For all transformational processes we can recommend the following steps of internal work:
• Hearing how envy manifests, and recognizing the fact that we are affected by it. Hearing will awaken us from our unconsciousness — our spiritual coma. The more we are covered by the modes of material nature, the less we are aware of our own shortcomings. As our heart becomes gradually purified, we will become more perceptive and sensitized to recognize our subtle anarthas. On a dirty piece of cloth we will not recognize a stain—it is already dirty. But on a white cloth every little stain will clearly show.
• Hearing leads to the understanding that we have to become free from envy if we want to enter the spiritual world. As a result we will develop a strong desire to kick out this ugly quality from our heart.
• In order to do so we have to be introspective and honest, reflecting what we are whispering within our heart. We have to continuously check our motives: ‘Why am I doing this? Why am I saying this? Am I trying to be a humble servant, or am I trying to control, enjoy and be master?’ Without honest introspection and reflection, we cannot really make spiritual progress. As it is so subtle, and as the contaminated intelligence will always find justifications and defense mechanisms, it can easily remain
undetected for many years and even life times. We may always cheat ourselves, thinking that we are doing the right thing, and everybody else around us is in the wrong.
• When introspecting, we will eventually catch ourselves doing the wrong thing when manifesting our envious behavior. This is already progress, since before we did not even recognize it to be an unwanted behavior.
• As a result of catching ourselves doing the wrong thing, we will regret, repent and lament, crying out to Krishna for help. We will beg Him to enter our heart to kill this demoniac tendency. Ultimately, only Krishna can kill this Aghasura demon who resides within our heart, causing cruelty, violence and trouble to others out of envy. Lord Nrsimhadeva is very expert in performing heart surgeries with His sharp nails. All we have to do is to urgently request Him to do so.
However, our problem is that we hang on to our envy within our heart, hoping that it will give us some tasty fruits. We do not want to let go of it — instead we embrace and protect it, thinking it will offer us some enjoyment and satisfaction. We cling onto it. However, if we seriously pray to Krishna to remove it, lamenting: ‘Oh, Krishna, when will the day come when I can finally let go of it all?’, then Krishna will reciprocate and do what’s required.
In verse 5.8.30 of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the effect of repentance is nicely explained: “Although Bharata Maharaja received the body of a deer, by constant repentance he became completely detached from all material things.”
In those moments, when we agree to such internal work, we make spiritual progress. Then we actually become purified. Making progress in Krishna consciousness is not a matter of external success and achievements. It is a deep and internal matter of the heart. Therefore, His Holiness Gour Govinda Maharaja gave the analogy of an ISKCON temple being a ‘crying-school’, where we learn to cry out to Krishna. It is a wonderful analogy to capture the essence of the process of devotional service. We are meant to chant the holy name in such a mood of crying out to Krishna. Parallel to this process, we also have to observe Vaishnava etiquette and culture. As long as we are not spontaneously acting in a non-envious way, our saving grace is Krishna’s culture. We have to be trained in the etiquette of receiving a senior person in a jolly mood, by offering service and inquiring from him, etc. The rules of etiquette are like the crutches, which Krishna gives us to help us move forward and gradually establish non-envious patterns of behavior. In the beginning, following etiquette may appear formal and external, but as we do the internal work described above, the seemingly external rules of etiquette will become internalized. Such is the transcendental treatment plan to cure the material disease called envy.
On the 29th of October I flew back to Cologne....
Your servant, Devaki dd