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What Is Anger?

Anger is a violent reaction of the vital to some shock that is unpleasant to it; and when it involves words or thoughts, the mind responds to the influence of the vital and also reacts violently. Any expression of anger is the sign of a lack of self-control. [1]


...anger, all these movements of violence are necessarily movements of ignorance and limitation, with all the weakness that limitation represents. “[ [Based on Aphorism<51>-O To hate the sinner is the worst sin, for it is hating God; yet he who commits it glories in his superior virtue.]” [2]

The Nature of Anger

Anger and vengeance belong to a lower humanity, the humanity of yesterday and not of tomorrow. [3]


It [an outburst of anger] is really simply the recurrence of an old habit of the nature. [4]


The fact that the anger comes with such force is itself enough to show that it is not in you that it is, but that it comes from outside. It is a rush of force from the universal nature that tries to take possession of the individual being and make that being act according to the will of this outside force and not according to the will of the soul within. [5]


For example, every movement of impatience, every movement of anger, every movement of violence, every tendency to dissimulation, every deformation of the truth, whether big or small, every bad will, every partial judgment, every preference, every encouragement to bad taste and to... yes, to vulgarity, all this is constantly in the way. All this, every one of these movements, big or small, passing or lasting, all are like so many stones to build the wall to prevent yourself from progressing. It is not one thing only, there are hundreds of them, thousands. It is enough to have a preference in oneself, it is enough to be impatient, enough to have a little desire to conceal something, enough to feel a disgust, a distaste for effort, it is enough... anything at all is enough, which has something to do with desires, repulsions, all that, for it to impede your progress. [6]

Anger and Thought Formations

When you have a thought, a well-made mental formation which goes out of you, it becomes an independent entity and continues on its way and it does that for which it was made. It continues to act independently of you. That is why you must be on your guard. If you have made such a formation and it has gone out, it has gone out to do its work; and after a time you find out that it was perhaps not a very happy thing to have a thought like that, that this formation was not very beneficial; now that it has gone out, it is very difficult for you to get hold of it again. Supposing in a moment of great anger (I do not say that you do so, but still when you were in quite a rage against someone, you said: "Ah! couldn't some misfortune befall him?" Your formation has gone on its way. It has gone out and you have no longer any control over it; and it goes and organises some misfortune or other: it is going to do its work. And after sometime the misfortune arrives. Happily, you do not usually have sufficient knowledge to tell yourself: "Oh! It is I who am responsible", but that is the truth. [7]

Anger and Memory

It is this succession of experiences and it is this fact of an indirect or secondary action of the experiencing consciousness under the conditions of our mentality that bring in the device of Memory. For a primary condition of our mentality is division by the moments of Time; there is an inability to get its experience or to hold its experiences together except under the conditions of this self-division by the moments of Time. In the immediate mental experience of a wave of becoming, a conscious movement of being, there is no action or need of memory. I become angry,—it is an act of sensation, not of memory; I observe that I am angry,—it is an act of perception, not of memory. Memory only comes in when I begin to relate my experience to the successions of Time, when I divide my becoming into past, present and future, when I say, "I was angry a moment ago", or "I have become angry and am still in anger", or "I was angry once and will be again if there is the same occasion." Memory may indeed come immediately and directly into the becoming, if the occasion of the movement of consciousness is itself wholly or partly a thing of the past,—for example, if there is a recurrence of emotion, such as grief or anger, caused by memory of past wrong or suffering and not by any immediate occasion in the present or else caused by an immediate occasion reviving the memory of a past occasion. Because we cannot keep the past in us on the surface of the consciousness,—though it is always there behind, within, subliminally present and often even active,—therefore we have to recover it as something that is lost or is no longer existent, and this we do by that repetitive and linking action of the thought-mind which we call memory,—just as we summon things which are not within the actual field of our limited superficial mind-experience by the action of the thought mind which we call imagination, that greater power in us and high summoner of all possibilities realisable or unrealisable into the field of our ignorance. [8]

Anger and Self Forgetfulness

This power of exclusive concentration is not confined to absorption in a particular character or type of working of one's larger self, but extends to a complete self-forgetfulness in the particular action in which we happen at the moment to be engaged. The soldier forgets himself in the act and becomes the charge and the fury and the slaying. In the same way the man who is overcome by intense anger, forgets himself as it is commonly said, or as it has been still more aptly and forcibly put, becomes anger: and these terms express a real truth which is not the whole truth of the man's being at the time, but a practical fact of his conscious energy in action. He does forget himself, forgets all the rest of himself with its other impulses and powers of self-restraint and self-direction, so that he acts simply as the energy of the passion which preoccupies him, becomes that energy for the time being. This is as far as self-forgetfulness can go in the normal active human psychology; for it must return soon to the wider self-aware consciousness of which this self-forgetfulness is only a temporary movement. [9]

Where does Anger find Expression?

In the Physical Plane

Anger, fear, jealousy touch the heart no doubt just as they touch the mind but they rise from the navel region and entrails (i.e. the lower or at highest the middle vital). Stevenson has a striking passage in Kidnapped where the hero notes that his fear is felt primarily not in the heart but the stomach. [10]


It [a vibration of anger which entered the body from behind the shoulder blades] must have been an indication of the source and location of the suggestion or influence. Either thoughts or vibrations or some pressure of wrong force can be felt being thrown or sent in a very concrete way when the consciousness is open. When it is not, they come in without being noticed, only the result is felt. [11]


Q.Will you please explain to me why I felt a trembling when Z was displeased?

