Thursday, December 9, 2010


LONDON ( - Success is always welcome - but it can also spark worries about envious people trying to bring you down. New research has found that the fear of being targeted by malicious envy makes people more helpful toward others. Niels van de Ven of the Tilburg University in the Netherlands and colleagues Marcel Zeelenberg and Rik Pieters had figured out that envy actually comes in two flavors: benign envy and malicious envy, reports the journal Psychological Science. They found that those with benign envy were motivated to improve themselves, to do better so they could be more like the person they envied, according to a Tilburg University statement. Conversely, people with malicious envy wanted to bring the more successful person down. Researches wondered what the experience was like for the people who were the target of the envy.

‘In anthropology, they say if you are envied, you might act more socially afterward because you try to appease those envious people,’ de Ven said. In an experiment done in the psychology lab, an experimenter dropped a bunch of erasers as the volunteer was leaving; those who thought they’d be maliciously envied were more likely to help him pick them up. “This sort of serves a useful group function,” says van de Ven. We all think better off people should share with others, “but that’s not something we are inclined to do when we are better off.” This fear of envy can encourage us to behave in ways that improve the social interactions of the group.

While success is a nice thing to have, it comes with a disadvantage - it makes you worry that the envious people will try to bring you down. This new research has shown that the fear of being the target of malicious envy makes people act more helpfully toward people who they think might be envious of them. Enviousness is a cruel way of violence. It is said that a Vaishnava should be compassionate to all and practice ahimsā or “non-violence”. Among the activities which are considered “himsā”, ie, “violent” towards others, you find the malice, envy and violence itself. A dedicated devotee always strives to get rid of all enviousness, conceit and false ego.

In the invocatory verses to the Srimad Bhagavatam, it is also said, “This Bhagavata Purana completely rejects all religious activities which are materially motivated. It is thus only comprehensible to those saintly persons who are completely free from enviousness.” ... “The essence of this religion can only be understood by those saintly persons who are completely free from enviousness - nirmatsaranam satam.” Only such people can know the truths of this religion and only they can practice it properly. Enviousness is a terrible thing. Envy means para-sri-katarata or the inability to tolerate the success of another person, whether in terms of beauty, wealth or any other qualification. One who is unable to tolerate the happiness of another and who finds joy in seeing others suffer cannot be considered a sadhu. Therefore it is said that the saintly are nirmatsara. Such people are eligible to practice this highest religion. Mahaprabhu instructed everyone to become free from enviousness.

Śrīla Bhakti Promode Puri Mahārāja :
“Vyasa Puja Lecture - 100th Birthday”
5 October 1997 in Sri Mayapur
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library -

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