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