A:Vital movements (desire, anger, fright, etc.) produce vibrations, which spread through the atmosphere like waves of electricity and strike those who are open, sensitive or weak. [12]

The Forces in the Vital Plane

This terrestrial world, this human world is constantly invaded by the forces of the neighbouring world, that is, of the vital world, the subtler region beyond the fourfold earth-atmosphere; and this vital world which is not under the influence of the psychic forces or the psychic consciousness is essentially a world of ill-will, of disorder, disequilibrium, indeed of all the most anti-divine things one could imagine. This vital world is constantly penetrating the physical world, and being much more subtle than the physical, it is very often quite imperceptible except to a few rare individuals. There are entities, beings, wills, various kinds of individualities in that world, who have all kinds of intentions and make use of every opportunity either to amuse themselves if they are small beings or to do harm and create disorder if they are beings with a greater capacity. And the latter have a very considerable power of penetration and suggestion, and wherever there is the least opening, the least affinity, they rush in, for it is a game which delights them.

Besides, they are very thirsty or hungry for certain human vital vibrations which for them are a rare dish they love to feed upon; and so their game lies in exciting pernicious movements in man so that man may emanate these forces and they be able to feed on them just as they please. All movements of anger, violence, passion, desire, all these things which make you abruptly throw off certain energies from yourself, project them from yourself, are exactly what these entities of the vital world like best, for, as I said, they enjoy them like a sumptuous dish. Now, their tactics are simple: they send you a little suggestion, a little impulse, a small vibration which enters deep into you and through contagion or sympathy awakens in you the vibration necessary to make you throw off the force they want to absorb. [13]


All these movements come from outside, from the universal lower nature, or are suggested or thrown upon you by adverse forces—adverse to your spiritual progress. Your method of taking them as your own is again a wrong method; for by doing that you increase their power to recur and take hold of you. If you take them as your own, that gives them a kind of right to be there. [14]

Why Anger Manifests in the Human Instrument?

Nature, oh how she plays with men! Good heavens, when you see how it is, oh! Truly it is enough to make you revolt. I don't understand how they do not revolt.... She sends round a wave of desire, and they are all like sheep running after their desires; she sends round a wave of violence, they are once again like other sheep living in violence, and so on, for everything. Anger—she just does "poof", and everybody gets into a rage. She has but to make a gesture—a gesture of her caprice—and the human mobs follow. Or else it passes from one to another, just like that; they don't know why. They are asked, "Why?"—"Well, suddenly I felt angry. Suddenly I was seized by desire." Oh! It is shameful. [15]


...there are two ways of deceiving oneself, which are very different. For example, you may very well be shocked by certain things, not for personal reasons, but precisely in your goodwill and eagerness to serve the Divine, when you see people behaving badly, being selfish, unfaithful and treacherous. There is a stage where you have overcome these things and no longer allow them to manifest in yourself, but to the extent that you are linked to the ordinary consciousness, the ordinary point of view, the ordinary life, the ordinary way of thinking, they are still possible, they exist latently because they are the reverse of the qualities that you are striving to attain. And this opposition still exists—until you rise above it and no longer have either the quality or the defect. So long as you have the virtue, its opposite is always latent in you; it is only when you are above both the virtue and the defect that it disappears.

So this kind of indignation that you feel comes from the fact that you are not altogether above it; you are at the stage where you thoroughly disapprove and could not do it yourself. Up to that point there is nothing to say, unless you give a violent outer expression to your indignation. If anger intervenes, it is because there is a complete contradiction between the feeling you want to have and how you react to others. Because anger is a deformation of the vital power, an obscure and wholly unregenerated vital, a vital that is still subject to all the ordinary actions and reactions. When this vital power is used by an ignorant and egoistic individual will and this will meets with opposition from other individual wills around it, this power, under the pressure of opposition, changes into anger and tries to obtain by violence what cannot be achieved solely by the pressure of the force itself.

Besides, anger, like every other kind of violence, is always a sign of weakness, impotence and incapacity.

And here self-deception comes solely from the approval given to it or the flattering epithet attached to it—because anger can only be something blind, ignorant and asuric, that is to say, contrary to the light.[Based on Aphorism<51>-O When I hear of a righteous wrath, I wonder at man's capacity for self-deception.][16]


These things come in the course of the sadhana because the sadhak is liberating himself from the lower nature and trying to turn towards the Mother and live in her divine consciousness and the higher nature. The forces of the lower nature do not want that and so they make these rushes in order to recover their rule. [17]


In the ordinary life people accept the vital movements, anger, desire, greed, sex, etc. as natural, allowable and legitimate things, part of the human nature. Only so far as society discourages them or insists to keep them within fixed limits or subject to a decent restraint or measure, people try to control them so as to conform to the social standard of morality or rule of conduct. Here, on the contrary, as in all spiritual life, the conquest and complete mastery of these things is demanded. That is why the struggle is more felt, not because these things rise more strongly in sadhaks than in ordinary men, but because of the intensity of the struggle between the spiritual mind which demands control and the vital movements which rebel and want to continue in the new as they did in the old life. As for the idea that the sadhana raises up things of the kind, the only truth in that is this that, first, there are many things in the ordinary man of which he is not conscious, because the vital hides them from the mind and gratifies them without the mind realising what is the force that is moving the action—thus things that are done under the plea of altruism, philanthropy, service, etc. are largely moved by ego which hides itself behind these justifications; in yoga the secret motive has to be pulled out from behind the veil, exposed and got rid of. Secondly, some things are suppressed in the ordinary life and remain lying in the nature, suppressed but not eliminated; they may rise up any day or they may express themselves in various nervous forms or other disorders of the mind or vital or body without it being evident what is their real cause. This has been recently discovered by European psychologists and much emphasised, even exaggerated in a new science called psycho-analysis. Here again, in sadhana one has to become conscious of these suppressed impulses and eliminate them—this may be called rising up, but that does not mean that they have to be raised up into action but only raised up before the consciousness so as to be cleared out of the being.

