For years I thought Hinduism was too vast a philosophy for me to even consider studying. Yet, when I was a child, my father, a professor, brought his graduate students into our home. I loved the Indian students especially. They would dress me in their saris and when one went home to marry, I spent hours drawing pictures of his imagined bride, complete with tilak. At fourteen I started to learn yoga. Over the years, in adulthood, I read a number of books about Indian spiritual teachers and went to see quite a few of them. Maybe it was denial or fear, yet it never occurred to me to actually visit India.
Then one of my closest friends told me she’d decided to go to India to attend her friend’s wedding. I found myself extremely annoyed. She’s never shown the slightest interest in India! In fact, everyone I met who talked about having been to India irritated me. I judged it as some kind of spiritual ego or something.
Then at a New Year’s Eve party I asked a neighbor why his girlfriend wasn’t there. “Oh,” he replied, “she’s in India on a tour.” Well that did it. The irritation started to bloom. But this time, instead, I actually acknowledged what I’d been feeling all along: Jealousy. I was jealous of her and everyone else who’d gone there. But in that same instant of recognizing and owning the feeling, I heard Ma’s words about the Karmic Space of Jealousy: When you’re jealous of what someone else has done, you’re really just mad at yourself for not having done it.
Thanks to that teaching, in that moment, I decided enough was enough and it was time: I was going to go to India. I planned for it for most of the next year, and it turned into a real extravaganza. A two-week trip expanded into ten weeks (that’s got to be another karmic space), yet I’m so grateful I did it and, most of all, grateful to Ma for teaching me about jealousy.
J.P.K. New York , NY