To control temper, temper control

When things go wrong, we sometimes lose our temper, and do things that only worsen the problem. How can we control our temper?

By tempering our controlling tendency, answers Gita wisdom.

The Bhagavad-gita (03.37, 05.23, 05.26, 16.12) repeatedly pairs anger (krodha) with lust (kama). Why? Because anger erupts when lust is frustrated, as the Gita (02.62 kamat krodho bhijayate) indicates. Indeed, krodha is often known as kamanuja, the younger brother of lust, implying that where lust is given residence, anger will soon make its entry.

Kama refers generically to the mentality to enjoy matter. This desire expresses itself most prominently as the craving to enjoy sexually alluring material forms, hence the frequent equalization of lust with carnal desire.

Any material enjoyment requires control, control of the object to be enjoyed. When we lose control, we can’t enjoy, so we lose our temper. Therefore, to control our temper, we need to temper our controlling mentality.

How can we do that?

By remembering that we are not the supreme controllers; Krishna is. As his parts, we can have only partial control – control that is enough to serve him but not enough to enjoy matter.

As souls, we can find real fulfillment only in loving and serving Krishna. The empowering thing about devotional service is that no matter how much things go out of control, we can always find some way to serve Krishna and relish spiritual happiness thereof. Cultivating a devotional service attitude links us with a source of happiness that doesn’t depend on control, thereby freeing us from the feverish need to control.

Thereafter, when things go out of control, we can seek refuge in a prayerful service attitude: “Krishna, please guide me how I can best serve you now.” With the resulting spiritual strength, we can intelligently choose a response that ameliorates, not aggravates.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 02 Text 62

“While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.”

Focus not on the thoughts which are unworthy of us; focus on the thoughts for which we are unworthy
Bhakti-yoga is not exclusive but is comprehensive
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7 Comments

  1. Hare krsna prabhuji for an enlightning thought. Would like to request you to kindly clarify my doubt. While growing children..we tend to loose temper quite often assuming we are helping them to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong..given the kind of exposure children have these days outside home. Would you equate that propensity also with tendency to control children and hence loosing temper very often. What alternative we can use while dealing with children? Pl help

    Your servant
    Munish

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  2. Hare Krsna Prabhuji,
    Thanks once again for giving a nice formula for controlling our anger, based on Gita Wisdom.
    Prabhuji, it is observed that people try to control situations, other people so as to maintain their positions. This is also observed in spiritual institutions wherein people try to exercise control over others/situations so as to be recognised as great devotees or have leadership positions, despite practicing Spiritual Life. However we don’t find these people getting Angry.
    Does this kind of Control fall in the category of Lust or is it manipulation/duplicity?
    Does duplicity has any place in Spiritual Life?

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  3. Very wise reflections, thank you. Every morning your wise interpretations of the Gita provide me with hope that there is an alternative to this crazy maya we often find ourselves in.

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  4. Dandavats for sharing

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