Mar 15, 2014

Indru Oru Thagaval: Anger Management

I heard the following story on anger management narrated by Thenkachi Ko. Swaminathan in Indru Oru Thagaval (Today's fact of the day), a popular radio show during early 90's.

Once there lived a very short tempered kid who gets angry at slightest provocation. In a fit of rage, he would break any object that comes to his hand. His father tried several methods to teach him how to control his anger.

One day, his father called his son and said, "Listen son, I have been trying to advocate you that anger is not good for your health. But you keep getting angry and break lot of objects. Destruction is the character of a demon. To teach you a lesson, I am going to try a last resort."

At this point, the boy got curious. For every time in the past the boy met his father, he has given nothing but advices. But now he is going to stop doing it for good (or bad). "What is it father that you are going to teach me this time?", he asked.

His father replied, "I am not going to teach you or advice you any more. I now realise it does not work. I am going to adopt a strategy. Every time you get angry, I am going to hit a nail in the banyan tree outside our house", saying thus, his father went outside and hit the first nail.

At the beginning, the boy did not understand how this strategy is going to make him overcome his anger. But after a few months time, he saw that his favourite banyan tree which provided shade during scorching days, swing during evenings to play, cool breeze to take a mid-day nap is bearing all suffering for his anger. He soon found that a good portion of its bark is now covered with nails.

He went to his father and said, "My dear father, I now realise that I am getting way too angry even for mundane things. Help me to get rid of my anger. Help me to control my sense".

Hearing this from his son, the father felt elated. He called his son to come near him, gave him a warm hug and replied, "Son, there is a way to control your anger. Every time you get angry, try helping someone in need in whatever way you can. And when you do that, remember to remove one nail at a time for every service you render".

The boy obeyed his father's order. After a few months time, he had removed all the nails from the banyan tree. He was so happy that he jumped in joy, went to his father and screamed from top of his voice, "Dad, today I removed the last nail from the banyan tree".

His father held his hand, took him to the banyan tree, pointed towards the nail marks and said, "Son, no matter how much you try to help others, you must realize that your anger has left a scar on the tree". At this point, the boy fell down and cried.

"Dad, I am extremely sorry. I did not realize that by getting angry, I hurt others. What should I do now?"

Being his father, he felt pity on his son. He lifted him up and said, "Do not worry my dear son. Pray to God. Think of all the times when you got angry and hit a nail. Beg for his forgiveness".

After this, every time the boy came out of his house, he would sit next to the tree and pray to God, "Dear God, I have made a grave mistake because of which I have left scar in people's heart, just like this banyan tree. Please forgive me for my shortcoming".

With time, all the scars on the bark of banyan tree was healed. The boy realized the greatest truth of all time, "getting angry is not only bad for the person's health, it also hurts people's heart and leaves a scar".

Thenkachi finished his narrative with the following quote from Thirukkural,

Theeyinal sutta-pun ullarum, aaradhe
Naavinaal sutta vadu.

Theeyinal: by fire
sutta-pun: wound caused
ullarum: heal completely
aaradhe: does not heal
naavinaal: by spoken words
sutta: caused
vadu: scar
(Wounds caused by fire would heal completely with time but the scar from wounds caused by angry words would never heal)