Chapter II, Verse 63
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
Now Anger paves the way to Delusion. Delusion atrophies the memory. From the confused memory results the destruction of reason (or discrimination). From the demolition of discrimination cometh his ruination.
Anger destroys memory. Specifically anger destroys the memory of one’s purpose in life. When the memory of purpose is lost, rational behaviors and intellectual capacity decrease. With the loss of right thinking and positive actions, the spiritual life ends.
Enlightenment is humankind’s highest achievement. Anger is humankind’s lowest achievement.
Creation is essentially a system of duality. All things, all experiences are created by the infinite possible combinations of the cycles between “positive” and “negative” poles.
At the positive end of human behavior is one who is actively in sync with the needs of the moment. At the negative end is one who is out of sync and enraged in the violence of anger. When one is angry, the heart rate, arterial tension and testosterone production increase. Some studies have shown that anger increases the feeling of being “close” to the object of anger. In other words, anger has scientifically been proven to be based in attachment.
Neus Herrero, Marien Gadea, Gabriel Rodríguez-Alarcón, Raúl Espert, Alicia Salvador. What happens when we get angry? Hormonal, cardiovascular and asymmetrical brain responses. Hormones and Behavior, 2010; 57 (3): 276
While a wise man is never angry, on rare occasions a master like Jesus of Nazareth may act angry to make a point that will be remembered by the ignorant. For example, when Jesus cast the money-changers out of the temple, he expressed human anger. These world teachers whose examples lead the masses for hundreds of generations are attuned with wisdom and respond as the moment requires without personal motivations.
For a Kshatriya caste member like Arjuna, expressing anger for any reason will lead away from the highest goal of enlightenment. Nor should anger be suppressed. Anger should be acknowledged and the causes behind anger should be addressed.
One simple method to deal with anger is:
- 1 – Remove yourself from the situation that is causing anger.
- 2 – Once calm, contemplate the causes of each specific outburst of anger.
- 3 – Address the causes of the anger.
Once the causes have been alleviated anger will not recur for those same reasons.
Personally, I was often angry in my youth. Through contemplation, and eventually through meditation, I realized that most of my anger was based in my expectations of others. I expected my parents and siblings to be loving. I expected my friends to include me in fun activities, to be on time and to be considerate. I expected my employers to acknowledge my productivity. I hoped to find human intimacy and expected monogamous behavior. I was often angry around others. LOL
Once I accepted that human behavior is forever unpredictable, I was able to let go of my anger and find satisfaction by improving my own behavior.
A quick thought on the second part of this verse: Anger leads to loss of memory. This is a literal statement. Those who commit a crime of passion, for example, often forget that they committed the murder or violent atrocity. Loss of memory is caused by the blindness of attachment.
The more attached one is to any idea, person, thing or experience, the more limited that person is by the object of desire. Attachment causes a narrow point of view.
With the loss of memory, both intellectual capacity (the library of past actions) and intuition (right identification with consciousness) decrease.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
Anger is a destructive power. When crafting Sanskrit mantras for the purpose of destruction, it’s important not to imbue the mantra with emotion or the hope of personal gain. Mantras driven by personal desire create imperfect results.
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