Chapter 5.1 from "Study Circles for Divinity" 
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5.1 ANGER

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"You have heard that people were told in the past 'Do not commit murder, anyone who does will be brought to trial'. But now I tell you; whoever is angry with his brother will be brought to trial, whoever calls his brother 'you good for nothing' will be brought before the Council, and whoever calls his brother 'a worthless fool' will be in danger of going to the fire of hell, so if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God."    Jesus Christ

"The body should be prevented from reaction to anger; self-control of the body should be trained; all misdeeds by the body should be abandoned and morality should be gained."    Buddha


FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

DISCOVER UNITY

The body is the boat that ferries us across the ocean of worldly existence. The ocean is infested with sharks and other dreadful creatures. The sharks in the form of lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and jealousy roam in the ocean of life. The ocean of life is ever turbulent with the waves of happiness and grief. It is impossible to foretell when happiness or sorrow will happen to us. The easiest way to overcome this dual throng is to discover the unity that underlies the apparent diversity in the world. We should firmly believe that the self-effulgent One shines in all bodies. It is only after the recognition of this truth that we can cease hating others. All spiritual practices and acts pale into insignificance when there is awareness of the unity of the Atma. The manifold means of spiritual practices have relevance as long as man is in a state of ignorance -that he is different from God. All spiritual practices seem insipid and unsatisfactory till the aspirant experiences God as the embodiment of sweetness. It will be possible to experience the sweetness and sanctity of good qualities like truth, love, compassion etc., only after the expulsion of vices like lust, anger, selfishness, egotism etc. Bhakti (devotion) is a combination of 'bha' in the word bhagavan (God) and 'kthi' in the word anurakthi (love). Other features like renunciation and liberation come in the trail of devotion. Love for God should be the very life-breath of man. (060884)

ANGER DEBILITATES

Anger makes a man insane. It causes loss of wealth, undermines one's reputation, alienates one from his fellowmen and leads to the loss of everything. The angry man cannot succeed in any endeavour. He will encounter endless troubles. Doing sinful deeds, he is despised by the world. Anger deprives a man of his wisdom. He loses his worldly knowledge, his sense of discrimination, his powers of judgement and even the knowledge gained from experience. Anger is fraught with such dangerous potential. (110788)

Man is getting angry for every little thing today. Anger weakens man. It is anger which brings down the life span. It is like a saw which cuts down the life of man. Jealousy and anger should never be there. But these two diseases have spread all over the world. There is no medicine for these. The only medicine is the thought of God. You have got to strive for this. (191195)

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 knowledge of life, higher knowledge, and Divine qualities which are latent in man 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 disciplined spiritual practice was nullified by this one evil, anger. The merit he had accumulated through discipline 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 which 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. (SSB 72, 209)

Anger shortens a man's life. This can be seen from everyday experience. When a man gets angry, his temperature rises. The blood gets heated up. In the process the nerves get weaker and as a consequence all organs in the body also get weaker. This weakness may last for six months. One moment of anger will deprive a man of the energy got from six months of food. Every fit of anger shortens a man's life-span. Whatever temporary satisfaction a man may derive by the display of anger, it causes greater damage to the individual concerned than to others. (140192)

Sometimes, the cloud of envy and hatred comes to darken relationship. This is due primarily to fear, fear that causes anger. All that will disappear with the emergence of devotion and the humility and wisdom which come in its wake. Anger wastes time, health and character. Do not allow it free play. (090959)

ANGER IS GREATEST ENEMY

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 endeavour to control this emotion of anger. Sometimes, ego also enters the feeling of anger. The prestige of an individual is sometimes undermined by one's own wealth and one's pride in wealth. One's wealth creates a kind of barrier between him and his kith and kin. People lose everything and are exposed to great suffering because of their anger.

If we aim at transcendental reality and divinity, we must decide to bring this great emotion of anger under control. Anger is caused by weakness. It is not the weakness of the body but of the mind. To give strength to and remove the weakness from our mind, it is necessary to fill it with good thoughts, good feelings and good ideas. While the funeral pyre consumes the dead, an agitated mind reduces to ashes the living body. It is a living death if one is obsessed by pride, ego and anger. A state of mind in which one overcomes these things is described as one which is neither elated by joy nor depressed by sorrow. He can take joy and sorrow in his stride with the same equanimity of mind.