As for some men being able to control themselves and others being swept away, that is due to difference of temperament. Some men are sattwic and control comes easy to them, up to a certain point at least; others are more rajasic and find control difficult and often impossible. Some have a strong mind and mental will and others are vital men in whom the vital passions are stronger and more on the surface. Some do not think control necessary and let themselves go. In sadhana the mental or moral control has to be replaced by the spiritual mastery—for that mental control is only partial and it controls but does not liberate; it is only the psychic and spiritual that can do that. That is the main difference in this respect between the ordinary and the spiritual life. [18]

Weakness in the Vital Nature

It is true there is something in your character which answers to this force of anger. All movements, all vibrations are general—they enter, they go out, they move about—but they rush upon you and enter into you only to the extent you leave the door in you open. And if you have, besides, some affinity with these forces, you may get angry without even knowing why. Everything is everywhere and it is arbitrary to draw limits. [19]


All your troubles, depression, discouragement, disgust, fury, all, all come from the vital. It is that which turns love into hate, it is that which induces the spirit of vengeance, rancour, bad will, the urge to destroy and to harm. It is that which discourages you when things are difficult and not to its liking. And it has an extraordinary capacity for going on strike! When it is not satisfied, it hides in a corner and does not budge. And then you have no more energy, no more strength, you have no courage left. Your will is like... like a withering plant. All resentment, disgust, fury, all despair, grief, anger—all that comes from this gentleman. For it is energy in action. [20]


Agitation, violence, anger, all these things are always, without exception, signs of weakness. And especially when one gets carried away in his speech and says things one should not say, this indeed is the sign of a frightful mental weakness—mental and vital—frightful. Otherwise you may hear all the insults in the world, people may tell you all possible stupidities; if you are not weak, you may perhaps not smile outwardly, for it is not always good taste to smile, but deep within you, you are smiling, you let it pass, it does not touch you....

But if you feel the vibrations which come from the other person who throws on you all his violence and anger, if you feel this... at first it does... and then, suddenly, there is a response; and then if you yourself begin to get into a temper, you may be sure that you are as weak as he. [21]


There are people, for instance, who are short-tempered by nature and haven't succeeded in controlling their anger. Well, if with an aspiration or by some method or other they have managed to receive some higher vital forces, instead of this calming their irritation or anger... because they have no self-control it increases their anger, that is, their irritability, their movement of violence is full of a greater force, a greater energy, and becomes much more violent. So it is well said that to be in contact with universal forces does not make one progress. But this is because they make a bad use of them. Yet naturally in the long run, this bad use diminishes the capacity of receiving; but it takes time, it is not immediate. So it is very important to put yourself in a good condition to receive the higher forces and not the lower ones, and secondly, when you have received them use them for the best thing possible, in order to prepare yourself to receive those which are of a higher quality. But if you open yourself, receive the forces and afterwards, being satisfied with having received them you let yourself fall into all the ordinary movements, well, you close the door and the force no longer returns. [22]

Impurities in the Subconscient

The subconscient is the support of habitual action—it can support good habits as well as bad. [23]


First of all, it is the subconscient that has to become conscious, and indeed the main difficulty of the integral transformation is that things are constantly rising up from the subconscient. You think you have got a certain movement under control—anger, for example. You try very hard to control your anger and succeed to some extent, then suddenly it rises up again for some reason unknown to you, as if you hadn't done anything at all, and you have to start all over again. If it were the transformed part of the being going back to its old ways, it would be most depressing, but it is not like that. It is the material part, the material life which is sustained, supported, so to say, by a subconscient life. And this subconscient is beginning to get individualised around some people; it has certain affinities with a kind of subconscient somewhat like our own, and that is where the things you have repressed or thrown out of your nature go to—and one fine day they rise up again. But if you are able to bring the light into the subconscient and make it conscious, this will no longer happen.[24]

The Existence of Hostile forces

It is the same thing [coming from inside oneself] for anger. It is very clear, one receives it suddenly, not even from a person, from the atmosphere—it is there—and then all of a sudden it enters you and usually it gets hold of you from below and then rises up and pushes you, and so off you go. A minute earlier you were not angry, you were quite self-possessed, you had no intention of losing your temper. And this seizes you so strongly that you can't resist—because you are not sufficiently conscious, you let it enter you, and it makes use of you—you... what you call "yourself", that is to say, your body; for apparently (I say apparently) it is something separate from your neighbour's body. But that is only an optical illusion, because in fact all the time there are what may be called particles, even physical particles, like a sort of radiation which comes out of the body and gets mixed with others; and because of this, when one is very sensitive, one can feel things at a distance. [25]

Invasion through People’s Vibrations

You live surrounded by people. These people themselves have desires, stray wishes, impulses which are expressed through them and have all kinds of causes, but take in their consciousness an individual form. For example, to put it in very practical terms: you have a father, a mother, brothers, sisters, friends, comrades; each one has his own way of feeling, willing, and all those with whom you are in relation expect something from you, even as you expect something from them. That something they do not always express to you, but it is more or less conscious in their being, and it makes formations. These formations, according to each one's capacity of thought and the strength of his vitality, are more or less powerful, but they have their own little strength which is usually much the same as yours; and so what those around you want, desire, hope or expect from you enters in this way in the form of suggestions very rarely expressed, but which you absorb without resistance and which suddenly awaken within you a similar desire, a similar will, a similar impulse.... This happens from morning to night, and again from night to morning, for these things don't stop while you are sleeping, but on the contrary are very often intensified because your consciousness is no longer awake, watching and protecting you to some extent.

