Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Teachings

  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 Conquer Anything

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 story.

Forbearance will Overcome Hatred

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 serious harm."

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 Egoism

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... I... 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 divinity.

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 bulbs.

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 Motives

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 divinity directly.

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: http://askbaba.net/saibabagita/

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