Anger: A perspective from the Guru Granth Sahib
An article by T. Singh
You (anger) take the perplexed beings (corrupt, agitated, Bikaaree,
full of desires or hunger of Maya...) in your power, and make them dance like monkeys
O Nanak, through lust and anger, no one has ever found God
- go, and ask any wise man (sggs 551).
Anger barks and brings ruin on itself, blindly pursuing useless conflicts (sggs 1288).
With the false ego-sense (Haumai, "I-ness"
) up and active, all our acting in the world becomes selfish and evil. Hence there is no other factor causing the illusory duality (Doojaa Bhaav
) and the repeated pain and delusion it entails than the psychological ego-sense. When the materially identified ego has sided with the materialistic forces (Maya), it is said to have the following faults: lust (Kaam
), anger (Krodh
); greed (Lobh
), delusory emotional attachment (Moh
), pride (Mada
), envy (Matsarya
) and stubborn mindedness (Mann-Hath
a). Also called evil passions, man's Spiritual heritage constantly gets looted by these internal thieves (and their numerous variations), causing him to lose knowledge of his True Being. The attempt of this Gurbani reflection is to reflect on the nature of anger, its cause, its signs and its cure or management.
- ਹਉਮੈ ਬੰਧਨ ਬੰਧਿ ਭਵਾਵੈ ॥: haumai bandhan bandh bhavaavai: Egotism binds people in bondage, and causes them to wander around lost (sggs 227).
- ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੰਮਿਆ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਮੁਆ ॥: Haou vich janmiaa haou vich muaa: In ego man is born; in ego he dies (sggs 466).
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮਾਇਆ ਮਦ ਮਤਸਰ ਏ ਖੇਲਤ ਸਭਿ ਜੂਐ ਹਾਰੇ ॥: Kaam krodh maya mada matsar ae khelat sabhi jooai haare: Kaama, Krodha, Maya, Mada and Matsara — these have combined to plunder the world (sggs 974).
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਝਗਰਤੇ ਝਗਰਾਇਆ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh mohu nit jhagarate jhagaraaeiaa: Lust, anger, greed and emotional attachment bring continual conflict and strife (sggs 984).
- ਹਠੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਕਰੈ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: Hatha ahankaar karai nahee paavai: Acting in stubbornness and egotism, (Truth) is not attained (Realized, etc.) (sggs 905).
What is anger? Loads and loads of books have been written on anger. But it still appears to be one of the most misunderstood and overused of human emotions. Some scriptures have done a wonderful job explaining it in a very layman's terms. As they reveal to us, psychological ego gives rise to body-mind-intellect consciousness (duality). In turn, this body-mind-intellect personality gives rise to the perceiver of objects (beings, things and places), the feeler of emotions and the thinker of thoughts. Anger is one of the human emotions or feelings - one of the psychological ego's passions (negativity, Bikar
). In other words, anger is an emotional-physiological-cognitive internal state of consciousness which renders a man blind to the existence of inner Light. Hence sometime it's referred in the scriptures as hidden evil or thief, waiting for an excuse to find expression and expansion.
- ਬਸਇ ਕਰੋਧੁ ਸਰੀਰਿ ਚੰਡਾਰਾ ॥: Basai krodh sareeri chandaalaa: Anger, the outcaste, hides within man's body (sggs 759).
- ਭੀਤਰਿ ਪੰਚ ਗੁਪਤ ਮਨਿ ਵਾਸੇ ॥ ਥਿਰੁ ਨ ਰਹਹਿ ਜੈਸੇ ਭਵਹਿ ਉਦਾਸੇ ॥੧॥: Bheetar panch gupat mani vaase. Thir n rahahi jaise bhavahi oudaase ||1||: The "five" (i.e., all evil passions: lust, anger, greed, etc.) dwell hidden within the mind. They do not remain still, but move around like wanderers (ਠਠੰਬਰੇ ਹੋਇਆਂ ਵਾਂਗ, and do not let my mind remain still) ||1|| (sggs 359).
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਨੁ ਹਿਰੈ ॥: Kaamu krodhu antari dhanu hirai: Lust and anger steal the wealth (of the Naam...) within (sggs 352).