And this is quite common, so common that it is quite natural and so natural that you need special circumstances and most unusual occasions to become aware of it. Naturally, it goes without saying that your own responses, your own impulses, your own wishes have a similar influence on others, and that all this becomes a marvellous mixture in which might is always right! [26]


Each one has around him an atmosphere made of the vibrations that come from his character, his mood, his way of thinking, feeling, acting. These atmospheres act and react on each other by contagion; the vibrations are contagious; that is to say, we readily pick up the vibration of someone we meet, especially if that vibration is at all strong. So it is easy to understand that someone who carries in and around himself peace and goodwill, will in a way impose on others at least something of his peace and goodwill, whereas scorn, irritability and anger will arouse similar movements in others. The explanation of many events may be found along this line—although, of course, it is not the only explanation! [27]

Importance of Controlling Anger

In Education

Personality traits of a successful teacher

Complete self-control not only to the extent of not showing any anger, but remaining absolutely quiet and undisturbed under all circumstances. [28]

Two things need to be done. Children must be taught: a) not to tell a lie, whatever the consequences; b) to control violence, rage, anger. If these two things can be done, they can be led towards superhumanity. [29]

In Work

In fact each human being is composed of different personalities that feel and behave in a different way and his action is determined by the one that happens to be prominent at the time. The one that has no feelings against anyone is either the psychic being or the emotional being in the heart, the one that feels anger and is severe is a part of the external vital nature on the surface. This anger and severity is a wrong form of something that in itself has a value, a certain strength of will and force of action and control in the vital being, without which work cannot be done. What is necessary is to get rid of the anger and to keep the force and firm will along with a developed judgment as to what is the right thing to do in any circumstances. For instance, people can be allowed to do things in their own way when that does not spoil the work, when it is only their way of doing what is necessary to be done; when their way is opposed to the discipline of the work, then they have to be controlled, but it should be done quietly and kindly, not with anger. Very often, if one has developed a silent power of putting the Mother's force on the work with one's own will as instrument, that by itself may be sufficient without having to say anything as the person changes his way of himself as if by his own initiative. [30]

How to Get Rid of Anger?

There it is a little easier to recognise the influence [from the vital world], for, if you are the least bit attentive, you become aware of something that has suddenly awakened within you. For example, those who are in the habit of losing their temper, if they have attempted ever so little to control their anger, they will find something coming from outside or rising from below which actually takes hold of their consciousness and arouses anger in them. I don't mean that everybody is capable of this discernment; I am speaking of those who have tried to understand their being and control it. These adverse suggestions are easier to distinguish than, for instance, your response to the will or desire of a being who is of the same nature as yourself, another human being, who consequently acts on you without this giving you a clear impression of something coming from outside: the vibrations are too alike, too similar in their nature, and you have to be much more attentive and have a much sharper discernment to realise that these movements which seem to come out from you are not really yours but come from outside. But with the adverse forces, if you are in the least sincere and observe yourself attentively, you become aware that it is something in the being which is responding to an influence, an impulse, a suggestion, even something at times very concrete, which enters and produces similar vibrations in the being.

The remedy?... It is always the same: goodwill, sincerity, insight, patience—oh! an untiring patience and a perseverance which assures you that what you have not succeeded in doing today, you will succeed in doing another time, and makes you go on trying until you do succeed.

And this brings us back to Sri Aurobindo's sentence: if this control seems to you quite impossible today, well, that means that not only will it be possible, but that it will be realised later. [31]

By Developing a Strong Will

If the will is strong enough, it [anger] can be held in check—but usually it is only if the psychic being becomes entirely awake and governs the vital that the tendency to anger can entirely disappear. [32]


Revolt is a weakness—it is the feeling of an impotent will. You will—or you think you will—you feel, you see that things are not as they should be and you revolt against whatever does not agree with what you see. But if you were all-powerful, if your will and your vision were all-powerful, there would be no occasion for you to revolt, you would always see that all things are as they should be. If we go to the highest level and unite with the consciousness of the supreme Will, we see, at every second, at every moment of the universe, that all is exactly as it should be, exactly as the Supreme wills it. That is omnipotence. And all movements of violence become not only unnecessary but utterly ridiculous. [33]

By Stepping back

Most of you live on the surface of your being, exposed to the touch of external influences. You live almost projected, as it were, outside your own body, and when you meet some unpleasant being similarly projected you get upset. The whole trouble arises out of your not being accustomed to stepping back. You must always step back into yourself—learn to go deep within—step back and you will be safe. Do not lend yourself to the superficial forces which move in the outside world. Even if you are in a hurry to do something, step back for a while and you will discover to your surprise how much sooner and with what greater success your work can be done. If someone is angry with you, do not be caught in his vibrations but simply step back and his anger, finding no support or response, will vanish. Always keep your peace, resist all temptation to lose it. Never decide anything without stepping back, never speak a word without stepping back, never throw yourself into action without stepping back. All that belongs to the ordinary world is impermanent and fugitive, so there is nothing in it worth getting upset about. What is lasting, eternal, immortal and infinite—that indeed is worth having, worth conquering, worth possessing. It is Divine Light, Divine Love, Divine Life—it is also Supreme Peace, Perfect Joy and All-Mastery upon earth with the Complete Manifestation as the crowning. When you get the sense of the relativity of things, then whatever happens you can step back and look; you can remain quiet and call on the Divine Force and wait for an answer. Then you will know exactly what to do. Remember, therefore, that you cannot receive the answer before you are very peaceful. Practice that inner peace, make at least a small beginning and go on in your practice until it becomes a habit with you. [34]

