ANGER O anger, you are the root of conflict; compassion never rises up in you. You take the corrupt, sinful beings in your power, and make them dance like monkeys (sggs 1358). 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 ("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 of creation (Maya), it is said to have the following faults: lust (Kaam), anger (Krodh); greed (Lobh), delusory emotional attachment (Moh), pride (Mada or Ahankaar), envy (Matsarya) and stubborn mindedness (Mann-Hatha). 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 or Bikaar). 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 self within (sggs 352). ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਵਸਹਿ ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥: Is dehee aandari panch chor vasahi kaamu krodhu lobhu mohu ahankaaraa: Within this body dwell the five thieves: Lust desire, anger, greed, emotional attachment and pride (sggs 600). 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). ਕਲਿ ਕਲਵਾਲੀ ਕਾਮੁ ਮਦੁ ਮਨੂਆ ਪੀਵਣਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਕਟੋਰੀ ਮੋਹਿ ਭਰੀ ਪੀਲਾਵਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਮਜਲਸ ਕੂੜੇ ਲਬ ਕੀ ਪੀ ਪੀ ਹੋਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥: Kali kalavaalee kaamu madu manooaa peevanahaar. Krodh katoree mohi bharee peelaavaa ahankaara. Majalas koorre lab kee pee pee hoi khuaar: Our Kali Yugee attitude is likened to the vessel filled with the wine of lust; where mind is the drinker. Anger is likened to the cup filled with delusive attachment; where pride is the server. Falsehood and greed is likened to the company; joining which our mind drinks and drinks the wine of lust and is ruined (sggs 553). ਕਾਮਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧਿ ਡੂਬੇ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੀ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਸਿਧਿ ਨ ਬੁਧਿ ਭਈ ਮਤਿ ਮਧਿਮ ਲੋਭ ਲਹਰਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਈ ॥: Kaami krodhi doobe abhimaanee hayumai vichi jali jaaee. Tin sidhi na budhi bhaee mati madhim lobh lahari dukhu paaee: In lust and anger, the proud ones are drowned. They are burnt in their egotism. They do not attain perfection or understanding; their intellect is dimmed. Tossed by the waves of greed, they suffer in pain (sggs 1265). ਕਾਮ ਕਰੋਧੁ ਸਬਲ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥: Kaam karodhu sabal sansaaraa: Lust and anger are very powerful in the world (sggs 1060). ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਅਰੁ ਲੋਭ ਮੋਹ ਇਹ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਰਸਿ ਲਪਟਾਧੇ ॥: Kaam krodh aru lobh moh ih indree rasi lapataadhe: Your senses are beguiled by sensual pleasures of lust, anger, greed and delusive emotional attachment (sggs 403). 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). ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਭਾਗਹੀਨ ਮਤਿ ਫੀਕੇ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੁਨਤ ਆਵੈ ਮਨਿ ਰੋਹੈ ॥: Duramati bhaagaheen mati feeke naamu sunat aavai mani rohai: Evil-minded, unfortunate and shallow-minded are those who feel anger in their minds, when they hear the Divine Name (sggs 493). Our scriptures reveal to us that man's limited egocentric life is 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. This innate tendency or Vaasnaa is the result of past Karma. 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 scriptures urge 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 ॥: Krodh pradhaan mahaa badd dundar tah manu maavaasee raajaa: Anger is the great supreme commander, full of argument and strife, and the mind is the rebel king there (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). ਧੋਤੀ ਊਜਲ ਤਿਲਕੁ ਗਲਿ ਮਾਲਾ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਪੜਹਿ ਨਾਟ ਸਾਲਾ ॥: Dhotee oojal tilak gali maalaa. Antari krodh parrahi naat saalaa: One may wear a clean loin-cloth, apply the ceremonial mark to his forehead, and wear a rosary or mala around his neck; but if there is anger within him, he is merely reading his part, like an actor in a play (sggs 832).