How does anger arise in us? First, the false ego begets lust (Kaama
) - the compelling, coercive materialistic desire to indulge in sensory temptations. In turn, lust clouds our understanding of life. Consequently we end up living false values: external looks, wealth, name, fame, material success, popularity, irrational expectations, false concepts, fantasies and brooding on the past. Frustrated or unfulfilled lust results in anger (Krodh
Frustration is the feeling we experience when we don't get what we want, or when something interferes with our gaining a desired and expected goal, good or bad. The feeling of frustration can come from unexpected situations, our own limitations, our actions and choices, actions of others, motives of others, experiences of injustice, and so on. Anger is feeling upset in response to such frustration arising from non-fulfillment of desires. Thus, lust is the first perverted son of the sense-blind mind, and its second perverted son is anger. In brief, when obstructed, evil desire turns to its debased brother we call anger. These two impulses attack unenlightened beings from within and without. This is why the scriptures tirelessly warn us against the blind attachment to sense objects. As the Gurbani puts it: anger and lust are "the wounds of the soul".
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਜੀਅ ਮਹਿ ਚੋਟ ॥: Kaamu krodhu jeea mahi chott: Lust and anger (i.e. all evil passions) are the wounds of the soul (i.e. they inspire us do evil) (sggs 152).
- ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਰਦਾਨਾ ੧ ॥ ਕਲਿ ਕਲਵਾਲੀ ਕਾਮੁ ਮਦੁ ਮਨੂਆ ਪੀਵਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਟੋਰੀ ਮੋਹਿ ਭਰੀ ਪੀਲਾਵਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਮਜਲਸ ਕੂੜੇ ਲਬ ਕੀ ਪੀ ਪੀ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਕਰਣੀ ਲਾਹਣਿ ਸਤੁ ਗੁੜੁ ਸਚੁ ਸਰਾ ਕਰਿ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਗੁਣ ਮੰਡੇ ਕਰਿ ਸੀਲੁ ਘਿਉ ਸਰਮੁ ਮਾਸੁ ਆਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਖਾਧੈ ਜਾਹਿ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥: Slok Mardaanaa 1 || Kali (imagining Mayaic mind...) is the vessel, filled with the wine of lust; the mind is the drinker. Anger is the cup, filled with the worldly attachment; pride is the bartender. Drinking too much in the company of falsehood and greed, (the mind) is ruined. So let good conduct (based on the Gurmat) be your distillery, and let Truth be the molasses you ferment; make the most excellent wine of True (Naam). Make Virtue your bread, cool headedness (ਸੀਤਲ ਸੁਭਾਉ) the ghee and modesty the dish of meat. O Nanak! By becoming a Gurmukh, (this diet) is obtained; by consuming which, all the Bikaar (evil and corruption...) depart ||1|| (sggs 553).
- ਕਾਮ ਕਰੋਧੁ ਸਬਲ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥: Kaam karodhu sabal sansaaraa: Lust and anger are very powerful in the world (sggs 1060).
Looking at it from an another angle, anger comes from despair or threatening of one's will when his sensory desire is obscured or hindered. In other words, anger is the result of hurt pride for not getting one's own way. Frustrated or unfulfilled desires provoke worry and regrets, followed by fear which causes man to have an inability to face a critical moment, even in the intimacy of his deepest meditation. When this fear is disturbed, anger boils in us causing resentment, agitation and envy. Those who anger easily are overly fearful of God, elders, government, impending disaster, death, safety, time (past, present and future), security, fate, and the list goes on and on. As we can see, desire-worry-fear-anger have hand-in-glove relationship. This is why the scriptures repeatedly remind us that a person full of desires, material or celestial, cannot be on the path of Spiritual Unfoldment. Such person is not only angry at himself and other people, he is even angry at his God. Furthermore, he is often angry at some people who are already dead!
- ਭੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੰਮੈ ਭੈ ਮਰੈ ਭੀ ਭਉ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Bhai vich jammai bhai marai bhee bhaou mann mahi hoi: In fear we are born, and in fear we die; fear is always present in the mind (sggs 149).
- ਮਾਇਆ ਜਾਲੁ ਪਸਾਰਿਆ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਚੋਗ ਬਣਾਇ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਪੰਖੀ ਫਾਸਿਆ ਨਿਕਸੁ ਨ ਪਾਏ ਮਾਇ ॥: Maya jaal pasaariaa bheetar chog banaai. Trisnaa pankhee phaasiaa nikis n paae maai: Maya has spread out her net and in it has placed the bait (ਵਿਸ਼ਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਚੋਗਾ ਜਾਲ, sensuousness, sense-gratifications, Bikaars, desires, etc.). The bird of desire (instinctive mind, ਜੀਵ-ਪੰਖੀ, etc.) is caught, and cannot find any escape, O (my) mother (sggs 50).
