“Buy the car and enjoy the envy in your neighbours’ eyes”. With this tagline a car company hopes to lure more people to buy their brand. And what’s wrong with the message if today people prefer buying products not because of their needs but because of their desire to flaunt their wealth to prove their worth. So before buying a car they measure the length of their neighbours’ car to make sure that their car is bigger than that of their neighbours. People stand in queue for hours to buy the latest electronic gadgets so that they are not labelled as downmarket.
But in the quest to be the best we lose mental peace and remain in constant anxiety. We do not cherish our achievements rather we fear others accomplishments. “What if my friends/relatives/colleagues/neighbours surpass my material position and possessions?” “What if I lose things which are now so dear to me?” Our miserable and not so miserable state depends on what I have which others don’t have. If others are materially better than us then we start envying them and if we are better than others materially we start demeaning them.
Envy isn’t a godly quality to be cherished but is in fact a deadly sin which eventually implodes injuring us severely. Envy impels people to act impiously and in many cases violently. Duryodhana was so envious of Pandavas’ name, fame and virtuous kingdom, Indraprastha, that he devised plans to not just destroy them but went to the extent of disrobing Draupadi, his own sister in law. Envy never allowed Duryodhana to be peaceful; he always remained in anxiety and he finally died ignominiously. Whereas Pandavas, irrespective of favourable or unfavourable situations and circumstances, always remained peaceful and satiated because they never envied anyone.
With envy in the eyes, hatred in the heart and anger in the word we can never be happy in this world. This is why in Bhagavad Gita 16.3 Krishna tells us that freedom from envy is a virtuous quality. So, instead of trying to enjoy envy in others eyes we should try to treasure the gifts which God has given us with a thankful heart.