Excerpt about compassion from Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko - 1967 Yevtushenko's Reader

I believe it is impossible to live a happy life if one nourishes resentment for some harm done to oneself, or guilt or repressed anger for an error of omission or commission we caused. On the other hand, we become incapable of resentment when we have understood that everyone is at every moment at their highest level of consciousness. We then live in deep peace and quiet joy.

I bless myself in my ability to understand that forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts I could ever make to myself and to the world.
I bless myself in my understanding that when I refuse to forgive, I make an unconscious choice to suffer.
I bless myself in the understanding that when I forgive, or request forgiveness, I not only free myself but help free all others and elevate world consciousness.
Pierre Pradervand

Yevtushenko's mother had taken him to Moscow, a city still in shock from Hitler's violence on the one hand and Stalin's on the other. They joined thousands who witnessed the procession of twenty thousand German war prisoners through Moscow's streets:

"The pavements swarmed with onlookers, cordoned off by soldiers and police. The crowd was mostly women — Russian women with hands roughened by hard work, lips untouched by lipstick, and with thin hunched shoulders which had borne half of the burden of the war. Every one of them must have had a father or a husband, a brother or a son killed by the Germans. They gazed with hatred in the direction from which the column was to appear.

"At last we saw it. The generals marched at the head, massive chins stuck out, lips folded disdainfully, their whole demeanour meant to show superiority over their plebian victors. The women were clenching their fists. The soldiers and policemen had all they could do to hold them back.

"All at once something happened to them. They saw German soldiers, thin, unshaven, wearing dirty, blood-stained bandages, hobbling on crutches or leaning on the shoulders of comrades; the soldiers walked with their heads down. The street became dead silent — the only sound was the shuffling of boots and the thumping of crutches.

"Then I saw an elderly woman in broken-down boots push herself forward and touch a policeman's shoulder, saying, 'Let me through.' She went up to the column, took from inside her coat something wrapped in a coloured handkerchief and unfolded it. It was a crust of black bread. She pushed it awkwardly into the pocket of a soldier, so exhausted that he was tottering on his feet. And now from every side women were running toward the soldiers, pushing into their hands bread, cigarettes, whatever they had. The soldiers were no longer enemies. They were people.”

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Design MMm