(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 03 September 2016, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.25)
In this chapter, the passing away of Bhismadev, in the purport to this verse there is a list of challenges for society at large to improve their quality of life. The first challenge is, “Not to become angry!” We remember Upadesamrta, the Nectar of Instruction Verse 1, vaco vegam manasa krodha vegam, one must control the pushings of anger. So even when anger is pushing, one must somehow or other subdue it. Bhismadev also said that in order to conquer anger, one must learn to forgive because it is very difficult to judge with two types of measurements – measurement for others and different measurements for ourselves. For ourselves, there are so many explanations for our mistakes, “It wasn’t really my fault. It was just circumstances. I didn’t intend it that way…” whereas for others, “How could they do that! This is outrageous.” We judge them different and the same extenuating circumstances are not being considered so Bhismadev points out that we must learn to forgive. We have to see that others make mistakes because then we can overcome anger.
Forgiving is not necessarily the same as forgetting. If someone has committed an abominable activity, we may forgive but it does not mean that we forget. We will remember but we will also keep a special eye – if someone puts his fingers in the money box then after that we keep him at a distance from the money box obviously. So forgiving and forgetting is not necessarily the same. Also, there may be a point when we forget, it depends on the seriousness of the offence.
Sometimes though, anger is required. Sometimes, it is necessary to send out a signal that from now it is too much. This has to stop. BANG, fist on the table! Everyone needs that also. It is not that anger per se is bad. Those who are envious sometimes deserve anger. Those who are envious of devotees, we need to sometimes check it with anger. That is also there. But Bhismadev is referring to uncontrolled anger. Controlled anger has a place. Srila Prabhupada would also get angry at times but his anger was always related to Krsna and to whatever was favourable to Krsna. When there was neglect, Prabhupada was not tolerating that. He would point it out!