How can we overcome envy?
Transcriber: Suresh Gupta
Edited by: Keshavgopal Das
Question: How can we overcome envy?
Answer: Usually envy is towards those who we think are equal to us. We do not feel envious towards the President of America or Prime Minister of India because they are completely out of our scheme. Usually we are envious towards those whom we think we should be superior to them but they are superior to me.
We feel envious because we think that our happiness depends on externals. If I get more than others then I will become happy. At the philosophical level we need to recognise that material things are not the sources of happiness. There may be some titillation or pleasure in getting those, but it is very superficial. When relatives tickle a small child, he may laugh but that laughter is not happiness. If tickling made us happy, we all can have our own perpetual tickling machines!
Besides philosophical understanding, at the practical level, we need to avoid unnecessarily focusing on what others have. Duryodhana, he had no business staying on in Indraprastha after every had left. Exposing ourselves to the things which can lead to envy within us is also not proper. We should take precautions if we cannot bear other’s opulence and do not unnecessarily expose ourselves. However, most importantly if we recognise that actually whatever whoever has that is a gift given by God.
Krishna can give wealth, fame, position and other endless blessings but such material things cannot give lasting happiness. When Krishna manifest in our heart and our heart becomes enriched with devotion for him that is when we get everlasting happiness. When we see that the blessing is given by Krishna, then our focus shifts from them to Krishna.
Our connection with Krishna is not based on what he has given us, but on what we are giving him. If somebody has a lot of wealth, that does not necessarily mean that the person is very dear to Krishna. Opulence of wealth in person’s life may be because of his past karma. Somebody may have a lot, and they may offer very little and may not get the happiness. We may have less but if we use it properly in a mood of service to Krishna, even that less can give us greater things.
Let me give a simple example. Suppose after this program there is a feast where everybody is going to have their own plate with their own delicacies. Now I have a feast in my plate with all delicious things, but rather than looking at my plate I am looking at everybody else’s plate thinking that they have better delicacies. What we need for our happiness, Krishna has already provided us, but we hanker for more. Rather than craving for delicacies in others plate, we focus on the relishing on what is in our plate.
Happiness does not come by focussing on what we have, rather from what we do with what we have. We accept the gifts that we have, develop those gifts and try to use them properly. By doing so, we will be happy.
In the Ramayana, there is a story of how Lord Ram was building the bridge. Hanuman was carrying the giant boulders and there was a squirrel which was taking some sand particles. Sri Ram said I am equally happy with both of you. You both are doing according to your capacity. Similarly, it is not that greater material prosperity means that someone necessarily has a greater blessings of Krishna That’s also a blessing, but greater blessing of Krishna is giving the greater intelligence to use what we have in Krishna’s service.
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