Compilation on Anger #
3 x OMs
Discussion questions #
- What sensory triggers cause you to react with anger?
- You can’t always avoid these triggers. So, how do you avoid getting triggered when they happen?
- Can you control how you react in a situation? Or is a reaction out of your control?
- Why is it important to learn to control your temper? What are the short-term and long-term consequences of losing your temper? (Can discuss how losing your temper affects your physical health & how you view the world.)
- What are some ideas to help you develop control and not react with anger?
- As a partner or friend or parent or child or coworker of a person with a short temper, what can you do to help them?
Situations that could provoke Anger #
Trash pick up in my neighborhood has become unpredictable. And my neighbors trash ends up flying all over the place and littering our neighborhood. Nobody seems to care! I am very upset about this. I feel that neither the trash pick up company nor my neighbors are doing their job properly.
I went to a Gala and the entertainment in that function was very loud and the music the DJ was playing made me feel uncomfortable as it was not appropriate for the broader audience. The people on the next table turned the speaker away from them to reduce the blaring music but in doing so the speaker was now directly facing my table. I am diabetic and need to eat medication on time and I have a grandchild also in attendance. Food was getting delayed as the organizers kept adding more to the entertainment and finally when food was served, people were so disorderly and cutting lines. It really made me mad!
I was a panelist on a panel discussion. I felt that the moderator kept giving more time and questions to one of the panelists she knew personally and was not giving me a fair chance to express my views. Even when I answered, a couple of times she went back to other panelists to get additional views and I felt they intentionally gave a diametrically opposite view to contradict me. I just felt that they brought me to the panel just to insult and slight me.
I organized a puja in my house. I invited some friends and family to attend. Several of them said they are not sure if they can actually attend and would not commit immediately with an RSVP. Then on the day of puja, things didn’t go as planned and started on time. Priest arrived late, some of the things needed for puja were missing and one of us needed to make a quick run to the shop and pick it up. Friends arrived late and when puja was in progress, they were having side bar conversations that were distracting. I felt helpless and slighted.
We are going to attend bhajans at a devotees house. The seating starts at 4:45 and we have to drive about 30 mins to get there. A football game is going on TV and the spouse is not had a bath yet and it’s already 3:30. By the time we leave from home, its already 4:25 and we know we are not going to make it on time for seating but will just arrive right about when omkar starts. How would this drive go? I feel awkward walking into a hall full of people late.
Let’s learn from Swami #
Anger, pride, and other passions reduce man to the level of a lunatic and sometimes degrade him to the level of an animal. Therefore, it is very necessary that we should recognise vijnana, prajnana, and sujnana, which are latent in people and direct them along the proper channel and thus achieve the highest state of supreme bliss. The cause for all the troubles, confusion and turmoil is the fact that we have lost mastery over our senses. By leaving the senses unfettered and unregulated, we will not be able to discriminate properly, think coolly, calmly and rationally. Thus, many times we are misled into wrong actions.
Anger is like an intoxicant. Internally, it induces us to do wrong things. This is the source of all the sins. It is a great demon. Anger leads us to commit all other sins. In the case of Viswamitra, we know that all the good he acquired by thapas, was nullified by this one evil, anger. The merit he had accumulated through thapas undertaken for thousands of years was all lost in a moment of anger.
We need not go as far as Viswamitra. In our daily lives, we know that when we become angry, our nerves become weak and feeble and we lose grip over ourselves. Even a moment of anger takes away our strength that we gather by eating good food for three months. Anger not only debilitates us and takes away the merit of our good deeds, but also enfeebles our condition. If we are able to control this anger, we shall be in a position to attain merit through the utterance of the Lord’s name.
Vasishta attained the title of Brahmarishi and Viswamitra also wanted to attain the title of Brahmarishi. Even after years of thapas, he could not attain the same. Viswamitra became furious because even when the world honored him with the appellation of Brahmarishi, Vasishta did not agree to call him so. Anger induced the thought in Viswamitra that if he eliminated Vasishta from the world, then everyone would honor him with the name of Brahmarishi. Once, on a moonlight night, Vasishta was describing to his pupils the qualities of Viswamitra. Viswamitra, who was hiding behind a bush with a sword in his hand to stab Vasishta, happened to hear the glowing tributes Vasishta was paying to Viswamitra.
