Suppose you had a weapon. And you felt a reason to use it too. But every time you loaded it up, pointed at the target, and fired, the weapon would fire back at you. Your weapon was guaranteed to hit you every time you tried to use it.
Would you use such a weapon? Would you not throw it away?
But most of us diligently maintain and regularly use exactly such a weapon! And we repeatedly get hurt by this weapon of ours, but we continue to use it. Over and over again.
What does that sound like?
It’s called envy. Jealousy is another word that is sometimes used as a synonym. Sometimes, envy is perceived as being greater than jealousy. In any case, both are harmful.
Envy is an emotion which “occurs when a person lacks another’sWikipedia
superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or
wishes that the other lacked it”. Aristotle defined envy as pain at the
sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we
ought to have.”
Very often, the target of the envy does not even know about the resentment someone bears towards them.
Envy is a weapon that’s guaranteed to burn the bearer.
Sometimes, like in the case of people eating meat (you die so I can enjoy) or assaulting (your pain is my pleasure) others, or a community or a nation waging war (let’s attack them, even if they haven’t harmed us, just think, it would set them back at least by 30 years), it does also hurt the target, but not without hurting the bearer of envy first.
Envy of other living entities forms the basis of eternal life in the material world. Anyone who is envious is guaranteed to remain here.
Envy is the fundamental characteristic of a conditioned soul trapped in the material world.
Would you like to do a quick test whether you are conditioned or liberated?
Here we go!
To want to enjoy anything for ourselves, to take credit, to claim proprietorship – this means we are conditioned. Even in spiritual life, to compete, to not co-operate, this is envy… we’re secretly hoping someone ahead of us will fall down, so others will see someone is not as good as I am! Condescension, Holier-than-thou, all this is envy!
Envy is a weed
Where does this envy spring up from?
Ultimately, Envy damages our relationships.
- In an ideal relationship, there is reciprocation
- In an imbalanced relationship, there is exploitation
- Where there is envy, one tries to cause damage to the other
- Envy is exploitation taken to the maximum!
- No possibility of happiness for the envious.
- We need to recognize envy, understand its source, and overcome it
This is the root cause of all evil. It is the original sin of being envious of God.
God, or The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, as I know Him, but also called variously as Allah, Jehovah, Rama, Yahweh and countless other names, is the Supreme Enjoyer.
Material consciousness line of thought…
- I want all the pleasure, the greatest pleasure, all for me
- Even if others have to die, let them, me first!
- Who has the greatest pleasure right now?
- Krishna has the greatest pleasure
- Therefore, I want Krishna to not be Krishna
- I want to be Krishna instead
- Let me kill Krishna and take Krishna’s place
This is material conditioning!
The spiritual world is a place where everyone is trying to increase God’s pleasure. The material world is a place where everyone is trying to be #1, trying to be God.
We see this everywhere, on the streets, in traffic, in the social fabric, in lifestyles, envy rears its ugly head with saddening regularity.
Envy of God translates to Envy of God’s!
- An envious person tries to kill God
- By Science, by Politics, or by Religion, the envious person tries to kill God
- Many tried, Ravana, Hiranyakashipu, Duryodhana, and many others
- An Atheist is necessarily envious of God, even just the very idea
- If an envious person gets frustrated by not being able to kill God, then?
Envy everyone else!
- Hunting comes from envy, Fishing from envy
- Meat Eating comes from envy
- Economic Exploitation comes envy
- Abuse (Physical, Emotional, Mental) comes from envy
- Hedonism (avoid pain, seek pleasure at all costs) comes from envy
- Insensitivity comes from envy
- Discord in relationships, family, society, nations, all comes from envy
- Essentially all problems in human society come from one root cause!
- Religious Extremism comes from Envy too!
- ENVY IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF ALL EVIL!
What is interesting to note is that when we envy someone, anyone, no matter whether it is for their possessions, relationships, beauty, fame, knowledge or any other quality… we actually envy God!
Why is that? Because anything that anyone has is by the direct sanction of God! Lord Rishabhadeva offers a most insightful instruction to his sons, meant for the benefit of all of us…
सर्वाणि मद्धिष्ण्यतया भवद्भि-
श्चराणि भूतानि सुता ध्रुवाणि ।
सम्भावितव्यानि पदे पदे वो
विविक्तदृग्भिस्तदु हार्हणं मे ॥ २६ ॥
sarvāṇi mad-dhiṣṇyatayā bhavadbhiś
carāṇi bhūtāni sutā dhruvāṇi
sambhāvitavyāni pade pade vo
vivikta-dṛgbhis tad u hārhaṇaṁ me
My dear sons, you should not envy any living entity — be he moving or nonmoving. Knowing that I am situated in them, you should offer respect to all of them at every moment. In this way, you offer respect to Me.https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/5/5/26/
In other words, if, by offering respect to everyone, we respect God by respecting His creation, then by envying any living entity, we actually envy God!
