Our campus is now open. Learn about our commitment to keeping you safe.

< Back to Articles

From Attachment, Greed, and Jealousy to Beauty

The Power of Emotion

In the first post about the power of emotion, we discussed how to understand the negative emotions—to know what they are and from where they arise. Now comes the next step in the analysis of negative emotions: When a desire is fulfilled and you attain what you long for, then you become attached to it. This attachment is called moha, the sense of “This is mine!” Once you attain something, you become attached to it and you want to keep it; you want to repeat the experience, and you fear losing it. But there is an irony in life: When you say, “This is mine,” the object actually is not yours; on the other hand, when you claim, “This is not mine,” then actually it is yours. You’ll constantly observe this in life. “This body is mine,” you say, but you cannot keep it from death and decay. You make such false claims your whole life. You live with these false claims because you are attached to them. Sometimes you become overwhelmed with pride for all your achievements or accomplishments. Sometimes you become disturbed emotionally because certain important desires of your desire-world have not been fulfilled.

When a desire is fulfilled and you attain what you long for, then you become attached to it.

Then comes the next step: greed, or lobha. When you are attached to something, you become greedy. If your desire is fulfilled, you compare yourself with others and think, “I now have it, and you don’t have it. I have it and I am proud of it! This is mine because I have it. It is not yours.” This is lobha, or greed. Lobha motivates you to feel, “This is mine and I don’t want to share it with you. It’s my house. My house has twelve rooms, I have only one child, and most of the rooms are empty, but I won’t allow you to stay here. It’s my house.” That is greed. It further separates you from others.

This greed is never fulfilled, no matter what you do. Once you are attached to something, you can never have enough. The fire of greed is horrible. The fire of greed is so intense that you cannot believe its destructiveness—it can even make you sick. There are actually diseases in which greed and longing lead to physical illness. Such an emotion can make you obsessed with something.

From Attachment Greed and Jealousy to Beauty Inline Image - Himalayan Institute

When you become greedy, you also become jealous of others and feel insecure. You start comparing your home with the one someone else owns, and then you become jealous. You think, “Does someone have a better house? Oh, no, my house is much better.” You begin to compare yourself with others, and then you become puffed up with pride, and you go on living this way, feeding your ego. On the other hand, if you feel that your home is not so nice, you identify with feelings of inadequacy and depression.

You constantly compare yourself with others. What is that thing called “beauty” that you feel so insecure and worry so much about? You are the only one, a unique entity created by providence. There is no duplication or repetition in the world, so if everything is unique, then who is beautiful and who is ugly? Everything is beautiful! To think that something is beautiful and something different is ugly are ideas you have superimposed on reality. They occur only in your thinking. You judge that one thing is good and another is bad, but such concepts are superimpositions by your mind, by your thinking, and by your impoverished philosophy of life.

Further Reading

- Himalayan Institute
The Art of Joyful Living

Swami Rama

In The Art of Joyful Living, Swami Rama imparts a message of inspiration and optimism: that you are responsible for making your life happy and emanating that happiness to others. This book shows you how to maintain a joyful view of life even in difficult times.

Source: The Art of Joyful Living (Swami Rama)

About the Teacher

Swami Rama

One of the greatest adepts, teachers, writers, and humanitarians of the 20th century, Swami Rama (1925–1996) is the founder of the Himalayan Institute. Born in northern India, he was raised from early childhood by the Himalayan sage, Bengali Baba. Under the guidance of his master, he traveled from monastery to monastery and studied with a variety of Himalayan saints and sages, including his grandmaster, who was living in a remote region of Tibet. In addition to this intense spiritual training, Swami Rama received higher education in both India and Europe. From 1949 to 1952, he held the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India. Thereafter, he returned to his master to receive further training at his cave monastery, and finally, in 1969, came to the United States, where he founded the Himalayan Institute. His best-known work, Living with the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the living tradition of the East.

See Teacher's Content, Programs, and Courses