Wednesday, August 7, 2013



                       Theagenes of Thasos was a renowned athlete, a champion of boxing, pankration and running in ancient Greece. He was gifted with extraordinary strength and swiftness. He became an Olympic victor in boxing in 480 BC and again in pankration in 476 BC. In addition, he gained numerous victories in several national and international athletic contests and games.
                      When Theagenes died, the people of Thasos erected a huge bronze statue of Theagenes at the centre of the city as a lasting memorial to the distinguished athlete of the island.
                      Pausanias, a Greek traveller and writer has narrated a story about this statue. A person in Thasos could not defeat Theagenes even once in any contest. He became extremely envious of Theagenes and as an act of revenge, he used to come to the statue of Theagenes every night and express his hatred by beating, whipping and flogging the statue. One night, while he was scourging the statue violently and possibly digging the ground around the statue with the foul intention of pushing it over, it fell down upon the man and killed him. The next morning, the people of Thasos witnessed this tragic scene. The man fell victim to his own envy.
                      The story illustrates the danger of getting intoxicated by meaningless feelings of competition and envy. People often become crazy on seeing others in a better position or with better capabilities. Thoughtless efforts to surpass others and take revenge may lead to loss and disaster. We must admit our limitations and respect others' achievements. That is the easy way to be healthy, happy and holy.

                      The Holy Bible teaches, “Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer” {Proverbs 14: 30}.
                      St. Paul advises, “We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another” {Galatians 5:26}.
                      Envy or jealousy is a serious sin. Some angels became envious of God. They were cast into hell. Satan was envious of man. He tried to destroy the sanctity of man. That led to the tragedy of Paradise {Wisdom of Solomon 2: 24}. Cain became jealous of his younger brother Abel and killed him {Genesis 4: 8}. The brothers of Joseph became envious of him when he narrated his dreams {Genesis 37: 11}. Hence they tried to kill him and later, sold him as a slave.
                      The Jewish authorities were jealous of Jesus. They plotted against Him and crucified Him. {Matthew 27:11, Mark 15:10}. The Bible teaches, “Don’t be jealous of what sinners achieve. Just stick to your own work, and trust the Lord” {Sirach 11: 21}. “Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil” {James 3: 16}.
                      St. Peter urges, “Rid yourselves, then, of all evil; no more lying or hypocrisy or jealousy or insulting language. Be like new-born babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved” {1 Peter 2:1, 2}.

© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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