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Anger in philosophical discussions - Assessing the underlying motivations

Madhava - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 17:21:42 +0530
More than one option may apply. Choose the one with which you agree the most, and leave your comments on the rest in this thread.
Openmind - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 18:15:25 +0530
I personally never liked those stories when Bhaktivedanta Swami got very angry while debating with "mayavadis". Mahaprabhu convinced the sannyasis in Benares by His wisdom, by His humility and not by taking a stick and beating up "fools and rascals". This kind of angry Gaudiya Vaishnava preaching seems to be started by GM and culminating in Iskcon. There is an expression in Buddhism, "skillful means", that is, a really advanced master always knows what method is the best for every individual. You cannot just shout at everyone if they hesitate to accept your religious views.
Hari Saran - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 19:33:23 +0530
These are the two reasonable choices, on my opinion. My vote was for #2.

Anger in such circumstances generally just portrays the immaturity of the defender, since truth is subjective in the end. [ #1 ] [33.33%]

However, the demonstration of Anger is not necessarily a sigh of immaturity or ignorance, but rather a partial exposure of one’ nature.

Anger, while a natural reaction when one's beliefs are questioned, in general serves little purpose in furthering a fruitful discussion. [ #2 ] [66.67%]

That is true. The excess of Anger can be detrimental and will lead no where, but again only if not driven properly. Although hard to control, it is all a matter of knowing the aim.


The emotion of instant displeasure on account of something evil that presents
itself to our view. In itself it is an original susceptibility of our nature,
just as love is, and is not necessarily sinful. It may, however, become sinful
when causeless, or excessive, or protracted (Matt. 5:22; Eph. 4:26; Col. 3:8).
As ascribed to God, it merely denotes his displeasure with sin and with sinners
(Ps. 7:11).

Source: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
manjari - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 21:01:27 +0530
In my opinion the 4th one. Anger spoils the mood of Raganuga discussion. Ofcourse radha rani showes anger to krishna also... Mana.
Anger, while a natural reaction when one's beliefs are questioned, in general serves little purpose in furthering a fruitful discussion.

In prema Bhakti chandrika srila Narotham dasa thakura describes how anger can be used in the service of Radha-krishna. do anybody have that quote and explanation of Srila ADBM. I think Hanuman uses anger agenest Ram's enemy Ravan.
Thakura Mahshraya also uses everything in the service of Krishna like lust to divine love etc.
Madhava - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 21:32:51 +0530
krodha bhakta-dveSI jane |

The blessed author says: krodha bhakta dveshi jane — "Anger must be directed at the enemies of the devotees." The great enemy of mankind anger, who is creating great havoc, can certainly not be engaged directly in any activity in Krishna's devotional service, but if it is engaged against those who hate the devotees, it can nourish devotion. If the practising devotee tolerates the enemies of the devotees' blasphemy of the devotees and their engagement in activities of hatred towards them, and he does not become angry or intolerant of this, it is not shown that he has any love for Sri Vishnu and the Vaishnavas. During the sacrifice of progenitor Daksha, Sri Sati devi saw that Sri Mahadeva was being insulted, so she became very angry and said (Bhag. 4.4.17) —

karNau pidhAya niriyAd yad akalpa Ize
dharmAvitaryazRNibhir nRbhir asyamAne |
chindyAt prasahya ruSatIm asatIM prabhuz cej
jihvAmasUnapi tato visRjet sa dharmaH ||

"If someone hears a blasphemer insulting the master of religion and is not able to either kill the blasphemer or commit suicide, then he must at least cover his ears and angrily leave the assembly. If, however, he is able to do so, he should cut out the tongue of the blasphemer and then commit suicide. That is dharma or virtue."

For the Vaishnavas, committing suicide is considered improper, for the body is suitable for performing bhajana, and therefore they should instead cover the ears and angrily leave the assembly, remembering Sri Vishnu. Therefore anger, or intolerance, which usually causes wholesale destruction, should be aimed at the enemies of the devotees; thus it can nourish the Vaishnavas' bhajana.

That does not exactly translate into a license to get angry whenever there is disagreement. Anger directed towards devotees is, on the other hand, one of the aparAdhas we are to meticulously avoid. I would personally prefer to err on the side of caution if the risk for error is there.
Madhava - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 21:42:47 +0530
Another excerpt of interest in regards to anger, from the commentary on verse 24.

