Saloni had just bought her six year old son Sakal a comic book of the famous ‘Tintin’. The boy was an avid reader and enjoyed reading books. Later in the evening, Saloni and her son were walking along the harbour, where-in a number of ships were anchored. Sakal said, “Mama, Captain Haddock always says, ‘blistering barnacles’ whenever he is crossing. What does it mean? What are barnacles?”

Saloni laughed and said, “Son, that’s a good question. Barnacles are small shellfish that attach themselves to the underside of a ship. Eventually the weight of the ship becomes too much and can create problems for the ship. So, the barnacles have to be removed either manually or by standing the ship in a freshwater harbour. After sometime, the barnacles fall off themselves and the ship can be moved away into salty sea water. The barnacles, while they cling onto the bottom of the ship, probably hurt like blisters, so Captain Haddock calls them blistering barnacles in annoyance.”

The next day, Saloni found her son sitting in the bath tub. He was taking unduly long in there. So she called out, “Come on, Sakal, lets go out to play in the park.” But, Sakal did not answer. Ten minutes later, after much persuasion, he agreed to come out of tub. He said, “I was just getting the barnacles off, Mama! Why can’t you just leave me alone!” “The what off?” she queried in surprise. The barnacles, Ma” he said seriously. “You see, last week when we were playing in the park and Akhil broke my new bat, you told me to forgive him after he had said ‘sorry’, but I did not. That barnacle has been weighing me down since then. It was becoming heavier and heavier to carry each day, so I thought if I soak in the fresh water for some more time, it may come off, and then I’ll be free!”

How often, we carry with us the load of things said or done by us or by others. If we take a periodical dip in fresh water i.e. attend Satsangs or do meditation our barnacles too would come off. They harm none except us, for they weaken our own back. Shed your burdens and become free. Forgiveness is not for others, it is for oneself. To err is human, but to forgive is Divine. When we forgive some one who has hurt us, we ignite a spark of Divinity in us. For experiencing the divinity within, forgiveness is surely a very small price to pay, isn’t it?

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