Managing ANGER in Ayurveda

  • By Advait Sharma
  • June 17, 2024
  • 306 views
  • What is anger in Ayurveda? The philosophical and psychological aspects of anger are discussed. Impact of anger on health! What are practical applications of ayurvedic principles in managing anger?

1. Abstract

It reviews the multifaceted concept of krodha (anger) in ayurveda, drawing insights from ancient texts. Krodha is described as a destructive emotion with the potential to harm the inner self, akin to a burning fire that consumes the soul. Various synonyms for anger are detailed here. The philosophical and psychological aspects of anger, highlighting its association with jealousy, hatred and aggressive tendencies are also shown with the connection between mental and physical well-being, emphasizing that disorders of the mind.

 

The impact of anger on the doshas, especially its pittaja nature, shedding light on its role in various diseases according to ayurvedic principles. The way of mentioning of krodha in Hindu scriptures, ancient Indian sculpture texts, Vedic astrology and the performing arts are discussed. The different manifestations of anger in theatrical performances, emphasizing the expressive elements of emotion are dealt along with the diverse dimensions of krodha in Buddhism.

 

Insights from the Bhagavad Gita provide a spiritual perspective on the harmful effects of untamed anger, linking emotional turmoil to cognitive impairment. Contra indications for practices such as sneha-paana, vamana and afternoon sleep in the context of anger and the intricate relationship between pitta dosha and krodha, are given showcasing the physiological manifestations of anger, including increased body heat and adrenaline release.

 

Here the practical applications of ayurvedic principles in managing anger, including lifestyle modifications, self-control practices and the importance of maintaining balance in mental faculties are also given along with the insights into the detrimental effects of anger on health, such as its role in psychogenic fever and disrupted sleep.

 

Concluding with ayurvedic treatments for krodha, need of a holistic approach, encompassing the understanding of dharma, artha, and kaama, along with the pursuit of knowledge of the self and divine powers and satvaavjaya cikitsa approach are shown. Comprehensively, a nuanced exploration of krodha is discussed here, providing valuable insights for practitioners, scholars and individuals seeking a holistic understanding of anger in the context of ayurveda.

This article was first published in the Aryavaidyan Journal dated January 2, 2024.

 

2. Introduction

As described by Acharya Chakrpani, the ailment which is by product of jealousy and which burns the inner soul in the flames of fire is known as krodha. 1

 

This definition highlights the intense and destructive nature of anger, likening it to a burning fire that can consume and harm the self. The use of the word pradvesha, which means "hatred," suggests that anger arises from a deep sense of dislike or aversion towards someone or something. The phrase "prajvalitamiva", meaning "like a blazing fire," further emphasizes the intense and volatile nature of anger. 

 

Charaka Chakrapani teeka's above mentioned definition of anger provides a powerful image of the emotional experience of anger. It underscores the importance of recognizing and managing this intense emotion to avoid harm to oneself and others.

 

Along with all other emotions like tandraa utsaaha, etc, krodha is a disorder of satva that means mind 1a. Taking this in account when Vagbhatacharya says that manas and sareera are interconnected i.e, if mental doshas are vitiated, they could affect physical dosha and vice versa also. Being a disorder of manas, krodha must be having a strong influence on the body also and that is why to understand and overrule the krodha are of much importance.

 

The synonyms found for krodha in Amarakosham are kopa, amarsha, rosha, pratighaa, rut and krudha.2 Aacaarya Sushruta explained the meaning of krodha by saying anger is the jealousy for other or the aggressive nature towards others.3 It is a phase of mind which exhibits the tendency to be hostile or enmity towards others. Further explanation of krodha, illustrates that the destructive and harmful nature of anger originating from the seat of heart in which heart feels like burning in fire towards the disservice of others. This condition is harmful to the self and also to the people around them.4

 

The Vishnu Puraana (6.5.1), an ancient Hindu text, defines krodha as a type of adhyaatmika pain that falls under the category of mental suffering. Adhyaatmika pain refers to the spiritual or psychological pain that arises from within oneself. Krodha, in this context, is seen as a negative emotion that causes mental anguish and distress.

