Learn To Control Your Anger

This morning in Bhagavatam class we discussed anger and how to deal with it. This discussion was in the context of the description of Lord Boar speaking in such a way as to make Hiranyaksa angry. "The Personality of Godhead said: Indeed, We are creatures of the jungle, and we are searching after hunting dogs like you. One who is freed from the entanglement of death has no fear from the loose talk in which you are indulging,for you are bound up by the laws of death."

In this particular case Krishna wanted to enjoy fighting pastimes, so to enhance His pleasure he insulted Hiranyaksa (one whose eyes are always on the gold), and He was quite successful His endeavor. Generally though, Anger is something that is less than desirable. Anger is one of the Anarthas (unwanted things) that are impediments in achieving the goal of Krishna consciousness.

There are so many verses about controlling anger in the sastras. The question is though, how should we deal with anger, especially the anger that arises after we have been insulted. Generally we take the tact of suppressing or repressing anger. Suppression means that we are aware that we are angry but we hide the symptoms.

Repression means that we push down the anger and deny that we have an issue with it. Both suppression and repression are not healthy responses to anger. The anger will eventually surface in some other context, either as anger directed towards another (innocent) object or sublimated anger, which manifests as another harmful emotion.

Repressed or suppressed anger can also affect a toll on the physical body. One can develop different ailments such as TMJ (in which one grinds ones teeth and may even need a mouthpiece to protect the teeth at night). Internalized anger can also result in organ damage.

Usually our bodily difficulties (syndromes) are due to an emotional state that we have not come to terms with. This can even apply to serious illnesses like cancer and such. We certainly want to deal with our response to insults in a healthy Krishna conscious way then.

What are some healthy ways to deal with insults? One method I call the Jada Bharata method. Jada Bharata (who was previously Bharata Maharaja and then a deer) was insulted by a king when JB was helping to carry the kings’ palanquin. Out of compassion JB was jumping to avoid some ants in his path. The king hurled insults at JB, but JB responded by explaining that all the insults the king hurled were in relation to the body, and in actually we are not the body.

So in this particular method of dealing with insults one is completely convinced that one is not the body and is not attached to the body so bodily insults do not affect one. Another method is what I call the Haridas Thakura (compassion) method.

He was being whipped in many different market places, yet he was feeling overwhelming compassion towards those who were attempting to torment him. The third method I call the Dharma the Bull method. With this method one understands that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has arranged this circumstance for one’s edification.

Then one tries to understand what the lord is teaching one, what one has to learn, how one should act. The fourth method is the Token Reaction method. This means that one understands that one is getting a token reaction for what one has done in the past.

Also one understands that if he/she keeps serving Krishna enthusiastically with his/her body, mind and words in spite of this reaction, one will be a fit recipient of Krishna’s mercy. "The purport of this verse is that when a devotee is in a calamitous condition he takes it as a benediction of the Supreme Lord and takes responsibility himself for his past misdeeds.

In such a condition, he offers still more devotional service and is not disturbed. One who lives in such a disposition of mind, engaged in devotional service, is the most eligible candidate for promotion to the spiritual world. In other words, such a devotee’s claim for promotion to the spiritual world is assured in all circumstances."