Swami explains the twin evils - Jealousy and Hatred
Jealousy and Hatred
Jealousy and hatred are twin
thieves. The one cannot live without the company of the other.
There is an inextricable relationship between them; they will
always take shelter within each other. Hatred may be compared to
an underground pest and jealousy may be compared to an
above-ground pest. Together they can destroy a tree. Consider a
tree which is very green, which is flowering and producing fruit,
which is very attractive to look at. When pests enter this tree
the tree will become dry within days. One of the pests will go to
the branches and leaves above while the other strikes at the roots
below. While the one spoils the beauty of the tree the other will
try to destroy the very life of the tree. They will always
accompany each other.
So it is also with jealousy and
hatred. Wherever there is jealousy there will also be hatred, and
whenever hatred is visible you will find jealousy lurking
invisibly behind. Hatred takes on a particular form. It manifests
itself in various ways. For jealousy there is no form; it remains
hidden under the surface. It has been said that there is no person
in the world who does not suffer from some jealousy; there will be
at least a small tendency towards jealousy in every person. To
make sure that this jealousy and hatred do not enter your system
you have to develop selfless love. Where there is selfless love
there is no place for jealousy and hatred to enter and take hold.
When jealousy and hatred are kept out, you can have the experience
of divine bliss.
Conquer Jealousy and you can
There is an ancient story of a
devout woman who had a reputation of being completely equanimous
and free of jealousy. Even her name meant 'without jealousy'. When
the three aspects of divinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, which are
the creative, the preservative and the destructive principles of
divinity, came to test her, her extreme purity of heart was able
to win them over and turn them into little babies. She became like
a mother to them. In her presence, they remained happily nestled
in her arms.
The three aspects of divinity
also represent the three qualities in nature, the active, the
passive, and the cyclical, which govern all phenomenal life in the
world. These three qualities make up our experiences in the world,
and the three aspects of divinity are the substratum of these
qualities. Therefore, the deeper meaning of this story is that
when you are free of jealousy, everything in the world will be
like a babe in your arms. You will be its mother, it will look up
to you and follow you. Truly, once you are free of jealousy you
will be able to conquer anything.
But it cannot be emphasized too
strongly that when you have jealousy, it will destroy all your
good qualities. You may think that it will destroy others but in
fact it will destroy you, not the others. It will make you sick.
You will not be able to sleep well. You will not be able to eat
well. Even if you are totally healthy, once jealousy takes hold of
you it will cause all kinds of physical ailments to sprout up in
you. It is like an inner consumption. Just as tuberculosis creeps
in and consumes, so also jealousy weakens you without your
realizing it. It can get into you in any number of ways and will
ultimately destroy you.
Jealousy is a vicious disease
which must not be permitted to gain a foothold. You must feel that
God will always bless you with his grace. Even if you are in a
lesser position than you think you deserve, you should enjoy the
happiness of others. You should be glad to hear of their
accomplishments and not feel sad just because they have things
which you do not have. Jealousy is all-pervasive in this immoral
age. It is prevalent in all types of people, be they worldly or
spiritually inclined. It is mostly because of jealousy that people
lose their peace of mind and waste their lives. Along with
jealousy, backbiting and hatred soon make their ugly appearance.
If you are the target of these evil qualities in others, your best
protection is the great virtue of forbearance. Here is a small
Forbearance will Overcome
Buddha was walking along the
country-side begging for alms. He was approaching a village. Many
people in that village had a great affection for Buddha. But just
before he reached the outskirts of the village, some young rowdies
loitering along the road began to jeer at him. A little surprised
at this reception, Buddha stopped and sat down on a rock. He said
to them, "Well, gentlemen, what pleasure do you derive from
criticizing me?" Without giving any reason, they increased their
denunciation of Buddha. Buddha said, "Continue as long as you want."
