On Ego and Envy
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: Everyone knows that Srila Bhakti Sundar Dev-Goswami Maharaj gave you the position of the acharya of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, but we see that in some places your picture is not there in the parampara. When they offer bhoga and your picture is not there, is it accepted by Srila Gurudev and Srila Guru Maharaj?
I do not know that. I cannot answer this question.
If somebody does not put my picture, what is the problem? I do not say, "Everyone must put my picture at the altar!" What is the problem? Some devotees keep me in their hearts, that is sufficient for me. Why is it necessary to show a picture in the guru-parampara? They keep me in their heart, that is sufficient. Everybody should keep my picture at their altar—I do not want this. They can keep or not keep, that is their matter. I do not say to anybody, "Why do you not keep my photo there?! Do puja for me!" I am not that kind of person. I am a servant of devotees, I want to serve everybody. I do not want everyone to serve me—rather, I want to serve everybody.
Question: I was reading recently, and you were saying in a talk to the devotees in Venezuela that envy is actually worse than ego...
Yes, of course. There is a kind of ego that is good, for example, you feel, "I am a servant of devotees!" This is also ego, but this ego is good. However, envy was not given any place:
কৃষ্ণসেবা কামার্পণে, ক্রোধ ভক্ত-দ্বেষিজনে,
krsna-seva kamarpane, krodha bhakta-dvesi-jane
"I will engage lust by offering it in Krishna's service. I will engage anger towards those who are envious of the devotees. I will be greedy to hear the topics of Hari in the association of devotees. I will feel illusioned without achieving my worshipable Lord. I will be maddened while singing the glories of Krishna. In this way I will engage these enemies in their proper places."
(Sri Sri Prema-bhakti-chandrika, 22, Srila Narottam Das Thakur)
The scriptures give some place to these five enemies, but matsarya, envy, is not given any place. You can read this verse (above) and understand it.
অন্য অভিলাষ ছাড়ি, জ্ঞান কর্ম্ম পরিহরি,
anya abhilasa chhadi, jnana karma parihari
"The topmost process of devotional service is to worship the Lord with body and mind, giving up desires for fruitive activities and mental speculation. One should serve Lord Krsna in the association of devotees without worshipping any demigods."
(Sri Sri Prema-bhakti-chandrika, 13, Srila Narottam Das Thakur)
What does this verse "Krsna-seva kamarpane..." say? Lust or desire (kama) can be used when you think, "I work, but I work for the Lord." Anger (krodha)—you can show anger towards those who criticise devotees (bhakta-vidvesi). Greed (lobha)—you can have greed for maha-prasadam, or Hari-katha; if you are greedy for these things, then it is not a problem. Attachment (moha)—you should be attached to the service of the Lord, to the service to your Guru, service to Krishna consciousness, you should have attachment to Krishna consciousness. However, material attachment, family attachment is not good.
বিষয়ে যে প্রীতি এবে আছয়ে আমার ।
visaye ye priti ebe achhaye amara
"May I have the same affection and attraction to your feet that I now have for material things."
(Gitavali, 4.5, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
You are attached to your family, husband, wife, daughter, etc., but you should instead have the same kind of attachment towards the Lord, the Guru, devotees. That is called devotion.
And last is "mada"—ahankar, or ego. Ego can also be good if you think, "I am a servant of devotees." However, envy is much worse than ego, envy is the same as jealousy. It is very bad to be envious or jealous. Somebody becomes a manager, somebody becomes a sannyasi, somebody becomes a guru, and we sometimes cannot tolerate it. This is very bad for us, for Krishna consciousness, and in every other sense. Even in the other life also it gives so much problem—it takes one to a helpless position. If you have envy or jealousy, it is easy for you to go to hell. This is how bad envy is.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur told,
আমার জীবন সদা পাপে রত
amara jivana sada pape rata
My life is always engrossed in sin. There is not a trace of piety in it. I have caused others so much anxiety and trouble.
You can read this song, you will find there:
পর সুখে দুঃখী সদা মিথ্যাভাষী
para-sukhe duhkhi sada mithya-bhasi
I am unhappy when others are happy, and happy when others are unhappy.
If somebody is sad and we are very happy, it is very bad. Somebody achieves a good position, somebody earns good money, gets good things, and we envy them, we cannot tolerate another person's happiness. Somebody earns money and has a good house, and we cannot tolerate that. This kind of feelings are called envy or jealousy. We have no capacity to earn money, and if somebody else earns a lot of money, what is my problem? We must be happy for them. Gurudev always says: if somebody's quality of life becomes good, if somebody lives nicely, I am very happy for them. But some people cannot tolerate it...
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