By Purifying the Subconscient

The subconscient is a thing of habits and memories and repeats persistently or whenever it can old suppressed reactions, reflexes, mental, vital or physical responses. It must be trained by a still more persistent insistence of the higher parts of the being to give up its old responses and take on the new and true ones.[35]


For example, it is as when one feels anger rising up from the subconscient; well, if one wants to control it one must be very careful not to be identified with it. One must not go down into it. One must remain in one's consciousness, above, quiet, peaceful, and from there look at this anger and put the light and quietude upon it so that it calms down and vanishes. But if one gets identified with it, one is also in anger, one can't change it. [36]

Q.Sweet Mother, how should we reject something in the vital so that it doesn't enter the subconscient?

A:Ah! There is a great difference between pushing back a thing simply because one doesn't want it and changing the state of one's consciousness which makes the thing totally foreign to one's nature. Usually, when one has a movement one doesn't want, one drives it away or pushes it back, but one doesn't take the precaution of finding within oneself what has served and still serves as a support for this movement, the particular tendency, the fold of the consciousness which enables this thing to enter the consciousness. If, on the contrary, instead of simply making a movement of reprobation and rejection, one enters deeply into his vital consciousness and finds the support, that is, a kind of particular little vibration buried very deeply in a corner, often in such a dark corner that it is difficult to find it there; if one starts hunting it down, that is, if one goes within, concentrates, follows as it were the trail of this movement to its origin, one finds something like a very tiny serpent coiled up, something at times quite tiny, not bigger than a pea, but very black and sunk very deeply.

And then there are two methods: either to put so intense a light, the light of a truth-consciousness so strong, that this will be dissolved; or else to catch the thing as with pincers, pull it out from its place and hold it up before one's consciousness. The first method is radical but one doesn't always have at his disposal this light of truth, so one can't always use it. The second method can be taken, but it hurts, it hurts as badly as the extraction of a tooth; I don't know if you have ever had a tooth pulled out, but it hurts as much as that, and it hurts here, like that. (Mother shows the centre of the chest and makes a movement of twisting.) And usually one is not very courageous. When it hurts very much, well, one tries to efface it like this (gesture) and that is why things persist. But if one has the courage to take hold of it and pull it until it comes out and to put it before himself, even if it hurts very much... to hold it up like this (gesture) until one can see it clearly, and then dissolve it, then it is finished. The thing will never again hide in the subconscient and will never again return to bother you. But this is a radical operation. It must be done like an operation.

You must first have a great deal of perseverance in the search, for usually when one begins searching for these things the mind comes to give a hundred and one favourable explanations for your not needing to search. It tells you, “Why no, it is not at all your fault; it is this, it is that, it is the circumstances, it is the people, these are things received from outside—all kinds of excellent excuses, which, unless you are very firm in your resolution, make you let go, and then it is finished; and so, after a short time the whole business has to be started again, the bad impulse or the thing you didn't want, the movement you didn't want, comes back, and so you must begin everything over again—till the day you decide to perform the operation. When the operation is done it is over, one is free. But, as I said, you must distrust mental explanations, because each time one says, “Yes, yes, at other times it was like that, but this time truly, truly it is not my fault, it is not my fault.” There you are. So it is finished. You must begin again. The subconscient is there, the thing goes down, remains there, very comfortably, and the first day you are not on your guard, hop! it surges up again and it can last—I knew people for whom it lasted more than thirty-five years, because they did not resolve even once to do what was necessary.Yes, it hurts, it hurts a little, that's all; afterwards it is finished. [37]


Lower down in the vital it [bad movements] is more obscure and entangled—it is quite muddled. It is all mixed up and there are many of these things—when they are there, there are many. You must put some order there first before finding them. There are some which are entangled like this (gesture). For example, many people have the tendency to fly into a rage—suddenly it takes possession of them. Pouff! They get terribly angry. It is here that one must look for the cause; and here it is all entangled, like this, all mixed up, and one must go very deep and very fast because this spreads with the swiftness of a flood; and when it has spread, it is quite a mass of... like a black smoke which rises and burdens the consciousness, and it is very, very difficult to put any order in there. But when one feels that the fury is going to rise up, if one hurries there immediately like that in the vital centre, and goes there with a torch which lights up well, one can find the corner. If one finds the corner, hop! one does this, gets hold of it, and it is finished, the anger falls instantaneously, even before one has had the time to say a word. [38]


These things, hard forms of speech, anger etc., are habits formed by the vital-physical consciousness and, as they are supported by the subconscient, very difficult to change. If one can conquer or change them by force of will or mental or spiritual control, so much the better. But if one cannot do this at once, one must not be upset or think oneself unfit. It is easier for most to realise the Divine or enter into the psychic consciousness than to change this part of the nature; but once the psychic consciousness governs or the higher consciousness descends then it is much easier for these to go. You must not therefore be discouraged by these recurrences or persistences, but try always to stand back in an inner quietude and if they come let them pass away like a cloud across the light. In time these things will be finally dealt with by the Force. [39]

Practices that Assist the Process

Let us take the instance of a person subject to outbursts of rage and violence. According to one method he would be told: "Get as angry as you like, you will suffer the consequences of your anger and this will cure you." This is debatable. According to another method he would be told: "Sit upon your anger and it will disappear." This too is debatable. In any case, you will have to sit upon it all the time, for if ever you should get up for a minute you will see immediately what happens! Then, what is to be done?

