Freedom from Anger


Message from Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj for Gobind Sadan USA


            Anger is one of the first qualities forbidden to Khalsa– “Khalsa krod tiagay” – and yet so few who consider themselves Khalsa are free of anger. Freedom from anger is a basic indication of being on the spiritual path.

            Where there is anger, there must also be ego. They are very closely related. Anger eats away at a person, destroying his inner peace, preventing his happiness. It is a very unpleasant companion. And yet people succumb to anger, even hold on to it. Some even use anger to frighten and manipulate others. Anger distorts our face, cramps our organs, clouds our thinking, decreases our life span, and poisons the atmosphere of everyone around us.

            Where there is anger, what is our relationship with God? If we are angry at other people, how can our heart be open to love for God? If we are angry at God, how can we be loving with people?

            Jesus said not to be angry at those who attack us, who insult us. He even taught us to turn the other cheek so that they can attack us there also. The Guru said, “Na ko vairi, nahe bigana—sagal sang ham ko ban aee.” No one is an enemy, no one is an outsider—I get along with everyone.” It is our anger that makes us see others as enemies. In reality, they are our own brothers and sisters—neither enemies nor strangers.

            If we are truly ready to give up our anger, how can we do so? Jesus taught us to pray for those who are unkind to us. If we do that, we can no longer be angry at them; we see them with different eyes. We see them as God sees: as imperfect but nonetheless lovable human beings. We may not like their behaviors, but those behaviors no longer trigger our anger. We see that they are as they are, expressing their own habitual ways of being.

            As children, when someone pushed us, probably we pushed back. As adults, we can make a choice of our reaction. If we are connected with our deep inner peace, a potentially provocative act does not set off an angry response in us. It is simply absorbed into the deep peace of our being. If there is no resistance, there is no hard knock. In the Bible it is written, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” We do not need to return anger for anger. We can instead feel compassion toward anyone who is so inwardly uncomfortable that he strikes out at others.

            How can we live in a state of deep inner peace? Guru Nanak has given us such a simple method: Recite Nam. “Kali Yuga is very hot,” the Guru says, “but Nam is cooling.” If we are always reciting Nam, not only do we feel calm and cool, but also the vibration of Nam can have a positive effect on those around us. If something happens that we do not like, we can take measures to change the situation, but we do not need to do so with anger. By the grace of God, we can act effectively without personal anger, seeing things and people as they are and at the same time bringing God’s Love into the world and allowing it to do God’s work according to His wisdom, His justice, His desire for the wellbeing of all. “Sarbat da bhala” (prayer for the welfare of all) is contradicted by anger; it only happens through love. The Buddha said, “Hatred never ceases by hatred; by love alone it is healed.”

            May we be that Love, not that anger. May our hearts be so full of God’s Love that we sincerely wish the best for all of God’s Creation.


-Baba Virsa Singh Ji Maharaj