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Why should I ask for forgiveness in marriage?

Often times when interacting with your spouse you hurt them knowingly or unknowingly with your behavior, your speech or even think negatively about them in your mind, even when you do not intend to. You then experience a gradual change in their behavior towards you and this has a negative impact on your marriage. This is because; they have been hurt in some way or another. Do you want to know how to save your marriage? Is there any way you can erase the suffering you have caused your spouse? Yes! By heartily asking for forgiveness through pratikraman.

Param Pujya Dadashri has unveiled the science behind doing pratikraman. Some excerpts of actual spiritual discourses with Him have been added below as they are.

What is Pratikraman?

Pratikraman is a tool through which you can ask for forgiveness for the hurt that you have caused someone and you can also use it to ask for forgiveness in marriage. Since you cannot instantly change your behavior, you ask for forgiveness and this is in itself a way that will help change your behavior. This works scientifically because by asking for forgiveness for your behavior, you are no longer protecting it and therefore that behavior will cease eventually. Gradually you will experience harmony in your relationship.

How should I do Pratikraman?

Questioner: How should I repent? Should it be done outwardly so that it is visible to others or should it be done from within, in the mind?

Dadashri: In the mind! You should remember Dadaji [or the Lord you believe in], apologize for your mistake and resolve never to repeat it. In doing so, the pain will be erased and the mistake destroyed. If you fail to do this, your mistakes will accumulate. I have given you a weapon; this pratikraman is the greatest weapon. To become free from the ties of the worldly life, it is the only greatest weapon. The worldly life has arisen due to atikraman and pratikraman will bring it to an end. That is all there is. Atikraman is wrongdoing; when you recognize that, you should do ‘shoot-on-sight’ pratikraman. The moment you see the mistake, shoot it down. This pratikraman is the only path where a person can see his own faults and is able to shoot them down. In doing so, all one’s mistakes come to an end.

When should I do Pratikraman?

One does pratikraman for one’s mistake of hurting anyone through his or her thoughts, speech and actions (dosh). There is no need to do pratikraman if you have not made a mistake. That account is settled. And if nothing has occurred, then there is no problem. As you continue to do pratikraman, everything will start becoming smoother in the interaction with that individual. The relationship with that person will be absolutely clear. Below are a few instances for which one should do pratikraman.

  • For having Bad Thoughts

The moment you have the slightest bad thought about anyone, wash it away immediately with pratikraman. If these thoughts are allowed to linger even a short while, they will reach the other person and proliferate. They can grow in a matter of hours and continue for days. You should not allow your vibrations to flow in this way.

  • Where there is friction

To think negatively about a wall would not bring harm upon you, because the loss will only be one-sided, whereas even a single negative thought towards a living being is detrimental. Losses will be encountered on both sides. However, if you do pratikraman afterwards, your faults will be erased. Therefore, wherever there is friction, do pratikraman so it ends.

  • When Conflict occurs

When you clash with your spouse, you might find that you do not want to talk to them or even see their face. In these kinds of situations Param Pujya Dadashri says, “You have to do pratikraman and also maintain a friendly spirit towards that person. If conflict occurs again, do pratikraman again. These conflicts recur because of the density of layers of a particular karma, and with each pratikraman, one layer is shed. Even after you have done your pratikramans you will find yourself in the middle of conflicts, this does not mean that your pratikramans are not working. With each pratikraman a layer of karma is shed, however because everyone has many karmas you have to continue doing pratikraman repeatedly.

Will pratikraman heal my relationship?

If you do not get along with a certain person, if you were to do pratikraman all day long for several days for that person, you will be able to get along with him and he will come seeking your company. All conflict is because of one’s atikraman (mistakes).

If you have made your spouse miserable beyond words and have hurt them so deeply that you cannot remove their pain, doing pratikraman will help.You should to do pratikraman in their name. Do pratikraman with the same intensity as the intensity of pain you caused them.

What are the benefits of Pratikraman?