You must become more and more conscious. You must observe how the thing happens, by what road the danger approaches, and stand in the way before it can take hold of you. If you want to cure yourself of a defect or a difficulty, there is but one method: to be perfectly vigilant, to have a very alert and vigilant consciousness. First you must see very clearly what you want to do. You must not hesitate, be full of doubt and say, "Is it good to do this or not, does this come into the synthesis or should it not come in?" You will see that if you trust your mind, it will always shuttle back and forth: it vacillates all the time. If you take a decision it will put before you all the arguments to show you that your decision is not good, and you will be tossed between the "yes" and "no", the black and white, and will arrive at nothing. Hence, first, you must know exactly what you want—know, not mentally, but through concentration, through aspiration and a very conscious will. That is the important point. Afterwards, gradually, by observation, by a sustained vigilance, you must realise a sort of method which will be personal to you—it is useless to convince others to adopt the same method as yours, for that won't succeed. Everyone must find his own method, everyone must have his own method, and to the extent you put into practice your method, it will become clearer and clearer, more and more precise. [40]


If you have a serious difficulty in your character, for example, the habit of losing your temper, and you decide: "I must not get angry again", it is very difficult, but if on the other hand, you tell yourself: "Anger is something which circulates through the whole world, it is not in me, it belongs to everybody; it wanders about here and there and if I close my door, it will not enter", it is much more easy. If you think: "It is my character, I am born like that", it becomes almost impossible. It is true there is something in your character which answers to this force of anger. All movements, all vibrations are general—they enter, they go out, they move about—but they rush upon you and enter into you only to the extent you leave the door in you open. And if you have, besides, some affinity with these forces, you may get angry without even knowing why. Everything is everywhere and it is arbitrary to draw limits. [41]


In fact, one should always do this, when he feels that he is caught by an impulse of some kind or other, particularly impulses of anger. If one takes as an absolute discipline, instead of acting or speaking (because speech is an action), instead of acting under the impulse, if one withdraws and then does as I said, one sits down quietly, concentrates and then looks at his anger quietly, one writes it down, when one has finished writing, it is gone—in any case, most often. [42]

By Being Still

Someone comes and insults you or says unpleasant things to you; and if you begin to vibrate in unison with this anger or this ill-will, you feel quite weak and powerless and usually you make a fool of yourself. But if you manage to keep within yourself, especially in your head, a complete immobility which refuses to receive these vibrations, then at the same time you feel a great strength, and the other person cannot disturb you. If you remain very quiet, even physically, and when violence is directed at you, you are able to remain very quiet, very silent, very still, well, that has a power not only over you but over the other person also. If you don't have all these vibrations of inner response, if you can remain absolutely immobile within yourself, everywhere, this has an almost immediate effect upon the other person. [43]

By Control of Speech

Anger has never made anyone say anything but stupidities. [44]


If you give expression to anger, you prolong or confirm the habit of the recurrence of anger; you do not diminish or get rid of the habit. The very first step towards weakening the power of anger in the nature and afterwards getting rid of it altogether, is to refuse all expression to it in act or speech. Afterwards one can go on with more likelihood of success to throw it out from the thought and feeling also. And so with all other wrong movements. [45]


Take the most common example of someone who gets angry: instead of saying things that hurt, you say nothing, you keep calm and quiet, you do not catch the contagion of the anger. You have only to look at yourself to see if this is easy. [46]


Without going to this extreme, one should always control the words one speaks and never allow one's tongue to be prompted by a movement of anger, violence or temper. It is not only the quarrel that is bad in its results, but the fact of allowing one's tongue to be used to project bad vibrations into the atmosphere; for nothing is more contagious than the vibrations of sound, and by giving these movements a chance to express themselves, one perpetuates them in oneself and in others. [47]


To control speech is to stand back from the speech impulse and observe it, not to say whatever the impulse makes you say but only to speak what one really needs to say or chooses to say, not to speak in haste or anger or impatience or lightly, not to talk at random or say what is harmful. It does not necessarily mean to speak very little, though that is often helpful. [48]


It [speech] can only be controlled if you separate yourself from the part that is speaking and are able to observe it. It is the external mind that speaks—one has to watch it from the inner witnessing mind and put a control. [49]

By Rejection

It [rejection] is the way to get rid of these things [anger and sex desire]—when rejected they either sink into the subconscient or pass out into the surrounding (environmental) consciousness through which one is connected with the universal forces. They may try to rise up from the subconscient or come in again from outside; but if one always rejects them, calling in the aid of the Mother and does not allow them to take hold, their force of recurrence dies away and finally they come no more. Sometimes a very decisive rejection gets rid of them at a stroke once for all. [50]


If you feel them as not your own, then they have no right, and the will can develop more power to send them away. What you must always have and feel as yours, is this will, the power to refuse assent, to refuse admission to a wrong movement. Or if it comes in, the power to send it away, without expressing it.

If you find it difficult to reject in the sense of throwing away, what you have to do is to refuse assent. As for instance, as regards voices or suggestions, not to listen to them, not to believe what they want you to believe, not to do what they want or push you to do.