Vasishta was not aware that Viswamitra was hiding behind the bush and in his normal manner was describing the good qualities of Viswamitra’s thapas, which he compared to the moonlight. This brought about a sudden transformation in Viswamitra. He began to repent in his mind his decision to kill Vasishta, who was such a great man and was talking about his fine qualities. He thought how bad he was when he entertained the thought of killing him. He felt that he must make amends and fell at the feet of Vasishta, expressing his repentance. He did so and Vasishta with a beautiful smile said: “Great Brahmarishi, wherefrom have you come?” When Vasishta addressed him thus Viswamitra was surprised and felt quite repentant. Vasishta said: “Today you really deserve the appellation of Brahmarishi, because you have eliminated all your anger and ego and fell at my feet in a mood of utter repentance.”
We must recognise the truth underlying this episode. So long as there is the feeling of anger and ego in our hearts, we will not be able to feel well in our life and will feel sick in our mind. One’s anger is one’s greatest enemy and one’s calmness is one’s protection. One’s joy is one’s heaven and one’s sorrow is one’s hell. He who is possessed by anger will be hated by people because he will commit a number of bad deeds. Anger leads to many great sins. First we must endeavor to control this emotion of anger. – Summer Course 1972
Today people are not making proper use of their mind, effort, position and wealth (mati, gati, sthiti and sampatti). As a result, they lose the sacred energy that God has given and are also subjected to misery and grief because of evil traits like desire, anger and greed (kama, krodha and lobha). You have absolutely no control over your desires. When one desire is fulfilled, you crave for another! Anger is another evil trait which ruins people. “One with anger will not be successful in any endeavor. They will commit sins and be ridiculed by one and all,” says a Telugu poem. Hatred is more dangerous than anger. It gives rise to many evil qualities which come in the way of experiencing Divinity. Do not turn into a beast by allowing these wicked qualities to overpower you. Constantly remind yourself that you are a human being and keep a check over your bestial tendencies. – Divine Discourse, Sep 10, 2002
Let us say somebody has criticized you. You get angry/upset. When you get angry/upset, do not react immediately. Think to yourself, ‘Do I have in me the defects that have been pointed out by them? If those defects are there in me, then, is it not my mistake to get angry/upset with them? However, if the blemishes pointed out by them are not present in me, then why should I get angry/upset with them?’ If you thus give an opportunity for such an inquiry and spend time in introspection, your anger will subside. – Divine discourse on 24th May 1992)
Every word you utter must be spoken with due deliberation. You have to restrain your pride and anger to the greatest extent. You must eschew anger and hatred towards anyone. Even if there is some provocation for such feelings, they should be kept in check. If you succumb to such provocations, grave consequences may follow. The primary obligation this year is to restrain anger in your own interest. Ill-will towards anyone will not do any good.
When you find anger rising within you, you may withdraw from the place to provide time for cooling your emotions. Or you may drink a glass of cold water and sit quietly in a place. Or take a brisk walk for a mile to get over your anger. Or stand before a mirror and look at your face. By any one of these methods, your anger will gradually come down.
Do not, however, stay near the person who has provoked your anger because there is no limit to what anger may lead you to. Owing to anger and agitation the blood gets heated up. It takes three months for the blood to cool down. Within that period, the nerves become weaker and even blood cells get destroyed. Weakness is aggravated and memory power is reduced. Old age sets in prematurely. – Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. XVIII
Learnings from Ramana Maharishi #
A newly arrived Andhra youth told Ramana Maharishi about the vagaries of his senses to which Ramana Maharishi said, “All that is due to the mind. Set it right.” “That is all right, Swami,but however much I try to reduce this anger, it comes on again and again. What shall I do?” said the poor boy.
“Oh! Is that so, then get angry with that anger; it will be alright” said Ramana Maharishi. All people in the hall burst out laughing. A person who gets angry with everything in the world, if only he introspects, and enquires why he does not get angry with his anger itself, will he not really overcome all anger?
A devotee told Ramana Maharshi that somebody had been abusing him five or six times. Ramana Maharishi listened but said nothing. As there was no response from Ramana Maharishi in spite of repeated and varied complaints and in a number of ways, this devotee could not contain himself any longer and so said, “When I am abused so much unnecessarily, I also get angry. However much I try to restrain my anger I am not able to do so. What shall I do?”