They berated and reviled him to a point where they got tired of
their own invective. Buddha's forbearance was so well developed
that their hatred could not touch him. At first they were having a
good time, but finally, having exhausted themselves without
getting the reaction they wanted, they decided to go away.
As they were walking away, Buddha
called out to them, "Children, I want to tell you something. In
the village just beyond here, there are many people who love me
very much. If they were to hear that you have been denouncing me
in this vile way, they would cut you to pieces. In order to save
you from that danger, I have stayed here on this rock and allowed
you to criticize me. In that way I have given you a gift. Without
spending a single cent, without making any effort, I have been
able to give you so much enjoyment by allowing you to berate me.
Rather than feel unhappy with your criticism, I am glad because I
have been able to give you some pleasure and spare you from
Then Buddha explained yet another
important point to them in a way that made an indelible impression
on their hearts. "Suppose a poor monk comes to your house and asks
for alms. You bring some food out to him. But suppose the type of
food you are offering is ritually impure and not acceptable by the
monk. What will happen then? Since he has not accepted your offer,
you will have to take it back and it will remain with you.
Similarly, you are offering me all this criticism. These are the
alms you are trying to give me. But I have not accepted your
offerings. Well then, you will have to keep them; they remain with
you. So you see, all your criticisms are really just being
redirected to yourselves. You are not criticizing me at all!"
One can send a letter by
registered post to a friend. If the friend does not accept this
registered letter, what will the Postal Department do with the
letter? It will redirect it back to the person who sent it. If you
are criticizing someone but this person does not accept your
criticism, then inevitably the criticism comes back to you. Do not
think that by voicing the jealousy and hatred you may be feeling,
that you will be troubling those to whom these odious sentiments
are directed. In truth, you will only be troubling yourself.
Jealousy and hatred will create great difficulties for the one who
is infected with them. Jealousy and hatred spring from egoism.
Here is a small example.
Behind Jealousy and Hatred is
There was a devout religious man
who took great joy in cultivating a garden full of beautiful
flowers and fruits. Even though he was steeped in spiritual
knowledge, he had developed a strong touch of egoism within him.
The moment egoism developed, jealousy also entered. When egoism
and jealousy make their appearance, hatred automatically joins
them. God took a personal interest in this errant devotee. God saw
that this person, although he had all the proper religious outer
trappings, had nevertheless, filled his heart with poison. God
decided to correct him by teaching him a lesson. The Lord
manifested himself in the form of an old mendicant and took a
stroll by that garden.
The old mendicant went to a
recently planted tree and greatly extolled the beauty of that tree.
Noticing the garden owner nearby he asked him, "Who is the
gardener responsible for cultivating such a fine tree?" The proud
owner puffed himself up and said, "Sir, it is I who have brought
up this entire garden. I grew this tree and I raised all the other
trees that you see here, as well. By my own efforts I developed
all these pleasing paths and made this beautiful garden. I alone
look after everything here. There is no hired gardener. I am the
one who draws the water. I spread the manure. I pull the weeds and
I remove the pests. I clean the paths. I am developing these
beautiful flowers and fruits, doing all these things for the sake
of giving joy to others." In this way he went on repeating I...
Appearing to appreciate the
beauty of the garden, the old mendicant continued to dwell there
for awhile, while the owner busied himself nearby, grooming his
garden. After some time the mendicant left. A little bit later a
cow entered the garden. She was so weak that she was about to fall
and destroy the plants that were there under her body. The owner
of the garden saw that this cow was about to spoil his beautiful
garden. So he took a small stick and threw it at the cow to chase
her out. But the moment the stick touched the cow, the cow fell
down and died. Now, in his religion, cows are considered very
sacred, and should never be molested or harmed. Having thrown the
stick from which the cow dropped dead, he would now have to suffer
the great sin of killing a cow. He was aghast at this terrible
turn of events.
