Q. Please tell me how to get rid of envy. I sometimes feel free from envy, but there is a false-ego river that is constantly flowing inside for all conditioned souls.
By nature and also by birth I am a kshatriya; please let me know how I can become envy-less towards others.
Everyone in the material world is competing with and trying to get ahead of others. The root cause of this envy and competition is the conditioned soul’s original envy towards Krishna Himself! Krishna is the only Supreme Enjoyer, but the conditioned soul unceremoniously wants to enjoy independently, thus declaring competition with God in effect. Envy towards Krishna is manifested as envy towards His parts and parcels.
In the spiritual world, envy is conspicuous by its absence. Since everybody is focused on giving pleasure to Krishna, there is no competition to surpass or put-down someone else. Rather everyone is eager to enhance the service of others for increasing Krishna’s pleasure.
This is Vaikuntha Consciousness: “[In Vaikuntha], when the king of bees hums in a high pitch, singing the glories of the Lord, there is a temporary lull in the noise of the pigeon, the cuckoo, the crane, the cakravaka, the swan, the parrot, the partridge and the peacock. Such transcendental birds stop their own singing simply to hear the glories of the Lord.
Although flowering plants like the mandara, kunda, kurabaka, utpala, campaka, arna, punnaga, nagakesara, bakula, lily and parijata are full of transcendental fragrance, they are still conscious of the austerities performed by tulasi, for tulasi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with tulasi leaves.” (SB 3.15.18-19)
Just by hearing and appreciating such descriptions of the dealings among liberated, pure souls from the Bhagavatam, our heart becomes cleansed of envy. Here we see a complete absence of envy -- even the most beautiful flowers and sweet-sounding birds are eager, not to outshine others, but to respect and appreciate the superlative service of another.
The remedy to envy is therefore to cleanse our consciousness – through the process of hearing and chanting the Holy Name and glories of Krishna. This enables us to transfer our consciousness from selfish absorption back to pleasing the Lord. As you strive to rekindle your devotion to Krishna, practice feeling grateful and satisfied for whatever the Lord provides, practice appreciating and glorifying others in their relationship to Krishna, and cultivate a practice of thinking about the genuine welfare of others. By such practices favorable to bhakti, the tendency to compete with & exploit others diminishes.
All of these can be easily accomplished, without extraneous effort, if we constantly seek the association of saintly persons. Pure devotees of the Lord are completely free from critical mentality and competitiveness. Not only are they non-envious but they are ‘well-wishers to everyone and they strive to establish a competitionless society with God in the center.’ A devotee sees how everyone in this material world is ultimately suffering and is deserving of Krishna’s compassion, and sees himself as insignificant and fortunate to have received more than what he deserves -- therefore he envies no one. Not to speak of other human beings, a saintly devotee would not even think of harming or exploiting the energy of animals, plants or even a blade of grass – for his own benefit!
By taking shelter of such non-envious devotees of the Lord, serving them, praising their qualities and hearing the Bhagavatam from them, automatically we become engaged in assisting other’s welfare and progress, and our hearts becomes cleansed of all contamination. The Bhagavatam recommends this as the one stroke remedy for getting rid of all unwanted bad habits from the heart including envy, anger, lust, ignorance etc : regularly hearing from the lips of a pure soul, following their instructions and serving them with great regard. “nasta-prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya” (SB 1.2.17)