There are people who want to protest injustice and racism, which is a good thing to do, but we need to apply a proper method to bring about this change. Anger will not bring about a change in people’s hearts and minds. It can even make things worse.
The Mahabharata (the great spiritual epic from India) speaks to this in a wonderful way. There was a great and saintly warrior King who had been persecuted and exiled along with his brother and wife. He suffered terrible persecution but warned his wife and brothers about the dangers of succumbing to anger in the attempt to right a great wrong. He said:
“O intelligent lady, through anger we may sometimes gain wealth, but anger ultimately destroys mankind. Real prosperity crowns one who conquers anger and brings adversity to one whom anger controls. Anger is the root of all destruction. An angry man commits sin blindly. An angry man will kill even his preceptor and insult his elders. He cannot distinguish between right and wrong. There is nothing an angry man might not say or do, even to the point of sending himself to Death’s abode. Knowing this, I will not indulge in anger, Draupadī. Rather, I will strive to control it.”
“When a weak man is oppressed by one more powerful, he should not display anger––lest he bring about his own destruction. There are no blessed regions in the hereafter for those who destroy themselves. Thus the weak should always control their anger. Only fools praise anger, considering it equivalent to energy. The wise keep anger at a distance. The man consumed by anger does not easily acquire generosity, dignity, courage, skill or the other attributes possessed by men of character. The wise consider him a man of character who restrains his wrath. The pious always praise such a man because they understand that the forgiving man is always victorious. One who represses his anger even when antagonized rejoices in the next world. For this it is said that a wise man, whether strong or weak and even if in difficulty, should always forgive his persecutor.”
We will examine this subject further next week.