Chakra Discussions

In response to "Prabhupada was never furious or angry"

by Edwin Larsen

Posted January 25, 2005

Dear Vaishnavas and prabhus,

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Srila Prabhupada. I wish to humbly submit further studies upon whether or not Srila Prabhupada could ever be considered angry at his disciples. There are a few parts of the article which i would like to respond to in particular; they are listed below.

"It gives the wrong impression of a mahabhagavata devotee. A pure devotee never becomes angry in the sense of a materialistic "loss of temper" or "furious" way."

"How can a mahabhagavata spiritual master on the one hand, teach his disciples to give up anger and lust, two things Krsna Himself says in Bhagavad-gita are the cause of existence in the material world, and on the other hand show fury or anger?"

"The connotations of the words "anger" and "furious," because they contain the mode of ignorance or the destructive nature of material energy, would have run contrary to pure vaisnava siddhanta, that the spiritual master can correct his disciples without the use of the three modes of material nature. He uses the cit, samvit and hladini potencies; in other words, he uses transcendental nature to teach and correct his disciples, never material nature, and the modes of ignorance and passion. "

I hopefully am understanding the author correctly when I assert that this is to show the pure devotee as not being angered, ever. Upon reading this, I decided to research the ideas of anger in the various scriptures, and came upon a few very nice verses and purports to further elucidate this subject. First, naturally, there is the sloka from the Bhagavad-Gita, "There are three gates leading to this hell‰Ű"lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul." (B.G. - 16.21) Yet this is to refer to the materialistic propensities of lust, anger, and greed. There is another side to all three of these that is not bad for the soul at all, rather, they are encouraged. That is when they are dovetailed into the service of Lord Krishna. Indeed, all things material become transcendentally perfect when this process of dovetailing is applied.

Taking the main point, anger, I have found these statements in sastra to back up a statement that one who is liberated can become angry.

Similarly, anger can be controlled. We cannot stop anger altogether, but if we simply become angry with those who blaspheme the Lord or the devotees of the Lord, we control our anger in Krishna consciousness. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu became angry with the miscreant brothers Jagai and Madhai, who blasphemed and struck Nityananda Prabhu. In His Sikshashtaka Lord Caitanya wrote, trinad api sunicena taror api sahishnuna: "One should be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree." One may then ask why the Lord exhibited His anger. The point is that one should be ready to tolerate all insults to one's own self, but when Krishna or His pure devotee is blasphemed, a genuine devotee becomes angry and acts like fire against the offenders. Krodha, anger, cannot be stopped, but it can be applied rightly. It was in anger that Hanuman set fire to Lanka, but he is worshiped as the greatest devotee of Lord Ramacandra. This means that he utilized his anger in the right way. Arjuna serves as another example. He was not willing to fight, but Krishna incited his anger: "You must fight!" To fight without anger is not possible. Anger is controlled, however, when utilized in the service of the Lord. (Nectar of Instruction, Text 1, purport)

This purport shows several examples of pure devotees becoming angry in the service of Krishna. It even shows that Krishna Himself will become angry at times, as in the case of Lord Caitanya dealing with the offence against Lord Nityananda. the main point, however, is that this anger is not material, but spiritual because it is used purely in the service of Krishna, and is for no other purpose. With the example of Srila Prabhupada, it is understood that everything he did was in the service of Krishna, thus if he ever was to be angry it was not for material reasons, but spiritual.

When the Kumaras, although by far the fittest persons, were thus forbidden entrance by the two chief doorkeepers of Sri Hari while other divinities looked on, their eyes suddenly turned red because of anger due to their great eagerness to see their most beloved master, Sri Hari, the Personality of Godhead. (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Ch.13, Verse 31)

In this verse it is figuratively stated that the younger brother of desire suddenly appeared in person when the sages were forbidden to see their most beloved Personality of Godhead. The younger brother of desire is anger. If one's desire is not fulfilled, the younger brother, anger, follows. Here we can mark that even great saintly persons like the Kumaras were also angry, but they were not angry for their personal interests. They were angry because they were forbidden to enter the palace to see the Personality of Godhead. Therefore the theory that in the perfectional stage one should not have anger is not supported in this verse. Anger will continue even in the liberated stage. These four mendicant brothers, the Kumaras, were considered liberated persons, but still they were angry because they were restricted in their service to the Lord. The difference between the anger of an ordinary person and that of a liberated person is that an ordinary person becomes angry because his sense desires are not being fulfilled, whereas a liberated person like the Kumaras becomes angry when restricted in the discharge of duties for serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Ch.13, Verse 31 purport)

Please note once again in the purport the difference between material and spiritual anger.

In conclusion, I would humbly ask that if I have offended with this response, that it be forgiven. I am very new to Krishna consciousness, and as such I no doubt commit many offences both knowingly and unknowingly. I merely wish to further the study of all things related to Krishna, including whether Srila Prabhupada ever became angry.

Your ever well-wisher
Bhakta Edwin