The example of the devastating effects of ire as portrayed in the Mahabharata that stands out in my mind is Dhritaraashtra’s wrath when his sons are defeated in the final war at the hands of the Pandavas. Soon after that victory, the Pandavas go to meet the old patriarch, their uncle.

This uncle, Dhritarashtra, calls upon the second Pandava, Bheem of legendary physical strength, who has killed his son Duryodhana, to come closer to be embraced, ostensibly to be congratulated on the victory. Krishna, ever the wily and wise, holds Bheem back. Instead, he places before the blind Dhritarashtra, a solid metal statue of Bheem and the vigorous hug of the old man reduces the statue to rubble. Such is the vigor not only of his hug, but also of the anger that burns inside him.

Later, when Yudhisthira bends to touch the feet of Dhritaraashtra’s Queen, Gandhari, her partially covered vision falls but on his fingernails, which smoulder and turn black. The mother’s anger also is very profound and literally burning.