- ਡਰਿ ਡਰਿ ਪਚੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਵੇਚਾਰੇ ॥: Dari dari pache manmukh vechaare: The wretched Manmukhs (material or unenlightened beings) are ruined through fear and dread (sggs 677).
- ਆਪੁ ਗਇਆ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਭਉ ਗਇਆ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਨ ਦੁਖ ਜਾਹਿ ॥: Aap gaiaa bhram bhaou gaiaa janam maran dukh jaahi: When ego departs, doubt and fear also depart, and the pain of birth and death is removed (sggs 1093).
Man's limited egocentric life is said to be the cause of his repeated pain and delusion. As discussed earlier, anger is the offspring of this unripe egoism. Hence the primary cause of anger is innate, genetic or physiological. Medical science has proven this with evidence: some children, for example, are born irritable, touchy, easily angered, can throw a temper tantrum without any formal training and often even without observing a model, and that these signs are present from a very early age. As we grow, anger gets stronger many ways. One way is sociocultural - if we have seen our parents get angry first and resolve an issue after, we are more likely to use the same approach. Second may be through learning as we grow. For example, if one was abused by aggression, he may become abuser himself. Research has also found that, typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic, and not skilled at emotional communications. Further, some find having a temper and being aggressive yield payoffs, although temporary.
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਾ ਚੋਲੜਾ ਸਭ ਗਲਿ ਆਏ ਪਾਇ ॥: Kaam krodh kaa cholarraa sabh gali aaye paai: All have come, wearing the robes of lust and anger (sggs 1414).
- ਬਿਖੈ ਬਿਖੈ ਕੀ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਤਜੀਅ ਨਹ ਜਾਈ ॥: Bikhai bikhai kee baasanaa tajeea nah jaaee: I cannot escape my Vaasnaa for sin and corruption (sggs 855).
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮਦ ਲੋਭ ਮੋਹ ਦੁਸਟ ਬਾਸਨਾ ਨਿਵਾਰਿ ॥: Kaam krodh madd lobh moh dusatt baasanaa nivaar: Take away my Vaasna - lust, anger, pride, greed, and emotional attachment (sggs 523).
We all have anger in us. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems - problem of violence or aggression, problems at work, problem in personal relationships, problem in mental and physical well-being, and problem in the overall quality of one's life. When our anger or aggression becomes so extreme that we lose self-control, it is said that we are in a rage, like a train running out of control and about to derail. Anytime we feel frustrated, especially when we think someone else is to blame for our loss, is a real potential trigger for outburst of anger. Besides getting our way, we may unconsciously use anger to play psychological put-down games: blaming others for our own shortcomings, demeaning others, insulting another person, taking revenge, oppressing others and then justify it to boost our own sagging ego. Furthermore, anger can also turn into hostility which is a chronic state of anger. In other words, anger is a temporary response to a particular frustrating situation; whilst hostility is a permanent personality characteristic.
The Gurbani urges us to picture to ourselves the way in which anger originates from non-fulfillment of desires, and how it leads to serious consequences. Anger is said to be the reason-blinding, health-impairing, peace-destroying and misery-causing behavior. This negative power stirs up conflicts, causes confusion, and scatters the mind hither and thither; which makes meditation, knowing who you are, impossible. Anger comes in many forms, some quite subtle. Also, it varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Simply put: anger drives man to commit misdeeds and misconduct.
- ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨੁ ਮਹਾ ਬਡ ਦੁੰਦਰ ਤਹ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਵਾਸੀ ਰਾਜਾ ॥: Krodhu pradhaanu mahaa bad dundar tah manu maavaasee raajaa (sggs 1161).
- ਭੰਉਕੈ ਕੋਪੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ ਹੋਇ ਫਕੜੁ ਪਿਟੇ ਅੰਧੁ ॥: Bhanoukai kop khuaar hoe fakarr pitte andh: Anger barks and brings ruin on itself, blindly pursuing useless conflicts (sggs 1288).
- ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਰਾਜ ਮਹਿ ਨਰਕੁ ਉਦਾਸ ਕਰੋਧਾ ॥: Grih raaj mahi naraku udaas karodhaa: A householder indulged in sensual pleasures lives in hellish existence, and the renunciate is always victim of his own anger (sggs 1019).
- ਤਤੈ ਤਾਮਸਿ ਜਲਿਓਹੁ ਮੂੜੇ ਥਥੈ ਥਾਨ ਭਰਿਸਟੁ ਹੋਆ ॥: Tatai taamas jaliohu moorre thathhai thaan bharisat hoaa: Tatta: In anger, you are burnt, you fool; Thatha: that place where you live, is cursed (sggs 435).
