“From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.63)
क्रोधाद् भवति सम्मोहः
krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ
It’s such a common problem that a certain branch of therapy had to be created to deal with it. Common sense was not sufficient, as at the heart of the issue is the loss of any good sense. Past experience is enough to teach the proper way, but even the most rational human being has the tendency to forget when in the heat of the moment.
The best form of anger management is wise instruction passed on by the smartest person, the adi-guru. Shri Krishna knows the science behind uncontrolled anger and the dangers that follow, and so he nicely explained the slippery slope as part of His broader conversation on life and death with the conscientious disciple named Arjuna. That conversation has been passed down through the generations, known formally as the Bhagavad-gita, or Song of God.
1. Punching the wall
The concept is that anger ultimately leads to loss of intelligence. The intermediary step is bewilderment of memory. This is key, for if we could actively remember the past we wouldn’t be so prone to repeat it. A glaring example is intoxication. The last time I got drunk did not end well. I was hovered over a specific area in the bathroom, suffering from intense stomach pain. At that point I swore off alcohol.
“No more. I mean it. This is the last time, God. If you save me this time, I won’t do it again. I have learned my lesson.”
Obviously, the vow is soon forgotten. Anger brings bewilderment of memory much sooner, and that anger is due to unsatisfied lust, which is known as kama in Sanskrit. Kama and krodha combine to be the all-devouring enemy of this world, as also revealed by Shri Krishna.
Punching the wall in frustration is a visible indication of loss of intelligence. There is no tangible purpose served. Anger arises from the mode of passion and the nature of behavior soon descends into the mode of ignorance. The wall is an inanimate object; it has no identity of its own. Hitting the wall will only cause me harm, both in the immediate term and the future. I might have to fix the subsequent hole in the wall and my hand may require immediate medical attention.
2. Breaking a sporting good
This player is famous. They are considered the best to have ever played, at least on their specific tour. Yet on this day things aren’t going well. They got caught receiving playing advice from their coach sitting in the stands, which goes against the rules.
More frustrated at the exceptional play of the opponent, this player a while later breaks their racket in frustration. This isn’t very intelligent since the racket had done nothing wrong. Moreover, an identical type racket will have to be used going forward in the match. Since the toss violates the rules, which are known to a player beforehand, there is another violation announced by the chair umpire.
This causes the player to have a total meltdown on court, in front of both the audience seated in the stands and those watching at home. Intelligence is practically gone as the player acts like a spoiled child, though they are an adult with children of their own.
3. Yelling and screaming
Since this occurs so often while driving, the term “road rage” exists. Yelling at someone is not going to change the situation. The frustration will remain. Screaming uncontrollably will only scare other people. They will think that you are a crazy person.
Kama is at the root, and that desire is the reason for entering the world of birth and death in the first place. Therefore every person is vulnerable to the dangers of unmet desires. To control the mind is very difficult, something comparable to getting a hold of the wind.
चञ्चलं हि मनः कृष्ण
प्रमाथि बलवद् दृढम्
तस्याहं निग्रहं मन्ये
वायोर् इव सु-दुष्करम्
cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa
pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye
vāyor iva su-duṣkaram
“For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.34)
Man is not helpless, however. The solution from the guru following in Arjuna’s line of instruction and reception is as follows:
“Just do bhajana. Pretty simple. Chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Read Bhagavad-gita from an authorized source. Appreciate the efforts of others who do bhajana. Devotion looks simple, but accepting the path is not easy. Man thinks they are smarter, that they are above bowing down in front of the deity and surrendering the fight against maya, which is illusion. Don’t be fooled. Take the solution and see the benefits for yourself.”
With outrage over offense teeming,
At the offender violently screaming.
In frustration necessary tool to break,
Not a sound judgment to make.
All from uncontrolled anger due,
Bewilderment and intelligence lost too.
Best solution for bhajana process to accept,
From devotion the unwanted to reject.
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