 

Silpasaastra is a Sanskrit term that refers to the ancient Indian texts that deal with the art and science of sculpture. In these texts, the term krodha is often used in the context of the eight manifestations of Bhairava, a fierce form of Lord Shiva. Bhairava is a deity who is associated with destruction and renewal. The eight manifestations of Bhairava are known as ashta bhairava, and each one represents a different aspect of the deity. Krodha Bhairava is one of these manifestations and is associated with anger.5

 

Samvatsara is a term in Vedic astrology and Hindu calendar system that refers to a vedic year. Each year is associated with a specific name and number, and there are a total of sixty different names for each year in the lunar calendar of vedic astrology. The beginning of this lunar year is marked by the new moon day. According to this system, krodha is the name of the 38th year in the sixty-year cycle. The year is considered to be under the influence of the planet Mars, which is associated with the emotion of anger or krodha.6

 

In the Naatyasaastra, a treatise on Indian performing arts, krodha is one of the eight "permanent states" or sthaayi bhaavas. These states are considered to be the source of delight in a performance and are not interfered with by other states. The term krodha refers to the emotion of anger, which can be expressed through different gestures, facial expressions and vocalizations in a theatrical performance. According to chapter 7.31 of the naatyasaastra, krodha is characterized by certain physical and vocal expressions, including shaking the fists, biting the lips, grinding the teeth, reddening of the eyes and harsh, loud speech. These expressions are meant to convey a sense of intense anger and agitation to the audience.7

 

In Naatyasaastra anger is of 5 types-

1. anger caused by enemies,

2. anger caused by superior persons,

3. anger caused by lovers,

4. anger caused by servants,

5. feigned anger.

 

In the Sreematottara-tantra, an expansion of the Kubjikaa-mata tantra, ashtakalaa refers to the eight energies or powers that are located in the locus of the heart and surround the fourth sacred seat. These energies are moha, aavrtaa, prakaasya, kiranaa, raagavatee, hrshtaa, pushti, and krodhaa. In the ashtakalaa, krodha is considered one of the eight energies or powers that surround the fourth sacred seat located in the locus of the heart. Krodha refers to the power of anger and is believed to have a significant impact on a person's emotions, thoughts and behaviours. 

In the context of the ashtakalaa, krodha is seen as an energy that can be harnessed and utilized for various purposes. For example, it can be used to overcome obstacles or challenges, to motivate oneself to take action, or to defend oneself against perceived threats.8

 

In the context of paryavasthaana, which refers to the Buddhist concept of dependent origination or interdependence, krodha (anger) is seen as an emotion that arises in dependence on certain causes and conditions. According to this concept, nothing exists independently or in isolation, but rather everything is interconnected and dependent on other phenomena. Krodha is no exception, and it arises due to various causes and conditions, such as a perceived threat, frustration or disappointment. Furthermore, the paryavasthaana teaches that krodha can lead to negative consequences not only for oneself but also for others. For example, uncontrolled anger can lead to harmful actions, hurtful words and damaged relationships, which in turn can create further causes and conditions for negative emotions to arise.9

 

Sreemad Bhagawadgeetaa has a beautiful sloka explaining the steps that go up to the end of life, from the prosperity due the evolvement of krodha.10

 

Anger causes delusion, and delusion causes confusion in person’s memory. Confusion leads to intelligence-loss, and that leads to the destruction. In other words, becoming angry and allowing the emotion to control you might lead to confusion and illusion. This can affect negatively someone's judgement and drive them to act in ways that are not in their or others' best known. As a result, one's memory may suffer, making it difficult to recall information clearly or properly. This can lead to a loss of intelligence as one's ability suffers. 

 

Manifestation of krodha explained by Aacaarya Charaka

The mithyaayoga aspects of mind are fear, sorrow, anger, greed, illusion, arrogance, jealousy and visual hallucinations.11 Further explanations are illustrated below.12

In another context Bhagwath Geeta suggests that three things, i.e. kaama, krodha and lobha are the doors to the way of hell. Here hell is not a place to visit, it is an emotion or feeling of being hurt, krodha being a disorder of manas, going hurt the self more than others and will lead to several possible bad outcomes which make the person’s life hell. Krodha directly affects the heart, heart beat suddenly starts getting faster and heart being the seat of consciousness is of much importance. With this effect on heart, it is going to affect whole body in a negative way. This sloka is again supporting the importance of krodha.13 Aacaarya Charaka in Sareera sthaana said that krodha is a phase of mind and it is manifested by mind only.14

Acaarya emphasizes that a cool person becomes hot by the disorder of seela vibhrama.15 This phrase highlights the relationship between one's character or moral conduct and the arising of anger. It suggests that when there is a delusion or distortion in one's character, it can give rise to anger. In other words, if someone's moral values, principles or sense of right and wrong are distorted or compromised, it can lead to the manifestation of anger. This can happen when there is a discrepancy between what one believes to be right and the actual behaviour or actions observed in oneself or others. The phrase reminds us that maintaining integrity, upholding moral values and adhering to virtuous conduct can help prevent the arising of anger. It emphasizes the importance of self-reflection, self-awareness and living in alignment with one's principles to cultivate a calm and peaceful disposition. 