Thus, like other emotions, anger has physiological and psychological consequences. When people get angry, their heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of their energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. It has a bad effect on health; for an angry man's whole system undergoes a change (headaches, hypertension, gastrointestinal disturbances, heart attacks, etc.). It causes terrible reactions within the nerve system of the body. In person who routinely goes through paroxysm of anger, the heart and nerve system begins to weaken from the repeated shocks.
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਗਾਲੈ ॥: Kaam krodh kaaiaa kaou gaalai: Lust and anger destroy the body (sggs 932).
- ਆਪਣੈ ਰੋਹਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਦਝੈ ॥: Aapanai rohi aape hee dajhai: By his own anger, man burns himself (sggs 1418).
Psychological effects of anger are also grave, and Spiritually lethal. It dulls and paralyzes the mind, numbing its functioning power. It creates mental delusion, a state of psychological blindness that affects all other faculties, followed by the loss of memory. This is why when in rage, man forgets what belongs to him and to others. It's the cancer of the mind, which obscures one's memory of his Essential Nature as Unconditioned Consciousness, causing decay of the discriminative faculty (Bibek Budhi
), followed by annihilation of one's righteous behavior and intelligence. Here is the step-by-step analysis. Man's brooding over objects of the senses causes attachment to them. From such attachment, lust or desires develop; from unfulfilled lust, anger arises; from anger, mental delusion arises; from delusion comes bewilderment or loss of memory of the Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...)
; the loss of such memory causes loss of intelligence or the discriminating faculty; upon loss of intelligence or discriminative judgment, one falls down into the material consciousness; which, in turn, brings annihilation of his Spiritual Life (the Gurmukh Lifestyle). The result is destruction of man's inner peace, happiness, health, brain power, clarity of thoughts, memory, and proper judgment.
- ਕਠਨ ਕਰੋਧ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਕੇ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜਿਹ ਸੁਧਿ ਸਭ ਬਿਸਰਾਈ ॥: Kathan karodh ghatt hee ke bheetari jih sudhi sabh bisaraaee: The heart is filled with anger and violence, which cause all sense to be forgotten (sggs 218).
- ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਜੂਐ ਮਤਿ ਹਾਰੀ ॥: Antari krodhu jooai mati haaree: Man filled with anger within, loses his mind in the gamble of anger (sggs 314).
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਦੇਵਾਨਿਆ ॥: Kaam krodhi ahankaar firahi devaaniaa: Engrossed in lust, anger and egotism, man wanders around insane (sggs 708).
- ਅਤਿ ਕਰੋਧ ਸਿਉ ਲੂਝਦੇ ਅਗੈ ਪਿਛੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ॥: Ati karodh siou loojhade agai pishai dukhu paavahi: People struggle with great anger; here and hereafter, they suffer in pain (sggs 1089).
- ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਬਿਨਾਸੈ ਸਗਲ ਵਿਕਾਰੀ ॥: Krodh binaasai sagal vikaaree: All the wicked are ruined by their anger (sggs 225).
- ਆਪ ਪਰ ਕਾ ਕਛੁ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਹਿ ਜਾਰਿ ॥: Aap par kaa kashu na jaanai kaam krodhahi jaari: Man does not know what belongs to him and to others, when he burns in lust and anger (sggs 1225).
Peace and love are Divine qualities. Anger is opposite of peace and love. Hence the most common disturber of the peace and love in an individual, in a family and among groups and nations is anger. It begets terror, wars, riots, crime, murders, spouse and child abuse, divorce, stormy relationships, poor working conditions, poor physical health, emotional disorders, impatience, hostility, ungodly actions, antisocial behavior, violence, inner seething, envy, resentment, meanness, hatred, aggression, fanaticism and destruction. The Gurbani labels anger as "fire", "demon", "horrible", "unbearable", "poison", "false", "Chandaal
", "thief", "wild", and so on.
- ਮਨਿ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਮਹਾ ਬਿਸਲੋਧੁ ਨਿਰਪ ਧਾਵਹਿ ਲੜਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Mani hiradai krodh mahaa bisalodhu nirap dhaavahi larri dukh paaiaa: Hearts and minds filled with the horribly poisonous essence of anger, the kings fight their wars and obtain only pain (sggs 445).
- ਕਾਮਿ ਕਰੋਧਿ ਜਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ॥: Kaam karodh jalai sabh koee: All are burning in the fires of lust and anger (sggs 1062).
- ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਪਰੇਤੁ ਹੈ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: Maya mohu paret hai kaam krodhu ahankaaraa: Attachment to Maya, lust, anger and egotism are demons (sggs 513).
