Prabhupāda Says: The living entities in this world are so jealous that if one’s personal interest is hampered, one will immediately be ready to give trouble to others, even to one’s nearest relatives.
The word khala means “jealous.” This material world is a world of jealousy and envy. I am envious of you, and you are envious of me. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, however, is meant for one who is no longer jealous or envious. By becoming free from jealousy and envy, one becomes a perfect person. Dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ (Bhāg. 1.1.2).
Those who are jealous and envious are within this material world, and those who are not are in the spiritual world. Therefore, we can test ourselves. If we are jealous or envious of our friends or other associates, we are in the material world, and if we are not jealous we are in the spiritual world.
There need be no doubt of whether we are spiritually advanced or not. We can test ourselves. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra ca (Bhāg. 11.2.42). When we eat, we can understand for ourselves whether our hunger is satisfied; we don’t have to take a certificate from others. Similarly, we can test for ourselves whether we are in the material world or the spiritual world. If we are jealous or envious, we are in the material world, and if we are not we are in the spiritual world.
If one is not jealous, one can serve Kṛṣṇa very well, because jealousy and envy begin with being jealous of Kṛṣṇa.
[TQK – 6 Master of the senses]
Śrīla Prabhupāda says that this material world is ‘a world of jealousy and envy’ which in its ultimate sense means that we are jealous and envious of Kṛṣṇa. However, here in the material world where we are entangled in the modes of material nature, our jealousy of Kṛṣṇa takes the form of being jealous or envious of each other. The terms jealousy and envy are most often used as interchangeable terms however they are in fact two distinct terms.
Jealousy is usually the result of a fear of losing someone or something that we are strongly attached to, or in other words, when we possess a strong attachment to something or someone we ‘fear’ that someone else may try to take it away from us. In human social interactions this usually involves three people. The classic case is where another is wooing the person of one’s desires and we fear losing that which for which we hunger.
Whereas envy is resentment to another person who has something that we don’t have and we strongly desire to possess. In human social interactions jealousy usually involves three people whereas envy usually involves two.
An aspiring devotee may be envious of another devotee who has a better position than themselves, more money, power, influence, skills, and respect whereas a devotee who is jealous may be jealous that another devotee’s philosophical conclusion/theory may be more superior to their own conclusion or jealous that the brahmacarini that they desire to marry is interested in another.
We must be very careful to scrutinize our motives and intentions at all times to make sure that we are not being self motivated in our actions. Jealousy and envy have been the cause of so much suffering in our lives. An aspiring Vaiṣṇava devotee of the Lord must strictly guard against such feelings and control our behavior so as not to be taken away with feelings of jealousy and envy.
We must be ever vigilant that our behavior is not dictated by jealousy or envy which usually manifests if we find that we are “so jealous that if one’s personal interest is hampered, one will immediately be ready to give trouble to others, even to one’s nearest relatives”. So let us not find ourselves in a situation where we are personally motivated to cause trouble to other devotees because of fear born of jealousy or resentment born from envy.