Power of Association - Part 22

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

In our last offering on the story of Mrgari, we learnt from the hunter devotee, the importance of doing our devotional service without disturbing others. Let us continue to meditate on further lessons from the story today.

22. Only Bhakti can Destroy Envy: Upon seeing the behavior of hunter in protecting the ants from being killed, Narada muni expressed his satisfaction, "My dear hunter, such behavior is not at all astonishing. A man in devotional service is automatically nonviolent. He is the best of gentlemen."

So Narada muni who knows the potency of devotional service, is not astonished at the transformation of the hunter, because for him it is a surprise only if it did not work. A magician is never astonished at his magical feats, it is the onlookers who do not know the science behind those magic tricks will be amazed to see them. Narada muni was quite sure that the process will work on the hunter if he followed his instructions sincerely. And observing the hunter's behavior before he left him, Narada muni understood his sincerity and hence he was confident of the hunter's transformation into a devotee. A devotee is naturally non-violent, hiṁsā-śūnya, because he sees Krishna present in every living entity, rather everything that is manifest. By Narada muni's causeless mercy, the hunter not only became non-violent, he also became a sadhu-varya, the best of honest gentlemen.

Then Narada muni further tells Mrgari, "O hunter, good qualities like nonviolence, which you have developed, are not very astonishing, for those engaged in the Lord’s devotional service are never inclined to give pain to others because of envy."

The inclination to give pain to others (especially unprovoked), has its roots in our envious nature. Srila Prabhupada writes beautifully in his purport to BG 12.15, "Generally a materialistic person becomes very happy when there is something for his sense gratification and his body, but when he sees that others have something for their sense gratification and he hasn’t, he is sorry and envious."

The basic tendency in us is that, "No one should be happier than me or enjoy more than me in this world. When they do not have what I own, when they hanker for I have, or feel disappointed for not owning it, that gives me great happiness and a sense of accomplishment." In every step of our life, we strive only for this goal in a subtle way. But the reality is topsy-turvy. It is we who are helplessly looking at everyone and hankering to possess what they own. Unfortunately, Krishna has cleverly designed this world in such a way that everyone will have at least something of what others don't have and will not have something that other's have. And our desire is to have everything that everyone else has (and a little more). When this impractical expectation is not fulfilled, the natural outcome is that we become envious of others. If those people are within our power of influence, we hurt them with our words, actions and thoughts and enjoy their suffering. But if they are beyond our capacity to hurt, then we hurt ourselves by becoming dejected, depressed, discouraged and disappointed. This is how envy works in this material world.

However, the hunter fortunately escaped this whirlpool of envy and violence by performing sincere devotional service under the guidance of transcendental acarya like Narada muni who is above and beyond all such anarthas.

Narada muni being a pure devotee, not only was non-envious himself, but he also strived hard to make others non-violent and non-envious. As Srila Prabhupada says in one of his purport, the aim of vaishnava acaryas is to create a non-envious, competitionless society for the welfare of all. In this context, we would like to meditate on this beautiful prayer by one of the glorious disciples of Srila Narada muni, Sri Prahlad Maharaj in SB 5.18.9:

svasty astu viśvasya khalaḥ prasīdatāṁ
dhyāyantu bhūtāni śivaṁ mitho dhiyā
manaś ca bhadraṁ bhajatād adhokṣaje
āveśyatāṁ no matir apy ahaitukī

May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified. May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga, for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other’s welfare. Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him.

Bhakti yoga is the only process that can destroy envy from its roots. The hunter practiced bhakti yoga following the instruction of Srila Narada muni and began thinking of the welfare of even the tiny ants. Let us take inspiration from this prayer and the life of Mrgari to shed all traces of envy from our hearts by practicing sincere devotional service.

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das