It was not very long afterwards
that the same old mendicant came back into the garden. Walking
along the path where the cow had strayed, he saw the dead cow and
was shocked. He sought out the owner and urged him to quickly come
to the spot. The mendicant asked, "Who killed this cow? Who
committed this outrage?" When the owner did not answer immediately,
the old mendicant asked more directly, "Tell me, do you know who
killed this cow?" The owner replied, "Surely it was the will of
God. Without the will of the Lord, would she have died just like
that? Unless she was meant to die, would she fall down and expire
just because a little stick touched her?"
The moment the old mendicant
heard this he told the man, "Previously you told me how it was you
alone who was responsible for raising this whole garden, how you
alone planted and nurtured all these plants and put in all the
paths. You were taking credit for all the good things that have
happened here. But for anything that is wrong and inauspicious you
put the blame on God. You are an arrogant, self-serving fool, so
puffed up with your own importance that you won't even acknowledge
the Creator's hand in bringing forth all the beauty that is here.
You are taking credit for that which belongs to God. You are even
jealous of God. If not for the will of God, there would be nothing
in your garden."
At this point, the old mendicant
revealed his true identity. He said, "I am the Lord himself. I
have come to destroy your egoism." The erring devotee fell at the
Lord's feet in contrition. The devotee realized how ego had stolen
into him, had gained a foothold, and then had completely taken him
over. Now, he understood the deeper meaning of the spiritual
teachings that he had been mouthing for so long. He realized that
everything is imbued with the divinity, and therefore, he should
see the divinity everywhere and live his life with the knowledge
that down to the minutest detail, everything is under the control
of the divinity.
Destroy Egoism, Jealousy and
Hatred with Love and Forbearance
You must take care that you do
not develop egoism and its henchmen, hatred and jealousy. Once
they take root within you they will be very difficult to eradicate.
When you have become infested with these bad qualities you may not
be so fortunate as this devotee and get the attention of the Lord
so directly, to help you eradicate them. You will not be able to
exterminate jealousy merely by reading scriptures or engaging in
spiritual rituals. But by making a determined effort to transform
your thoughts and develop selfless love, you can destroy this pest.
Offer up all your negative thoughts at the feet of the Lord and
fill yourself with unwavering love and forbearance.
So long as you have jealousy you
can never shine. All the great virtues in you will disappear. The
Gita has taught that the primary spiritual practice is to
develop ideal virtues and apply them in your daily life. In this
way, you create favorable circumstances for yourself. When you
lead a virtuous life, you will be able to experience the principle
of the atma. But if you do not develop the great qualities and
apply them to your daily life, you will never be able to realize
The light of the Atma is
everywhere. It is not limited to any one person or form. It shines
as effulgence, filling the entire universe. It may take any form
and any name. It is the very basis of every name and form. Take
for example the light that is emanating from a bulb, or the breeze
you get from a fan, or the heat you get from an electric cooking
stove, or the work you get from an electric motor. The effects are
all different. The work done by the motor is different from the
breeze obtained from the fan. The light obtained from the bulb is
different from the food cooked on the stove. The effects are
different, the machines are different, but going through all of
them is the one electric current. The same is true for the
principle of the Atma. In different bodies it manifests
differently, but underneath there is the same unity.
The luminosity of the electric
light is proportional to the current that flows in the bulbs. The
light that shines forth from the bulbs can be compared to the
Atmic effulgence which shines in individuals. Light has no shape
or form, but bulbs come in various shapes and strengths. An
incandescent bulb has a particular form; a fluorescent light has a
different form. The dining-room bulb may be very bright; the bulb
in the bedroom may be quite dim. Because of ignorance you may
think that if the one type of electric current powers both the
bedroom bulb and the dining room bulb, why should there be a
difference in the light? The difference comes about because of the
Similarly, there is a difference
in the _expression of love in various hearts. If your love is
wholesome, full and complete, you will be able to manifest the
fullness of the Atmic effulgence and shine brightly. If you have a
narrow selfish love, it will be something like a dim bedroom bulb.
