Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Lord Krishna gave a warning every time a wrong deed was done.
In fact, despite warning him the 99th time also, when Shishupala did not stop, Lord Krishna had to take that step of beheading him. It is not that Lord Krishna forgave him without making him realize his mistake. No, He forgave Shishupala each time only after making him realize the wrong he had done.
What is the use of forgiving someone without making them realize what mistake they have done? They will never realize otherwise. So every time Shishupala did a wrong deed, Lord Krishna would make him realize what wrong he had done, and only then forgave him.
See, mistakes do happen. But what we often do is go on repenting, 'Oh! I made such a mistake', and we feel guilty. Or we pretend as if the mistake has not happened at all, and strive to prove that it is not a mistake at all. Both these approaches harm a person.
So one is the denial mode, which is to deny that you have made a mistake. The other mode is that of getting stuck in guilt and shame about the mistake; so much that you fall ill because of it. One should adopt the middle path between these two.
So when you have made a mistake, do not go on repenting over and over again about it and become miserable. At the same time, do not deny that you made a mistake. The middle path here is to realize that you have made a mistake and that you have learnt something from it. And move on!
So by following the middle path, you accept that you made a mistake but at the same time you do not get stuck in the guilt of it. You learn from it and move ahead.
You should remember to adopt the middle path for yourself and for others too.
If someone else makes a mistake, then repeatedly scolding them and nagging them so that they realize their mistake will only ruin your relationship with them.
Just think about this. Suppose someone continuously keeps nagging you for a mistake you have made, would you like to be with them? You would feel like moving away from such a person who constantly keeps reminding you of your mistake.
No one commits a mistake deliberately. Mistakes simply happen because of a lack of awareness. Once awareness dawns within you, then you should simply realize that you made a mistake out of ignorance, and by realizing this you come out of the mistake.
Once you have that awareness, you become innocent and free once again. The moment you gain awareness, you also become aware of your innocence.
So just move ahead knowing that you are innocent, rather than chewing on your mistake. It is important to have complete faith in your innocence.
At the same time, pointing out someone else’s mistakes all the time and making them feel guilty about it is also no good. Then they will go on distancing themselves from you. So do not do this.
Making others realize their mistakes without making them feel guilty is also a skill. It is an art. You have to skilfully make the other person realize their mistake without making them feel guilty, and then pat them on their back encouragingly and say, 'Come on, move ahead. It is alright. Mistakes happen. I have forgotten it, so you also forget about it'.
Do not let anyone stay stuck in guilt or continue feeling like a culprit. A person who is made to feel like a culprit all the time will only go on committing more and more wrong deeds. He will never improve his ways. So to save the mind, you have to first save it from this culprit consciousness. Do you get what I am saying?
Having this culprit consciousness means to continuously think, 'I am a culprit. I did such a wicked deed'. This feeling of guilt consumes a person completely and does not let him progress on the spiritual path.
The first step towards spirituality is to free oneself from this guilt consciousness.
The next step towards spirituality is to be free from ego. Often people boast that they did so-and-so great thing. 'I am the greatest', this is also not conducive to spiritual progress. You need to become Akinchan as well (meaning: to feel ‘I am nothing’).
Now this does not mean you keep thinking that I should become nothing. Do not get caught up in a web of words. If you get caught in words then you end up creating a totally different web of thoughts and impressions. This is why I say that you should just be simple and natural. When you are simple and natural, then all problems and entanglements get resolved effortlessly by themselves.