How to be free from envy?
There are direct and indirect methods of getting free from envy.
Krishna, for example, advises us thus:
But if one happens to meet a great devotee, a mahātmā who is a representative of the Personality of Godhead, one is immediately purified. To become purified, one isB enjoined to worship the fire, the sun, the moon, the earth, the water, the air, the sky and the mind. By worshiping all the elements and their predominating deities, one can gradually become free from the influence of envy, but all the sins of an envious person can be nullified immediately simply by serving a great soul.https://vedabase.io/en/library/kb/84/
Love is the only antidote to envy!
And what is Love? That is discussed in these articles…
Living based on Envy
Unfortunately, there are actually many “religious” systems and organizations that are actually based on envy…
How can a religious system that produces envy of one’s self
and of others be beneficial for oneself and for them? What is
auspicious about following such a system? What is actually to
be gained? By causing pain to one’s own self due to self-envy
and by causing pain to others, one arouses Your anger and
Any religious system but the process of bhāgavata-dharma —
service as an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead — is a system of envy of one’s own self and of
What is the use of following such a religious system that does not breed love but envy and hatred?
धर्म: स्वनुष्ठित: पुंसां विष्वक्सेनकथासु य: ।
नोत्पादयेद्यदि रतिं श्रम एव हि केवलम् ॥ ८ ॥
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam
The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/2/8/
Here is one way…
O King Parīkṣit, anyone whohttps://vedabase.io/en/library/9/11/23
aurally receives the narrations
concerning the characteristics of
Lord Rāmacandra’s pastimes will
ultimately be freed from the
disease of envy and thus be
liberated from the bondage of
Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes…
Here in this material world, everyone is envious of someone else. Even in religious life, it is sometimes found that if one devotee has advanced in spiritual activities, other devotees are envious of him. Such envious devotees are not completely freed from the bondage of birth and death. As long as one is nothttps://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/9/11/23/
completely free from the cause of birth and death, one cannot enter the sanātana-dhāma or the eternal pastimes of the Lord. One becomes envious because of being influenced by the designations of the body, but the liberated devotee has nothing to do with the body, and therefore he is completely on the transcendental platform. A devotee is never envious of anyone, even his enemy. Because the devotee knows that the Lord is his supreme protector, he thinks, “What harm can the so-called enemy do?” Thus a devotee is confident about his protection. The Lord says, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham: “According to the proportion of one’s surrender unto Me, I respond accordingly.” A devotee must therefore be completely free from envy, especially of other devotees. To envy other devotees is a great offense, a vaiṣṇava-aparādha. A devotee who constantly engages in hearing and chanting (śravaṇa-kīrtana) is certainly freed from the disease of envy, and thus he becomes eligible to go back home, back to Godhead.
What is the ultimate solution?
A devotee who constantly engages in hearing and chanting (śravaṇa-kīrtana) is certainly freed from the disease of envy, and thus he becomes eligible to go back home, back to Godhead.
In conclusion… Recognize Krishna, and Krishna’s…
- Krishna is the Supreme Enjoyer
- Anything anyone else has is also given by Krishna
- Krishna is our best friend
- If Krishna doesn’t give something, good reasons…
- I should do everything to please Krishna
- When you’re looking in the mirror, when you decorate yourself, the reflection
- in the mirror also gets decorated
- Turn to Krishna, serve Krishna, Please Krishna.
- Love me, love my dog
- Who is not Krishna’s?
Recognize envy, and root it out!
- The roots of a weed can be deep, and not pulling out the roots
- can result in the weed growing back
- The root of all evil is envy towards Krishna
- Recognize sense gratification as a mirage
- Recognize that the way to nourish the plant is to water the root
- Krishna is our root
स वै पुंसां परो धर्मो यतो भक्तिरधोक्षजे ।
अहैतुक्यप्रतिहता ययात्मा सुप्रसीदति ॥ ६ ॥
sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/2/6/
Praying for our success! Hare Krishna!
2 thoughts on “The weapon guaranteed to backfire”
Hare Krishna. Thanks for this comprehensive article on envy.
Reminds me of Srila Gurudeva’s repeated reminders that we are here only due to our envy and the desire to enjoy independent of Krishna.
Thank you for reminding us that we all have envy (in some form or the other). Some know it. Others don’t.
Thank you very much Sriman Dhiraj. Yes, everything I write or say is directly or indirectly inspired by Srila Gurudeva. To amplify his pure message in the service of Srila Prabhupada is my mission. Essentially, only the absolutely pure devotee is free from envy. The development of pure devotion is directly proportional to the absence of envy. This is also true of all other material contamination like lust, etc. Hare Krishna!