Ramana Maharishi laughingly said, “What should you do? You too join him and abuse yourself; then it will be alright.” All laughed.
That devotee, unable to understand anything, said “That is very good! Should I abuse myself?” “Yes indeed! What they are abusing is your body, isn’t it? What greater enemy is there than this body which is the abode of anger and similar feelings? It is necessary that we ourselves should hate it. Instead of that, when we are unguarded, if anybody abuses us, we should know that they are waking us up.
Doha on Anger by Saint Kabirdas #
krodha agni ghar ghar baithi, jarae sakal sansaar
deen leen nij bhakt jo, tin ke nikkat ubaar
the fire of anger sits in every home, burning the entire world down
he that is humble and who surrenders, is the only who shall be saved from burning
Learning from Gita #
duḥkheṣhv-anudvigna-manāḥ sukheṣhu vigata-spṛihaḥ
vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhaḥ sthita-dhīr munir uchyate
One whose mind remains undisturbed amidst misery, who does not crave for pleasure, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom
dhyāyato viṣhayān puṁsaḥ saṅgas teṣhūpajāyate
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate
While contemplating on the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them. Attachment leads to desire, and from desire arises anger.
krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ sammohāt smṛiti-vibhramaḥ
smṛiti-bhranśhād buddhi-nāśho buddhi-nāśhāt praṇaśhyati
Anger leads to clouding of judgment, which results in bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, the intellect gets destroyed; and when the intellect is destroyed, one is ruined.
śhrī bhagavān uvācha
kāma eṣha krodha eṣha rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ
mahāśhano mahā-pāpmā viddhyenam iha vairiṇam
.The Supreme Lord said: It is lust alone, which is born of contact with the mode of passion, and later transformed into anger. Know this as the sinful, all-devouring enemy in the world.
Gita 5-27 & 28
sparśhān kṛitvā bahir bāhyānśh chakṣhuśh chaivāntare bhruvoḥ
prāṇāpānau samau kṛitvā nāsābhyantara-chāriṇau
yatendriya-mano-buddhir munir mokṣha-parāyaṇaḥ
vigatechchhā-bhaya-krodho yaḥ sadā mukta eva saḥ
Shutting out all thoughts of external enjoyment, with the gaze fixed on the space between the eye-brows, equalizing the flow of the incoming and outgoing breath in the nostrils, and thus controlling the senses, mind, and intellect, the sage who becomes free from desire and fear, always lives in freedom.
yato yato niscalati manas cancalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad atmany eva vasam nayet
From whatever and wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.
asamsayam maha-baho mano durnigraham calam
abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena ca grhyate
The Blessed Lord said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by constant practice and by detachment.
Chinna Katha #
Once a frustrated rich man went to a Sage and told him all his problems.
He said, “I am not feeling well these days. I just cannot control my anger. My head and stomach ache the whole day and I feel sleepy all the time. My brother and my wife fight with me every time I talk to them and my servants don’t like me.”
Sage said, “I don’t have a solution to your problems.” After a lot of requests, Sage told him that ‘He will die after 10 days.’ This left the man aghast. He asked the sage for its solution. To this the sage replied, “Death is certain and no one can avert it.” He thanked the sage and left.
On the 9th day, he came back and apologized for not giving the sage anything that day. The Sage asked, “How did your nine days go?” The man said, “Everyone treated me nicely. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel angry and lived every single minute. My wife and my brother love me so much. It was me who always talked angrily with them.”
The Sage replied, “You yourself found the solution to your problem. When you came to know that you had only 10 days to live, you didn’t waste it getting angry on small things.” The ‘Then Frustrated, now Happy’ man understood, gave the sage some money and left.
To conclude, unless one brings his likes (Raaga) and dislikes (Dweshaa) under control, it is not possible to conquer anger (Krodha), which is nothing else but a manifestation of the unfulfilled desires (Kama). A slave of his likes and dislikes is a slave of his emotions. The real freedom lies in not getting overly attached to or woefully bound by any object, activity or situation.
A few things we can practice are
- Don’t be too attached to something
- Remember the effects of anger
- Differentiate between need and desire
- Meditate and remember God
- Control your thoughts before they manifest into actions
- Read spiritual, religious texts
- Stay close to nature
- Forgive and let it go