Kita-Bhringi-Nyaya: The Maxim of the Trapped Worm and the Wasp


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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
saṁrambha-bhaya-yogena
vindate tat-svarūpatām

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.

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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.

27 comments on "Kita-Bhringi-Nyaya: The Maxim of the Trapped Worm and the Wasp"

  1. MICHAEL CORRELL-MALLAL says:

    Yes, that’s very profound.

  2. Baldev K Dhir says:

    Thanks for this enlightening post. As repeatedly requested earlier by me, please start including articles on health and wellbeing, and Ayurvedic remedies.
    Hoping for a positive and early response,

    B K DHIR

  3. madhu arora says:

    it is like chronic wound healing solution

  4. J RADHAKRISHNA MURTHY says:

    This is extensively referred to end explained by the Great saint philosopher Sri Adi Sankara Bhagwat Paada
    as ‘Bhramara Keetaka Nyaayam’.

    J R K MURTHY

  5. K.N.Savalappan says:

    We should not only conquer our envy and hatred, but also embrace positive & creative emotions for peace and joy of living in the world. .

  6. sreenivas k v says:

    this article is simply lovely, yes we show a lot of grudge, animosity, and sometime envy our rivals
    and we think more about them and our mind start operating on their attitudes and traits, and trying to race and emulate them which is absolutely useless
    and paniful. as the author here says we have to ignore them and start living our lives devoting our time on our work and the lord

  7. vbsdas says:

    Beutifull article

  8. Krishna Iyer says:

    A good lesson to learn by Ajnaanies like Arjuna to succeed in life.

  9. Raghu says:

    Purana explains it so simple way.if keeta become the clone…just imagine of human beings..

  10. K.S.Subramanian says:

    H A T E T H E S I N A N D N O T T H E S I N N E R

  11. Ambika Devi says:

    So true! May we instead meditate on love and compassion!

  12. The trapped worm says:

    Really, can you envy or ignore someone completely whose been trying to ruin your life for 13 years and still continues?

  13. kalachandra says:

    good to give to our jewish* brothers full of hatred, racism and racialism, a destructive way of life that creates so much suffering in the world for them and others.
    *some jews 70% of them in USA and Israhell are not from Jewish semitic (african) origin. They are converts coming from eastern europ (poland, russia, germany..) and as the worm they wanted to become a sefarad (semitic jew), more jewish than abraham himself. And because they built their ethics on lies they developed hatred, racism and racialism.
    This opens to other interesting questions such as, nomadism, desire & power, lies & propaganda etc

  14. Ram Chhetri says:

    Take appropriate action,forgive and move ahead.Worship and meditate and invoke the Supreme Goddess Bagalamukhi or any of the Ten Mahavidya Goddess fullly surrendering onto Her Lotus Feet.She is the Doer and not us.Do not associate yourself with. This body and this Sansara.
    Let us realize our True Self as expounded in Gita by Lord Krishna or I. Chandi.
    Thank you.Jai Ma,Jai Shambhu.

  15. Vijay Kumar says:

    Hari om. Not sure who is the author of this note. However, the Kita Bringi Nyaya has to be taken in a positive attitude rather than negative attitude of meditating on the envy or rival aspect. The kita is continuosly thinking of the worm and it becomes that. As you think so you become. Continuous Dhyana on anything makes you that. Ask a millionaire what they were thinking before becoming a millionaire or ask any world rank sports man what they were thinking when in college or high school. Ask a yogi or a realized master what they were thinking before reaching that stage. As you think so you become. Not because of enemy or anger and such negative feelings or emotions- Hari om

  16. Michael Cole says:

    Trapped worm:
    There is a difference between ‘ignoring’ and not being ‘attached’.

    If your mind and emotions are attached to the other persons behaviour, you will and are still simply chaining yourself to their outcomes as the article suggests. For example, if you are chained to a heavy chair, in order to move, you have to drag the chair with you wherever you go until you unchain yourself.

    So if you release your emotional and mental attachment to the past and present behaviour of this other person, then you begin to free yourself from the burden of their energy and your self imprisonment. This doesn’t necessarily mean you forget, but simply become unaffected by any thought or emotion. Non attachment to any outcome is what is meant by the word “ignoring”.

    In fact, this other person has probably been trying to teach you over 13 years to ‘love yourself’ and become free. Learn the lesson, detach yourself, say thank you and move on into your beautiful and loving destiny.

  17. Aravind V Madabhavi says:

    Very nice article! the best way suggested here is to ignore the sinner and move forward to try and attain the ultimate bliss – only by Lord Krishna’s grace not otherwise…

  18. prasad says:

    the kita-bhrnga-nyaya is also known as bhramara-keeta-nyaya. it is often found that hindus talk and discuss more about how to inculcate positive traits and curb negative traits. this amounts to discussing ideal situations and expressing pious hopes. it does not help hindus to face certain real life situations where repeated suggestion(which is the essence of the nyaya discussed here)turns impressionable people into admirers of, say, terrorists and other anti social elements. for instance the “stockholm syndrome” which tells about the hostages of terrorists developing admiration for their captors and start talking about the terrorist and his behaviour. this is a case of bhramara keeta nyaya applied to the seamier side of human nature which is as natural to humans as the brighter side. while the vocal hindus flaunt their holy attitude by harping on the so called positive implications of truisims, they do not discuss the negative implications of the same truisms. this puts them at a great disadvantage in the practical, day to day world. this attitude must change.

  19. Fr. Jack says:

    Thank you so very much for this text. The deep truth of it speaks to my heart and bring light to those areas of darkness. I will save and continue to sit with this text. Om Shanti, Fr. Jack yes, I am a priest who finds great wisdom in this text and in the site.

  20. Madhurima Roychoudhury says:

    I am under going a similar kind of experience. I was the centre of attention (negative sense) of my mother-in-law. Even after one year of her demise, at the age of 94 years, I get the smell of her body in my home and I know she is around me. On the day of her one year completion ritual a white pigeon came and ate the leftovers. It also visited my kitchen and the bedrooms in front of all the guest same way as my mother-in-law did.

  21. Yano Maharaj says:

    Than you for this , let there be Love Light Peace and Happiness for all.

  22. Sainath says:

    Great.Let us all strive to put this into practice in our daily lives.

  23. pramila says:

    good article

  24. P.R.HARIHARAN says:

    In spite of all our theoretical enlightenment ultimately

    it is the order of creation and existance in other words

    karma that dictates our thoughts, emotions and vibra

    tions, thus only unconditional surrender to the

    supreme that will channelise our thoughts.

  25. meera devi says:

    hari om

    if krishna is a spark of all that we do than is he the spark of all the pain and suffering that people inflict on each other. how does one make peace with that

  26. Ch. venkateswarlu says:

    I am practically experiencing the same state of trapped worm and the wasp in my life . however this maxim strengthen the mind to meditate on personalty of God-Head Krishna as i am doing every day in the house.
    Really this article enlighten and awaken the minds to divert from the wrong path of brooding over the other characters

  27. Bhaskar says:

    Kita bhringa nyaya .i am surprised with the timing . when i read this article.i was doing gita parayana.gnana yoga and karma yoga.i was also undergoing situation of torture in form of legal notices from family members for which i am not sure of what action to take.i ignored but it did not help.this article in the form of krishna helped me understand do the nishkama yoga.lets not inculcate the feeling we are the kartha.even it is war follow swadharma and krishna will take care of everything.dont have expectations.thank you so much for enlightening.jai sri krishna.he is omni present.i see him in the form of your article.

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