The Gita states anger is the door to hell as it impels one to sin as if forced to do without wanting to. It may cause serious injury — internal and external — to self and others, writes AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI
I am not ashamed to admit that till recently I did not really think that getting angry was such a bad thing. I had plenty of justification for it every time I lost my cool. “Is it not natural to get angry?” I used to think. After all, it is an emotion available to us for expressing ourselves. If you are also getting angry helplessly, you are not an exception. Rather you are the rule.
I will go through my regular day and see how many times I used to get angry. Now, of course, I try to control myself. These incidents did not happen on the same day. Imagine how angry I would have gotten without my new found self-control had that happened.
I drink water as soon as I get up, plenty of it but that day the jar was empty. I looked for water elsewhere. I found some in the fridge, which I was not going to drink. Ultimately, I had to heat that to drink while I was getting quite heated myself.
The next incident was on my way to office. There was an important meeting scheduled. What did my driver tell me: “Sir, we are out of petrol and we must first find the nearest petrol pumping station.” Once in the office, power was off and the DG set was not working. The person responsible for its maintenance had been negligent. On another occasion, I needed some cash and the cashier had run out of it, and that day was a bank holiday. The last incident which normally almost always hugely upset me was bickering between the senior staff. In each case, I could have avoided getting angry but I chose not to.
We have many reasons to get angry but should we? Lord Krishna has warned us that we are living in the impermanent world of miseries (8.15), where there will be provocations galore. Do we pay attention to the Lord’s words? Fortunately, we are more careful in the matter of lust about which there are also plenty of warnings in the Gita. Thank God that we do! But as I understand now, anger is just as dangerous as lust if not more due to our faulty mindset. People consider anger a part of their armory. Many almost flaunt it as if it is something to be proud of.
And what does anger do to us? According to the Gita, it is the door to hell (16.21). Anger is a big enemy (3.37) because it impels one to sin as if forced to do without wanting to. One loses control over oneself. It may cause serious injury, both internal and external, to the self and to others. Relationships get strained, and it may result in enmity. One may take wrong steps and suffer irreparable loss. Surely, one loses the precious peace of mind.
Having realised the harm my getting angry was doing to me, I made special efforts to find out how I could control the urge to get angry. The very first was Lord Krishna’s warning about this hellish tendency. I also made efforts to learn what health damages getting angry was doing like increase in blood pressure. Surely, my stress level was not being helped. I had to be more tolerant and understanding. Patience was going to largely contribute to be in control over self.
Then, I made special note of all the benefits of being able to control this dangerous emotion. It is literally so, the kind of damage it can do both internally and externally. Lord Krishna states that one who can tolerate the urge caused by anger can be a happy person. (5.23) This is very encouraging to me. Then, one who is free from anger is considered to be of steady intelligence. Not given to anger is a divine quality is another big encouragement to me. All these have helped and I am proud to state that the force of anger is much reduced in me. Thank God that I have realised this wisdom.
Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at email@example.com