There is hardly an emotion in human beings which makes them more animal. Animals may not be jealous in the sense that humans are but their go-getting instincts are what relate them most to human beings. It is this instinct in the human species as well which makes us, in spite of the machinery of civilization, just another species of the animal kingdom. The desire to get is very closely related to jealousy because it leads jealousy by the nose. The inability to like others for getting what is desired by the self is what jealousy largely is. Thus frustration is often transformed into jealousy; unless, of course, one can transform it into creativity.
Most animals cannot allow jealousy to last beyond a point and probably have inbuilt mechanisms to overcome jealousy faster than humans. Human beings manage to preserve jealousy much longer in their systems than animals do and in that sense can fight to a finish much better than animals. But the spirit that makes people fight at all usually springs from jealousy. The dog that cannot see another dog eat something is governed by short-lived jealousy. The man who cannot see another succeed in his job, in his relationships, with his talents, is the one who allows jealousy to get the better of him. Such a man suffers and tends to walk over towards evil and destructive behaviour.
The scriptures therefore advocate detachment. One must see this world not as something permanent but as what is short-lived and therefore what is got here is also not permanent but short-lived. The sense of not getting will then not hurt as much. What one has will not be there always and one must not hope to have it always. Making the best of what one has is the virtue which keeps jealousy at bay. This quality is called contentment. Contentment makes people who possess it very different to most animals. Of course there are some animals that seem rather contented – animals like the cow and the horse. Perhaps these animals could be better role-models for men than some others.