The word “anger” has negative connotation; it is mostly understood to be undesirable. Is getting angry bad ? Let us examine. What is anger ? It is defined as strong feeling of annoyance or hostility. Anger originates in the mind and then makes its way to the heart. lt is expressed by words and physical actions and is an emotion of the mind.
Why do we get angry ? We learn from the Bhagavad-Geeta : "While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person gets attached to them. Lust
develops from such attachment. And, from lust arises anger" (2.62). Anger is the younger brother of desire. People of passionate nature – those who have lots of material desires - are prone to get angry quickly when they cannot have their way or are unable to fulfill their desires. Then there are people in ignorance – those who have exaggerated ideas of their virtue, ability or importance. These are the prime candidates for getting angry. Those who have contempt for others get angry readily. Over-stress is also a usual cause for anger.
What are the harmful effects of anger ? Scientists have found that harmful toxins are secreted in the body when a person is angry, thus polluting the body. If this goes on for a long time, it can hurt by way of rise in blood pressure or even a heart-attack.
So, one should try to control anger. Can anger be controlled ? There are many ways to do this. One is to learn to forgive. Another way is to have a controlled mind, where anger originates. But the best way is spiritual intelligence. Lord Krishna states : "There are three gates to hell - lust, anger and greed. Every sane person should give these up. for they lead to the degradation of the soul" (16.21). By the use of spiritual intelligence, that is, higher intelligence one can rationalise and avoid getting angry in most situations. If one can manage stress then he would not be a victim of anger. Diverting attention, especially by chanting, helps in avoiding anger. Being self-sufficient also helps since one is not dependent on others for his needs.
Is getting angry bad or never justified ? Can anger be put to good use ? The best use of anger is to be angry upon one's own self for all the faults and defects we have. One can use controlled anger against his children to bring them around when they stray. And, finally, mild anger can be used against friends and relatives who may be falling down. But all these forms of anger must be in the constructive mode with a view to help and never to humiliate or hurt someone including ourselves.
Anger can generally be classified into four categories. First type is anger in ignorance,
similar to the one displayed by rival sportsmen who get into a bloody brawl over some minor incident on the field, that is, absolutely senseless. Second is in passion
where there is some justification for getting angry but the same can be avoided and a
better way found to deal with the situation. Third is in goodness when one
derives some benefit by being angry, that is, against one’s own self, friends and relatives. Finally, there is transcendental anger displayed by God against the sinners.
Anger could be both harmful or beneficial. lt depends on time, place and circumstances and how it manifests. If the anger hurts one's own self then it definitely should be shunned. In the English language, anger is also described as losing one’s temper. If one is a loser by being angry then anger is harmful. However, if the display of anger is a controlled one i.e. without losing control over oneself and it helps reform someone or brings some benefit to self, then it is desirable. Acting sternly or chastising is a proper form of anger.
Finally, when faced with an angry man, one should try to be patient. It works and in any case countering anger with anger can worsen the situation. An intelligent person can deal with one's own anger as well as someone else's by giving oneself time to react ; this formula works in most cases.