React to Anger
In this letter, HG Mahatma Prabhu replies to a devotee who wanted to know how to react when one gets angry? The dilemma for this devotee was to how to behave when others are seen not to behave properly although there is an intellectual understanding to not get angry and to tolerate. HG Mahatma Prabhu redefines anger reaction through his wisdom and realizations from the Sastras.
It is not always the case that a devotee should not be angry. We can be angry that bogus religions are keeping people in ignorance, that innocent people are being misled by scientists and modern education, that people blaspheme Vaishnavas, that impersonalists say God is void, that devotees are ill-treated by materialists, etc. However, we should use the anger that arises from the above and similar circumstances in a positive way. For example, I may be angry that people are being misled by media hype that causes them to be more and more materialistic, so I could use this anger to inspire myself to write an article about this, give a lecture in a college about this, distribute more of Prabhupada’s books, tell more people about Krsna, etc. This anger results in something positive. Therefore, this is the proper use of anger in Krsna’s service. Even sometimes we have to chastise someone to correct them, and if we don’t show anger, they don’t take us seriously.
Anger within the modes of nature normally is a result of intolerance. Intolerance is a form of pride and thus is cured through humility. Humility is actually the antidote to every material problem. Notice how your anger comes from and results in a lack of humility, tolerance, forgiveness, and compassion and how having these qualities would either nullify the anger or prevent it from arising in the first place. If we don’t learn to be tolerant, life will be difficult, and our practice of Krsna consciousness is often disturbed or distracted. We can learn to tolerate anger, but I think it is wiser to deal with the consciousness that causes anger. If we look at what makes us angry, we can decide to see those things differently, i.e. see them in a way that doesn’t upset us. For example, something or someone repeatedly does may make us angry, but if we acknowledge that this is just who they are, this is how they see things, this is how they act, we can more easily accept their actions without becoming upset. In other words, we can make a decision to not become angry, and in doing so Krsna will inspire us with the perception needed to see people and things in a way that will be less disturbing to us.
You are switching between your emotional response and your intellectual understanding of how you should respond, perhaps not understanding how to get the intellectual response to be the way you actually see things. If you can see in a disturbing situation that this is what you deserve, and there is a reason that this is coming to you, the reason is to learn a lesson that will help improve your consciousness, then you can begin to look at yourself and look for the lesson. You can ask how did I bring this situation into my life? What do I think or do that attracted this? What does Krsna want me to learn from this? In other words, you see every situation as an opportunity to grow and advance by asking these questions. You turn your consciousness away from the person and what is wrong with them and turn your consciousness towards yourself asking what is wrong with me. I hope this helps.
Hare Krsna, Mahatma das