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The Nether Side of Social Power

Saturday May 14 2005 09:37 IST

By Karmayogi

Anger is frowned upon by all schools of thought-spiritual, ethical, moral, social, etc. On no showing is anger justifiable for one who is aspiring for inner psychological growth, which is an influence of civilisation. It is one of the four traits - kama, krodha, loba, moha - the spiritual aspirant should shun. Society is pleasant to you when you are strong. If you are weak, or if others think you are weak, they poke fun at your expense.

If you are quiet, the fun becomes ridicule. Soon several people will join together to fool you. A weak boy in the 7th standard was so heckled by his classmates for a year until he dropped out of school. The story of the cobra that wanted to do yoga told by Paramahamsa illustrates this principle. When the cobra returned to the brahmachari wounded and weak and complained that it was hurt time and again, the brahmachari asked why it had not raised its hood in defence.

Anger is needed for self-defence. That is the one shield of the social man. When a poor man is found to be a success or gifted with a talent, society around him at once turns hostile and tries its best to crush him out of existence. This rule, as many other rules of life, has no exception. Neither the brother nor the mother is an exception, if there is no affection in the family. Even when someone is not weak, if they think he is weak, they try their best to cheat him, ridicule him, slight him, and neglect him publicly. They go to the length of saying, at the time of profit-sharing or courtesies at the dining table, ?Why, you do not deserve it.? If they are polite, they silently deny him his due. Clever people say, ?He is above all these small joys, he does not need it.? So saying, they shamelessly take away his share. What is respected is strength, social status. In personal relationships, a capacity for anger is recognised as that strength. Anger is the strength of weakness. One with real inner strength can be quiet and no one will try to needle him.

Bernadette was a simple, poor girl in France of the 19th century. She had a vision near the side of a river. The vision of a Lady whom others took to be the Virgin Mary repeated eighteen times in all. The girl was in bliss kneeling before the lady. The place eventually became famous and the girl after several decades was canonised as a Saint. It is a deep lesson for any observer to learn how, when she first saw the vision and word got around, the local officials ostracised her, teased her, harassed her, jailed her and her family. All for what? Because they found her defenceless, the entire society revealed its nether side of wickedness to crush her out of existence. The Church did its worst. The Major, the Magistrate, etc. joined the bandwagon. What matters to us is not what the society is, but what we are INSIDE. Let us look inside and see whether we are capable of such ridicule, whether we have treated anyone like that. If it is there, there is no spirituality as long as it is alive.

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