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Envy by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

The word “mātsarya” is used in many places in many different meanings. It has different meanings like envy, jealousy, malice, ill-feeling, grudge etc. Wherever the word “mātsarya” has been used in the Vaiṣṇava literature, it is used to indicate a mood hostile to love of God. In this statement of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the qualified candidate for supreme religious principles mentioned in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has been ascertained. Mellows of love of God is the supreme religioun confirmed by that literature. A person who is non-envious is qualified for that religion. Freedom from malice is non-enviousness. Although the revered commentator has interpreted the word “matsarya” as feeling unhappy by other’s happiness, and feeling happy by seeing other’s unhappiness, unless an expanded meaning of that word is revealed, ordinary people cannot understand it.

The conditioned living entities confined by nescience are bound by the rope of six enemies. Lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride, and envy are the six enemies. They are different stages of the five distresses such as ignorance, false ego, material absorbtion, attachement, and hatred. How lust is born from the absorbtion in sense objects is described in Bhagavad-gītā 2/62 & 63 :

dhyāyato viṣayān puṁsaḥ saṅgas teṣūpajāyate
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho ‘bhijāyate

krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ sammohāt smṛti-vibhramaḥ
smṛti-bhraṁśād buddhi-nāśo buddhi-nāśāt praṇaśyati

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.

From attachment in the form of absorbtion in sense objects, lust arises, from lust arises anger, from anger comes bewilderment or unjustful greed for sense gratification, from greed for sense gratification arises illusion, from illusion intelligence is lost, in other words, the pride of not having the power of discrimination. From pride comes destruction, or a living entity becomes envious which is his perverted state of being. In Bhagavad-gītā 3.43, it is instructed:

evaṁ buddheḥ paraṁ buddhvā saṁstabhyātmānam ātmanā
jahi śatruṁ mahā-bāho kāma-rūpaṁ durāsadam

Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Kṛṣṇa consciousness] and thus – by spiritual strength – conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.

From all these instructions, it is clearly understood from forgetfulness of one’s constitution position the sprout of lust gradually grew into a tree of envy and driven the living entity’s actual propensity of love of God far away. Anger includes lust. Greed includes lust and anger. In illusion there is greed, anger and lust. In pride there is illusion, greed, anger and lust, and in envy there is pride, illusion, greed, anger and lust. By the word “mada” the six kinds of pride like pride for wealth, beauty, noble birth, education etc., are to be understood.

All of the living entities distress included in envy. Nescience, desire for sin, and sinful action as well as nescience, desire for piety and pious actions are all included in envy. Vaiṣṇava dharma of compassion for the living entities, taste for the holy name and service to the devotees are on one side, and envy remains on the other side. One who becomes unhappy on seeing other’s happiness or prosperity can never display mercy to the living entities. His emotionally loving feeling towards God does not also appear. He naturally maintains hatred and aversion towards the devotees. Only one who is free from envy, has adopted the purport of “tṛṇādapi” verse. Śriman Mahāprabhu has said (Śikṣāṣṭaka, verse 3):

tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

A person free from envy does not possess pride for wealth, beauty, caste, education and material strength. Therefore he treats himself as lower than a blade of grass. A person free from envy is not wrathful and violent to others. Therefore he is more tolerant than a tree or he is supremely merciful. Despite being endowed with all good qualities a non-envious person free from the pride of high birth, education etc., is freed from the desire for prestige. Therefore he is not expecting any respect for himself. A non-envious person feels unhappy by seeing others unhappy. Therefore he offers due respect to all living entities .Generally by kindness he respects all living entities, by respect he satisfies the brahmaṇas and those who are like devotees, and by adoration he serves the devotees.

Non envious person generally –

  1. Do not blaspheme the devotees
  2. Being fully devoted to Kṛṣṇa alone, do not disregard the demigods despite knowing them to be independent controllers.
  3. Show due respect to the spiritual master and seniors.
  4. Show respect to the devotional literatures like the Vedas.
  5. Accept the holy name to be the ultimate goal of life by treating the holy name and the Supreme Lord to be non-different while giving up useless argument.
  6. Do not indulge in sinful activities on the strength of the holy name.
  7. Do not treat other religious activities like following religious principles, observing vows, practicing detachment etc., to be equal to the holy name.
  8. Try to ignite faith in a faithless person but until his faith is developed, he does not instruct him in the holy name.
  9. Fully trust all the glories of the holy name as described in the scriptures.
  10. Remain aloof from the sense of “I” and “mine” in regard to matter.

O readers! Non -nviousness alone is the living entitie’s liberation and enviousness is the living entitie’s bondage. Therefore it is stated in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmta, Madhya 9/361

caitanya-carita śuna śraddhā-bhakti kari’
mātsarya chāḍiyā mukhe bala ‘hari’ ‘hari’

Please hear the transcendental pastimes of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with faith and devotion. Giving up envy of the Lord, everyone chant the Lord’s holy name, Hari.