What’s good about anger …
When we get angry, we often do things we regret. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita deems anger one of the three gates of hell (16.21). While contemplating how destructive anger can be, we may wonder: is there anything good about anger? Yes; it can be a terrific messenger.
How is anger a messenger? Messengers are meant to inform about key events, especially events where something has gone wrong about something important. And anger tells us that something is seriously wrong with something that matters substantially to us.
How is anger a terrific messenger? Some messengers may deliver their message so meekly as to be neglected by the person who they were to inform. And that person may remain unaware of the danger that has come upon them. A messenger bearing critical news needs to be assertive enough to demand attention. Anger is such an assertive messenger. When anger arrives, it takes a toll on us emotionally and physically; and it disrupts our normal way of thinking and functioning. By thus being an expensive and disruptive emotion, it demands our attention.
Anger does a good job in alerting us that there’s a problem somewhere. But it does a terrible job in prescribing a solution to that problem; its prescriptions usually make the situation worse. That’s why we need to prevent anger from going beyond its role of our messenger and taking on the role of our master.
Suppose a messenger informs a king that their kingdom is under attack. The king will hear that message carefully, but won’t put that messenger in charge of their defense strategy; they will use their intelligence for determining that strategy. Similarly, when we feel angry, we need to pay attention, knowing that there’s a significant problem somewhere. But we can’t let anger take charge of our response to the problem; we need to use our intelligence to determine our response.
Anger is a terrific messenger, but a terrible master.
Think it over:
- How is anger a messenger?
- How is anger a terrific messenger?
- When does anger mislead?
16.21: There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.
To know more about this verse, please click on the image
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