle in seeking forgiveness.
Forgiveness purges a karma-constipated and guilt-ridden soul and makes one feel like a newly born.
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" -- only a compassionate and beautiful soul like Jesus Christ could seek forgiveness even for the oppressors and executioners, who were crucifying him.