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Can Meditation Help With Anger? – Swami Vivekananda

We’ve at some point all experienced anger and even rage. We might have also encountered people getting angry and seen them doing ghastly things in the heat of the moment. It can almost be undisputedly said that anger is not good for anyone.

Swami Vivekananda in Raja Yoga while deciphering Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras has clearly said that meditation CANNOT resolve anger. This might seem a bit counterintuitive as in popular culture, meditation has been propagated as a means to control anger. In the following text, let’s go through the recommendations of Swami Vivekananda and let’s try & understand his logic (along with the way of getting rid of anger). This comes from the 60th and the 61st sutra (aphorism) by Patanjali (out of the 195 Sutras).

When I am angry, my whole mind becomes a huge wave of anger. I feel it, see it, handle it, can easily manipulate it, can fight with it; but I shall not succeed perfectly in the fight until I can get down below to its causes.

A man says something very harsh to me, and I begin to feel that I am getting heated, and he goes on till I am perfectly angry and forget myself, identify myself with anger. When he first began to abuse me, I thought, “I am going to be angry”. Anger was one thing, and I was another; but when I became angry, I was anger.

These feelings have to be controlled in the germ, the root, in their fine forms, before even we have become conscious that they are acting on us.

With the vast majority of mankind the fine states of these passions are not even known — the states in which they emerge from subconsciousness. When a bubble is rising from the bottom of the lake, we do not see it, nor even when it is nearly come to the surface; it is only when it bursts and makes a ripple that we know it is there. We shall only be successful in grappling with the waves when we can get hold of them in their fine causes, and until you can get hold of them, and subdue them before they become gross, there is no hope of conquering any passion perfectly.

To control our passions we have to control them at their very roots; then alone shall we be able to burn out their very seeds.

Samskaras are the subtle impressions that manifest themselves into gross forms later on. The Samskaras, fine and hidden (subconscious), are sleeping in the Chitta (Mind). It lives in the Chitta, and is not inactive, but is working underneath. The Chitta – Vrittis, the mind – waves (thoughts), which are gross, we can appreciate and feel; they can be more easily controlled. How are these fine Samskaras to be controlled? By resolving the effect into its cause. When the Chitta (mind), which is an effect, is resolved into its cause, Asmita or Egoism, then only, the fine impressions die along with it. Meditation CANNOT destroy these.

Meditation is one of the great means of controlling the rising of these waves. By meditation you can make the mind subdue these waves, and if you go on practicing meditation for days, and months, and years, until it has become a habit, until it will come in spite of yourself, anger and hatred will be controlled and checked.

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