What is Jealousy?

Question : Sir, does jealousy arise from ego?

Acharya Prashant: It is simple. If we look at it, it is very simple.

What is Ego?
It is your sense of yourself, which has been borrowed from the others.

So, I do not know myself directly. I am depending upon somebody else to tell me who I am. A fellow comes and says, ‘You are brilliant‘,  and what do I start believing? ‘I am brilliant!

Now my sense of being brilliant, my idea about myself that I am brilliant depends totally upon this other person who told me that I was brilliant otherwise I am not brilliant. If too many of them come and say that I am stupid, then I have to believe that I am stupid because even my idea of brilliance comes from others. If he says that I am brilliant and I believe it, then I will also have to  believe him when he says that I am stupid.

My brilliance is not coming out of my own understanding. My sense about myself is not coming from my own understanding but from his words.

I am dependent upon others and now I want them to keep saying, ‘You are brilliant,’ because my brilliance depends on his saying. The more they keep saying, the more special I feel. A direct result of this would be that the day I see them telling someone else, ‘You are brilliant,” I will feel jealous. Let us say that I am ‘A’ , he is ‘B’ and there is another entity ‘C’. Now ‘B’ tells ‘C’ that you too are brilliant. How will ‘A’ feel?

Listeners : Jealous.

AP : Now do you see what jealousy is?

L : Yes, Sir.

AP : Now let us take a different situation. I know that I am brilliant but my sense of the self is not coming from ‘B’, I just know that I am brilliant. It is not a borrowed idea. Now will it matter to me if ‘B’ says to ‘C’ that you are brilliant? Will I be jealous any more?

L : No, Sir.

AP : So, jealousy comes from dependency. The one who is not dependent cannot be jealous. The one who is his own master cannot be jealous. To be jealous means that I have accepted somebody as my master and now I want this master to remain with me. If he goes to someone else, then I feel a certain pain, and this pain is called ‘jealousy’.

Do you get it?

L : Yes, Sir.

AP : Alright!


– Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the the session at : What is Jealousy?

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