 

While explaining the mental attributes which one should avoid or suppress from doing, Charaka suggests to include lobha, soka like mental emotions, krodha is one among them. He says to avoid or suppress the feeling of krodha, in further part we’ll get why it is so.16

 

In another context, Aacaarya Charaka explains the contra-indications for exercise and one of them is krodha. Exercise is contra-indicated for persons who are emaciated due to excessive sexual activity, weight lifting and by travelling on foot and for those who are in the grip of krodha (anger), soka (grief), bhaya (fear), aayaasa (exhaustion) and for the children, the old persons and for persons having vaatika constitution and those having the profession of speaking too much. One should not do exercise while he is hungry and thirsty also.17

 

Why not to exercise when you are angry?

 

It has been found out in a study performed by John P Erwin that why not to perform exercise while you are having a phase of anger.18

 

1. Studies say that anger can increase the chance of heart attack by two times and having exercise along with anger can increase the risk to three times. Both the factors contributing to heart attach hence one should avoid such practices and must first solve the anger first and then perform the rest.

 

2. Anger along with stressful practice like workout could release several hormones, which are helpful but after an extent they could be as hazardous as a poison. Excess of such hormones i.e. crossing their toxic levels could lead to damage of internal body like blood vessels. Dr. Erwin suggests doing light exercises like yoga, slow walk or medication in such a condition.

 

Practices regarding self-control

Habit of postponing things, indulging any activity without proper examination must not be done. Getting slave to the senses is also not appreciable along with fickle mind. Leaving mind with too much burden is also a cause for anger. When one is feeling anger he must be conscious and should not go in flow with anger. One should not be under continued grief. One should not be conceited over achievements nor be desperate in loss. Knowing self nature is always in plus point for controlling anger. Having trust on cause and effect theory is another thing of benefit in reducing anger. Person must not lose the self-spirit and also must nor remember his insults.19

 

Relation of pitta with krodha

Marichi said krodha as abnormal function of pitta dosha.20 Properties of pitta include ushna, teekshna. Both of these properties could also be seen in phase of anger. An angry person seems like having red tint on face, reddish sclera due to i.e. the gush of blood, sweating, heat in body, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, increased heart beat.21

 

Some miscellaneous points about krodha in ayurevda literature

Krodha is included under mithyaayoga of mind as per Charaka samhitha.22 In which mithyaayoga is one of the reasons behind the causes of diseases.23 Out of these three ayoga, atiyoga and mithyaayoga, diseases start manifesting. Hence, it is very important to maintain the balance in them. Krodha is a mental phase, it comes under mithyaayoga of mind. Mithya means which is not important, viz. krodha is not at all important and hence must be prevented from evolving.

 

1. Snehapaana is a procedure of drinking sneha material, specially used in an initial phase of pancakarma. Krodha being a factor responsible for aama-formation, should not be done while drinking sneha as strong agnibala is required to digest it and hence Aacaarya has kept krodha in contraindication of snehpaana.24

 

2. Vamana, a process of pancakarma has krodha as a contraindication and has also been said that even after vamana, krodha should not be facilitated. Vamana is an intensive procedure which does deep cleansing of doshas especially kapha dosha, so now kapha must be reduced in our body (the pacifier of pitta) and krodha being of pittaja nature would surely show negative effect on body.25

 

3. As krodha is having integral properties related to vitiation of pitta dosha, it can lead to increase in heat of body and hence the BMR, whereas being a psychological parameter with negative emotions can reduce appetite also. In modern science anger leads to release of adrenaline, which has a property to suppress appetite and this could lead to weight loss.26 This same is said by Aacaarya Charaka that causes of getting extreme slim (ati-krsa) includes krodha.27

 

4. Ayurveda is very strict regarding sleep in afternoon but has told some situations when one can sleep in afternoon also and krodha is one of them. Sleeping in afternoon increases pitta and kapha dosha, whereas krodha is a phase in which person must be getting tired and leading to increase in vaata dosha, sleeping in afternoon for some time could be beneficial for such person.28

 

5. When everyone is talking about negative aspects of krodha, Aacaarya Charaka used it and wrote its use in the treatment of ati-nidra i.e. excessive sleep. Amygdala is the part of brain which performs dual function. It has its role in sleep and also in emotions like anger. When this part is supporting one function then cannot do the other one with that much precision. Studies said that having emotional outburst can disturb sleep or could keep you awake.29

 

6. Reason behind vitiation of rakta dhaatu, also it is considered in raktaja roga.30

 

7. Krodha is the lakshana of pittaja mada also.31

 

8. In the reason of development of aama-dosha, one is the physical form of food we eat and second is the mental phase and in those mental phases one is krodha which could lead to aama-dosha generation.32 Even if one has taken food under the limit, still it could lead to aama formation due to mental phases likes krodha. As we discussed above anger releases adrenaline and adrenaline has an inhibitory effect on digestive system. It inhibits the gastric motility.33 Gut and brain have a strong connection, having disturbed emotions like anger can cause disturbance in gut like nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fever etc.34

 

9. In ayurveda to gain knowledge four ways have been enlisted, which are aaptopadesa, pratyaksha, anumaana and yukti. Krodha is a determinant to identify jealousy in an individual by anumaana pramaana.

