Kita-Bhringi -NyayaThe Maxim of the Trapped Worm and the Wasp
By Hari Parsada Das | Nov 26, 2016
Hatred, envy or fear for another person often intimidates and consumes us. When the primary purpose of our existence becomes dictated by hate or rivalry towards a specific individual, it forces us to give up living our own lives and start imitating the life of the person we envy.
There is a popular maxim (logic) in the Sanskrit language which carries an important life-lesson for those of us who are at any point of time affected by such hatred or envy. This is the Kīṭa-bhṛṅgī-nyāya or the maxim of the trapped worm and the wasp. This maxim is quoted by Srila Shukadev Goswami in the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam (7.1.28):
kīṭaḥ peśaskṛtā ruddhaḥ
kuḍyāyāṁ tam anusmaran
Translation: A worm (kīṭaḥ) who is trapped (ruddhaḥ) by the wasp (peśaskṛtā) in a hole in the wall (kuḍyāyām) keeps meditating repeatedly (anusmaran) on the wasp (tam) out of envy (saṁrabha) and fear (bhaya-yogena) and thus attains (vindate) the form of a wasp (tat-svarūpatām) in its next life.
Besides the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam, this logic is also quoted by Gauḍīya-vaiṣṇava ācāryas such as Sri Narayan Bhatta Goswam, Sri Rasikottamsa, etc.
This maxim carries the important lesson for us that if we become consumed by the negative emotions of hatred, envy or rivalry towards another person, then we start meditating on them repeatedly instead of meditating on our desired object – Krishna. We thus try to outsmart our rival in each and every possible way. We stop living our own lives and start living the life of our rivals.
For example, I may not be an expert in kīrtana but seeing the talented performance of a kīrtanīya attract various devotees, I may develop some envy or rivalry. If my negative feelings are not checked and addressed by me or my well-wishers in their nascent stage, they may turn into deep-seated hatred for that talented kīrtanīya. I may even give up my own fields of specializations and try to learn kīrtana and music simply to satisfy my burning desire to subdue, surpass and succeed over my rival.
I may start meditating upon that person day and night, and in my blind hatred I won’t even realize that I have actually turned into a clone of that person. I won’t realize that in my madness of conquering a rival, I’ve ended up losing my soul. Seeing my deep-seated desire to be an expert kīrtanīya, Krishna may give me another birth simply to satisfy my desire.
Krishna says in the Gītā (7.8) — pauruṣaṁ nṛṣu — I am the ability in a human being. In the Gītā (10.41) he reminds Arjuna again that all sorts of creativity and talents are sparks of his opulence. Thus, when we see some creativity, some talent or art in an individual, we should offer our respects to Lord Krishna who is manifesting his specific opulences through that individual.
Ultimately, talents and creativities are not the glory of those individuals, but rather are the glory of Lord Krishna. Knowing this, we should conquer our envy and hatred for that individual. If we keep going down that pathway of rivalry, we may end up taking another birth simply to satisfy our whims of acquiring a specific talent which we cannot possibly attain in this life. If at all we dislike a certain individual, the best we can do is to ignore them completely and move ahead in our lives, by serving god using our god-given natural propensities.