Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.acadun.com
16th February 2009
‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop’ - a prophetic saying indeed. The spiritualists equally proclaim - ‘enlightenment is a sign of a still mind’. How does man come to terms with these contradictory yet prophetic sayings? The second saying indicates that the devil’s workshop is God’s abode. How could this ever be possible or relevant? Therefore, the term devil needs to be examined for all it is worth.
The law for man ‘no man is guilty until and unless proven’ does not seem to apply to the devil. He is taken for granted to be guilty and is condemned to hell, which, by the way, is his kingdom. It is a kind of house-arrest, to say the least. The devil provides an ideal contrast to God and hence is used to signify the presence of God more than anything else. But has man wondered about the authenticity of the devil’s existence? No, he has not, for as long as the devil supports the presence of God, it has served its purpose. The devil seems to be doing a good job for he gives support to God’s existence, and this should make him a good boy by any measure.
Spiritual literature has no room for the devil unless spoken of as the bad guy who needs correction or elimination from the world. But would any spiritual book be complete without including an in-depth analysis of the devil? It would not. The devil deserves a fair trial as much as man does, but it is not spoken of nor is the subject of serious discussion by intellectuals. All workings of the devil-man belong to club-devil and this is the belief of religious men, who preach that it should be shunned. Devil is very often used in religious settings and acts as the best prop to interest man in God. The devil is portrayed as evil and should be discarded as we do our daily trash.
The devil exists, and so say the religious, and their word is gospel. It is taken that the religious have seen the devil and so are eligible to vouch for its existence. So, it is not only the ordinary man who can be associated with the devil, but even the religious are too. One can only wonder what business the devil can have with the religious. Why would the devil ever approach a religious man, surely not with the thought of converting or tempting him into the ways of the devil?
All said and done, the devil’s existence is accepted, but who could be the devil’s creator? Surely there should be a creator of the devil? If the world and everything in it has a creator, surely the devil needs a creator too. The devil just cannot exist without being created, surely?
Is there an almighty devil that has created the devil? If so, the question is who created the almighty devil? Could it be God? Since He is the almighty, could He have created the devil? That could not be possible for God stands for good and not bad? All said and done, the devil has a place in religion and in many storybooks that intrigue the adult and the child equally. In the child it instils fear and opens the door of love to God; for the adult, it is a source of entertainment and an opportunity to attain power through the back door.
The devil and discussions about it are unspiritual, to say the least. Eyebrows are raised at men who have such discussions and they are scoffed at by the godly society. But surely any intelligent man must enquire about the creation and identity of the devil’s creator? If God created the world, is the devil included in the world or left out of it? If the devil is not included as part of the world, how could it exist in the world at all?
If the devil exists outside the world, and it looks as though it has to since God cannot have created it, how does it gain entry into the world created by God? If it can, surely it must be mightier than the almighty. This brings another question to the forefront of intelligence. Who could have seen the creation of the devil? Man just could not have since he is a creation of God and the world, which does not include the devil. The devil has to be created outside this world and not inside. If this is true, then the devil cannot gain entry in the world of God for all that would exist in it would be beyond good or bad, and man could not have witnessed the creation of the devil. The devil’s existence is merely a belief that man carries within his mind.
There are many stories about the devil and man’s relationship with him or her. Stories of man’s relationship with God are few and far between, and there is no way of confirming their authenticity or the stories about the devil and man. They are just taken to be true and shunned in the dark alleys of the literary corridor labelled ‘not to be viewed and enquired into for authenticity’.
Some claim to have seen the devil, and so are claims of man seeing God present too. It is easy for man to accept that the devil has been seen, but difficult to believe that God has been visualised. But spirituality preaches that God cannot be seen as God is everywhere and man is illusory. If man was illusory, and it is not disputed that he is not, would not the sighting or the stories of the devil be illusory too? Some food for thought, surely?
What are the traits of the devil? They include, among many, deception, temptation, greed, anger, violence, jealousy, doubt and envy, but these traits are found in man too. They are, in fact, found in every man’s mind, either subtly or overtly. They would be as duality is present in every mind, and the mind is universal. The behaviour of man in the house and in every office he holds in society or in the nation is not without the presence of these traits. Man admonishes his children, wife and friends in no uncertain terms at times, not realising in his ignorance that he has done this to God, for he forgets that all are God’s expression.
