Good and Evil
by Sri Chinmoy
In the beginning there was only Silence and infinite Light. Then each individual was given a limited amount of freedom, but we misused that limited freedom to such an extent that we created, in some ways, our own world of ignorance, inconscience and undivine forces. We are like a cow tied to a tree with a rope. While using the little freedom that it has, the cow runs around and destroys everything in reach.
Evil is in our mind, not inside our aspiring heart. The mind wants to taste the whole world infinitesimally, piece by piece. The heart wants to embrace the whole world as a unit. The heart feels that the whole world belongs to it. The mind says, “This is mine. That is yours.” The more the mind can separate, the greater joy the mind gets. Evil is a sense of separativity. When there is union, there is no evil. If we have good will, love, a feeling of oneness, then instead of destroying the world, we shall try to embrace the whole world.
It is the same old story: disobedience. If we obey the inner law, then nothing happens. But when we disobey the inner law, evil comes into existence. If we properly use our freedom, then we go towards the Divine, towards the Light. But if we misuse it, then we become anti-divine; we become a hostile force.
It was not God’s intention that there should be undivine forces. But many things happen in this world that are tolerated. It is one thing for something to be fully sanctioned and another thing for it to be just accepted or tolerated. If parents have bad children, what do they do? Disobedient, naughty children they just tolerate. We are all God’s children. Some are good, some are bad. But God did not intend to have a bad creation.
God is omnipresent. He is in good and He is also in so-called evil. If a tiger wants to devour me, I feel that the tiger is an undivine force. But God’s existence is also inside the tiger. Everything is in the process of evolution toward greater God-manifestation. No matter what stage of evolution a person or thing has reached, God is still inside that person or thing.
Right now I am drinking distilled water. It is good water. But water can also be dirty, filthy, impure. God can be found inside impure water as well as inside pure water. But even though God is there, I will not drink impure water because I know it will harm my body.
Spiritual people who are meditating are trying to see God at a particular level of consciousness. God is in bad things also, but we do not want to go back to the animal kingdom and the lower realms of consciousness to look for God.
Are you saying that God is not wholly good, that He is both good and evil?
Yes. God is in both good and evil and, again, He is above them both. It is like a tree. Let us say the roots are evil and the branches are good. But they are one; they are part of the same tree. Evil is a lower manifestation of Truth and good is a higher manifestation of Truth. There is no night without light; even in the blackest night there is always at least an iota of light. But God is in both of these and above them both, as the sky is above the tree.
If you say God is not in evil, then you are saying that God is not omnipresent. And that is like saying that God is not God. God is in both, but He is not bound by them. He is like a boat which is in the water and also above the water.
From the strictly spiritual point of view, there is no such thing as good or evil. Evil only exists in the mental world. What we think of as being evil is actually lesser truth or imperfection growing into greater truth or more perfect reality.
When I dive deep within,
I see no imperfection-jungle
Or even difficulty-fern,
But only the smile of perfection
And the dance of satisfaction-delight.
I cannot understand how anything created by God can be imperfect. How can He create a soul that is not perfect at the beginning and then say, “All right, you go ahead in your own way; develop as best you can"?
God does not throw the soul heartlessly into the manifestation. The soul is not alone. God Himself is always inside the soul. We have come from God and we are a part of Him. But where is our realisation? Where is our perfection? We are in the process of consciously attaining this realisation and perfection. Each individual represents God, but each individual has not consciously realised Him.
The Absolute God, who is the Supreme Self, is perfect. The Highest, the One without a second, the God who created the multiplicity, is always perfect. But the God who has entered into the earth-plane for evolution has accepted imperfection because He has taken on the earthly consciousness, which is full of limitations and imperfections.
Do you believe in sin?
What others call ‘sin’, I call ‘imperfection’. We have been created by God, who is all Love, all Delight. When we can remove the veil of ignorance from our consciousness, we will immediately enter into the world of perfection. There, there is no such thing as sin. Sin is in our mind; it can never be in our soul. What is sin? It is something that binds and restricts, like a prison-cell. And what is delight? It is the boundless freedom of perfection.
From the philosophical point of view, what some people call evil or sin, we think of as ignorance—the constant play of Maya or illusion. He who is caught in this play is different from the liberated soul who is freed from this illusion of reality. It is by meditation that we can free ourselves from ignorance, from illusion, and transform our human nature into divine nature.
