In life, it is very important to learn to control our anger. Anger is like a double-edged sword; along with the victim, it also injures the perpetrator. If we feel anger against someone, our mind becomes disturbed and restless. The mind will not let us sit, stand or sleep in peace. Our blood heats up and we fall prey to countless diseases. But in the heat of the anger, we are unable to realise the changes we go through.
We think many times before even looking and smiling at a person. If we smile, that will be an indication that we are acquainted with that person. What if the person takes advantage of that acquaintance and asks us for monetary help or something similar? Thinking of all this, many people are disinclined even to smile at others. But they don’t take the same precaution with anger. They throw caution to the winds and explode in anger.
Some people claim that anger is their nature, and that it is not something they can control. But this is not true. We do control ourselves in certain situations. For example, one never reacts in anger against one’s boss. This is because we know that we will have to face the consequences. The employer could transfer us to another place, or he could block a promotion. Or else he could even fire us from the job. So in such situations, we do our best to maintain control over our anger.
But we usually do not exercise much restraint over the anger we feel towards subordinates. In fact, it is here that we should exercise restraint. This is because they cannot say anything against us; they are dependent on us. They may not react to us externally. But internally, they will lose heart. The unhappy vibrations that rise from their heart will impact us in the form of a curse. It will not be that easy to rid ourselves of its results. Some of us never score well in exams in spite of studying hard. Similarly, even after going for many interviews, some of us don’t land a job. Perhaps we may have injured someone’s feelings at some time. It is their pain that stands as a barrier between us and the grace that flows to us from God.
But this does not mean that we should not scold others when the situation demands it. It is necessary to correct mistakes when we notice them. In such situations, it may be necessary to remain stern. But we should be able to wear anger as a mask. We should not get disturbed internally. Not only that, our anger should not be directed at the individual, but against his improper conduct. We should not get angry unnecessarily, or more than what is necessary. We should be especially careful not to wound their heart.
Amma remembers a story in this context.
A court jester was narrating a story in the king’s court, interlaced with his quick-witted humour. But the king did not follow the story properly and mistaking the jester to be ridiculing him, he got angry and gave the jester a resounding slap on the cheek. The jester writhed in pain and became very angry. But it was the king who had slapped him; how could he say a word? So he turned around and slapped the courtier standing next to him. The courtier asked him in surprise, “Why did you do that? I did nothing to you. Then why did you slap me?”
“So what?” justified the jester, “Just pass it on to the person next to you. After all, life is a great cycle. As the wheel of life turns, each person gets his just desserts!”
Instead of justifying the result of everyone else’s actions, if the jester had only thought that he was experiencing the result of his own action, he would have found it easy to forgive the king’s transgression. But instead, he accumulated more sin by hurting others. We should always remember that anger is the seed of the tree of sin. If a madman heaps abuses on us, we will find it easy to forgive him. Similarly, we easily forgive a child’s mistakes, because we know that they are doing it out of ignorance. Very often, our anger stems from our pride. We should be able to recognise this. It is important that we free ourselves from anger in order to achieve success in life.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader