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KRODH is derived from the Sanskrit word krodha which in English translates to "wrath" or "rage" or "uncontrolled anger". This is an emotion and state of mind recognized in the Sikh system as a spring of conation and is as such counted as one of the Five Evils found within the human mind.
Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a co-worker or supervisor) or event (a traffic jam, a canceled flight), or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems or something said by someone else. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.
It expresses itself in several forms from silent sullenness to hysterical tantrums and violence. In Sikh Scripture "krodh" usually appears in combination with kam — as "kam krodh". The coalescence is not simply for the sake of alliterative effect. Krodh (ire) is the direct progeny of kam (desire). The latter when thwarted or jilted produces the former. The Scripture also counts krodh (or its synonym kop) among the four rivers of fire.
The five evils ones
The five evils or five thieves or panch doot (five demons) or panj vikar (five sins) as they are referred to in the Sikh Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, are according to Sikhi, the five major weaknesses of the human personality at variance with its spiritual essence. These are the five traits that bring misery and pain the our lives; the Guru Granth Sahib asks us to overcome these internal demons and clasp the virtues of the "Super soul".
The common evils found in mankind far exceed this number, but a group of five of them came to be identified because of the major obstruction they are believed to cause to man's pursuit of the moral and spiritual path. The other four evils in the group of five are:
Together these five are the ones that need to eradicated from our persona so that we can live a life without the pain and misery that results from the company of these five vices.
What Gurbani tells us
Elsewhere he says, "Kam and krodh dissolve the body as borax melts gold" (GG, 932). Guru Arjan, Nanak V, censures krodh in these words: "O krodh, thou enslavest sinful men and then caperest around them like an ape."'
In thy company men become base and are punished variously by Death's messengers. The Merciful God, the Eradicator of the sufferings of the humble, O Nanak, alone saveth all" (GG, 1358). Guru Ram Das, Nanak IV, warns: "Do not go near those who are possessed by wrath uncontrollable" (GG, 40). "Krodh is to be vanquished and eradicated". This is done through "humility and firm faith" in the Divine.
Guru Arjan's prescription: "Do not be angry with any one; search your own self and live in the world with humility. Thus, O Nanak, you may go across (the ocean of existence) under God's grace" (GG, 259).
Shaikh Farid, a thirteenth-century Muslim saint whose compositions are preserved in the Sikh Scripture, says in one of his couplets: "O Farid, do good to him who hath done thee evil and do not nurse anger in thy heart; no disease will then afflict thy body and all felicities shall be thine" (GG, 1381-82).
Righteous indignation against evil, injustice and tyranny is, however, not to be equated with krodh as an undesirable passion. Several hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib, particularly those by Guru Nanak and Kabir, express in strong terms their disapproval of the corruption of their day.
How do you reduce anger
Gurbani tells us that: When "the Name of the Lord dwells within the mind; egotism and anger are wiped away." (SGGS p 33) The importance of simran - the constant remembrance of the Lord, the Creator - will wipe away the state of anger and the feeling of ego from the mind and bring peace and tranquillity.
Further, the Guru tels us that: "Lust and anger are brought under control, when the breath does not fly around, wandering restlessly." (SGGS p 1395) - that by controlling our breath and the state of mind, these negative emotions be subdued.
Various medically qualified experts also give us other physical ways to help us reduce the influence of these "evils of the mind":
The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.
Are You Too Angry?
There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are, and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.
Why Are Some People More Angry Than Others?
According to Jerry Deffenbacher, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in anger management, some people really are more "hotheaded" than others are; they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don't show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don't always curse and throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill.
People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can't take things in stride, and they're particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake.
What makes these people this way? A number of things. One cause may be genetic or physiological: There is evidence that some children are born irritable, touchy, and easily angered, and that these signs are present from a very early age. Another may be sociocultural. Anger is often regarded as negative; we're taught that it's all right to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions but not to express anger. As a result, we don't learn how to handle it or channel it constructively.
Research has also found that family background plays a role. Typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic, and not skilled at emotional communications.
Is It Good To "Let it All Hang Out?"
Psychologists now say that this is a dangerous myth. Some people use this theory as a license to hurt others. Research has found that "letting it rip" with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you (or the person you're angry with) resolve the situation.
It's best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.
- 1. Sabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Amritsar, 1964
- 2. Jodh Singh, Bhai, Gurmat Nirnaya. Ludhiana, 1932
- 3. Sher Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Lahore, 1944
- 4. Avtar Singh, Ethics of the Sikhs. Patiala, 1970
- 5. Nirbhai Singh, Philosophy of Sikhism. Delhi, 1990
Above adapted from article By L. M. Joshi