Khamemi savve jiva, savve jiva khamantu me.
Mittime savv bhues vairam mamajham na kenai.

I forgive all beings and seek forgiveness from all.
That is, I have friendship with all beings, I have no enmity with anyone.

-Tirthankara Mahaveer, the 24th tirthankara (supreme preacher) of Jainism

Forgiveness is at the heart of Jainism, and Jains believe that it is what allows them to protect all living beings, practice self-control, and experience inner peace.

Every year during Paryushan Mahaparva, an 8/10 day festival of self-purification among Jains, I get letters from many of my Jain relatives simply saying, “Micchami Dukkadam.” In the ancient Prakrit language, these words are a way of asking others forgiveness. By fasting and apologizing to their relatives and acquaintances, they purify themselves.

Vinod Shah, former CEO of the Emmanuel Hospital Association, an association of Christian hospitals, New Delhi, is presently based in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. A pediatric surgeon and a practicing doctor, Shah set up India’s first long-distance medical education program to empower government general physicians and turn them into full-fledged family physicians.