LEARN CONTROL

Our ancients have given us sacred paths of yoga and meditation to overcome evils and gain control over our senses. To control anger and hatred, the ancient sages left their villages and went to the forest. Today it is not necessary to retire to the forest to get rid of anger and hatred. Virtue cannot be practised in a vacuum. If you live in an atmosphere of anger and are able to control it, then it is a meritorious achievement. But if you live in a forest where there is no room for anger and say that you have controlled your anger, it is not meaningful. You must therefore remain in the worldly surroundings where there is ample scope for the rising up of emotions of anger and hatred and then learn to control them. That will be a meritorious achievement. (SSB 72,213)

As soon as you get angry, you should immediately leave that place and go out into the open and quietly walk. Then your anger will disappear. An easier method than this is to stand before a mirror and look into your own angry face. You will dislike your own face and look upon it with disgust or aversion. Then try to laugh heartily and your anger will leave you. If you find it difficult even to do this, go into your bathroom and turn the water tap on. To the accompaniment of the tune of the sound created by the water flowing from the tap, begin to sing a good song. Then you anger will certainly disappear. Or else, drink a glass of cold water. Like this, you have to seek ways and means of regaining a calm and peaceful mood. Instead of doing so, if you allow your anger to grow, restlessness will also grow along with that anger, depriving you of peace of mind. You should never give tit for tat, or word for word. (240592)

The body is the temple of the Lord; keep it in good and strong condition. It is damaged by food and drink of the Rajasic and Thamasic types and also by Rajasic and Thamasic behaviour, like anger, hatred, greed, etc., or sloth, sleep and inactivity. When you get violent and angry with anyone, quietly repeat the name of the Lord to overcome it or drink a glass of cold water or spread your bed and lie down until the fit of fury passes. While angry, you abuse another and he does the same; and tempers rise, heat is generated and lasting injury is done. Five minutes of anger damages the relationship for five generations, remember. (020958)

Man is inherently divine; he ought therefore demonstrate in thought, word or deed the Divine attributes of love, tolerance, compassion and humanity. God is Truth; man too must live in Truth. God is love; man too must live in love, eschewing anger. Master hatred through love; master anger through sweet tolerance. (050373)

CULTIVATE LOVE

Buddha was once confronted by a woman who was full of jealousy against Buddha because of his great popularity. When Buddha came towards her she expressed her wish to attack him with a knife and kill him, but Buddha smilingly told her, "I love you too, demoness." This surprised the demoness who thought nobody would love her and changed her heart instantly; she became a dove and surrendered at his feet. Anger begets anger and jealousy begets jealousy. The only way to conquer this is the sense of unity and love. (010194)

It is only by the cultivation of forbearance that we can realise Divinity. Every little thing upsets our temper and creates tension in us. Anger is another vice that weakens man considerably. An angry man never succeeds in any work. Anger is the cause of loss of wealth and reputation. It alienates a man from his kith and kin. Verily, all is lost for an angry man.

Sri Krishna, time and again, teaches us to cultivate Love (Prema) to counter anger, envy, jealousy and pride.

Love knows no hatred
Love knows no selfishness
Love seeks no reward
Love ever gives but never takes         
(060884)

GOD IS NOT ANGRY

People imagine that God is angry, or indifferent. Such persons have no understanding of Divinity. If there is a tumour in the stomach, the surgeon uses a knife to remove it. Is the operation done out of ill will towards the patient? Not at all. It is for his own good that the operation is done to make him well again. Likewise, when a person has developed some bad qualities, a surgical operation has to be done to rid him of his vices. When this is done by the Divine, God is said to be angry or displeased. This is the mark of a petty mind. Those who have understood the Divine's love principle will not make such a mistake. (251289)

Occasionally I appear to be displeased with the behaviour of the students. But the anger is only apparent externally. It does not come from inside. In some cases I do not speak to a person for months together. This is the remedy for his malady. This kind of medicine has to be used for curing the disease. What right has anyone to ask why Swami is not talking to him? That is my pleasure. (310590)

God's signs of pretending to get angry are only for the good of others and to protect humanity. God has to act in different ways in different situations. God has no anger in Himself. When he takes human form he has to act as a human. (SS 94,179)

CULTIVATE EQUANIMITY

It is not so easy to control the sense organs. The easier path is to develop an attitude of equipoise. You have to inquire how to achieve equal-mindedness, without giving way either to elation or agitation. You have to develop the conviction, "I am not the sense organs. I am not the body. I am the Atma." When you have acquired this conviction, the sense organs will cease to be a bother. By constant contemplation on the idea that you are the Atma, you can transcend the human limitations and experience the Divine. (230590)

When falsehood and malice are raving mad, take it as a test of your discrimination and of your forbearance. Newspapers of today are the waste papers of tomorrow; unless they are nuisance papers, they cannot earn even a few coppers. I am glad that some fellows are able to earn some livelihood by using My Name. You must treasure your experience and ignore the vapouring of people who have not had similar chances or who are wilfully vile. Some worms have to bore through cloth; they make no distinction because there nature is to injure and damage. Silk or wool or cotton, cheap or dear, imitation or genuine, they cannot distinguish. They just damage, for the sheer mischievous pleasure they derive from the exercise of their faculty. Keep away from such; develop good company and be happy like the fish which have water all around them. (221066)

Control of the senses helps us to get rid of all evil tendencies. When your mind is troubled by bad thoughts, try to sit in a place and think of God, then you will be happy. Several great saints have taught the path of acquiring control over your senses. They used to offer to God all the tendencies that arise from the senses. They used to dedicate all their actions to God because they could divert their senses in the right channel. Their senses were not touched by temptations of sins. When you do any action, just to please God, no evil result will flow out and cause you any suffering. What is offered to God is totally free from all defects and imperfections. (SSB 72,216)

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