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Envy and Compassion

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April 2011
Envy and Compassion Questioner: Envy and compassion seems to be such contradicting feelings and emotions. It’s easy to feel compassionate for somebody as long as they are suffering, but as soon as that turns you feel envious of that same person. What would you like to say?

Sadhguru: First of all, in no way is envy and compassion connected. If you are looking at compassion as sympathy or pity, then they are in some way connected, but compassion and envy – no, they are not connected.

Envy is that somebody has something that you would like to have or somebody has something more than what you have. The fundamental nature of jealousy or envy is that you feel inadequate. If you sit here, if you are very blissful you wouldn’t be envious of anybody. Right now you sit here, somebody seems to have, or you assume that they have, something more than you, and you feel less than them. So envy can exist only if somebody else is there better than you. If you are here by yourself envy cannot happen. But compassion is not like that. Compassion can happen even if nobody is here. Let’s take away this understanding that compassion is some kind of sympathy or empathy or pity or whatever.

Now passion means total involvement with something. When you are passionately involved with something nothing else exists for you. That means deep sense of involvement, that’s passion. Maybe once again when we say passion, people are only thinking man-woman passion. No, passion means unbridled involvement with something. It could be anything; you can sing passionately, you can dance passionately, you can do your garden passionately, you can read a book passionately, or you can just walk passionately. So it doesn’t mean any specific activity as such, nor does it mean any particular area of life; it is just that you have deep sense of involvement.

Compassion means it’s an all encompassing passion. That means your passion is no more discriminatory. Whatever is in touch with you right now you are deeply passionate with that. Whatever it is, if you look at something you are not just casually looking at anything; there is nothing like casual in your life. Everything is with total passion. You breathe with passion, you walk with passion, you live with passion; your very existence is with absolute involvement with everything. This is compassion. This has got nothing to do with anybody. Even if nobody is here you can live in great compassion. But if nobody is here, you can’t live enviously. You need somebody to cause that for you, isn’t it?

So you are compassionate about somebody? No, you are sympathetic with them when they have fallen down but when they stand up you don’t like it. It is from this basis that all charity has come.

So don’t try to handle sympathy and compassion and all these things, just develop unbridled passion towards everything. Do not understand passion as this person, as this person. Understand passion as anything that’s in touch with you right now. The very cloth that you wear, the very air that you breathe, the very food that you eat, the very earth that you walk upon, just practice some passion. It’s horrible to tell anybody to practice passion, but please try. Just be passionate about everything. When it’s unbridled, it is not entangling any more.

So if this is how you see your compassion and if this is how you are, question of sympathy or envy both will not arise.


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