So much is said and written about anger. The Oxford Dictionary defines anger as extreme displeasure. While it is very obvious when taken from religious, spiritual, moral or physical point of view, it is not so when seen from worldly viewpoint. One tends to feel that in a world we face today, it is difficult to survive without anger. Perhaps I also used to feel that way and I used to be angry quite often. It is not that this has been completely won over, but the frequency has reduced greatly. It has not been so as a matter of surrender or helplessness but definitely as a result of wisdom and experience. Now I am of firm belief that anger is not needed even from worldly viewpoint.
Whenever we face a situation which is not to our liking, anger is the result. Therefore, in order to avoid the cause of anger, we should always face situations to our liking. Obviously it is not possible. One may have control over oneself but it is not possible on others. Moreover, a situation liked by us may not be liked by others and vice versa. That is to say, that we have to often face situations which we may not like and they become the cause of our anger. It may be indiscipline of a subordinate, disobedience by children, a reprimand from the boss, misbehaviour of a shopkeeper, sudden absence of a servant, a traffic jam, long waiting for a bus or train, etc. All this means that in our lives, causes of anger are always present. Does it mean that we should be angry whenever such a situation arises? Let us see how that helps. First of all, let us recall that anger means extreme displeasure and not merely displeasure. Here the word ‘extreme’ is important. I cannot remember even a single incidence in my life where expressing anger helped. The simple reason is that one becomes more vulnerable after expressing anger. This helps neither the person nor the situation. The moment one gets angry, he loses his discriminating power and chances of taking wrong decisions or actions increase. In all probability the angry person ends up suffering more than he would have normally suffered.
One may now ask whether feeling angry and not expressing it would be a better proposition. It is certainly better than the earlier situation but even in feeling angry one suffers. Firstly, it is not good for health and, secondly, it also impairs one’s discriminating power. The anger always takes away objectivity. Then how should one behave in such situations? I think the answer lies in the definition of ‘anger’ itself. It says anger is 'extreme displeasure’. I feel by removing the word ‘extreme’ we get the answer. It means there is no harm in feeling displeased in a situation which you do not like. There is no harm in expressing your displeasure in a suitable manner. In fact, it should be done. Whenever situation demands, displeasure should be expressed in a suitable way. Here it will be advisable to remember the famous proverb, “Truth should be spoken pleasantly and unpleasant truth should not be spoken at all.” In all likelihood a pleasantly spoken truth will help both you and the situation. The secret is that when you are not extremely displeased you do not lose your discrimination. In that situation, it is possible to take even strict action without any harmful effect.
A more important question is how to avoid anger. This cannot be done suddenly. One has to gain wisdom as well as experience to win over anger. However, reading of good literature, attending discourses of saintly persons and avoiding situations which are likely to cause anger always accelerate the process. Here, I will mention of a talk on the subject “Burn Anger Before Anger Burns You” by Dada J.P. Vasvani delivered in Delhi in October, 1991. Subsequently it has appeared in the form of a book also. I had the opportunity to listen to him and he summarised his talk beautifully by suggesting ten points for controlling anger. These are given below:
1) Realise that every being is part of God. If so, there is no place for anger as one does not lose temper on oneself.
2) See the grace of God in all happenings. Who knows that a situation causing anger in you may be a blessing in disguise?
3) Develop forgiveness. Understand that most of the time the person appearing to provoke you, has no such intentions. Even if it is so, forgive him. It will defeat his purpose.
4) Keep silent. It very often burns anger.
5) Think from the view point of the other person. Believe that no single viewpoint is absolute. There may be other viewpoints too. You will then not be angry if your viewpoint is not accepted.
6) Do not overload yourself or feel overloaded. This is one great cause of anger. Attend to one matter at a time. The rest can wait. In any case, it is of no use worrying about them while dealing with one.
7) Avoid haste. Plan your work properly so that there is no need of haste. It is hurry, worry and curry that kill a person.
8) Avoid the unpleasant situations. Quite often the anger can be avoided by avoiding the situation. There is no harm in leaving the scene causing irritation.
9) Recite a Mantra. This a very powerful way of overcoming anger. Your mind gets occupied with better thoughts.
10) Count numbers. If you are angry count up to ten and if very angry, count up to hundred.
These are some very useful and practical tips and if one is really concerned about his anger, these may be of great help. In the end, I would like to mention another famous proverb about anger which is like this:
"If you are right, you can afford not to be angry.
If you are wrong, you cannot afford to be angry."
Thus there is no need of anger in any situation.