Our five greatest enemies are said to be desire, anger, greed, attachment and ego. All these give rise to jealousy, which is the root of all evils and the most difficult one to conquer. It is said that a jealous man poisons his own food and then eats it. It should, therefore, be gotten rid of at the earliest. But to do so is a great challenge.
However, if we proceed bit by bit starting from its genesis, it becomes easier to win over this enemy of ours. Once I was addressing the students of a public school in Noida. The occasion was the distribution of prizes to the winners of a quiz contest. There were about 500 young boys and girls who came from different family backgrounds. They were not only smart but also intelligent as well as responsive. My address to them centred round values and positive thinking. They were listening to me very attentively. During my address, I told them that when we have negative traits in us, we ourselves are the first and biggest victims of it. While this logic appeals to all, sustaining it all the time is a different task. Knowingly or unknowingly, we somehow get carried away by our lower nature and start nurturing the evil traits in us, be they anger, greed, desire or jealousy. The need, therefore, is to be on guard all the time and in due course our negative traits will fade away.
After my address there was an interaction session with the students. Many of them asked very searching questions which I tried to answer to the best of my ability. One girl very innocently raised a question about jealousy and asked whether it was not natural to be jealous. She was right in the sense that almost all of us feel jealous whenever we see any of our colleagues going ahead of us, whether in riches or position or fame. Perhaps, no one can make a claim that he or she has never felt jealous of others at one time or the other. While I appreciated her question, my answer was that if jealousy is natural, then our suffering on account of it is also natural. Once we focus on this aspect of jealousy, our efforts to get rid of it will be more effective. Thus, this negative trait of ours can be won over by this reverse process of contemplation. The girl was satisfied with this answer and so was I.
The same is true for all such inner enemies of ours like anger, attachment, desire, greed, ego, etc. When we allow them to prevail upon us, we become their first victims. On the other hand, when we practice virtues like compassion, pardon, humility, patience, contentment, charity, etc., again, we are the first beneficiaries. Once we start looking at evils and virtues from this perspective, we can advance towards purity. Accordingly, our peace and harmony will also increase. Eventually, we become positive and remain motivated at all times. Thus, the whole interaction with those young students became so rewarding that I thought of sharing it with others.