We Are the Creators of our Jealousy
देषः परोदयेऽसूयानसौभागगुणािदिभः ।
ततेषारनादराकेपा दोषारोपो गुणेष्अिप ।
अपवृितिसरोवीका भुवोभरङुरतादयः ॥
dveṣaḥ parodaye'sūyānya-saubhāgyaguṇādibhiḥ ।
tatrerṣyānādarākṣepā doṣāropo guṇeṣv api ।
apavṛttis tiro-vīkṣā bhruvor bhaṅguratādayaḥ ॥
“When you feel hatred after seeing someone else’s good fortune, that is called asuya or jealousy. This feeling is accompanied by disrespect, nastiness, insulting the other person, finding faults in them, speaking badly about them, giving them mean looks and raising one’s eyebrows at them.” ( Bhakti Rasamrit Sindhu, 2.4.164)
Amongst many negative feelings we may experience, envy is one that easily grows out of proportion. You may be jealous of someone because of their greater knowledge, beauty, fame, good qualities or privilege. Your jealousy makes you want to be more admired than that other person.
Even in a family with two or more children, a child may feel jealousy towards his siblings because he feels they are favoured by the parents. Similar feelings of rejection and dejection can occur between friends, sportsmen and amongst some devotees in spiritual organisations.
This negative emotion is difficult for us to identify in ourselves and over time, it transforms into hatred and we turn good people into our enemies. Even when the great devotees of Krishn, the gopis, came to dance with him in the Raas Lila, Krishn disappeared from their company, to be alone with his dearmost beloved, Radha. This made the gopis envious of her. They said, “The footprints of this girl are so disturbing to us, because out of all of us, Krishn chose her and took her away alone.” ( Shrimad Bhagwatam, 10.30.31)
In today’s world when everyone has access to the lives of others through social media, we often enjoy observing interactions that do not involve us, even though the participants are physically and socially distant from us and their lives would normally not be affecting us in any way.
Internally, we become toxic towards the person we envy. The worst part is, this emotion creates a vacuum in our hearts and does not let love flourish. We try to run away from that person to preserve our sense of peace, and we think we are saving our love by doing so, but we end up harming ourselves all the more. If we meet the object of our jealousy, we may be overly sweet or snappy, and later, because of our denial, we will be confused as to why this person was sweet in return or, perhaps, ignored us.
This interaction confuses us so much that we are unable to judge if that person is good or bad. You see, all this is the creation of the monkey mind. Are we really great thinkers and positive people? Of course not, if we have this jealousy. But did it give us positivity, even after we ran away from the person who was bothering us? It didn’t give us peace. We have to focus on the bondage we are in and address this challenge. It undermines our beautiful persona and turn us into someone we are not. “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.” ( The Holy Bible, I Corinthians) We need to take the help of our guru to bring peace within and not just outer peace. The Bhakti Rasamrit Sindhu says:
सवरतः सिनयोगानाम्आिधकेन पिरगहः ।
ईषारलवेन चापृषा मैती ततणतेजने।
तिनषादाः शीताः सुर्एषसाधारणाः क्रिया: ॥
sarvataḥ svaniyogānām ādhikyena parigrahaḥ ।
īrṣyā-lavena cāpṛṣṭā maitrī tat-praṇate jane ।
tan-niṣṭhādyāḥ śītāḥ syur eṣvasādhāraṇāḥ kriyāḥ ॥
“A lover of Krishn is always absorbed in seva, is always friendly towards devotees, and never feels even slightly envious when seeing how well others serve. They are always centred in their love; these are the qualities of a devotee.” ( Bhakti Rasamrit Sindhu, 3.2.61)