Anger is the great enemy of mankind, there is no misdeed in the world that is committed without anger. In the Mahabharata (Vanaparva) Maharaja Yudhishthira describes the evil results of anger to Draupadi —

krodha mUlo vinAzo hi prajAnAm iha dRzyate
kruddhaH pApaM naraH kuryAt kruddho hanyAt gurUn api
kruddhaH paruSayA vAcA zreyaso'pyavamAnyate
vAcyAvAcye hi kupito na prajAnAti karhicit
nAkAryam asti kruddhasya nAvAcyaM vidyate tathA
hiMsAt krodhAd avadhyAMs tu vadhyAn sampUjayeta ca
AtmAnam api ca kruddhaH preSayed yama sAdanam
kruddho hi kAryaM suzroNi na yathAvat prapazyati
nA kAryaM na ca maryAdAM naraH kruddho'nupazyati

"O nicely thighed one! In this world anger is the cause of human destruction. An angry person performs sinful activities, to the extent that he may even kill his own guru. When an angry person speaks words that are actually beneficial to the world, they will still be seen as insults. A person who is overcome by anger does not know what to say and what not to say. There is no misdeed in the world that an angry person cannot perform and there is also nothing that he cannot say. Out of anger avadhyas (creatures that should not be killed such as cows, brahmanas and women) are being killed, and vadhyas (harmful creatures that should be destroyed, like snakes, murderers etc.) are being worshipped. An angry person despatches himself to Yama's abode (hell). The results of anger are inconceivable. An angry person cannot understand what should be done and how his manners are to be maintained."

Apart from that, in some of the medical scriptures anger is said to be the cause of diseases like epilepsy, hysteria, swoon, blood-nose, a heart-attack, ulcer or throwing up of blood. Sometimes the excitement of anger may even cause death. Therefore it is said: krodha va na kore kiba, krodha tyaga sada diba. One must always protect oneself from the hands of anger. yas tu krodham samutpannam prajnaya pratibadhate; tejasvinam tam vidvamso manyate tattva darsinah (Mahabharata Vanaparva) "He who subdues arising anger with wisdom is called a powerful man by the learned." Krishna's devotees are adorned with humility and thus permanently give up this great enemy. They only allow anger towards the Vaishnava-haters within their protective circle, and thus keep anger as a mere assistant in their bhajana.
Hari Saran - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 21:46:07 +0530
I don’t think it is a good idea to advocate anger, however we have to face that even the celestial beings deals with it, what to speak of human beings. Again, it is all a matter of how much one knows the aim. In a state of anger, Sita committed suicide to avoid hearing vaishnava aparadha. There are many aspect of this energy.
Rasaraja dasa - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 22:34:02 +0530
As with many here I agree that a few of the above descriptions are true. I think the essence, in which as Vaisnavas, we need to be concerned over is the root of our anger. Very simply, anger, devoid of ego, is not easily attained. If ones nature leads to anger, which is not devoid of ego, than we need to do all within our power to limit our association to those that we can properly appreciate and honor. In a greater, and practical sense, we will find ourselves on a lonely island if we only associate with those we agree with cent per cent. So it is critical that even through the most basic disagreements we should at least train our minds, and more importantly our hearts, to see the sincerity in one another even under the most dire of circumstances.

I can’t say that I agree with our embrace the moods or conclusions of all of the aspiring sadhikas I have met on this site, or in the world in general, so in hopes of avoiding unnecessary situations which will not further my spiritual aspirations I simply offer respects from a distance and focus my attention on those I find stimulate my spiritual interests and encourage my desire to develop the qualities we all aspire to attain.

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
Madhava - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 22:47:12 +0530
I am quoting from an old post well worth recycling.

