From Back to Godhead
By Syamananda Dasa
There are at least 300 books available at your online bookseller dealing with anger. Many of them just contain pop-culture variety of self-help advice on the dangers of uncontrolled anger. Anger is just one letter short of danger as these experts remind us. Lord Krishna, in the very beginning of the Gita encourages Arjuna to control anger and praises someone who has successfully done it as “a sage of steady mind.” It is quite natural to see many people today disbelieving in religion due to so many speculative theories spread by so-called scholars. These so called leaders take to the shelter of some kind of intoxication, and their affective hallucinations are sometimes accepted as spiritual vision. And after some time the dis illusioned followers become very angry at almost every kind of faith because they got cheated.
Another important point about anger is that it is a pollutant. Srila Prabhupada says, “Even if there is provocation one should be tolerant; for once one becomes angry his whole body becomes polluted. Anger is a product of the mode of passion and lust, so one who is transcendentally situated should check himself from anger.” And at the same time it is important for a warrior like Arjuna to exhibit anger while fighting, because one cannot fight without becoming angry. In fact in the beginning of the discourse Arjuna refuses to go to war claiming pity for his opposition and is willing to accept the lowly position of a beggar. During the course of the dialogue Krishna explains that running away is never a good solution because once the battle begins the mode of passion will not let Arjuna sit still and he will begin fighting anyway. This is what a transcendentalist fears the most acting under the sway of one’s own whim. In a later episode, after the war Arjuna goes out to arrest Ashvatthama, the son of his teacher, Drona. In order to please Duryodhana, Ashvatthama murders the five sons of Draupadi. At that time Arjuna and Krishna both become very angry at this dastardly act.
“Arjuna, his eyes blazing in anger like two red balls of copper, dexterously arrested the son of Gautami (Ashvatthama) and bound him with ropes like an animal. After binding Ashvatthama, Arjuna wanted to take him to the military camp. The Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, looking on with His lotus eyes, spoke to Arjuna in an angry mood. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.33-34)
Both Arjuna and Krishna are described here as being very angry. The only difference was that Arjuna’s eyes became like balls of red copper, but the Lord’s eyes remained cool and are hence described as “lotus like.” Thus there is a vast difference between our anger and the one possessed by God. The Lord is Transcendence, and thus He is absolute in any stage. His anger is not like the anger of a conditioned living being within the modes of qualitative material nature. Because He is absolute, both His anger and pleasure are the same. His anger is not exhibited in the three modes of material nature. It is only a sign of His bent of mind towards the cause of His devotee because that is His transcendental nature. Therefore, even if He is angry, the object of anger is blessed. He is unchanged in all circumstances.