 

10. Krodha is also a cause of sweda-vaha sroto-dushti.35 Among the do’s and don’ts in the 4th month of gestation, it could lead to bleeding per vagina.36 Krodha is one of the contraindications. Fetus of an angry woman is active, most of the time and has slow growth process. 37. This could be due to high cortisol and adrenaline mimicked by fetus in prenatal time whereas low dopamine and serotonin were mimicked.38 Charaka considers krodha as a reason of foetus-death.

 

11. In jwara-nidaana the birth of jwara is considered from the krodha of Lord Shiva.39 Krodhaja jwara is one among the different types of manasika jwaras the features of it are detailed in most of the old texts. In modern science there is a concept of psychogenic fever which is especially seen in young women. Due to some stress of emotional outburst here body temperature rises.40

 

12. Intoxication of alcohol terminates in syncope, sleep or anger.41

 

Diseases which occur due to anger according to Charaka samhitha

For description in Devnagari please click on Link

 

Ch. Name

Description

1

Jwara nidaanam

 

2

Prameha nidaanam

 

3

Unmaada nidaanam

 

4

Apasmaara nidaanam

 

5

Rasaayana paadam

 

6

Gulma cikitsaa

 

7

Raajayakshmaa cikitsaa

 

8

Apasmaara cikitsaa

 

9

Paandu cikitsaa

 

10

Hikkaa-swaasa cikitsaa

 

11

Kaasa cikitsaa

 

12

Atisaara cikitsaa

 

13

Visarpa cikitsaa

 

14

Visha cikitsaa

 

15

Trimarmeeya adhyaaya

 

16

Do

 

17

Do

 

18

Vaata-vyaadhi cikitsaa

 

19

Vaata-sonita cikitsaa

 

20

Kshudra-roga nidaana

 

21

Garbhinee vyaakarana saareeram

 

22

Moodha garbha cikitsaa

 

 

Aacaarya Sushruta gives a general statement that with the harmful effect of krodha, disease increases in magnitude. This phrase emphasizes the detrimental effect of anger on one's physical and mental well-being. It suggests that when anger is allowed to prevail, it can worsen existing health conditions or contribute to the development of new ones.64

 

Harmful effects of krodha while cooking food in kitchen 65

It is interesting to note that Susrutha’s suggestion that krodha is also prohibited in the kitchen area while preparing food for king. He has not explained the consequences, but it must be an important aspect as the food is being cooked for king who is the most important person of a kingdom. Negative thoughts like krodha must be having some subtle harmful effects on food.

 

Treatment for krodha

Krodha is a mental disorder and hence to be treated. When mental disorder arises one should keep following the track of dharma, artha and kaama.66 The knowledge of soul, divine powers, time, strength etc helps to treat krodha.

 

Satvaavajaya cikitsaa

This is a type of treatment plan in which one should rule or try to win over manas, doing such will be helpful in treating he emotional outbursts like anger.67

 

Conclusion

A comprehensive exploration of the concept of "krodha" as described by various ancient Indian texts, particularly in ayurveda, reveals its profound impact on both mental and physical well-being. Aacaaryas Charaka and Sushruta provide intricate insights into the destructive nature of anger, linking it to disorders of the mind and body. The multifaceted perspectives on krodha from ayurveda, Hindu scriptures and performing arts underscore its pervasive influence on human life. The interconnectedness of mental and physical health emphasizes the importance of recognizing, understanding, and managing anger for overall well-being. The diverse references to krodha in different contexts, ranging from medical treatises to philosophical discussions, reflect its significance in the holistic understanding of human existence.

 

Overall, the ancient wisdom encapsulated in these texts provides timeless guidance on addressing and mitigating the detrimental effects of anger for a balanced and harmonious life.

 

To know References and View on Kottakal Journal site click here

 

Article available online/offline on: Aryavaidyan Journal, September 11, 2023

 

Authors – Advait Sharma, Alok Kumar Asthana.

 

Address for correspondence: PG Scholar, Dept. of Kaumarabhritya, Govt. Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram. *Mail id of Corresponding Author: advaits95@gmail.com and Associate Professor, P.G Department of Kriya Sharir, Ch. Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan, (Govt. of NCT Delhi), KheraDabar, Najafgarh, New Delhi,India-110073.

 
No part of this article may be reproduced in full or part without written permission of the Aryavaidyan Journal.

 

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