In the 265th anuccheda of his Bhakti-sandarbha, in explaining the ten offences against the holy name, Sri Jiva quotes a verse from the Skanda Purana, delineating varieties of unbefitting acts in relation with a Vaishnava.

satAM nindA ity anena hiMsAdInAM vacanAgocaratvaM darzitam | nindAdayas tu yathA skAnde zrI-mArkaNDeya-bhagIratha-saMvAde –

nindAM kurvanti ye mUDhA vaiSNavAnAM mahAtmanAm |
patanti pitRbhiH sArdhaM mahAraurava-saMjJite ||
hanti nindanti vai dveSTi vaiSNavAn nAbhinandati |
krudhyate yAti no harSaM darzane patanAni SaT || iti |

"Defamation of the saints, as violence and so forth, as well as verbal, is now presented. Blasphemy and so forth are presented in the Skanda in the discourse of Sri Markandeya and Bhagiratha:

'The fools who defame vaishnavas, great souls, fall into a place known as Maharaurava along with their ancestors. The six degrading acts against Vaishnava are (1) killing him, (2) blaspheming him, (3) being envious of, or hating him, (4) not glorifying him, (5) being angry at him, and (6) not being happy upon seeing him.'"

Some further reflections on this:

1.To kill. This is obviously a heinous act bound to destroy the creeper of devotion. Under this heading, any and all acts of physical violence are also included.

2. To blaspheme. All verbal acts of defamation come under this category. Calling a Vaishnava names, speaking harshly to him or about him, speaking lies of him and so forth are considered blasphemy.

3. To be envious or hateful. To be envious of a Vaishnava, to wish for his demise or suffering and to act towards this goal, and other thoughts, speech and deeds prompted by a feeling of malice towards a Vaishnava come under this heading.

4. To not glorify. All Vaishnavas are worthy of respect. To not respect a Vaishnava in accordance with his qualification, or to refuse from recognizing a particular good quality or deed of a Vaishnava, is unbefitting. Everyone is to be given all the respect they deserve, regardless of their having different opinions from ours.

5. To be angry. Whatever a Vaishnava does, we are not to display an outburst of anger towards him. It is permitted to display anger towards someone who is hateful towards the bhaktas, but this, too, is to be done in a civil, constructive way for the rectification of the wrong-doer.

6. To not be happy upon seeing. Whoever has accepted the holy names of Krishna is a blessing to the world. To not feel happiness upon meeting a soul who has chosen to approach the Lord, regardless of his defects, is inappropriate.

Regardless of what anyone has said or done, we should not (1) assault him or his followers, (2) call him names or speak of him harshly, or (3) wish anything bad for him. We should (4) justly give him all the credit he is due and praise his achievements, (5) avoid anger towards him as a person, and (6) be happy upon seeing or hearing of him or his followers, remembering that despite all differences, they also chant the all-auspicious names of Krishna.
Madhava - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 22:56:11 +0530
QUOTE(Rasaraja dasa @ Jun 10 2004, 05:04 PM)
I can’t say that I agree with our embrace the moods or conclusions of all of the aspiring sadhikas I have met on this site, or in the world in general, so in hopes of avoiding unnecessary situations which will not further my spiritual aspirations I simply offer respects from a distance and focus my attention on those I find stimulate my spiritual interests and encourage my desire to develop the qualities we all aspire to attain.

And this precisely is my concern, that people come, observe our rigid dogmatic orthodoxy, bow down in respect and move on elsewhere in search of a mellower atmosphere.
anuraag - Thu, 10 Jun 2004 23:37:09 +0530
I don’t think it is a good idea to advocate anger, however we have to face that even the celestial beings deals with it, what to speak of human beings.

Ofcourse radha rani showes anger to krishna also... Mana.

I didn't see this one in the options

- None of the above

This is my choice though I voted for the 2nd and 4th one which are in close aggreement.
I believe there should be no trace of 'anger' in a true devotee of the Lord for any reason whatsoever.

Lord Krishna said in Gita 2.63:

krodhAdbhavati sammohaH sammohAt smRti vibhramaH
smRtibhraMzAd buddhi nAzo buddinAzAt praNazyat

Even if someone may ridicule or may not respect our belefs or Sastras there is no need to get angry. How can anger solve the problems at hand?

Let us also not confuse ordinary emotions as the highly elevated Divine sentiments of Radharani and Gopis, like Prema, Sneha, Maana, Pranaya, Raaga, Anuraaga, Bhaava-avesha and Maha Bhaava bhakti.

If we see the Lord and other great personalities displayed the so called 'anger', that is to be understood for the accomplishment of the Divine Mission of the Lord. It is simply His playful teaching to the mankind.

One Rasik devotee said about the 'anger' of the Lord:

"krodho'pi te'nugraha eva saMmataH"


His anger, His indifference, and His love are ALL aspects of His Grace alone.

