Envy- Where is the source

Q. I have read/ heard many times that a living entity is sent to the material world whenever he becomes envious of God and wants to enjoy differently from God. But in spiritual world there is no place for envy then from where does this thought of envy come into the mind of living entity?

A.Certainly the question you have asked is not easy to reply and there are some controversies around this topic.

Srila Prabhupada would reply to this question in different ways.
He would say that the Living entity having the independence to desire to serve or not to serve is always present even in the spiritual world. He misuses the free will to make the wrong choice.

At another instance, Srila Prabhupada gave an analogy: When a person is eating sweet rice, he is very happy. However, in order to get a change of taste he may taste pickle. Even though, he is happy eating sweets he wants a change of taste. So, the living entity though in the spiritual world is happy serving Krishna, he still desires the other out of inquisitiveness. However, when he learns the lesson he does not repeat it again.

It also shows that the energy of the Lord i.e maya is always very close to the living entity. ‘Krishna bhuliya jiva bhoga vancha kare nikata aste maya taare jhapatiya dhare’. `The moment he desires not to serve the Lord he immediately grabs him and casts him into material existence.’

Also, Srila Prabhupada said that if a person falls from a ship, he should make a sincere effort to get back into the ship. He should not spend so much time trying to analyse how he fell. The fact is that he has fallen. He can investigate when he gets back up into the ship. Similarly, we cannot understand in the conditioned state everything about the Lord’s creation. But when he gets back to Him he may ask the Lord personally.