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਬਿਖੁ ਬਜਰੁ ਭਾਰੁ ॥: Kaam krodh bikh bajar bhaar: The burden of lust, anger and corruption is unbearable (sggs 1187).
- ਸਪੁ ਪਿੜਾਈ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਖੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਸੁ ॥: Sapp pirhaaee paaeeai bikhu antari manni ros: The snake may be locked in a basket, but it is still poisonous, and the rage (to bite others) within its mind remains (sggs 1009).
- ਸੰਗੀ ਖੋਟਾ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਚੰਡਾਲ ॥: Sangee khotaa krodh chandaal: O man, your constant companion is the demon of anger (sggs 374).
Anger is a sign of man's selfishness and his ignorance of his true identity (Mool); the immature state of the soul. On account of selfishness and ignorance, we are cowardly fearful of almost everything. In body-consciousness, wholly ignorant of our Mool, we remain bewildered and busy in compulsive bodily activities, tossed around by desires and anger. Whenever a desire for material objects is fulfilled, the inevitable result is greed and more. On the other hand, if a desire remains unfulfilled, it manifests in fear and anger. These impulses of lust, anger and greed pull the consciousness to matter and sense enslavement. This is attachment that bounds us to worldliness. So long we are in bondage, Truth remains hidden from us. Hence, the disease of brooding over sense objects is such that even if a man acquires all the wealth and possessions of the world, his desires will go on multiplying. These negative impulses lead one to repeated pain and delusion, hellish existence or Spiritual oblivion.
- ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਸੁ ਕਰੇਇ ॥: Agiaanee mani rosu karaee: The ignorant person shows his anger (sggs 268).
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਲੋਭਿ ਮੋਹਿ ਬਾਧਾ ॥: Kaam krodhi lobhi mohi baadhaa: Man is bound to worldliness by lust, anger, greed and emotional attachment (sggs 741).
- ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਲੋਭਿ ਬਿਆਪਿਓ ਜਨਮ ਹੀ ਕੀ ਖਾਨਿ ॥: Kaami krodhi lobhi biaapio janam hee kee khaan: Engrossed in unfulfilled lust, unresolved anger and greed, you will be consigned to reincarnation (sggs 1304).
An angry person is generally unwilling to concede that he has the disease of anger. He always blames others! Furthermore, the majority of us (probably over 99.9 percent) live in unenlightened existence, hence we go to any length to justify our anger - we excuse it or rationalize it by calling it "righteous anger", "good anger", "assertiveness", and so on. From doing so, we get an ego boost, or we may try to conceal other feelings: the feelings underlying the anger reaction make us feel vulnerable and weak; anger makes us feel, at least momentarily, strong and in control. This is all self-deceiving. Because anger causes most of us to lose our inner balance and to easily forget about universal love and become quite mad. The Gurbani does not entertain such excuses or rationalization. Anger is anger whether it's due to frustration of good desires or bad desires; for both good or bad desires are in Maya or duality, hence relative. Anger must also be distinguished from assertiveness, fearlessness, or moral courage. These three are essentially synonymous. True assertive behavior is tactfully and rationally standing up for ourselves without causing undue anxiety to others, to express honest feelings comfortably, and to exercise personal rights without denying the rights of others. Thus, true assertiveness is to look not only to one's own interests but also to the interests of others. Therefore, a true assertiveness is not the natural tendency of manipulating or hurting others so that one's own needs are met, even at the cost of another persons needs. The quality of true assertiveness or true fearlessness belongs to a person who possesses the Divine attribute of true Humility - a Mool-realized person (the Gurmukh
), who acts only in Dharma
, not out of anger.
- ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਪੁਛਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਜਾਇ ॥: Nanak kaami krodhi kinai na paaio pushahu Giaanee jaai: O Nanak, through lust and anger, no one has ever found God - go, and ask any wise man (sggs 551).
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਸਿਉ ਠਾਟੁ ਨ ਬਨਿਆ ॥: Kaam krodh siou thaat na baniaa: Don't deal whatsoever with lust and anger (sggs 1347).
- ਪਰਹਰੁ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥: Paraharu kaamu krodhu ahankaar: Set aside lust, anger and pride (sggs 324).
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਸੰਗਿ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਬਹਹੁ ॥: Kaam krodh sangi kabahu na bahahu: Don't ever associate with lust or anger (sggs 343).
- ਮਨ ਕਾ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਨਿਵਾਰਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ॥: Mann kaa krodhu nivaar pandit: Eradicate anger from your mind, O Pandit (sggs 887).
