Free Press Journal

A jealous and a possessive mind

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RAVI VALLURI gives suggestions on how to overcome attributes such as jealousy, envy, possessiveness to save one’s mind.

There were twenty theatre enthusiasts of a college who participated in the audition for the annual college day play. In all six roles were up for grabs, which included one female and five male characters.

As a safety valve and precautionary measure, the well feted and cerebral director handpicked one additional female lead and two male characters. The first choice for the female lead was attractive, vivacious and bubbling with talent. She felt wretched sharing the stage space with another plucky woman.


Her covetous and jealous mind, instead of concentrating on the character and performance kept plotting strategies and tactics to run down her perceived opponent, much to the consternation of the director.

At his wits end the director opted for the alternative choice and assigned her the lead role. The tempestuous woman burning with envy was clearly irresponsible.

 The world has become exceedingly ruthless and is certainly no longer populated by monks and sages. Renunciation today is seen as an act contemptibly performed by someone lacking in courage.  Competition fuels the aspiration to lunge territories and enlarge area of dominance.

 Companies, countries and communities have all become wary of the material success of their ‘competitors’ and in the process compromise with their goals and objectives and are consequently  resorting to shortcuts in order to emerge triumphant and victorious. These vicious methods do not generate positive externalities, rather endanger their own existence. In the long haul however, only public good can sustain and run organisations. May be to interdict or preclude something evil, they indulge in charity or philanthropy. This perhaps results in providing largesse to the community, purportedly originating from a guilt complex. May be that is why the Mahatma advocated the philosophy of trusteeship.

“You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars,” writes Garry Allen.

The attribute of jealousy arises in an individual when the mind is possessive of certain belongings. Essentially they fail to appreciate it is primarily inadequacy and deficiency in the personality that triggers this kind of capricious and mercurial behaviour.

Interestingly envy in many also arises out of shortages. There can be lack of aptitude, talent, resources, connections, opportunities or because of unfavourable outcome. This engenders negative feelings towards perceived competitors which culminate in jealousy and harbouring other negative feelings.

Individuals are subsumed by jealousy and build walls of possessiveness and false security glasses around their personalities. Such minds feel cheery about their possession. They attach importance to this property, literally clinging on to it. This could be aphysical property, position, power and pelf, pleasure, sex, or feelings such as attachment.

 As per the Mahabharata, Karna was extremely jealous of Arjuna, which eventually proved to be his nemesis. Similarly Devdutt remained extremely envious of his enlightened cousin, Buddha, which lead to his downfall.

The jealous and possessive mind is acquisitive by nature, taking both animate and inanimate objects for granted and getting attached to things, like an addiction to alcohol or marijuana. Additionally, such a mind is perpetually petrified at the prospect of losing acquisitions. Fear in such minds harbours negative tendencies such as hatred, greed and ruthlessness.

In case of the college mentioned earlier in the article the more talented actress became fearful and was gripped with hatred and greed and her ruthless mind kept conjuring tricks trying to outsmart the second lead and in the bargain lost the plot, literally. Jealous and envious minds have become laboratories of antagonism which spew hatred.

“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves,” writes William Penn.

How to overcome attributes such as jealousy, envy, possessiveness to save one’s mind? At one end of the spectrum are organisations and authorities which need to take up some of this responsibility. These include proper parenting, where children are brought up on ideals of inherent goodness, an effective educational system which imparts values as part of their pedagogy, governments which takes up the responsibility of providing equal opportunities to the denizens and makes an attempt to carve out an egalitarian system and a society which addresses to the core issues of humanness amongst its citizenry. “Vasudeva Kutumbakam” (or One World Family) is the net result.

  These may appear altruistic but is an effort needed to restore some semblance of sanity in society which otherwise is plagued by avarice and jealousy.

Spiritual touch is an important colour in the rainbow of goodness. One can practice any faith, but needs to be tolerant of others’ point of view. Spirituality succeeds where religions draw the fault lines and wave red flags.

Practitioners of Sudarshan Kriya first bow down to the angels of different directions thereby surrendering– attachments and entanglements to the east, lust and obsession to south, greed and jealousy to west and anger and arrogance to the north-all negative tendencies. Over a period of time, they would be able to overcome these frailties of the human mind. Or it could be practice of the Vipassana meditation technique, wherein continuous observation of one’s breath purges these negative traits. Regular practice of Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation too helps in calming the mind and arresting these antipathetic traits.

Yoga is all embracing and should not be viewed as only a physical exercise. Purity and truthfulness are integral to the spiritual growth of the seeker.

Globalisation has certainly succeeded in making the world flat, but it has also resulted in an exponential increase in crass commercialisation and human minds have become prey to the traits of jealousy, envy and possessiveness.

The vicious tendencies of jealousy and possessiveness can be tackled in this two fold approach highlighted, where the chasm between individuals diminishes.

‘Manifest plainness

Embrace Simplicity

Reduce Selfishness

Have Few Desires’ – said Lao Tzu