Your heart’s cheerful willingness
To obey God
Will wash away
Your mind’s ignorance
What do you mean by ignorance?
The definition of ignorance in one short sentence is limited consciousness. When we enter into unlimited consciousness, ignorance disappears.
In this world there is light, more light, abundant light, boundless light and infinite Light. If we take ignorance as destruction, then we are mistaken. We have to see that what we call ignorance consists of limited light. Even in the darkest night there is some light. Otherwise, we could not exist at all. A child, in comparison to his elder brother, naturally is ignorant; but the child also has some light in him.
So what we call ignorance is light in a different form. I as an individual, you as an individual and she as an individual have limited light—let us say infinitesimal light—compared to God, who is infinite Light. But through our prayer and meditation, we are growing into God’s boundless and infinite Light and becoming all that God has and all that God is.
What we call ignorance is nothing short of an experience which God is having in and through us. If we become conscious of the fact that we are only His instruments, then we are not bound by ignorance. We see that there is someone, the Inner Pilot, who is playing His Cosmic Game in and through us. If we know that we are mere instruments, then there is no ignorance, there is no light; there is only the Supreme, who is everything. He is the Doer, He is the action, He is the result; He is everything. But if we feel or think that we are doing everything, we are making a Himalayan mistake.
There shall come a time
When each and every human being
Will be flooded with the soul-courage
To silence the pride of ignorance-night.
You speak of night and light. Do you believe that parts of life are dark and imperfect?
Life is composed of perfection, but we can say that there is lesser perfection and greater perfection. We cannot say that this side is black and that side is white; we will say that on this side there is comparatively less light. So there is no negative and positive; there is only positive. But the thing that is less positive has less capacity, and sometimes we call it negative.
I once read that if you choose evil, you are not really free. I thought it was an interesting idea. Would you enlighten me?
First of all we have to know what evil is. Anything that limits us, anything that binds us, is evil. Evil will come to us in the form of pleasure, and when we surrender to the pleasure that evil brings, we are caught. The evil that wants to make us its instrument for its own purpose makes us feel that we are helpless and ignorant, and that is the reason we accept it.
Sometimes we may have no freedom in our outer life, but in our inner life we have a considerable amount of freedom. We can pray, we can concentrate, we can meditate even in a prison cell. But when evil possesses us, our inner freedom goes away, and our outer freedom also deserts us. At that time we are bound to seek the fulfilment of our desires or evil impulses.
Everything has a nature of its own. The very nature of evil is to bind; the very nature of divinity is to liberate. The nature of scorpions is to sting. We cannot expect them to behave differently. Therefore, we must not give them the opportunity to sting us. We have to stay away from them at all times. If we stand in front of a scorpion to exert our own freedom, it is foolishness. We have to feel the necessity of staying only with something which constantly liberates and illumines us, and that is light.
How can we prevent the wrong forces from operating in our lives or in the lives of our dear ones?
There are two sensible ways. The first way is through concentration, meditation and contemplation. If one knows how to do these well, then he need not enter into the world of wrong forces. During your soulful meditation, you can ask God for solid strength, spiritual strength. If you can apply this solid strength in your life, then the bad forces are bound to disappear from your life.
The second way is to try to see the ultimate Truth, God, in everything. This we have to do with our soul’s light. Each human being has a soul. The soul is an infinitesimal portion of the infinite Truth. The soul is in direct contact with the Divine, with the Transcendental Being. The problem is that when we speak to a person, we do not approach his soul. We see only the outer body. The physical is full of darkness and imperfections, so it is difficult for us to approach the soul. But let us try to see the soul inside the physical being of the person and commune with the soul and bring to the fore the soul’s light.
When we achieve complete oneness with God, do we still see a polarity between good and evil?
When we are in a state of oneness with God, we cannot say that this is evil and that is good. When we become one with God, everything is a manifestation of the divine Will. But when we are not one with God, then one second we are with God, in God, and for the next hour we are in ourselves—in our own vital, in our own physical consciousness. Then there will always be both undivine and divine forces within and around us. But when we have the highest, most sublime meditation, we do not see the polarities of good and evil. For then we are one with the Transcendental Reality, and this transcends all human notions of good and evil, divine and undivine.
Faith can believe everything
That we say.
Belief can increase
The strength of faith.
Belief is pure.
Faith is sure.
Belief looks around
To see the Truth.
Faith looks within
Not only to feel the Truth
But also to become the Truth.