Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Is There Righteous Anger Ever?

--by J. Krishnamurti (May 29, 2017)

One of the most common expressions of violence is anger. When my wife or sister is attacked, I say I am righteously angry; when my country is attacked, my ideas, my principles, my way of life, I am righteously angry[…] So, when we are talking about anger, which is a part of violence, do we look at anger in terms of righteous and unrighteous anger, according to our own inclinations and environmental drive, or do we see only anger? Is there righteous anger ever? Or is there only anger?

The moment you protect your family, your country, a bit of colored rag called a flag, a belief, an idea, a dogma, that very protection indicates anger. So can you look at anger without any explanation or justification, without saying, "I must protect my goods," or "I was right to be angry," or "How stupid of me to be angry?" Can you look at anger as if it were something by itself?

[…] It is very difficult to look at anger dispassionately because it is a part of me, but that is what I am trying to do. Here I am, a violent human being, whether I am black, brown, white or purple. I am not concerned with whether I have inherited this violence or whether society has produced it in me; all I am concerned with is whether it is at all possible to be free from it. To be free from violence means everything to me. It is destroying me and destroying the world. I feel responsible -- it isn't just a lot of words -- and I say to myself, "I can do something only if I am beyond anger myself, beyond violence, beyond nationality." But to be beyond violence I cannot suppress it, I cannot deny it…I have to look at it, I have to study it, I must become very intimate with it and I cannot become intimate with it if I condemn it or justify it.

Excerpted from "Freedom from the Known" by J. Krishnamurti.

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On May 26, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 A very wise statement by J.Krishnamurti. As I understand, anger is anger, righteous or unrighteous. Anger burns us and burns others. As far as I am concerned I do not intend and want to burn myself and do not intend and want to throw my fire on  others whether they are my kinsmen or others. It is my conviction based on my experience that anger causes more anger and violence causes more violence.

Anger arises in me when I judge or condemn myself. The same way anger arises in the other person when I judge or condemn the other person. The same  thing happens the other way around.

How do we end the cycle of anger? Not by denying it or by justifying it. Both ways perpetuate the cycle of anger. It does not end by preaching you should not be angry.
Practicing mindfulness in all contexts of life has been immensely helpful to me. Mindfulness is  intentionally paying my non-judgmental attention to what is happening in me and around me. It is very helpful to pause between the anger generating stimulus and our habitual and automatic response. Taking deep breaths helps me to remain calm and centered and from that place within me the right, the wise, response arises. Such  a mindfulness practice frees me from the grip of conceptual and sociological analysis of anger.

When the mind is calm, open and centered, the right kind of inquiry arises in the mind which helps me to understand the intra and interpersonal dynamics of anger. The inner light helps me to process the inner and outer clouds of destructive emotions.

May we be mindful of the arising of hurting thoughts and emotions in our mind and make wise choices!


Jagdish P Dave



On May 26, 2017 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 Anger is a challenge for me: it is an emotion I was forbidden to express as a child/teen and it seems to come out now rarely and perhaps most often as tears or even as depression which is often referred to as "anger turned inward." I think with all feelings it can be healthy to say: feelings are feelings, they just are, however how we choose to ACT on them is very very important and what narrative are we creating about our feelings? Good to reflect. <3 Recently I had a wave of anger surface as I contemplated sexual molestation experienced as a young child. I am not angry at the perpetrators, they are sick, I was momentarily angry at the prospect of processing another trauma on top of several others. And then it quickly transformed into "what can I learn from this?" How can I move forward in as healthy a way as possible? This is how I try to move through any experience. Freeing self from any emotion is realizing "this too shall pass" I hope this serves someone else to be gentle with themselves. Hug <3 

On May 26, 2017 Rajesh wrote:

 As Krishnamurti points out, any protection of dogma, country etc. is itself indicates anger. To me, it means that anger begins in very subtle ways and at some point becomes gross enough that it to comes into our awareness. When it comes into awareness depends on our sensitivity. I find that being sensitive helps a great deal in understanding emotions, including anger. More sensitive we are, the earlier we can catch ourselves. And that's brings up the question of what is the soil in which sensitivity springs and whether one can cultivate that soil. 

On May 27, 2017 david doane wrote:

 I have looked at my anger.  I can't remember a time that I became angry that I am proud of or after which I felt good or believed my anger was good for myself or the other person.  At some point I came to the conclusion that anger is an unnecessary emotion.  I don't need to become angry and work myself into a lather.  As far as I'm concerned, there is no righteous anger, and to call some anger righteous is only a way to try to justify it.  I still do at times become angry, but less often than I used to and I can nip it in the bud much more than I used to.  For me, anger is an indication that I have plenty of growing to still do.  It is possible to disagree, object, have my own opinion, assert myself, and even defend myself without being angry.  I do have a right and a responsibility to have my voice, express and stand up for myself, and I don't have to be angry to do so.  When I do speak up without indulging in anger, I feel satisfied rather than regretful, and I have achieved some freedom from the compulsion to be angry.