Of course the best way will be if you can keep the contact more with the Mother and her Light and Force and receive and accept and follow only what comes from that higher force. Secondly, to keep the mind quiet, not to allow it to be too active, going from one thing to another. That brings the confusion.[51]


...the habit of flying into a rage, of getting angry... one fights against that, refuses to get angry, rejects these vibrations of anger from one's being, but this must be replaced by an imperturbable calm, a perfect tolerance, an understanding of the point of view of others, a clear and tranquil vision, a calm decision—which is the positive side. [52]


You must get rid of all inner as well as all outer movements of anger, impatience and dislike. If things go wrong or are done wrongly, you will simply say, "The Mother knows" and go on quietly doing or getting things done as well as you can without friction. [53]


It is necessary when that [anger] comes to remain quiet within remembering the Mother or calling her and reject the anger or whatever else comes, whenever it comes or however often it comes. If that is done, then these forces begin to lose their power to invade. It is easier if one clearly feels them to be outside forces and foreign to oneself; but even if you cannot feel that yet when they enter, still the mind must keep that idea and refuse to accept them as any longer a part of the nature. [54]

By Inner Detachment - The Witness Attitude

That [inner detachment] is the right thing that must happen always when anger or anything else rises. The psychic reply must become habitual pointing out that anger is neither right nor helpful and then the being must draw back from these outward things and take its stand in its inner self, detach from all these things and people. It is this detachment that is the first thing that must be gained by the sadhak—he must cease to live in these outward things and live in his inner being. The more that is done the more there is a release and peacefulness. Afterwards when one is secure in this inner being, the right thing to do, the right way to deal with men and things will begin to come.[55]


In another case, one may feel a wave of anger or a fit of temper coming from outside; then one should withdraw into an inner calm, a detachment from superficial things, with a will to express only what comes from above and always be submissive to the divine Will. This is the right spirit. And in each case it is something like that. Naturally it always comes back to the same thing, that one must remember the Divine and put oneself at His service and will what He wills. [56]


Look at it and see how trifling is the occasion of the rising of this anger and its outburst—it becomes more and more causeless and the absurdity of such movements reveals itself. It would not really be difficult to get rid of it if when it comes you looked at it calmly—for it is perfectly possible to stand back in one part of the being observing in a detached equanimity even while the anger rises on the surface, as if it were someone else in your being who had the anger. The difficulty is that you get alarmed, grieved and upset and that makes it easier for the thing to get hold of your mind which it should not do. [57]


A little analysis will make this apparent. We have in all functionings of the mentality four elements, the object of mental consciousness, the act of mental consciousness, the occasion and the subject. In the self-experience of the self-observing inner being, the object is always some state or movement or wave of the conscious being, anger, grief or other emotion, hunger or other vital craving, impulse or inner life reaction or some form of sensation, perception or thought activity. The act is some kind of mental observation and conceptual valuation of this movement or wave or else a mental sensation of it in which observation and valuation may be involved and even lost,—so that in this act the mental person may either separate the act and the object by a distinguishing perception or confuse them together indistinguishably. He may either simply become a movement... of angry consciousness, not at all standing back from that activity,...or he may observe what he becomes and reflect on it, with this seeing or perception in his mind "I am angry". In the former case the subject or mental person, the act of conscious self-experience and the substantial angry becoming of the mind which is the object of the self-experience, are all rolled up into one wave of conscious-force in movement; but in the latter there is a certain rapid analysis of its constituents and the act of self-experience partly detaches itself from the object. Thus by this act of partial detachment we are able not only to experience ourselves dynamically in the becoming, in the process of movement of conscious-force itself, but to stand back, perceive and observe ourselves and, if the detachment is sufficient, to control our feeling and action, control to some extent our becoming.

However, there is usually a defect even in this act of self-observation; for there is indeed a partial detachment of the act from the object, but not of the mental person from the mental act: the mental person and the mental action are involved or rolled up in each other; nor is the mental person sufficiently detached or separated either from the emotional becoming. I am aware of myself in an angry becoming of my conscious stuff of being and in a thought-perception of this becoming: but all thought-perception also is a becoming and not myself, and this I do not yet sufficiently realise; I am identified with my mental activities or involved in them, not free and separate. I do not yet directly become aware of myself apart from my becomings and my perception of them, apart from the forms of active consciousness which I assume in the waves of the sea of conscious force which is the stuff of my mental and life nature. It is when I entirely detach the mental person from his act of self-experience that I become fully aware first, of the sheer ego and, in the end, of the witness self or the thinking mental Person, the something or someone who becomes angry and observes it but is not limited or determined in his being by the anger or the perception. He is, on the contrary, a constant factor aware of an unlimited succession of conscious movements and conscious experiences of movements and aware of his own being in that succession; but he can be aware of it also behind that succession, supporting it, containing it, always the same in fact of being and force of being beyond the changing forms or arrangements of his conscious force. He is thus the Self that is immutably and at the same time the Self that becomes eternally in the succession of Time. [58]


One must get the power to quiet the mental and vital, if not at first at all times, yet whenever one wills—for it is the mind and vital that cover up the psychic being as well as the self (Atman) and to get at either one must get in through their veil; but if they are always active and you are always identified with their activities, the veil will always be there. It is also possible to detach yourself and look at these activities as if they were not your own but a mechanical action of Nature which you observe as a disinterested witness. One can then become aware of an inner being which is separate, calm and uninvolved in Nature. This may be the inner mental or vital Purusha and not the psychic, but to get at the consciousness of the inner manomaya and prāṇamaya Purusha is always a step towards the unveiling of the psychic being. [59]