It is not a question of current; the potential for providing any
amount of current is available and ready. You must change the bulb
in order to get a greater light. If you are filled with jealousy,
then the power of the light will be very small. If you have the
effulgence of selfless love, then the power will be something like
a 1000 watt bulb. Therefore, develop your love. It is possible to
recognize the divinity only with the help of love.
The Divinity never has Selfish
Arjuna and Dharmaraja, his eldest
brother, who were both watching from a distance, were astounded.
Arjuna asked Krishna, "What just happened here? What is
responsible for this spectacle?" Krishna answered, "Arjuna, no one
understands my actions. For the divinity there is never any
selfishness or egoism. The protection of my devotees is my only
concern. The benefit and encouragement of my devotees is my only
wish. I kept all those fearsome weapons which were employed by
Bhishma and had entered the chariot, harmlessly under my foot. As
long as I had my foot on them, they were not able to exercise
their powers over you. If I had alighted from the chariot first,
these weapons would have destroyed you along with the chariot. You
would have been reduced to ashes. Being unaware of this, you asked
me to get down first."
The moment Arjuna heard these words of Krishna; he realized his
own arrogant and ignorant behavior. He was exhibiting all the
signs of jealousy. Finding fault with the divinity and thinking
that he was greater than Krishna can be seen as a form of jealousy.
There are a number of important
signs of jealousy. Jealousy makes its appearance when you meet a
person who has earned greater fame than you. Or it will develop
when a person has more wealth than you. Jealousy will also show
its head when you come into the presence of a person who is more
beautiful and handsome. For students, jealousy will soon appear if
there is another student who scores higher marks than you. It is
the weakness of ordinary human beings to develop jealousy whenever
they come in contact with people who excel them in terms of wealth,
position, beauty, intelligence, and other such qualities.
Jealousy will not live harmlessly
inside you. The moment jealousy enters all the virtues which you
have cultivated over a long time, all the great qualities which
you have developed, are destroyed. It ruins the human nature; it
strengthens the animal nature; it promotes the demonic nature. It
has no scruples. It does not look forward or backward. It is such
an insidious quality that you must see to it that jealousy will
never possess you. Enjoy the prosperity of others. Enjoy the
progress of others. Enjoy the welfare of others. Enjoy the beauty
of others. This is true virtue. This is one of the most important
teachings of the Gita. Desiring the good of others is a
laudable quality which everyone should possess.
Jealousy and Hatred destroy
those who possess them
While explaining these principles
to Arjuna, Krishna told Arjuna, "For your evil cousins, the one
hundred brothers who have been plotting to destroy the Pandavas'
joy and happiness, it is their evil qualities which encouraged
them to do all their wicked deeds. People who are jealous attract
bad people for company. These cousins have with them their evil
uncle, who encouraged them in their enmity towards the Pandavas.
He is filled with jealousy. These are all blind people. Just as
their father is physically blind, all hundred brothers are
mentally blind. They join together and fall in line with one
another. But you can be sure, Arjuna, that the bad qualities in
these people will destroy them." As Krishna predicted, not even
one of these hundred brothers survived the war to perform the
funeral rites for their parents. This is the great tragedy of
falling into hatred and jealousy.
If you want to really understand
the Gita, then you have to start by developing all the good
qualities and virtues that have been discussed. Once these good
qualities are part of you, you will be able to experience the
Anything you desire can be gotten
from a wish-fulfilling tree. The Gita is such a
wish-fulfilling tree. It will grant you whatever you are ready to
receive. It will give you the level of understanding which
reflects your own particular desires. In this age, people are
interpreting the Gita incorrectly, because they are filled
with so many wrong desires. And so, the Gita has been of
little use to them. But, you must develop your virtue and fill
yourself with love. Then the lofty message of the Gita will
shine within you and inspire you to reach the divinity. To reach
the divinity is your birthright. It is your unchanging reality,
your undying truth.
Source: Sai Baba Gita: