“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)
It’s difficult to not be a little envious. After all, the material existence is a constant struggle. You solve one problem only to have five more arise. There are miseries galore. Sometimes just sitting at home causes so much distress. The place where you are supposed to be able to relax has heating or cooling issues. The weather changes by the hour, and you have no idea how to prepare.
When we see others supposedly enjoying more than us, how can envy not kick in? When our friends tell us about something bad happening to them, we feel better than when they describe their excitement at getting a new job or finding the house of their dreams.
Fortunately, Vedic knowledge covers all aspects of living, both material and spiritual. Man is born with four principal defects, with one of them being imperfect senses. Perception is attached to those senses, and from connecting with the knowledge coming from the vision of shastra, we learn that there is no reason to be envious.
1. Remember your own struggles
In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna says that He is the source of knowledge and remembrance. Forgetfulness is due to Him, as well. He acts as the Supersoul, residing in the heart next to the individual. He can change the situation of material life very quickly, should He be approached.
He also empowers an illusory energy known as maya. The two forces combining, we see how easy it is to forget. Do we remember what we ate for breakfast a year ago today? Do we remember every significant event from childhood? At those times the events were important, but not enough so to be retained in memory.
An easy way to avoid envy is to try to recall our own struggles. Then apply the same principle to others. That is to say every person has their difficulties in a material existence. They struggle with forgetfulness, also. Therefore when something good happens to them, there should be happiness at the personal level. Good for them that they found some fortune in an otherwise bleak existence destined for destruction.
2. Images don’t tell the entire story
I may be envious that my friend seems to be enjoying married life. The children are well-behaved, the wife performs amazing service, ready to step up in important situations. They have a nice home and everyone looks happy.
That is the surface view, but behind the scenes there may be a different image. There could be constant fighting in the home. The couple may be on the path to divorce. The children might only behave themselves when around strangers.
The same illusion applies to the entire material creation. Images are not perfect in their depiction of emotions and situations. Thus no reason to be envious of something that might not even exist.
3. Past karma
At the foundation of Vedic knowledge is the difference between matter and spirit. I am individual soul, part and parcel of God, who is the Supreme Soul. The things I use to identify myself at present are actually part of the body, which is temporary and destructible. I have lived in the past and I will live in the future. That is the meaning to spirit.
When something good happens to someone, it is due to past karma. They had some pious credits, sukriti, accumulated that were awaiting redemption. It might have been unknown to them, ajnata, but there was some action taken nonetheless. Lakshmana remarks on this in the Ramayana. He says that the results of actions, good or bad, are unseen and indefinite in duration, but there is always some original work performed as the cause.
“Unseen and indefinite are the good and bad reactions of fruitive work. And without taking action, the desired fruits of such work cannot manifest.” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 66.17)
No reason to be jealous of someone who did something good in the past. The system of karma should be appreciated. It is always fair, even if the present situation says otherwise. I might be unlucky right now, but that could change in the future.
4. Fortunate only right now
Without knowledge of the spiritual science, it is only natural to think that a successful life is one where wealth and fame are acquired. Hence derogatory terms like “lucky sperm club” and “winners of life’s lottery” emerge. These are rooted in envy.
“Here I am working my tail off to earn a living and that guy over there didn’t have to do anything. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. That other guy started a business that happened to take off. It went public and now his shares in the company are worth millions. The products his company produces aren’t even that great. What a lucky guy.”
Time is always on the march. It is the greatest subduing agent, yet to be defeated. No reason to be jealous, since time will eventually take everything away from everyone. Then the slate gets wiped clean, where the individual has to start over.
The truly fortunate person is the one who has the close association with God the person. As mentioned before, the Supreme Lord is already nearby, residing within the heart. Due to forgetfulness and the influence of maya I don’t make the connection.
The fortunate person is in yoga. They have made the link, with the process taught to them by a previously realized soul. The change is not difficult to make; consciousness is the lone requirement. There is no reason to even be jealous of such a person, as they tend to be the most benevolent, wishing the same success for everyone they meet. For this reason they discuss topics of Vedic wisdom with others and share the sacred sounds of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
From success of others to see,
How jealous not to be?
First illusion of image know,
Different when behind curtain to go.
From good deeds worthy of esteem,
In this life now to redeem.
Way of world that always changing,
Better to worship one who arranging.
Categories: the four