On May 28, 2017 Amy wrote:

 Only God can free us from it!  
I learned "anger" from my father!  As an adult now, I want to keep as far from it as I can!  Anger cheats and destroys (just like "the evil one")!  I cannot repeat the sin of my father!...I pray ... Amen.

On May 29, 2017 Donna Kuck wrote:

 Speaking from the biology of the human body, anger is an emotion. It is a natural emotion and can be extremely useful because it can energize the body, preparing it for some great effort such as fight, flight, standing up to a bully or cleaning the kitchen.  But the damage is done when we do not allow this natural energy to express through bodily action. Instead we suppress it or make up damaging stories about what it "means" to be angry.  It takes equal energy to suppress anger.  We sometimes show this by freezing, having tight muscles, being stiff and unyielding in our movements. This is much harder on the body than shaking off the anger, stomping our feet or taking a brisk walk or sweeping the sidewalk with great vigor.  Think - "what you resist persists."  We resist anger because we are told that it is bad to be angry. We would be much better served to acknowledge the anger and use it as a gift of energy that we can then direct in some useful manner.    

On May 29, 2017 Peggy wrote:

A timely article.  I am reminded of a story about a young starving child who is screaming to be comforted and fed.  And the parent, feeling so powerless and at the mercy of external forces seemingly beyond her control... often leaves the child alone, sometimes physically and often psychologically... in order to fight the apparent "others" she believes are the source of her lack of resources.  This to me is the way anger begins to become a way of life rather than a wave that rises up then subsides.  There has to be 1) an experience of vulnerability that is not being met with love (from our very own selves!), and 2) a story about something external that needs to be controlled in order to feel better again.

On May 30, 2017 AJoy wrote:

 "If you circumambulated every holy shrine in the world ten times it would not get you to heaven as quick as controlling your anger. " - Kabir 

On May 30, 2017 Lynn L Edwards wrote:

 I believe there are only two basic emotions - love and fear.  Love encompasses all the positive emotions and fear all the negative.  Anger is based in some fear for me - fear of your differences; fear you will take something from me; fear that something unpleasant that happened to me in the past could happen again...etc.  It helps me to place my  anger in the 'fear category' and I am much better able to see it for what it is.

On May 30, 2017 Prateado wrote:

Sometimes we need to take decisive defensive, or even offensive, action in order to reduce collective suffering. Such action may even result in killing. How to do what is necessary without anger? This is the koan. 

On May 30, 2017 sagar wrote:

 They say anger is one letter away from danger.  Anger is a spontaneous reaction -- it is not a response.  The more matured mind is, less prone it is to anger.  Always love JK's thoughts and thought-provoking questions.

On May 30, 2017 Sudhir. P. wrote:

 Anger is a manifestation of emotional energy. The challenge is to channel it productively & not reactively.Protecting one's family or the exploited is righteous. Waging a war to stop a tyrant can be righteous. But, these actions need not arise out of anger, which is but a reaction. Rather, they could arise out of an objective & considered decision.

On May 30, 2017 Amy wrote:

 Donna, I hear you!  (And you have good right to be angry!) ... In actuality, I am angry with you for what I see/sense "in your words".  Not OK.  Know I cry with you!  I wonder how God is going to judge this upon our meeting Him?  I do not like control, cover up, unrealistic and unhealthy expectations ... You get what I'm talking about ... It just seems to be everything Jesus wouldn't do!  I pray for you and our people ... That we may find peace and truth in simply rooting ourselves in Him.  ily

On May 31, 2017 Ana wrote:

Couldn't have said it better... How a person feels towards anger - and other emotions-related subjects - relies much on personal experience. Nevertheless, I entirely agree with the way you describe this process.

On Jun 1, 2017 nunda wrote:

 Expressing anger ,I thought ,was being authentic. As I age, I learned that it is a very destructive feeling . I still get angry when I feel someone close, is being unfair. Others don't rile me anymore.

On Jun 2, 2017 Amy wrote:


On Jun 19, 2017 Yvonne wrote:

h     Anger  have discovered is my body telling me why it is in anger is a wake up call for meto listen to why my body can tell me this is because I do not find any merit in pain I work with the anger....and eventually find release......and true peace comes  into my body.....this is not easy...but very rewarding.

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