This 'anger' of the Lord reminds me the great devotee Bhishma Pitamaha of Maha
Bharata and his sublime prayers to Lord Krishna, revealing different
sentiments of Divine Love.

Sri Bhishma deva prayed (Srimad Bhagavatam 1. 9 verses 37 to 39):

"Breaking His own vow not to take up
arms during Mahabharata war,
Sri Krishna jumped down from the car
on which He had taken His seat and,
like lion that pounces upon an elephant to kill him,
darted towards me with a wheel of His chariot in His hand,
the earth trembling under His feet and
His upper garment dropping behind Him."

"Hit with the piercing arrows of a desparado like me
and bathed in blood, and with His armour broken,
He Who rushed forth to KILL me, disregarding the
remonstrances of Arjuna,-

may that Lord Mukunda (the Bestower of blessedness)
be my eternal Shelter."

"May I in my last moments develop love for the Lord Who,
having taken upon Himself the responsibility to protect
the chariot of Arjuna,
took the charioteer's whip in one hand
and held horses' reins in another and
looked most attractive in that charming Role,
witnessing which at their last moment,
they who fell on this battle field attained
a form of similar to His (Sarupya Mukti)."
Audarya-lila dasa - Fri, 11 Jun 2004 01:19:54 +0530
This is an interesting question. The most obvious answer is that the level of spiritual attainment of the individual will determine whether or not the anger is beneficial or detrimental to bhakti.

When someone's false ego is attacked and they respond with anger that is obviously not conducive to growth and in the case of someone abusing a devotee who is genuinely trying to help such a person it will definitely be detrimental to the cause of advancement.

The problem is that often times politics get in the way and devotees abuse or denigrate other devotees who have differences of opinion or whose approach is different. When a person reads comments that are incorrect, insensitive or derogatory in nature about someone who has helped them, the natural response (and the correct one I might add) is to speak out against such behavior. Unfortunately this is not always done in a tactful or mature way and due to the persons genuine hurt feelings they may speak inappropriately in response to what they feel.

Anger used in defense of Krsna and his devotees is appropriate and conducive to bhakti.

I don't have much else to add to this thread at this point. Except maybe this - mad.gif

Just kidding,

Your servant,
Audarya-lila dasa
Revati - Fri, 11 Jun 2004 05:28:50 +0530
Anger is a normal human emotion. What happens to us is just a perverted reflection from the transcendental emotions in the spiritual world, like, love, sex, pride, jealousy and so on, and that means we have the right to express our feelings! Unexpressed anger can create physically and mentally problems. However, the “art” is to learn how to express anger feelings without hurting others. At this point of my life I’m still learning how to process it.

“O Nitai, Supreme Controler of the senses, be merciful and show your mercy upon me”

Nitai – Goranga!

My vote was for 3th option.
Malatilata - Fri, 11 Jun 2004 17:59:36 +0530
QUOTE(Revati @ Jun 10 2004, 11:58 PM)
Unexpressed anger can create physically and mentally problems. However, the “art” is to learn how to express anger feelings without hurting others.

I agree with Revati on this. It is not healthy to suppress anger, as it tends to accumulate and lead to "emotional explosion". But it is also not healthy to be angry and feel anger, it might lead to many diseases and even death.

We have to recognize and face our emotions and then work with them before they lead to any disaster.

According to psycholocigal reflexology, our bodies remember all our feelings and emotions, we might forget them, but our bodies don't. These different unsolved emotions accumulate in different parts of our bodies as pain and tension. And these unsolved emotions also reflect to our relationships with others.

So, it's better to express one's feelings in the beginning, when they are still mild. It's better for one's own health and mind and it's kind and polite to the other person the emotions are expressed to. rolleyes.gif

Just some thoughts...

And I think that the heart of a true or and advanced devotee is so soft that he's unable to feel mundane anger.

nindAdi-zUnya-hRdam Ipsita saGga labdhyA

"We should seek the association of that person whose heart is devoid of the propensity to scorn others, and of other such propensities."

