The Mahabharata talks of the evolution of anger. The energy of anger in its instinctive form was present even before man came to earth. An angry lion would protect its territory from other lions. This signifies the beginning of egoism and anger, which later in man became ego and psychological anger. Let us first see what anger is and understand its very behaviour.
My teacher used to say “Do not lose your anger, it is very precious.” Anger is the highest form of negativity; it is energy vibrating at a very high frequency. It is akin to high voltage electricity, flowing from the positive to the negative pole (or from inside to outside). Simply put, we are losing, not gaining energy.
According to us, the fault always lies outside of us, either in a person or in a situation. Never for a moment do we pause to see that this anger had always been within our unconscious. The fault that we see in a person or a situation is just an instrumental cause that brings the anger from our unconscious to our conscious mind; and we say ‘he made me angry’. If we can learn to switch the negative pole from outside to inside, then this very powerful energy reverses and flows back into the body-brain system.
How do we bring about this change? For that, we must first understand the very basic rule of spirituality – If I am angry, the fault lies within me, nowhere else. Until a student reaches an inner state where he/she can live this rule of spirituality, this would be very difficult to practice. In the state of anger, normally, we are totally hypnotised by the circumstances; unless we learn to pause a little and wake up from this spell of anger, we cannot go further. Secondly, we need to understand that whenever we are angry, it is because there is a strong dislike for some event or person. Once we realise that only we are at fault, there is no longer any dislike for anything outside; we dislike ourselves for still getting angry. This shifting of dislike from out to in switches the poles.
The very intense (or high frequency) energy, which was negative up until now, becomes positive. When the energy of anger reverses its flow from out to in, it comes back with some added energy. This very precious energy, added by nature, my teacher called the ‘energy of the essence of consciousnesses’. It is this energy which allows holding the conscious state, when experienced.
Nature is interested in us getting angry; she wants to use this highly volatile psychic energy for a specific purpose. This energy can only be created in a human being, and every time we express anger, we are serving nature’s purpose. There is a small gap between the impulse to get angry and the actual manifestation of anger. A special energy is needed to bridge this gap, which normally, man does not have. Hence, this is provided by nature.
A yogi, through many years of meditative practice, can gather only a small amount of this energy. To hold the higher states of consciousness in normal life situations, this may not be enough. Suppose that I sit in meditation for an hour in the morning and experience some very beautiful states, but at the bus stop I get irritated easily hearing an announcement that the bus I am waiting for would be late. Here, nature adds the energy that allows me to let my anger manifest as irritation, and I start blaming the inefficiency of the system. I could not remember at the right time that the fault lies inside, not outside. This shows that I do not have enough of the energy of essence of consciousness to hold the awareness at the right time. This is the energy which is the bridge to the divine.
A disciple on the path wants to collect this energy in great amounts, and fast too. He knows that this is not possible through normal techniques, so the guru teaches him how to steal it from nature. This very advanced technique takes years of hard practice, because the student has to allow the anger to express right up to the point when it is about to manifest, without becoming hypnotised by it. Gurdjieff calls this the second conscious shock. At this point, nature adds the energy of essence of consciousness to the anger before it can actually manifest. The moment this is done, the disciple pauses, not allowing the anger to manifest, but changes the negative pole from out to in and the energy of anger flows back to him, along with the added energy of the essence of consciousness. To create a finished product, raw material is needed and in this case the raw material is anger. The more anger we have lying in our unconscious minds, the faster our progress can be if we practice this technique. Many spiritual teachers make the students practice catharsis to get rid of pent up anger, seldom realising the valuable raw material they are throwing away.
The Mahabharata shows how the energy of anger manifests in nine different forms. If, as students, we can identify and study these nine different manifestations of anger, it would become easy to work with anger. When anger is expressed in nine different ways, we become aware of the leela or cosmic play of life and then our journey on the spiritual path brings about a joy and happiness as if we were watching a beautiful play.