13. Question: How do we know when we should forgive a person who has injured us, and when we should retaliate?1

Sri Chinmoy: There are two types of people. One type is like a monkey or a scorpion. If we allow a monkey to approach us, it will bite and pinch us immediately. If we touch a scorpion, first it will sting our hand. If we touch it again, it will bite us again. So in this world we have to see if someone is constantly trying to destroy us. If ignorance is not decreasing we have to defend ourselves.

But when the Christ saw that his own people were constantly fighting, he said that there are some people of a good nature whom we should forgive because they sincerely try to do the right thing. If somebody of this type has done something wrong and we forgive him, then he will not do it again because he will know that he has done something wrong. If we tell him, "Alright, you have done it. Now don't do it again," he will be ashamed and embarrassed. He will feel repentant that he has done something wrong. Since he has a good nature, he will not do it a second time.

But if somebody has the nature of a scorpion or a monkey, we can give him as many chances as we want, but he will not change his nature. So with him we have to be very strict. If somebody is by nature like a scorpion and we give him a chance, he will simply kill us.

  1. KK 13. The significance of a smile, p 46-47.

Sri Chinmoy, Khama karo, Agni Press, 1987