Anger and its manifestations

Yoga says that behind the manifest world lies the interplay of the three forces. These are active, passive, and neutralising forces. The active force is the desire to do, the passive force is that which creates obstacles to the desire to do, and the neutralising force is that which decides whether the active will overcome the passive or vice versa. In Sanskrit, these are known as rajas, tamas and satva respectively.

To understand these three forces, let us take the building of a house as an instance. The thought to build a house is the active force, but the moment we decide to do so, we start facing obstacles – rise in price of building material, non-availability of preferred material, difficulty in obtaining building permission, etc. All these are a part of the passive force, which tries to obstruct the active force. Now, the neutralising force will decide which force manifests – the active or the passive.

With the advent of life on earth, in addition to all forms of then pre-existing life facing obstacles, an added impulse grew within the active force. This additional impulse is the impulse of anger and it provides an extra force from within to overcome the obstacles or the passive force.

Anger existed even before man. Over years of evolution, anger has manifested in some very particular traits or forms. Examples of this additional impulse to overcome resistance can be observed in the gnashing of teeth, protrusion of claws, expansion of nostrils, and other sounds like growling in beasts of prey. Some animals becoming highly strung in their mating season while others becoming combative against intrusion by an external agency are also examples of anger.

The Mahabharata talks of krodha or anger, and her nine daughters (or manifestations). The scripture looks at anger in a very radical and different manner. It does not brand anger as being bad or something that ought to be rid of it. Instead, it reveals to us that hidden in each manifestation of anger is the very valuable energy of the essence of consciousness. The scriptures emphasise on being free of this anger and saving these energies, later also explaining the effects transforming this anger and extracting the energy of essence of consciousness can have on our lives. Let us study the nine manifestations of anger (and the importance of its transformation).

Mrigi (a deer):
Manifestation of anger as fear or flight. If we go into the deeper meaning, Mrigi also means to investigate or obtain by effort. So in the transformation of our fear or instinct to run away from pain, comes the capacity to penetrate deeper into any subject or the mystery of life.

Manda (slow):
Also, means lethargic or indifferent. This manifests in forms of bears and hogs, characterised by making one indifferent to or lose interest in things. A deeper meaning of manda is to rejoice, so by working on this form of anger we can create the power to enjoy small beauties of life.

Hari (take away or steal):
This form of anger of snatching away manifests in monkeys. In the frenzy of this form of anger if we can pause, observe, and transform, then our whole being suddenly becomes very attractive or captivating. This is not just physical attraction but something much higher.

This is seen in elephants and is characterized by a lot of noise. By working on this form of anger, we gain the power to attract only those events that are auspicious and bring prosperity into our lives.

Means a mad elephant, one who is very dangerous. If we can transform this very powerful form of anger, we are blessed with immense power and become the leader of our clan.

This anger manifests in lions, tigers and leopards. It signifies to hurt or to injure. By meditating and transforming this kind of anger, our eyes gain the power to pierce through the apparent visual manifestations of life into the causal world.

Shwet (white):
This anger can be observed in fleet-footed animals such as rabbits, deer, and monkeys, characterised by impatience and aggressiveness. Impatience is very difficult to work with. The energy to hold on to a problem or thought is called dharna-shakti in yoga. In the very holding of a problem, we become free of it. Quite often, we say something only to regret it later. Then, we can’t wait to make amends with that person immediately, but if we have dharna-shakti, then we can hold the pain of not saying sorry immediately. This blesses us with a different quality of strength and an inner maturity.

Surabhi (the cow of plenty):
Surabhi is the cow that grants all our desires. This is a very subtle form of anger which manifests in unknowingly hurting or insulting someone. If, in our practice of self observation, we can be free of even unknowingly hurting people, we invite good fortune and good luck in our lives.

This anger manifests in snakes when they cry out, making a hissing sound. It also is seen in the screams of other smaller animals. ‘Su’ means good and ‘ras’ means juice. Our small sounds such as ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and our moans are signs of this form of anger. If we can transform this anger we become full of juice of life, ripening like fruits, and this ripeness brings about a certain wisdom and maturity.