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.