16.04 – Are we trying to control without because of being uncontrolled within?
We all want to control our dependents. And we do need some control to guide them properly. Yet by their very nature people often go out of control. When that happens, we may react vehemently, even violently.
What causes our extreme reaction? Often, it’s our uncontrolled ego.
Feeling responsible for our dependents is desirable, even essential. But the line that separates responsibility from attachment is thin. When we are attached to others, we want them to behave in a way that boosts our ego. Put bluntly, our uncontrolled ego wants to have a party for itself, and it wants them to act as obliging cheerleaders. But when they disrupt the party by going out of control, our wounded ego makes us outraged, masking that rage as concern for their well-being.
The Bhagavad-gita helps us unmask the ego by cautioning (16.04) that anger (krodha) and harshness (parushyam) characterize the ungodly who are dominated by their egos (dambha darpa abhimana).
Factually, our control over others is always tiny and tenuous. But our uncontrolled ego normally blinds us to this fact. So, when others go out of control, we can see that situation as a blessing, as an opportunity to stop pandering to the ego.
By agreeing to relinquish outer control over others, we regain inner control over our ego. When we go further and prayerfully surrender to Krishna’s will, that inner acceptance brings a deep peace that can’t be got by even the most complete external control. And to our relief, our changed, un-controlling attitude frequently inspires others to stop rebelling and to act intelligently for their best interests.
And just in case our anger is motivated not by ego, but by genuine concern, still surrender to Krishna remains the best pathway to our own peace and others’ rectification.