Habit of Self-justification
It is an old-standing habit. Self-assertion, self-sufficiency, obstinacy, dissimulation, speaking falsehood are the constant retinues or attendants of self-justification. He who has developed this can never improve himself, as he will never admit his faults. He will always try his level best to justify himself in various ways. He will not hesitate to tell several lies to support his false statements. He will tell one lie to cover another lie and he will speak lies ad infinitum. The aspirant should always admit his faults, mistakes, weaknesses etc., then and there. Then only he can improve quickly.
It is a gate to hell. It destroys the knowledge of Self. It is born of Rajas. It is all-consuming and all-polluting. It is the greatest enemy of peace. It is a modification of lust. Just as milk is changed into curd, so also lust or desire becomes transmuted into anger. When a man’s desire is not gratified, he becomes angry. Then his mind becomes confused. He loses his memory and understanding. He is under intoxication. He loses his senses for the time being. He does not know what he is exactly doing. He is a prey to anger. He is under the sway of anger. Anger is a form of Sakti or Devi. In Chandipatha you will find, “Yaa Devee Sarvabhuteshu Krodharupena Samsthita; Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah.” “I bow to that Devi who is seated in all beings in the form of anger.”
Resentment, indignation, fury, wrath and irritation are all varieties of anger according to degree or intensity. If a man wants to correct another man and uses slight anger unselfishly as a force to check and improve him, then it is called “religious anger.” Suppose a man molests a girl and tries to outrage her, and a by-stander becomes angry towards this criminal, then it is called ‘righteous indignation.’This is not bad. Only when the anger is the outcome of greed or selfish motives, it is bad.
If a man becomes irritable for trifling things very often, it is definite sign of mental weakness. One should control irritability by developing patience, Vichara, Kshama, love, mercy and spirit of service. When anger is controlled, it becomes transmuted into an energy that can move the world. It becomes changed into Ojas, just as heat or light is changed into electricity. Energy takes another form. If an aspirant has controlled anger completely, half of his Sadhana is over. Control of anger means control of lust also. All vices, evil qualities and wrong actions take their origin in anger. If anger is controlled, all bad qualities die by themselves. He who has controlled anger cannot do any wrong or evil actions. He is always just. An easily irritable man is always unjust. He is swayed by impulses and emotions. Too much loss of semen is the chief cause for irritability and anger. The root-cause for anger lies in egoism. Through Vichara egoism should be removed. Then only one can control anger completely to the very root. Through development of the opposite virtues such as Kshama, love, Santi, Karuna and friendship it can be controlled to some extent. The force can be reduced. Jnana only completely fries all Samskaras. But practice of Mauna is of great help in controlling anger.
When the anger assumes a grave form, it becomes difficult to control. It should be controlled when it assumes the form of a small ripple in the subconscious mind. One should watch the mind carefully, whenever there is a sign of irritability. Then it becomes very easy.
Anger gains strength by repetition. If it is checked, man gains strength of will gradually. An aspirant should direct all his attention towards the conquest of this powerful enemy. Sattvic food, Japa, meditation, prayer, Satsanga, Vichara, service, Kirtan, Brahmacharya, Pranayama-all will pave a long way in eradicating this dire malady.
When a man abuses you, try to keep quiet. Bear the insult. You will gain strength. Check the impulses and emotions to begin with. Whenever there is likelihood of a burst of anger during conversation or debate, stop your speech. Always try to speak sweet, soft words (Madhura and Mridu). The words must be soft and the arguments hard: but if the words are hard, it will bring discord. If you find it difficult to control anger, leave the place at once and take a brisk walk.
Smoking, meat-eating and drinking of liquors make the heart very irritable. Therefore they should be completely abandoned. Tobacco brings diseases of heart. It gives rise to “tobacco-heart” which gets easily irritated.
In the light of modern psychology all diseases take their origin in anger. Rheumatism, heart-diseases and nervous diseases are due to anger. The whole nervous system is completely shattered by one fit of anger. It takes months before it is restored to normal equilibrium.
Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda