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Destruction by anger

Jamuna Rao, Dec 5 2017, 0:03 IST

Anger, whatever its cause, is the most destructive of all emotions. It is quick to arouse, hard to control and a perfect instrument to manipulate. An angry mob will riot, be part of a pogrom, and not hesitate to lynch.

In Hindu mythology, the sages and even Gods, are not beyond anger. Shiva's third eye, which opens when he is angry, destroys everything in sight. Kamadeva, the God of love, was reduced to ashes by such a wrath, and even when he was brought back to life had to make do without a body.

The sage Doorvasra, angered by young Shakuntala's distraction, cursed that the object of her distraction would forget her. Even when Gods and sages act in anger there is a setback to their powers, accumulated through thousands of years of austerity. This is supposed to act as a check on emotions running riot.

In a rural community in Texas, when a young man mercilessly opened fire on a congregation in a church, what was the anger which deluded him to do something so horrific? What was the delusion which made him forget the sanctity of a church? What destroyed his mind so completely that he ruined himself? An angry person can commit the most heinous of crimes. Ashwathama's anger makes him guilty of a dastardly midnight attack on the enemy camp, killing all the Pandavas' sons.

Anger in the modern world is the main cause of most avoidable rages. Road rage, domestic violence, roadside brawls are all caused by uncontrolled anger. Anger management is however more easily said than done. The sudden triggers are difficult to spot on time. The awareness that anger can be provoked in a person in order to manipulate her could help more than techniques ranging from counting ten to deep breathing.

While deep breathing practiced over a long period of time does calm the mind, the awareness that one could be getting manipulated acts as an immediate break. Awareness that there is nothing easier than arousing anger in a person and then misleading and misdirecting her should make one more wary of falling prey to the emotion. There is no such thing as healthy anger. Anger only destroys. Draupadi's taunt to the Pandavas to rouse their anger and fight like Kshatriyas ultimately destroyed the Kuru race.

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