- ਭੈ ਕਾਹੂ ਕਉ ਦੇਤ ਨਹਿ ਨਹਿ ਭੈ ਮਾਨਤ ਆਨ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਤਾਹਿ ਬਖਾਨਿ ॥੧੬॥: Bhai kaahoo ko det nahi nahi bhai manat aan ...: One who does not frighten anyone, and who is not afraid of anyone else (ਡਰਾਵਿਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਘਬਰਾਂਦਾ ਨਹੀਂ) — says Nanak, listen, mind: call him Giaanee (spirituallt Wise, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਵਾਲਾ, etc.) ||16|| (sggs 1427).
- ਮਨ ਰੇ ਸਚੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਭਉ ਜਾਇ ॥: Mann re sachu milai bhaou jaai: O mind, meeting with the Truth, fear departs (sggs 18).
What are the signs of anger? Anger can be recognized from its behavioral and verbal signs. Behavioral signs may include assaultive behavior (physical and verbal cruelty, rage, slapping, shoving, kicking, hitting, threaten with a weapon, etc.), aggressive behavior (criticizing others, chronic fault finding, accusing someone of having immoral or despicable traits or motives, nagging, scolding, whining, sarcasm, prejudice, flashes of temper, haranguing, abusive, cursing, etc.), hurtful behavior (malicious gossip, stealing, trouble-making, thinking ill of others, etc.), rebellious behavior (antisocial behavior, open defiance, refusal to talk, taking offense easily, etc.), withdrawal (quiet remoteness, silence, lack of communication, etc.), psychosomatic disorders (iredness, anxiety attacks, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.), depression and guilt, serious mental illness like paranoid schizophrenia, accident-proneness, self-defeating or addictive behavior (drinking, overeating, drugs, smoking, etc.), vigorous distracting activity (exercising or cleaning, etc.), excessively submissive deferring behavior, crying, distrusting, skeptical, argumentative, irritating, indirectly challenging attitude, resentful, jealous, disruptive, uncooperative, distracting actions, unforgiving or unsympathetic, sulky, sullen, pouting, passively resistant, and interfering with progress. Verbal or cognitive signs may include open hatred and insults, contempt and disgust, slander, backbiting, critical and suspicious nature, blaming others, no respect, revengeful, name calling, disappointed, annoyed, disgusted, put out, profanity, cynical humor or teasing, etc.
- ਹੇ ਕਲਿ ਮੂਲ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੰ ਕਦੰਚ ਕਰੁਣਾ ਨ ਉਪਰਜਤੇ ॥ ਬਿਖਯੰਤ ਜੀਵੰ ਵਸ੍ਹੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ਨਿਰਤ੍ਹੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ਜਥਾ ਮਰਕਟਹ ॥: Hey kali mool krodham kadanch karunaa na uparajate. Bikhayant jeevam vasam karoti niratam karoti jathaa marakatah: O anger, you are the root of conflict; compassion never rises up in you. You (anger) take the perplexed beings (corrupt, agitated, Bikaaree, full of desires or hunger of Maya...) in your power, and make them dance like monkeys (sggs1358).
- ਬੈਰ ਬਿਰੋਧ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮੋਹ ॥ ਝੂਠ ਬਿਕਾਰ ਮਹਾ ਲੋਭ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ॥ ਇਆਹੂ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਬਿਹਾਨੇ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ॥: Bair birodhh kaam krodhh moh. Jhooth bikaar mahaa lobh dhroh. Eiaahoo jugati bihaane kaee janam: Hate, conflict, lust, anger, emotional attachment, falsehood, corruption, immense greed and deceit. So many lifetimes are wasted in these ways (sggs 267).
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਤ ਝਗਰਤੇ ਝਗਰਾਇਆ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh moh nit jhagarte jhagaraayaa: Lust, anger, greed and attachment to delusion bring continual conflict and strife (sggs 984).
- Lust, anger, and greed — these constitute the threefold gate of hellish life leading to the destruction of the soul's welfare. These three, therefore, man should abandon (Gita 16:21).
- Now when you restrain your anger, you please the All-Compassionate....You have also brought delight to the heart of the person from whom you withheld your anger....Thus the Prophet already ordered us to practice mutual affection and to love one another. And this (i.e., restraining one's anger) is one of the highest of the causes helping to realize Love (Sufi Shams Tabriez).
- You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Overcome anger by love (Buddha).
As we can see, anger has psychological and biological payoffs. It's destructive. It drags us down. It neither fixes anything nor does it make anybody feel better — it actually makes us feel worse.