Witness means an observer, someone who looks on and does not act himself. So, when the mind is very quiet, one can withdraw a little in this way from circumstances and look at things as though he were a witness, a spectator, and not participating in the action himself. This gives you a great detachment, a great quietude, and also a very precise see of the value of things, because it cuts the attachment to action. When you know how to do this with yourself, when you can withdraw and watch yourself acting, you learn many things about yourself. When you are all mixed up and take part in the action, you do not observe yourself acting, you don't know what you are like. But when you draw back and look at yourself, you can perceive many imperfections which you wouldn't have seen otherwise. [60]


It seems as if this condition [witness attitude]were trying to come in you; but it is still imperfect. For instance in this condition (1) there should be no disgust or impatience or anger when people talk, only indifference and an inner peace and silence. Also (2) there should not be a mere neutral quiet and indifference, but a positive sense of calm, detachment and peace. Again (3) there should be no going out of the body so that you do not know what is happening or what you are doing. There may be a sense of not being the body but something else,—that is good; but there should be a perfect awareness of all that is going on in or around you.

Moreover this condition even when it is perfect is only a transitional stage—it is intended to bring a certain state of freedom and liberation. But in that peace there must come the feeling of the Divine Presence, the sense of the Mother's power working in you, the joy or Ananda.

If you can concentrate in the heart as well as in the head, then these things can more easily come. [61]


Simply, if your mind has formed the habit of being quiet as it is recommended here, and you have the perception of truth within yourself, you can hear anything at all. It does not even produce the semblance of a vibrations—everything remain absolutely immobile and quiet. And then if the witness we were speaking about a while ago is there, looking on at the comedy, he surely smiles. [62]

Manifestations of Anger in other Areas of Life

In Illness

Now, in the case of special attacks of adverse forces, the thing gets complicated, because you have not only to deal with the will of the body (note that I do not admit the argument of those who say: "But as for myself I do not want to be ill!", for your consciousness always says that it does not want to be ill, one must be half-crazy to say, "I want to be ill"; but it is not your consciousness that wants to be ill, it is some part of your body or at the most, a fragment of the vital that has gone wrong and wishes to be ill, and unless you observe with a good deal of attention you do not notice it). But I say that the situation gets complicated if behind this there is an attack, a pressure from adverse forces who really want to harm you. You may have opened the door through spiritual error, through a movement of vanity, of anger, of hatred or of violence; even if it is merely a movement that comes and goes, that can open the door. There are always germs watching and only waiting for an occasion. That is why one should be very careful. Anyhow, for some reason or other, the influence has pierced through the shell of protection and acts there encouraging the illness to become as bad as it can be. In that case the first means is not quite sufficient. Then you have to add something; you must add the Force of spiritual purification which is such an absolutely perfectly constructive force that nothing that's in the least destructive can survive there. If you have this Force at your disposal or if you can ask for it and get it, you direct it on the spot and the adverse force usually runs away immediately, for if it happens to be in the midst of this Force it gets dissolved, it disappears; for no force of disintegration can survive within this Force; therefore disintegration disappears and with it that also disappears. It can be changed into a constructive force, that is possible, or it may be simply dissolved and reduced to nothing. And with that not only is the illness cured, but all possibility of its return is also eliminated. You are cured of the illness once for all, it never comes back. There you are. [63]


What has caused all the trouble for X is his insistence on his ego, its ideas, claims, desires, intentions and his aggressiveness in expressing them so that he quarrels with everybody. This quarrelsomeness opens him to all sorts of forces of the vital plane and their attacks. It is also the cause of the damage done to the liver and organs of digestion—for anger and quarrelsomeness always tend to spoil the liver and through it the stomach and intestines. As his quarrelsomeness is colossal, so also is the damage done to liver and digestion extreme. He must get rid of his egoism, quarrelsomeness and bad feelings towards other, if he wants to recover his health and his sadhana. [64]

In Dreams

Q:When one meditates there are moments when one sees very unpleasant forms in front of himself for some days. It begins and later ends. What does it mean? night, when you are asleep, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, in a case like this, the person in question comes to you with an extreme violence, either to kill you or to make you ill, as though he wished you as much harm as possible, and then in your ignorance you say, "Well, I was quite right to be angry with him." But it is quite simply your own formation which returns to you, nothing else but that. The person has nothing to do with it—he is quite innocent in the affair. This is a phenomenon which occurs very often, I mean for people who have movements of rancour or anger or violence; and they always see in a dream of this kind the justification of their movements—whereas it is only a very striking image of their own feeling. For the formation returns upon one in this way. [65]

Additional Quotes

There are always hostile forces that try to stop or break the experience. If they come in, it is a sign that there is something in the being, vital or physical, that either responds or is too inert to oppose.

The hostile forces do not need a cause for attacking—they attack whenever and whoever they can. What one has to see is that nothing responds or admits them. [66]


It is not a fact that the Rajayogin or others are not attacked by environmental forces. Whether moksha or transformation be the aim, all are attacked—because the vital forces want neither liberation nor transformation. Only the Yogins speak of it in general terms as Rakshasi Maya or the attacks of kamā, krodha, lobha,—they don't trace these things to their sources or watch how they come in—but the thing itself is known to all.

Naturally, the hostile forces are always on the watch to rob what they can of the things received by the sadhak—not that they profit by them, but they prevent them from being used to build up the divine in life. [67]