-Sri Upadesamrita, verse 5
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 11 Jun 2004 20:48:17 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

One question is why would disagreements to sastric interpretation/understanding and the such lead to anger? In my humble opinion it seems rather ridiculous to me that one’s natural response to disagreement would be anger. From a rational perspective anger should not be sprung from a mere disagreement. In my experience in both devotional life, as well as the common world, an individual that is that easily led to anger is either mentally unbalanced, or if simply triggered by only specific topics, insecure in their own understanding of, or faith in, that particular topic.

Case in point approach any religious zealot on the street of America with a simple question as to why they believe differently than another when approaching the same biblical reference you will generally not find a rational and calm explanation. You find lots of anger, screaming and yelling with little to no substance as to why or what leads them to a different understanding and the last thing you will ever hear is a sympathetic acknowledgement to those who think differently. You simply hear "They will burn in hell" and other such poetic and empty statements. Why would someone, secure in their faith, not give such a sympathetic acknowledgement? If someone thinks a sympathetic acknowledgement leads to “watering down” a principle or understanding than they simply have no understandings of what a sympathetic acknowledgement is: a nod to someone understanding and/or sincerity in trying to understand a point in which they, for whatever reason, misunderstand.

Why would any rational person simply become angry because someone’s understanding of a sastric point is either immature or not particularly developed? I would imagine this same person has and still reads statements in the Goswami’s tikas which they feel they have a grasp for and at some point, in conversing humbly with a superior, find that their understanding was undeveloped or even wrong. Would that individual be particularly open to conversing with a superior who would see any such misgivings or misunderstanding as a fault of ones character, motive or sanity? I doubt it. If anyone is so convinced that they have the absolutely correct understanding of sastra and anyone that differs is an "ass" or "idiot" than why would you converse with such people? Does it help and/or inspire your service to Guru and Sri Radhika?

This is what drives me crazy about some on this board. Very rarely, when approaching differences, does one say anything complimentary about their “opponent” nor grant them the benefit of the doubt that they are sincere in their attempts to understand something but are simply wrong in their conclusion. It turns into a “you have no brain” type of insult I would expect of a crazy Born Again Christian standing on a New York street corner.

No matter how correct one may be if their explanation and mood is not one of serving the truth but rather of "defeating an opponent” than they have probably already lost their audience. For example try teaching a child math and yelling "YOU ARE AN IDIOT" when they get something that has an absolute answer wrong. Tell them they are insincere, mentally deranged and are a supporter of infidels. Then get back to us and let us all know how well that worked. When the answer is they creid and ran understand it is not because they are insincere but because you are a mean spirited and, most likely, mentally unbalanaced individual. Spiritually if one is an advanced and a rightly situated Vaisnava then they won’t sound like a mental institution inmate whenever a difference of opinion or understanding comes up. They will be kind, empathetic, merciful and eloquent in showing how one's understanding is incorrect. Now maybe if one refuses to acknowledge their point or understanding anger will manifest, but I don't think anyone will be digging up references to where the Goswamis became a name-calling machine.

I know I don’t want to ever view other aspiring sadhikas in such a disregarding light, regardless of how wrong they may be in a specific circumstance.

If a simple difference of opinion leads to anger then we have two choices:

1. Do everyone a favor and simply leave a message board of diverse aspiring sadhikas and create your own message board where you are the only participant and there will be no disagreement.

2. Give one another the benefit of the doubt in regards to one's sanity and desire to deepen their understanding of our tradition and theology.

I for one submit myself and my understanding to those who show a genuine concern for my spiritual development and see my misgivings as an opportunity to enlighten and assist me as opposed to calling me a name.

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
anuraag - Fri, 11 Jun 2004 22:50:47 +0530
A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.

Proverbs 29:11

Freedom from anger is a triumph over one's nature.
It is the ability to be impervious to insults, and
comes by hard work and the sweat of one's brow.

St. John Climacus.
Malatilata - Fri, 11 Jun 2004 23:56:36 +0530
A few thoughts about disagreement/arquing.

What do we interpret as quarrel?

Every one of us has our own history and the conceptions on quarrel it has created. To one person openly disagreeing might be just one way among others to clarify things, (i.e. not a big deal) but to another person even a little disagreement might be a sign of crisis in that relationship.

These different perspectives on quarreling may make the clarifying of the subject matter itself difficult.

We have to be sensitive about other people and their feelings. It is also kind to respect another's emotions and not to belittle him because of his feelings. We should give him the time he needs to calm down and not pressure him to discuss the subject matter immediately.