What Creates Anger?

Chapter III, Stanza 37

Literal Translation:

The Lord said: The activating attributes of nature in man .(Rajaguna) create quenchless desires and anger-the foulest foes of man.


Descending from Spirit, the Soul forgets its divine heritage of unconditional. all-fulfilling bliss. Identified with conditioned physical existence, it starts walking into the endless mirage of desires-and is soon burning with the thirst of unfulfillment. Obstructed desire then gives birth to the ugly offspring we call anger. The longer one travels with his offspring anger (unfulfilled desire) through the desert of maya. the more acute his thirst for new oases of fulfillment grows. Unhappy, disillusioned, unappeased, angry, he scorches himself with the heat of unending lust.

Yes, the prodigal Soul beset by delusive desires wanders ever farther from, the blissful Heaven within, and tries to cross the endless, ever-burning sands of dissatisfaction, seeking the water of happiness in the waste-lands of unending longings instead of in the well of peace which can be found by meditation.

Source of Desire and Anger

Both material desires and anger are created while we are on earth, working under the activating influence of Raja-guna. or nature. Raja-guna produces in man the desire for pulsating change. The Soul, having descended into the senses from the sphere of unvaried calmness, becomes feverishly active with desire, anger and habits arising from actions, and soon finds itself identified with the body, the fluctuating mind, moods, material environment and inclinations inherited from past bad Karma or recently acquired.

But, being subconsciously aware of its lost true bliss, the Soul tries vainly, and endlessly, to find it in new material desires. Even good desires are imposed conditions which eclipse the Soul-bliss. Of course bad desires should first be removed by substituting good desires. But it is only by going beyond the alternating pale light of goodness and shadow of evil that the sun of wisdom is envisioned.

Desire, like cancer, sprouts unseen roots of misery which may not be detected at once. Those roots should be slashed and thoroughly cut out by the knife of wisdom and meditation. Since it is so important, the devotee must be reminded again and again that this erroneous drinking of the hemlock of changing material longings can never shake the thirst of the Self for its lost inner bliss. In evil the Soul fruitlessly tries to find happiness which it can find only within. Hence every desire leads farther from bliss-and thus delays the Soul's task of finding the way back to its mansion of absolute peace. Desire and anger never be appeased by fulfillment, not even by gaining control over all matter. Matter is imperfect at best, being but the shadow of Spirit.

Whirlpool of Action

Constantly mutating material vibrations can never reflect the unchanging bliss of Spirit. Hence concentrating on material desires and indulging in anger due to non-fulfillment of desire are inimical to the recovery of bliss, and the Lord Krishna warned that these two forces are man's great enemies.

The Soul itself is motionless unfluctuating bliss, but once it jumps into the whirlpool of activating attributes (Raja-guna) it goes on unwillingly, whirling, swirling, and drowning time and again in the eddies of ever-revolving desires. To indulge in desire is to swim in endless eddies of motion for incarnations and forget the vibrationless ever-blessed Spirit. The Gita repeatedly warns the devotee against jumping from his throne of spiritual poise into the swirl of destructive change. In this maelstrom of action, desire creates hope, fulfilled desire temporary happiness, unfulfilled desire-anger. The Soul never feels the smooth sea of inner calmness any more but rides on the ephemeral crest of the waves of pleasure, anger, pain and depression.

Chapter III, Stanza 38

Literal Translation:

As fire is covered by smoke, as a looking glass by dust, as an embryo by the womb, so it (the Self) is enveloped by desire.


The Soul's pure absolute bliss is bedimmed by the relativity of good, active, and evil attributes which manifest in the bodily tenement. It becomes influenced by environmental attributes and forgets its blessed nature. Now, when this nature is hidden chiefly by Sattvic (good) attributes-as a fire is covered by smoke-the thin smoke-screen is easily dispersed by the strong breeze of wisdom. And even through this screen the Soul's dazzling bliss can be slightly perceived, though in a distorted way. It is simple to look beyond good attributes when one distinguishes their paleness from the brilliance of the lustrous Soul. Goodness gives semi-permanent mental happiness, but Soul realization imparts unending, changeless bliss.

But when the Rajasic (activating) qualities dim the Soul's splendor-as dust dims a clear mirror -one needs the cloth of continuous unselfish effort to wipe off the ever-gathering dust of selfish, desire-producing activities. In other words, it is more difficult to remove the thick layer of restless, active, selfish desires from the Soul's motionless mirror of peace, than to disperse the smoke of Sattvic qualities.

And when the Tamasic (evil) attributes are paramount, the Soul is as hampered and darkened and hidden as the embryo in the womb. It is very difficult to release it from Tamasic qualities such as ignorance and sloth.

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