The small print of tempting offers, the atrocities of war and the ruthlessness of business have more than a sprinkling of these traits. In the manipulations of politics to meet its ends, the murky workings of the dictator and the greed of men in high positions, wearing suit and tie, one need only look and one will find the devil in places one would least expect.
The dictator may have weapons of mass destruction and the man in suit and tie has his own: wealthy dinner-meetings to inflict economic destruction worldwide. The nuclear weapons would surely make the conventional devil envious, to say the least. What is the difference between man and the devil then? None whatsoever, for the mind is universal and so would the devil be. Wherever man is, the devil is too. If such is the case, then once again the question of entry into God’s kingdom arises. Would man be allowed into heaven if he were no different from the devil? It is for every man to wonder and arrive at the answer.
Holy men and women of any religion are not free of duality. They preach that the devil and its traits should be avoided, but their speech is evidence of the avoided subject being present within the mind. It surely is and there is no escape, but whether it is real or not is another question to be enquired into. So, it appears that the devil is in the world, and it is the mind which is the devil. Even a single thought in the mind is hell and, therefore, this makes every thinking man a devil.
Understand that duality has every trait that could be classified as the devil. Understand that duality is illusory for it is an auditory illusion of sound. This would make the devil too illusory rather than real. Devil is merely a word in the mind and not an actuality in life. Devil provides an ideal contrast to understand the qualities of Godliness. If the devil were illusory would not the concepts of God be illusory too. It certainly would for God is not he or she who man imagines Him to be and neither is the devil. Understand if the devil were eliminated and is not present within the mind God will disappear too. God is life and life is energy and not he or she, and since God is energy He cannot disappear anywhere. If He does understand that the world man and mind will do too inclusive of the devil.
If the traits of the devil were real would God permit their existence or even create them? No. He would not and has not. Prayers to ward of evil and keep the devil away is an admittance that God has created the devil and this is an insult to the almighty if not anything else. If the devil has to be eliminated or kept away from then surely man has to be eliminated and kept away from too for his mind has devil’s traits. So much it would require that man should not be permitted to any place of worship.
Devil is part of the drama of life to emphasise the presence of Godliness. Stories about the devil only provide man with a drive to emulate and follow godly traits. Stories about the devil and hell are inculcated into a child - all in good faith and intention. At the same time the child and adult alike are preached to love others and God. But is it love to inflict fear into a child by inculcating stories about the devil, and would the child not grow up in fear? It certainly would. Furthermore, would man be able to love his fellow human being, let alone God, if he was in fear? No, he certainly would not be able to.
Thus the purpose to love God is defeated, but man is ignorant of this and therefore needs to understand. No matter what, both godly and devilish traits will be present in the mind of every man until his death, whether he likes it or not. The moment the realisation occurs of their illusory nature man becomes God, and the devil, which is the mind, disappears.
When man goes to the place of worship the devil goes too. Man cannot leave his mind at home when he visits the place of worship. Wherever and whenever the mind is, the devil is present whether you like it or not. The experienced world is a world of thoughts, and this makes the devil just a word in the mind and nothing else.
The devil is not an actuality in life, for it would require time to exist in life and time does not exist in life. Time exists in the mind as a thought and not as a reality in life. This is why life is timeless and thoughtless and therefore godly. Enlightenment is a timeless and thoughtless state, and a thought-state, no matter how revered it is, will have the presence of the devil within it, and there is no escape.
Maybe the saying ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop’ needs a rethink - it could very well mean the devil’s workshop is nearing closure. And equally, perhaps the spiritual saying ‘Enlightenment is a sign of a still mind’ is true. Man should ponder.
Life teaches man every moment, through every situation, through every relationship and through the animate and the inanimate as well, that the world is illusory and not real. Perhaps the most significant lesson of all amongst many that life teaches man is through the devil and God, which is ‘You are who you say the other is.’
Understand that man is not - only God is. Understand that the devil is not - only God is.
© Copyright 2009 V. S. Shankar