By Dr.Tilak S. Fernando.
Jealousy is an amazing word composed of eight letters, the meaning of which extends to more than eight-fold and deep-seated within human beings. It can be classified into various groups viz: caste, creed, affluence, poverty, painful agitation or inability to see another person’s success or wealth. It also can be referred to as anxiety caused by the loss of something precious or someone that a person adores most. Phycologists warn people not to get confused with ‘envy’,because envy is considered solely as an emotional feeling of material value, often due to low self-esteem of a person.
Prof. Sugunasiri in Canada (who recently became Bhikkhu Mihitha), maintains that the original Pali version of Lord Buddha’s ‘Abhassara Sutta’, in ‘Digha Nikaya’, as a “ New Evolutionary Phase” where Western scientists refer to it as a Photon(an element of light or Quantum of Energy according to Albert Einstein), which they consider as an electrical charge, but in actual fact, according to Buddhism, it is said to be a ‘Brahma Being’of the ‘Earlier Revolutionary Form, who has attained the super calm stage (2nd stage of Jhana) and ending up in the Brahma world after death, at the end of the ‘Devolutionary Phase’.
Buddhism refers to an ‘Early Evolutionary Phase’ approximately 4.5 billion years ago, which was destroyed after the emergence of seven sweltering suns. Apparently, during that obliterative phase, the only survivor had been the Abhassara Brahmaloka. During the process of transition, the whole atmosphere apparently had turned into pitch darkness and the hot temperatures in the thermosphere had absorbed ‘x’ rays and ultraviolet radiation from the sun and converted heat up to 2500C.Finally the whole atmosphere had turned into water and a new moon, new sun and the earth had gradually evolved, the vegetation being the last.
According to Bhikkhu Mihitha’s version, Lord Buddha had also explained about the evolutionary changes in the physical nature of beings during this Evolutionary Stage, where one’s skin colour and quality altered to give rise to two groups of people- ‘good looking’and the ‘unappealing’.
Consequently, the unattractive ones had started to ridicule the handsome ones, thus evolving ‘jealousy’for the first time. Building of homes and communities developed much later. When the rich began to stockpile their paddy harvests, escalation of craving and jealousy had led towards a moral denigration of society.
An Army Officer’s experience
During the 30-year-old terrorist war, when the Sri Lankan Security forces fought LTTE terrorists, the writer met an old friend, at a social gathering in Colombo who was an Army Officer. He was a strapper, over 6-foot-tall and who never knew the meaning of the word fear and braved the terrorist opponents with a fortitude. However, at the party, he excused himself and suddenly whooshed into the wash room and the writer followed him out of curiosity. The guy was in a pathetic state where he bent over the wash basin and puked. He was not intoxicated with excessive intake of liquor either, but in a silent aside he muttered: “That bloody woman”!
There and then, the writer realised how this brave soldier, who had been engaged in a fearsome battle in the jungles in the East to save his motherland, was in this particular instance confronted with a different kind of ‘love-war’. The reason being his girlfriend demanding him to quit the Forces and to marry her. It was certainly a moment that took the writer back to author Marie Corelli’s novel Vendetta (if the writer’s memory serves right) where the she described a situation “how white serpents coil round in men’s lives as pretty women are able to sap the will out of the strongest hero!” That example fitted completely in this situation where his friend was concerned.
So, this guy had weakened under such pressure from his fiancé, and on several occasions his attempt to quit the Army had met with his senior officer’s rebuff only. Finally, he had to choose between an Army career and his fiancé. At the party it became quite clear that this Army officer had become sick with jealousy after coming face-to-face with his ex-girlfriend who was with her new-found love! This proves the fact that jealousy often causes low self-esteem and a feeling of discontent with regard to another’s success!
Similarly, if a husband talks with excitement about his secretary or a female member of staff in his office, in the presence of his wife, it can easily lead to an emotional fire with the wife who will be jealous. This is another area which establishes the fact that a combination of possessiveness, suspicion, rage and humiliation can easily overtake one’s mind and threaten one’s very core, when one focuses on one’s rival.
William Shakespeare once said ‘This green-eyed monster is able to camp on anyone’s head at any time during a relationship, when one is madly in love’. Women are really capable of revolting when they are in a battle ground to win back a lost lover. Men, in contrast, tend to flaunt money and their status and are more likely to walk out of such a situation to save their face or protect their self-esteem.
Jealousy afflicts animals too observes Helen Fisher. Bluebirds too experience a certain amount of jealousy when she refers to an experiment conducted by biologist David Barash involving a breeding pair of birds by placing a stuffed male on a tree branch just three feet away from the nest while the cock bird was away and the female rested inside the nest.
Apparently, when the cock bird returned to the spot, it had begun to squawk, hover and snap in fury at the dummy bird and begun to attack his mate by pulling her feathers from the wing until she managed to escape from the scene. On another occasion Helen Fisher illustrates how a female bird’s passion managed to ‘tip her buttocks towards a young male bird’ in the ‘come hither posture’. When the male had completely ignored her, the female bird had begun to court another. (Understanding jealousy – Helen Fisher).
Psychologists call jealousy as a ‘demon scar of childhood trauma’that can take root inside a system as young as six years of age in humans. This fiend is akin to Kundalini Chakrathat rests within a soul until such time person awakens with spiritual emergence in the Chakra system of the human body.
Therefore, this ‘green-eyed serpent’ resides within every soul until such time it decides to raise its intolerable head. In everyone’s life time, this monster is rest assured to wake up, particularly when the victim is subjected to ‘sexual love’. In extreme bouts of jealousy, a tight pain in the stomach is said to bring about nausea akin to a surgeon’s knife cut minus the anaesthesia.
The sinister form of jealousy could generate out of an innocent smile or an innocuous flirtation, but it would be irrational to believe that one could own love out of a casual smile or out of a harmless flirtation. Throughout man’s primordial past, it has discouraged desertion by a partner to cause damage to the family unit. Simultaneously, it has helped to abandon philanderers in favour of more stable and rewarding partnerships.
Jealousy can go seriously off beam too. Some people for no apparent reason become consumed by it, thus undermining their self-esteem and even driving their partner into another’s arms – the very outcome they fear. In a worst-case scenario, some can become violent and stand as a leading cause of spousal homicide