Baba used to tell the story of Dronacharya and Yudhisthira. Dronacharya was the teacher to the Pandavas. One day, Dronacharya told his students, “Speak the truth, don’t get angry. I want you to go home, learn this, and come back.”
The next day, everyone came back, and each one could recite the statement except for Yudhisthira, who said, “I understand the first part, ‘speak the truth’; I don’t have the second part.”
Dronacharya repeated, “Speak the truth, don’t get angry. Now go home and learn it.”
This went on for days, until finally, after Yudhisthira said yet again, “I can’t get the second part,” Dronacharya took a stick and hit him. At that moment, Yudhisthira said, “I got it! Speak the truth, don’t get angry.”
“How is it that you understand it now?” said Dronacharya.
Yudisthira replied, “I got the first part, ‘speak the truth,” but until I was tested, I didn’t know about the second part, ‘don’t get angry.’”
Baba used to tell this story over and over again, and every time I heard it I’d understand it a bit differently, a little more deeply. Even now, my understanding continues to deepen.
When we are dispassionate, free of attachment, we have the ability to speak the truth and not get angry. If I have any kind of attachment, I will protect the one who is attached and not speak the truth, and I will get angry. I will be selfish, and not serve the situation.
This does not mean we don’t use anger. Baba expressed anger. But it was always clear that under his anger there was nonattachment, because everything came from Love.
Baba used to yell at me. He yelled at me a lot. He yelled at me in front of thousands of people, and he yelled at me with only a couple of people in the room. It was always for my good. He always spoke the truth and didn’t get angry.
When we are attached and get angry, we are that anger; our truth is clouded by anger, so it really isn’t truth. Our sureness that we see clearly is itself clouded. If we are nonattached, we will not be attached to our sureness—we will serve the situation. When Baba expressed anger, he was always serving the situation. He was using anger; anger wasn’t using or clouding him.
A parent who loves her children will use anger as a way of teaching and directing them. How many times these days, when so many parents want their children’s approval, do they fail to love their children appropriately by expressing anger when it is called for?
Not speaking the truth and not getting angry is selfish. In order to speak the truth, we have to be willing to be with our experience, let whatever comes up come up from that experience, and function appropriately. The more deeply we are able to be with our experience, the closer the truth is to the Truth. We can only move toward resolution, toward God, if we speak the truth and don’t get angry.
In today’s climate, anger is everywhere, but truth is in short supply. Everyone is speaking out, but almost exclusively from a place of attachment—which means their anger is using them, not the other way around. And part of the problem is that when we speak in rage, what we are saying can’t get through. If we speak the truth and don’t get angry, there’s a chance that we will be heard.
But the prevailing belief is that anger is the only way to have agency. In this mindset, to give up hate is to give up agency. People who are nonattached find themselves accused of being apathetic, and people who are enmeshed and clouded are applauded as engaged.
There’s a difference between nonattached and passive. To be passive is to evade responsibility by choosing inaction; to be nonattached is to act always from a place of Love, so that we act appropriately in any situation—even when non-action is called for.
When you speak and act in anger, you remain trapped in the problem you are trying to address. If you speak the truth and don’t be angry, you free yourself and others.
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