Earn with integrity, spend with compassion.Radhanath Swami
The root cause of envy is the false ego. We envy someone who we feel has more than us. It may be more wealth, more knowledge, more ability, more prestige; it may be a higher position. Envy is a very deep-seated disease.
There is the provocation of envy on a collective basis in the form of bigotry, sectarianism, fanaticism, etc. Envy and pride are very much inseparable. People say, “I am Hindu,” “I am a Christian,” “I am a Jew,” “I am a Zoroastrian” or “I am a Jain,” and “Because I am that, that is the greatest; if that is the greatest that makes me the greatest.” Everyone has their scriptural quotes to show that they are the way to truth and light and there is no other way except through them. Everyone has their logic, even in religious circles, to show they are the greatest, their religion is the greatest, and everyone else is subordinate or evil. Just look what this kind of thinking has done to the world!
Religion is supposed to create a sense of seeing every living being with equal vision. Religion is supposed to bring about a sense of compassion and love for everyone. If you don’t love everyone you cannot love God. But religion has created the opposite effect. It has created sectarianism, bigotry and hatred toward others.
The same is true with Nationalism. When I was in America I was conditioned to think that America is the greatest race in the world. But when I went to England, they think they are the greatest in the world. And in Holland they think they are the greatest people in the world. The same is true with Greece, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran, and ultimately India. Every nation thinks that they are the greatest. They hold their flags high. So many flags waving high, each nation thinking that they are great and the result is so many wars – territorial wars, egoistic wars. To tolerate this sectarianism, this bigotry, is one of the greatest need of the world today. People hate each other because of their color. It is insane, inability to tolerate envy. See how it is critically creating pain and envy in the world today.
But envy cannot exist where there is even a trace of real love. Where there is love of God, we see every living being as part and parcel of God. Therefore, we feel happy at another person’s success and we feel sad to see another person suffer. To tolerate envy is very difficult, but through purification of the heart it becomes natural.
The fundamental need within every living being is to find pleasure. The ultimate pleasure is the pleasure of loving and of being loved. If we do not have that, then all the other sensory pleasures will never satisfy the heart. And the perfect love is the eternal love between the soul and God. But in order for love to be real and satisfying, the supreme absolute has created every living being with free will.
If we do not have free will, then we are like robots. A robot can do incredible things but cannot have relationships, it cannot love. So this is a necessity for love to be true and satisfying—that there be free will. The quality of God is that He is swarat, fully independent. So as His parts and parcels, we also have our minute independence. In order to freely love we must have the freedom not to love. If someone puts a gun on your head and says, “Do what I say, please me according to my desire,” you would probably do it; but will you be really happy doing it? And will that person be really happy forcing you to do it? Not really! But if you had your free will—to reject that person or to want to please that person—that satisfies the heart of both, because there is love.
So God has created everything and everyone in such a way that there can be perfect love. Thus he has given us the free will not to love Him, the free will to accept Him or to reject Him. That is His love.
If you are in the middle of an ocean in the darkness of night, do you know which way to go? But there is a compass in the boat that tells you exactly which direction you should be going. So this material existence is compared to an ocean, ‘bhavasagar’. The human life is compared to a boat, which actually has the potential to cross over this ocean. The guru is like the captain of the boat and the teachings of the Vedas and other holy scriptures are like the breezes. If we have the right captain, he or she can teach us how to actually move forward with the help of these breezes of the great teachings.
If you give food to the stomach the whole body is nourished. Every part of a healthy body is serving the whole body. The eyes are not just selfishly doing something; the eyes are directing the rest of the body. The hands are supplying to the rest of the body. The stomach is bringing nourishment to the rest of the body. The nose is bringing oxygen to the rest of the body. Every healthy cell of the body is serving the whole body. That is good health.
What is disease? I am not a doctor but I am speaking about disease from a philosophical perspective. Disease is when germs or cells enter body and they are selfish. They are egoistic and selfish, they are thinking about themselves. They are not thinking about the whole body.
What is a cancer cell doing? It’s living for itself. It’s eating the other cells. It’s fighting a war against the rest of the body. Then all the healthy cells, the good guys, because they are concerned with the body, they all start fighting against that disease. If you have a cold, those cold germs are like selfish guys; they are just thinking about themselves, eating you up. But you have the whole rest of the body fighting against it. And ultimately if those selfish cells become stronger and stronger, the cells that are working together for the whole body are ultimately killed and the body dies.
That’s what is happening in the world. The world is a body. Humanity is a body and a proper body is where everyone is focused on feeding the stomach, everyone is focused on serving the whole for the interest of everyone. But when you have people who are greedy, selfish and egoistic, they are like cancer cells in this body and they are creating havoc.
People consider that energy and power are very important, but actually knowledge is more important. If we apply our knowledge in utilizing the energy properly, it can serve the whole body, i.e. the world. It can be utilized in harmony with the absolute, with God. But if we utilize that same energy and power without proper knowledge of who we are and what our real purpose in life is, it could create disaster.