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The four stages of envy- Part 1

“To find out a girl’s faults, praise her to her girlfriends.”

–    Benjamin Franklin (author, humorist, scientist, politician- a polymath, and one of the founders of the U.S.A)

Are you a bee or a fly?

The difference between the two is this: a bee extracts honey from the flowers whereas a fly may pass through your entire body, but would dwell only upon the sores.

Do you take the good in others-like the bee- or focus on their faults- like the fly? Do we live with an abundance mindset or are we sick with envy?

The cancer of envy

Humans pride in their ability to control many aspects of their existence, but if the disease of cancer struck them, they could confidently tackle only the first two stages. Likewise, envy has four steps and can be addressed at the first two levels, but once a person gets vicious, it’s beyond others’ ability to cure him.

Stage 1: Avajna- ‘I am better than him.’    

The Bhakti practices begin with the mood of respect and considering everyone as more dear to the Lord than self. This humility is endearing to God, Krishna, and helps one progress in his/her spiritual life. But when we think we are better than others, that’s when the cancer of envy strikes its first blow.

This attitude blocks the natural path of devotional service. It’s here that hypocrisy enters our lives; we don’t experience reciprocation from God for our religious activities, and therefore prefer to practice spiritual life for material gains like fame, hour, wealth, etc. Thus, slowly but surely we are thrown off the path of purity.

The superiority mindset isn’t as dangerous as the subsequent stages, and it’s here that we can make a tangible change to our innocent misconceptions.

We check the spread of this cancer by asking honest and painful questions to ourselves: do I feel happy at others’ success? Am I generally joyful or cynical when I hear others’ appreciation? The candid answer to these reveals if our heart is steeped in envy or are we out of the danger zone. If the answer is hurting, our condition is worrisome. We need to immediately rectify the wrong mindset by giving up hubris and honoring others for who they are.

To be continued…

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