Therefore, the scriptures and the enlightened beings urge us manage it and keep it at bay. But how? First, theories like "letting it all hang out" or "let it rip" with anger actually escalates anger or aggression and does nothing to help anybody to get rid of it or resolve the situation. Second, anger turned inward is unhealthy for it may cause hypertension, high blood pressure or depression. Third, you can't totally eliminate or avoid the objects (things, places and people) that enrage you. Fourth, you cannot change other people either; because each one of us must change himself or herself. Fifth, in spite of all our efforts, things will happen that will cause us and others anger. In other words, life will be filled with frustration, inconvenience, annoyance, pain, loss and the unpredictable actions of others. Although one cannot change all that, but one can change himself and learn to control his reactions and not let such events, environment or objects affect him. When in full control, anger can motivate us to take action in positive ways.
- ਸੋ ਸੂਚਾ ਜਿ ਕਰੋਧੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੇ ॥: So soochaa ji karodh nivaare: He alone is pure, who eradicates anger (sggs 1059).
- ਦੁਨੀਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਰੋਸੁ ਹੈ ਲੋਈ॥ਅਪਨਾ ਕੀਆ ਪਾਵੈ ਸੋਈ ॥: Duneeaa dosu rosu hai loee. Apanaa keeaa paavai soee: Man receives the fruits of his own actions; but he blames the world, and gets angry with people (sggs 1161).
- ਅੰਤ ਕਾਲਿ ਭਜਿ ਜਾਹਿਗੇ ਕਾਹੇ ਜਲਹੁ ਕਰੋਧੀ ॥: Ant kaal bhaj jaahige kaahe jalahu karodhee: In the end, they (relatives) will run away from you; why do you burn for them in anger? (sggs 809).
In material existence, once we are faced with a problem, we start thinking about it's solution, rather than its root-cause. Without seeing the reality of the problem, we may solve the problem for time being, however, the problem will arise again. Unless the root-cause of any problem is known, one will be unable to see the reality of that problem. And, without thinking about the reality or understanding the nature of the problem, we will be unable to eradicate it once for ever. As the Gurbani says: "One can not kill a snake by merely destroying the snake-hole"! By conducting the Shabad-Vichaar, we can seek to understand the nature or root-cause of worldly problem. Once the answer is known, we can find a permanent solution to it. Hence, the Gurbani first looks at the root-cause of human problems, and then offers the solution. When the cause is removed, the effect will not arise. As discussed earlier, the root-cause of man's all evil passions is his false ego-sense. It's this ego-sense on whose account our instinctive minds are in control of lust and anger, unable to bear the truth. Once ego (Haaumai) is annihilated, falsehood in the robe of lust and anger folds its tent and disappear, never to make the comeback again.
- ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਮਨੁ ਵਸਿ ਕੀਆ ॥: Kaami krodhi manu vasi keeaa: Sexual desire and anger hold the mind in its power (sggs 1192).
- ਕਾਮ ਕਰੋਧੁ ਨਗਰ ਮਹਿ ਸਬਲਾ ਨਿਤ ਉਠਿ ਉਠਿ ਜੂਝੁ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥: Kaam karodhu nagar mahi sabalaa nit outhi outhi joojh kareejai: Lust and anger are very powerful in the body-village; rise up to fight the battle against them (sggs 1325).
- ਸਚੁ ਕਹੈ ਤਾ ਛੋਹੋ ਆਵੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਰੋਹਾ ॥: Sachu kahai taa shoho aavai antari bahataa rohaa: If someone speaks the truth, then you are aggravated; for you are totally filled with anger (sggs 960).
- ਕਾਮ ਕਰੋਧ ਮਹਾ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਰਸ ਇਨ ਤੇ ਭਏ ਨਿਰਾਰੇ ॥: Kaam karodh mahaa bikhiaa ras in te bhaye niraare: Lust, anger and the pleasures of terrible corruption - keep away from these (sggs 1269).
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਨਿਵਾਰੇ ਨਿਵਰੇ ਸਗਲ ਬੈਰਾਈ ॥: Kaam krodh lobh moh nivaare nivare sagal bairaaee: When lust, anger, greed and attachment to delusion are eradicated; then I have no more enemies (sggs 1000).
