The green-eyed monster

The writer talks about jealousy; and how it can affect your well-being and business

Vedic seers suggest six negative qualities: Arishadvargas, in people that could be the root of their own destruction, namely: Kama (Lust), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Greed), Moha (Infatuation), Mada (Ego) and Matsarya (Jealousy). All the tales of Vedic origins tell how even one of these qualities could lead to disastrous consequences.

In Mahabharata, after the Kingdom of Kuru was divided between five sons of Pandu and 100 sons of Dhritarashtra, it was that most unproductive or barren part of land which was handed over to the Pandavas. Duryodhana – the eldest of Dhritarashtra’s 100 sons – was confident that with a hapless piece of land, Pandavas could achieve zilch. However, with the wise counsel of Krishna – Pandavas were extremely successful in turning the apparently unproductive tract of land called of Khandavaprasta into Indraprastha (modern Delhi). However, Pandavas didn’t stop there. Pursuing excellence, they built a formidable army and conquered significant land to make theirs a formidable empire. After their successful conquest – Pandavas organized a large ceremony to celebrate their triumph in all four directions of earth – Digvijaya. At the event, even their arch rivals, 100 sons of Dhritarashtra too, were invited. However, on seeing the might of Pandavas and their magnificence of their cities as well as strength of armies – Duryodhana was anything but peaceful. Drenched in jealousy – he dreaded his jealousy.

When Shakuni – his maternal uncle – asked as to what’s the problem with him, Duryodhana replied, “Who could be able to stay content with the success of others – particularly his own enemies!” On overhearing Duryodhana, Krishna smiled and replied thus “It’s not easy Duryodhana, to accept success of our own relatives and friends – let alone our enemies. However, when we are unable to accept and show grace, it shows that we are infested with jealousy – the supreme cause of chaos in men. At times, even greatest saints and seers have failed here. But do know that – this jealousy makes your life a living hell. Be watchful – stop comparing yourself with others there’s no meaning in comparing. Comparing ourselves with others and then acting without wisdom is a sure path to doom.”

What advise Krishna presented to Duryodhana had little effect on the latter. Naturally, it was the very reason why a great war was fought, eventually, in which millions perished. It doesn’t matter if Mahabharata is history or mythology – what’s important is its wisdom; the text of Vyasa is filled with unsurpassable wealth of wisdom. Read history of humanity and see the reason for despots to subjugate their own people, powerful to crush the weak, rich to trample the poor and poor to tarnish the affluent – it begins with jealousy and ends in chaos.

Jealousy is detrimental. It’s a travesty that our education systems preaches it to be almost otherwise. Since our education system is based on the logic of comparing achievement of one with another, it in a significant way harnesses the concept of jealousy at every step of the way. When we see that someone is doing better than us – we first begin by being jealous of them and we do things to prove them otherwise. We cheat, use deceit and retort to almost anything without letting wisdom prevail. Jealousy may make us to do ultimate damage to our adversaries – once; but every moment we carry this jealousy in our mind – we make our lives a living hell.

There are those who argue about “virtues” of jealousy. If not for jealousy we couldn’t see competition, some argue. But to compete you don’t need to feel jealous – we could play a game with a toddler, lose and feeling nothing bad about it. On the contrary, we feel happy for it in some way enables the sense of accomplishment in that infant.

What’s the point of feeding jealousy in mind – even in business? If someone is more profitable – let’s display the grace to appreciate them and wish them luck. Let’s learn from them instead of rubbishing them outright. Without jealousy, we become peaceful. With peace, we also get clarity. Through clarity, we see our true objectives and use our resources to achieve just that. Through peace, success is then not just a result or some destination but the very journey. With such journey – what’s is hard to achieve?

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