Param Pujya Dadashri has revealed innumerable benefits behind doing pratikraman; let us look at how we can use this powerful tool to help heal our relationship.

  • Destroy the Root Cause of Problems

Whatever disputes you created in the past life, created vengeance, and today it dissipates in the form of a dispute or disagreement. A seed of revenge is planted at the time of arguments, and this seed will grow in the next life. So how can you avoid sowing such seeds? Slowly and steadily, if you keep on settling your problems with equanimity you can prevent new seeds from being sowed. If the causal karma was very heavy in your previous life, you will have to be patient because it will take time to destroy the seed. You have to do a lot of pratikraman.

By doing pratikraman you destroy the seed of the mistake, the root cause. How does that happen? Through the process of pratikraman; which consists of alochana (recalling mistake), pratikramam (repent for wrongdoing), and pratyakhyan (decision not to repeat it). If you do tap (penance) then you bind good karma. And by destroying the root cause, you get results; you become free form the entanglements of karma. What does the law of settling with equanimity state? It states that you must make sure that you do whatever you can to prevent binding vengeance with the other party. Therefore, you become free from vengeance.

  • Use Forgiveness in Marriage to Settle with equanimity

Questioner: I want to settle everything with equanimity, but how do I go about doing that? Should I accept it in my mind as a past account?

Dadashri: You cannot settle matters by just doing that alone. Settling with equanimity means you have to make a 'phone call' to the other person's Soul. You must notify her Soul. You must admit and accept your mistakes to that Soul. You have to repent strongly and ask for forgiveness.

Questioner: Do I have to do pratikraman (Dada's prescribed technique of confession, repentance, asking for forgiveness, and vowing never to repeat the mistake) even if someone insults me?

Dadashri: Do pratikraman only when they insult you, not when they praise you. When you do pratikraman, feelings of hatred for that person will not arise at all. On the contrary, you will have a positive effect on him. In the first stage of your pratikraman, you will become aware of the fact that you do not have any abhorrence or negative feelings for him. Later on, the other person will also feel the positive effects of your pratikraman.

Questioner: Does it reach his Soul?

Dadashri: Yes, definitely. His Soul will nudge his pudgal (the physical body; the complex of thoughts, speech, and acts), "There is a phone call for you!" This pratikraman of ours is meant to destroy aggressive thoughts, speech, and acts.

  • Freedom from contempt and past life bondage

Questioner: What should one do to become free from the karmic ties of the past life?

Dadashri: Suppose the person with whom you have a past karmic tie is someone you don’t like at all; you do not like to live with that person at all, yet you have no choice but to live with that person, then what should you do! You indeed have to maintain the worldly interaction with them on the outside, but you should do pratikraman for that person from within. This is because, in your past life you had done atikraman (aggression through mind, speech, body) towards that person and so this is the effect of that. What causes had you done? So the answer is, you had done atikraman with this person in your previous birth, so the fruit of that has come to you, in this life. Therefore, if you do pratikraman for that, it balances out (plus-minus happens). So from within, ask for forgiveness from that person; keep on asking for forgiveness [by saying], ‘I am asking for forgiveness for whatever fault I have committed.’ Do this with any God [you believe in] as a witness, then everything will come to an end. Otherwise, what will happen by seeing a lot of faults in that person? If the wife keeps seeing a lot of faults in her husband, contempt for him increases and as the contempt explodes, fear arises. Whomever you have contempt for, you will feel fearful of them. The moment you set sight on a person, if fear arises then know that there is contempt for that person. Therefore, in order to become free of contempt, keep asking for forgiveness over and over again from within. In just two days, that contempt will come to an end. That person won’t know it, but you keep asking from within for forgiveness in his name, for all the faults that have been committed towards him [such that], ‘Oh Lord (within that person), I am asking for forgiveness. This [karmic account] is an effect of my fault.’ For whatever faults that have been committed towards any person, keep asking for forgiveness from the God within, then everything will get washed off.

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