The other day, I came across an inspirational story of a Monk. One day he resolved to do meditation in peace all alone away from his monastery. So he took out his boat, sailed it to the middle of the lake, moored it there and commenced his meditation. After a while, he suddenly felt the bump of another boat colliding with his boat which he assumed must have been due to carelessness of the boatman. While he kept his eyes still closed, he perceived his anger rising and rising.
Unable to control emotions when he finally opened his eyes, he was ready to shout and rebuke the occupant of the other boat, who in his opinion had disturbed his meditation. However, when he opened his eyes red-faced, he found only an empty boat which perhaps had got untethered and floated to the middle of lake causing this accident. At this moment, the self-realization came to the Monk. He understood that the anger was actually within him and it merely needed some external object to bump and provoke it out of him. Henceforth he resolved that whenever any person would irritate or provoke him, he will remain undeterred because the other person is merely an ‘empty boat’ and anger is actually within him.
According to the Sikh way of life as instructed by Sikh Gurus, one should control and get rid of five vices. These vices are Krodh (Anger), Kaam (Lust), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Emotional Attachment) and Ahankaar (Ego).Thus anger is one of the five evils mentioned in Gurbani, which at the same time is an emotion and a state of mind. In effect, it is the feeling of the antagonism and expression of the irritation caused by some real or imaginary grievance or inadequacy. It can be caused by both external factors like the one referred to in the Monk story above and internal events like some personal failure, loss, disappointment etc.
When a person is angry, the anger brings both physiological and biological changes in the body. For illustration, the person’s heart rate will increase as also the rate of respiration. Both the heart and lungs laboured, it leads to increased blood pressure and disturbed digestive process with increased blood flow towards the central nervous system and the muscles to cop up with the tension due to the sudden change. If this tension is not quickly eased or controlled, it might have serious negative psychosomatic and physiological impact on the body. In a nutshell, the anger causes more damage to the person himself rather than the object responsible for it in his own determination.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji said that the anger, violence, attachment and greed were like four rivers of fire. One who falls into them, burns himself (or herself). One is saved by them only by holding tight to good deeds. Thus, in Gurubani, anger is compared to a ‘river of fire’. Even a person of ordinary prudence knows, the fire is destructive. It burns whatever touches it causing enormous pain and suffering. Besides like the nature of fire, once it spreads, it is difficult to control. So the Guru tells to keep anger in control by good deeds. Gurbani insists on the importance of Simran i.e. the constant remembrance of the God, the Creator, will wipe away the state of anger and the feeling of ego from the mind to bring permanent peace and tranquillity.