This part is taken from “Remembering Ramana” by Chagganlal Yogi
“From angerproceed delusion, from delusion confused memory, from confused memory the destruction of reason, from destruction of reason he perishes.” So says Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. Thus, anger is the root-cause of a man’s decay, and it makes him devoid of humanity. Conversely, therefore, one who has achieved conquest over anger, is a perfect man. But it is not easy to conquer anger. Various methods have been taught by great preceptors and saints for the control of anger. Of these the one taught by Sri Ramana, the Sage of Arunachala, is quite a unique and novel method.
Sri Ramana himself was a conqueror of anger and when approached by a young man with a request to show him how to conquer his anger, he showed him an unusual but effective method of doing so. It happened like this.
A young man once came to Sri Ramanasramam and entered the hall. After prostrating, he prayed: “Bhagavan! My senses are turbulent and fickle. Do what I may, I cannot keep them in control. Please bestow your grace on me and show me the way to control them.”
“Fickleness is due to the mind,” replied Sri Bhagavan with a smile, “Once the mind is controlled, the senses will come round by themselves.”
“True, Bhagavan!” The young enquirer put in this further difficulty, “But I get excited even at trifles and the more I try to control anger, the tighter becomes its grip on me.”
“Is that so? But why on earth should you be angry at all? And if you want to be angry, why not get angry with your anger?” Sri Bhagavan questioned the youth. Explaining further, Sri Ramana said: “Whenever a fit of anger comes to you, direct it against your own self instead of fretting against others. Be angry at your own anger. If you do this your anger against someone else will subside and you will also be able to conquer it.” Concluding thus, Sri Bhagavan laughed, suggesting that it was quite easy.
The devotees sitting in the hall also joined him in his laughter. Most of them thought that Sri Bhagavan had uttered the above words in a lighter vein. Only a few who seriously pondered these valuable words could grasp the wisdom of this novel way of controlling anger.
What an apparently strange and impracticable precept! We are wont to get angry with anybody and everybody. We get angry with our servants, our children and other people and things except our own selves! Is it not strange that we never give vent to our anger against our own misconduct? The method shown by Sri Bhagavan is therefore unique and very effective.
Though Sri Bhagavan had achieved total control over anger on account of his Self-abidance, he showed the youth a practical way of conquering anger for the benefit of the world at large. He gave us the – common people – freedom to give vent to our anger and direct it against our own anger and other vices. Just as we remove a thorn from our foot by another thorn and then throw away both the thorns, in the same manner, Sri Ramana advises us to remove our anger against others by using it on ourselves and then dispense with both angers. This indeed is a novel but most practical and effective way of conquering anger and other similar vices.
Sri Ramana was ever abiding in the self and hence no vices such as anger, jealousy, etc., could assail him and no amount of insults, harassments or even physical belabouring could ever shake him from his serenity. In all such events, he was absolutely free from anger, as can be seen from the following life-incidents.
Once when Sri Ramana was sitting in his cave on Arunachala Hill, a jealous sadhu poured water on him. Yet he was as unperturbed and self-absorbed as ever. Not a tinge of anger rose in his mind against the sadhu who was baffled on seeing his calmness. Realising that nothing could irritate Sri Ramana the poor sadhu quietly went away.
One day a young man visited Sri Ramanasramam with some evil purpose. Entering the hall and taking his seat in front he began to put all sorts of questions to Sri Bhagavan. He wanted to extort hush-money from the ashram by exposing Sri Bhagavan as a hypocrite. He had already tried this trick successfully with some rich monks. By repeated practice he had cultivated this art into a paying profession. Having gained success elsewhere, he had come to Sri Ramanasramam to try his trick there.
Sri Ramana’s own method of meeting insolence, malice, jealousy, misbehaviour, etc., of others, was the observance of complete silence. In fact, he preached and taught also by silence. His silence was very powerful. Such a powerful weapon of his battled and disarmed all aggressive and insolent persons.
Indeed, silence had become Sri Ramana’s inherent nature. It was his impregnable armour against attacks from people of all sorts. So, when the youth tried his best to draw Sri Ramana into a hot discussion or some talk or expression to catch him somewhere, Sri Ramana remained completely silent. Hence the poor youth’s purpose was foiled. Though the youth was belching out foul language Sri Ramana did not utter a single word, and was all along calm and unperturbed. At last, after exhausting all his resources, the youth saw the impossibility of achieving his object, so he had to admit defeat and quit the ashram.
Sri Ramana taught the world perhaps the greatest lesson of his life on the 26th June 1924, i.e., two years after Sri Ramanasramam was started near the mother’s samadhi at the foot of Arunachala Hill. On this day at 11.30 p.m. three burglars raided in the hope of getting a rich haul 9Cf. the biography of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi either by Arthur Osborne or by B.V. Narasimha Swami.).
Sri Ramana did not meet the dacoits with hatred but with love, because, like Buddha, he also taught and practised that ‘revenge should not be met with revenge but should be calmed down by love. He showed to the world the efficacy of his teachings by himself putting them into practice even at the most trying times.
What a grand and elevating illustration of universal love and brotherhood even for the dacoits who came to rob! Only liberated souls like Sri Ramana can show such a superb path to humanity, as it comes out of their personal experience. Sri Ramana preached only what he himself practised. That is why his teachings have such a powerful influence over a vast number of devotees who came into contact with him in one way or another.
Centuries ago Jesus Christ preached that “When anyone strikes us on our right cheek we should offer him our left cheek.” Since then, hundreds of years have passed but we have not heard of anybody who has practised this precept of love in toto, except Sri Ramana, who followed it literally and actually offered his right thigh to the dacoit who had beaten him on the left one.
In this manner, Sri Ramana’s teachings were based on actual practice and true experience of life. Only by following his teachings can we relieve ourselves of our innumerable miseries and achieve the goal of peace and happiness.
Humble salutations to Sri Ramana, the egoless and love.