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Sadhana for Controlling Anger

By Swami Sivananda

Anger destroys all spiritual merits in a moment. It is all-consuming and all-polluting, a great enemy of peace, and a direct gateway to hell. An aspirant must control this anger if he wishes to progress in spiritual path and attain happiness. One who has controlled anger, is verily a Yogin. That is what Sri Krishna says in the Gita, "He who is able, while still here (in this world) to withstand, before the liberation from the body, the impulse born of desire and anger, is a Yogin, is a happy man" (Chap. V-23).

Develop patience to a considerable extent. People lose their temper when they become impatient. Allow the mind to dwell constantly on the opposite virtue of anger-patience. This is the Pratipaksha-Bhavana method of the Raja Yogins.

Try to control first the small ripple of irritability when it arises in the subconscious mind. Nip it in the bud. Do not allow it to assume the big form of a wave. When you are not able to control anger leave the place at once and take a walk chanting Om. Drink some cold water. Count 1, 2, 3, 4, up to 20. Repeat Om Santi, Om Santi, Om Santi. Do not argue much. Do not retort. Speak sweetly. Speak only measured words. If anyone abuses or insults, keep quiet. Identify yourself with the Atman. Atman is the same in all. It can never be hurt or insulted. Do not give vent to anger. Be regular in your Japa, meditation and Kirtan. This will give you great inner spiritual strength.

Food has a great deal to do with irritability. Take Sattvic diet: milk, fruits, curd, spinach, barley, nuts, buttermilk etc. Prohibit carrot, onion, garlic, meat, liquor and other stimulating foodstuffs.

Observe Mouna for two hours daily and six hours on Sundays. Occasionally, observe Mouna for a whole day. This will put a check on the impulse of speech. When a man gets excited he speaks anything and everything. He has no control over the organ of speech. Therefore, austerity of speech (Mouna) is very essential to combat irritable impulses.

Prana entwines the mind like a creeper. Prana is the overcoat of the mind. Control of Prana leads to the control of the mind. Practice of Pranayama will put a break on the impulse of speech. It will give you abundant energy to check anger.

A Vedantin denies the body and the mind as illusory sheaths. He does Vichara, enquires "Who am I?" and practises "Neti-Neti-not this, not this": "I am not the body, nor am I the mind; Chidananda-rupah Sivoham-I am the blissful Siva or Atman". He identifies himself with Brahman or Atman, the Eternal. The world is unreal for him. He chants Om, sings Om, does Japa of Om, meditates on Om and derives soul-power and spiritual strength from the perennial source of Om. If you always entertain the Mithya-Drishti or Dosha-Drishti, if you look into the defects of anger and benefits of patience, you will never become angry.

The combined practice of these methods will enable you to control anger and bestow upon you spiritual strength, peace and happiness.


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