To overcome the spell of anger along with its root-cause, the false ego, the Gurbani asks engaging in Shabad-Vichaar
. With it, desires are silenced, and one goes beyond the state of physical perceptions and thereby seeks the "right" lifestyle. When desires are silenced, the mind becomes still. Therefore, if performed faithfully, Shabad-Vichaar brings about mind-control: self-unfoldment, self-integration, self-perfection, or self-purification. Such mindfulness leads us to dwell deeply in the eternity of the "now", to be aware of what is going on within and around us, and to see the same Mool in all Beings. Thinning of ego makes room for detachment, pure knowledge and wisdom, true understanding, selfless love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, harmony, righteousness, contentment, and joy; which helps taking care of and transforming suffering in our lives and in our society. Exercising attention to the every moment restores the quietude in us, opening doors to firsthand understanding of our living, and thereby changing the way we think and deal with others. Relaxed or still mind naturally improves our communication, behavior, conduct, assertiveness and humor. It shuns upsetting circumstances or company, destructive use of energy, frustrations, irrational ideas, and emotional upheaval and related physiological arousal. Then, when we realize the false beliefs that our conditioned mind was clinging to, they drop away. The root-cause of anger then melts away; true Love remains over; Spiritual Life (the Gurmuk Lifestyle)dawns; and one abides in the most inimitable quality of fearlessness as there will not be anxieties or conditionings.
- ਹਉਮੈ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨਿਵਾਰੈ ॥: Haumai krodh Shabad nivaarai: Egotism and anger are prevented through the Shabad (sggs 1057).
- ਕਾਢਿ ਕੁਠਾਰੁ ਪਿਤ ਬਾਤ ਹੰਤਾ ਅਉਖਧੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਉ ॥: Kaadhi kuthaar pit baat hantaa aoukhadh har ko naaou: The Divine Name is the medicine; it is like an axe, which destroys the diseases caused by anger and egotism (sggs 714).
- ਜਿਹ ਸਿਮਰਨਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਤੂ ਕੇਲ ॥ ਦੀਪਕੁ ਬਾਂਧਿ ਧਰਿਓ ਬਿਨੁ ਤੇਲ ॥ ਸੋ ਦੀਪਕੁ ਅਮਰਕੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਬਿਖੁ ਕਾਢੀਲੇ ਮਾਰਿ ॥: Jih simran karahi too kel. Deepak baandhio dhario binu tel. So deepak amrak sansaar. Kaam krodhh bikh kaadteelae maar: Meditating on the Divine you feel joyous. God has placed the lamp (Knowledge) deep within you, which burns without any oil. (Whosoever awakened it within) This lamp makes one immortal in the world; it conquers and drives out the poisons of lust and anger (sggs 971).
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਮਦ ਮਾਨ ਮੋਹ ਬਿਨਸੇ ਅਨਰਾਗੈ ॥: Kaam krodh mada maan moh binase anuraagai: Lust, anger, the intoxication of egotism and emotional attachment are dispelled, by loving devotion (sggs 818).
- ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਲੂਟਾ ॥: Kaamu krodhu gur sabadee lootaa: Gur-Shabad, the Divine Name, will release you from lust and anger (sggs 879).
- ਰੋਸੁ ਨ ਕਾਹੂ ਸੰਗ ਕਰਹੁ ਆਪਨ ਆਪੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥: Rosu na kaahoo sang karahu aapan aap beechaar: Don't be angry with anyone else; look within (Vichaar) your own self instead (sggs 259).
- ਰੋਸੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜੈ ਰਹਣੁ ਨਹੀ ਸੰਸਾਰੇ ॥: Rosu na keejai amritu peejai rahan nahee sansaare: Don't be angry - drink in the Ambrosial Nectar (of the Divine Name); you will not remain in this world forever (sggs 931).
- ਬਕੈ ਨ ਬੋਲੈ ਖਿਮਾ ਧਨੁ ਸੰਗ੍ਰਹੈ ਤਾਮਸੁ ਨਾਮਿ ਜਲਾਏ ॥: Bakai na bolai khimaa dhanu sangrahai taamas naam jalaae: Don't speak empty words; burn away your anger with the Divine Name and gather the true wealth of tolerance (sggs 1013).
- ਫਰੀਦਾ ਬੁਰੇ ਦਾ ਭਲਾ ਕਰਿ ਗੁਸਾ ਮਨਿ ਨ ਹਢਾਇ ॥ ਦੇਹੀ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਲਗਈ ਪਲੈ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਪਾਇ ॥: Fareedaa bure daa bhalaa kari gussaa mani na hadhaai. Dehee rogu nu lagaee pallai sabhu kishu paai: Fareed says: answer evil with goodness; do not fill your mind with anger. Your body will not suffer from any disease, and you will obtain everything (sggs 1381).
— T. Singh