Saturday, February 23, 2013

How to manage your anger

21st February 2013 - Thursday

The ashram started bubbling with activity as Amma returned from north India tour on 19th afternoon. Amma came to Kali Temple on 20th afternoon and started giving darshan to Western devotees and other stray visitors.

On 21st evening, Amma came to beach and she spent a brief while alone at the beach without her devotees hanging around close to her. After a while, all were called in.

Amma wanted to know how clean the rooms of Brahmacharis are. Amma for sure must be knowing that many Brahmacharis don't keep their rooms clean and particularly after the long, tiring and physically taxing tour, most of them  would have opted to take rest without bothering to clean up their rooms that  remained unoccupied for several weeks.

 When Amma posed the question, several brahmacharis have to confess the truth! Amma, in Guru bhava, took them to task and directed several of them to go back to clean their rooms immediately -- that would be the meditation for them that evening!

Once this was settled, Amma began the  meditation session. Then came the Q-A session. Amma posed this question: "How to manage anger and keep it under control?" and sought response from inmates.  After a while Amma aired her views on it. The gist of her talk was as follows:

"A physical wound caused by you may heal, but a wound caused by angry words would take quite a long time to heal. One approach to expressing anger could be to treat the target person of your anger as your own child. With our child, even though we may get angry, the anger would not be venomous not would it last long.
"Another approach is to consciously delay our response when we are provoked. Instead of reacting with anger on face, we can write down our feelings and emotions in a piece of paper. That would really prove to be a good emotional outlet for us and we may feel far less relieved by doing so. Once our initial and immediate reaction is curtailed, we get an opportunity to cool down and then review the matter in a more objective manner. At that point of time, we may not really feel the same intensity of anger and we could even appreciate the offender's action."

Amma narrated the following story to explain this:

"Once a famous professor gave a lecture at a gathering. The next day, he received a letter from one of his audience. It mentioned that what the professor lectured that day had a few mistakes and adivised the professor to avoid such mistakes in his next lectures.

"The professor became very angry. He felt 'I am such a knowledgeable and experienced person in this field; I am so much respected and people throng to my lectures to hear what I say; how dare this person find fault with me! What an arrogance! No. I cannot allow this to happen'.

"The professor thought of filing a defamation suite against this person; he even wanted to engage thugs and give a physical beating to that critic!

He took a piece of paper and wrote a very strongly worded reply to the person. Unfortunately, before he could post it, the time for that day's mail was over. The professor kept that letter beside his bed so that he can remember to post it early next morning.

Next morning, when he woke up, he felt like reading his letter once before posting it. After going through it, the professor felt that the letter was too harsh; he sat down to rewrite it to make it more sober. As he was about to post it, he thought "If my mind could change so much over a day, why not I postpone sending this letter for another day and make a fresh review tomorrow?" He retained the letter on his table.

The next day, the professorre read the letter that he had received from the critic and also his re-written reply. He now felt "Oh! The mistakes that this person found in my lecture are true indeed; why should I write negatively to him then? I should actually be thankful to him for bringing my slips to my notice". He sat down to write a fresh letter thanking the person for pointing out his mistakes; he invited the person for lunch in a restaurant as he wished to meet him in person.

The other person obliged. It was actually a woman and as they met and talked to each other they developed liking for each other. Soon, it blossomed into love; the professor proposed to her and she accepted; soon they got married!

* * * *
When Br. Subhamrita translated this story in English, he added his mischief by concluding the story with his own statement "Then the professor remained angry for the rest of his life!"

The whole of the audience burst into laughter and Amma too joined laughing aloud and also yelling "I never said so!"

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