Monday, 13 February 2017

An Empty boat in a placid lagoon and a simple spiritual journey

Empty boat on a quiet lagoon Indrospher
Quiet backwaters, Kerala, India. houseboats.karmakerala.com

 "Those who give way to anger are no better than dead men, but, those who are freed from anger are equal to those who are freed (from death)"   ...... Thiruvalluvar (Tamil poet) from      "Thirukkural ".
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 Nobody is free from anger which is one of the basic emotions. Being an inherited response, it is common to all mammals and a number of other animals as well. Anger or irritation occurs when we are threatened, offended, wronged, denied or failed to get something we aspire for. Anger may lead to disappointment and resentment. Rage is the strongest form of anger. Anger is a normal emotion, involving a strong, uncomfortable and emotional response to a provocation or a threat or an unsavory situation.  There is a clear difference between anger and aggression (verbal or physical, direct or indirect). Both are not good; anger can trigger aggression and its intensity may vary depending on the tense situation one is facing. In extreme cases, uncontrollable anger may lead to strong aggression which, in turn, may cause physical abuse. 

This post is neither concerned about the anatomy of anger nor does it dwell on the ways and means to control it. Anyway, I would like to share a story that has relevance with anger and its root cause.

Having become frustrated with the mundane and chaotic humdrum of urban jungle life, a spiritually oriented man took a few days off from work and made up his mind to be alone. His idea was to be at peace with himself and to spend his time on meditation in a secluded place.
cartoonstock.com.
He rented out a rowing boat, went to the middle of a placid lagoon and managed to moor it safely. After settling down, soon he closed his eyes and began to meditate as taught by his spiritual Guru. There was an undisturbed silence for a few hours and he had begun to experience a state of spiritual ecstasy. His mind was empty and was well composed. No sooner had he entered into the next phase of meditation than he was shaken up by a sudden bump of his boat. From nowhere came a boat that rammed into his. This was followed by a serious of minor bumping of the other boat.  With his eyes closed, still, in a meditative state, he sensed that his anger was welling up. Alas! he was awakened from his deep trance by the time he had sensed another bump. Now, he was ready to explode like a volcano and scream at the boatman who dared disturb his meditation.

When he opened his eyes and saw an empty boat, gently bumping against his boat on one side caused by wind, he realized that this boat secured to a mooring on the shore probably got loosened and drifted to the middle of the lagoon. It was an empty boat on a placid lagoon.This incident gave him a sort of revelation and this self-realization was a blessing. The truth emerging out of this unexpected event is that "the anger is within him and it merely needs a push from outside source (like the bump of the boat) to cause provocation".  

From that day onward, he became a changed man and began to use his discretionary power whenever he came across short-tempered men who would irritate him, he would immediately remember the empty boat on a quiet lagoon. He said to himself, "The other person is merely an empty boat... the anger is within me. ..."
Quiet backwaters, Kerala, India. houseboats.karmakerala.com
In real life, we all have the fundamental emotion - anger within us all the time. All it requires is somebody to needle us to cause the provocation, like the empty boat on a placid lagoon.
Ref:

'Sri Sarada Yagna Prasadam', Vol 8, issue 11; November, 2016.