Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
4th July 2008
“This is such a cogent insight into the nature of evil that has established a monumental reality of sorts in the lives of every man, woman and child. Nobody quite understands it, or indeed has tried to until now. While the whole of mankind denounces its existence, Dr Shankar demolishes its reality and offers each one of us the challenge to understand.”
Peter Julian Capper
‘Speak no evil’, ‘See no evil’, ‘Hear no evil’: the ever-popular monkey-symbol says it all. ‘Taste no evil’, ‘Smell no evil’ is, however, not universal, but ‘Touch no evil’ certainly is. Evil literally means ungodly; it can also mean eerie, something which is unacceptable and should never happen. Evil can also mean wrong. If evil were wrong, then anything that is considered wrong should be evil too. But, if wrong is acceptable, it is condoned and, at times, reprimanded and punishment of varied nature is meted out to the wrong-doers. This means that evil is sometimes condoned and sometimes not. Therefore, the severity and intensity of evil can range from minimal, when it is labelled wrong, or to the maximum or extreme, and such a wrong is termed evil. Minimal wrong, but evil nevertheless, is pardoned, accepted, condoned or punished, while the evil or extreme wrong-doers are condemned to the gallows, so to speak. But would not those who condemn the evil to the gallows be evil too? The right to condemn and punish is also evil.
Every man wishes to be good or godly and no man wishes to be wrong or evil, but both are nevertheless present and have been in life for aeons of time. Man has tried his best to ward off evil and has even prayed to God the almighty to do so too. Prayers to ward off wrong or evil is an everyday affair in every religion, but the prayers remain unanswered. If God cannot eradicate evil, can man do it for Him? God does not require another chance to eradicate. He would do anything he wished the first time around, and this quality is what makes Him God.
So when does the wrong become evil? Obviously, when wrong is unacceptable, it is termed evil, but acceptable wrong is nevertheless evil too. Since wrong happens routinely in daily life and man accepts it with a huff and a puff, does it mean that, if evil happens routinely as an everyday affair, man will accept it as a way of life? He most certainly will. Man’s behaviour is at times unacceptable at home. The tales of discord between married couples, though unacceptable, are nevertheless tolerated for reasons of security, society, culture, tradition and harmony. This is proof that when wrong, which is evil of a lesser kind, becomes routine, it is accepted as part and parcel of daily life and society.
The periodic presence of war, which is evil no matter what the reasons to justify it could be, is further proof. Hence, unacceptability is not absolute and is prone to becoming acceptable once the unacceptable becomes routine or justifiable. The rich getting richer does not make sense - it reeks of greed, which is a social evil of a sort that is accepted. Therefore, the difference between right and wrong and good and evil is relative and not absolute.
Parents and teachers alike sometimes reprimand orally and, at times, a slap on the face, a rap on the knuckles, or the use of a cane to the derrière is the order of the day. These measures are wrong and, therefore, evil, but they are accepted. To justify that such measures are necessary for the welfare of the child cannot be true because parents and teachers do get angry, and their indulgence and resorting to such measures is proof of their anger. They do get sad, they do get depressed, they criticise, blame others, they become jealous, they doubt, they distrust, they hate, they lie, they quarrel, they argue - they were reprimanded and punished in childhood as well. It appears that it has done them no good either; so what is proved by punishing the child?
Would parents and teachers admit that they too require punishment for their own good in old age? And if children are the same as adults during their adulthood, what point does punishment prove? Likewise, would not adults carry their behaviour into old age even if punished during adulthood? They most certainly would. It is paradoxical that evil becomes accepted if and when intentions appear good. Life demonstrates that evil cannot be eradicated; it cannot be eradicated because it does not exist as a reality: evil is illusory. It is illusory because time is absent in life and evil would require time for it to happen.
Man is addicted to reading the daily newspaper published in any society. This addiction is global, to say the least, and it happens early in the morning. What is it in the papers that catches man’s attention and interest? It is news that has shades of evil, which is murder, burglary, rape, accidents of any type and manner, of wars, political coups, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, marital squabbles and behavioural idiosyncrasies of celebrities, stories of ludicrous divorce-settlements, legal wrangling etc. The spicier the stories the greater is the sale and demand for such publications. The paradox is, if the newspapers carried stories of the good and the Godly, man would not be interested or concerned about them. The reason is that they do not make good gossip, while stories that have a hint of evil do.
Cinemas, television serials, soap and the whole gamut of entertainment is filled with evil and man accepts them with applause and riveted attention. The admiration for such forms of entertainment is evident in every household and society. Video games depicting evil is most sought after and in great demand. It is impossible to find games that are good and saintly - what an irony. Man appreciates the grotesque and the evil when it is packaged as entertainment. Evil is entertainment and this cannot be denied. It is big business and the man who peddles such business is not only revered, but also admired.
Friends, couples, brethren, relatives, associates etc., part company or accuse each other over conclusions of wrong or evil. The role of evil in man’s life does not make any sense because, on the one hand, wrong or evil is embraced without fuss or hue and, on the other, daggers are drawn. To refrain from evil is preached from every pulpit of religion, while the same congregation indulges in entertainment, which is acceptable, but nevertheless evil, to say the least.
The question is, if generations of an entire community were evil, without skipping a generation, would they know that they are evil or what evil could be? Or would such an evil life appear normal to them? It certainly would be normal if they had no beliefs of evil. So is evil just a belief? Or is it real? If it were real, it should be present in every generation. It is obvious that evil is, therefore, a belief. It exists only as a thought in the mind, as is everything else. This is what makes mental life illusory.
Evil is feared by one and all. It appears disgusting to man and is deplored by him in no uncertain terms, and so too by every religion and in any form of spirituality. Man believes and is convinced of its existence. Many a tale that depicts evil fills the pages of mythology connected with any religion, culture or tradition. There seems to be no escape from evil for man.
But where could evil have come from? Could man have created it? He could only have if he were the doer. But is he? And could he ever be? Man cannot possibly be the doer because the mind and time are absent in life. Man is not and cannot be a physical entity because life is energy and it transforms every moment spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably. Life is timeless and thoughtless too and, therefore, evil in any form and intensity is illusory rather than real. Evil is a powerful thought in the mind, which reflects a conditioned mind.
To which man does wrong or evil appear real? And to which man it does not exist as a reality? Strangely enough, man is considered good or saintly if he condemns evil or abhors it. Such men are considered spiritual, the sort of company to have and maintain. This can only mean that to appear saintly or good the presence of evil is needed. Evil or wrong provides a contrast needed for recognition of the godly or the good. This means it is the evil or wrong that contributes meaning to the godly or the good and, without wrong or evil, man would not be able to recognise the good and the godly. Therefore, it is wise to realise that for the godly or the good to exist, wrong and evil is absolutely needed. If evil or wrong were eradicated, the godly and the good would face the same fate simultaneously. The fabric of mental life is dependent on duality.
But who could be the godly or the good? It is he or she who has transcended evil or the wrong, and transcendence happens when man is in life and not in the mind. He slips into life when an understanding happens to him that the mind is illusory and not real. Such men are the enlightened beings and, to such beings, evil does not exist as a reality.
Only as long as evil exists within the mind can man appear to be godly, because evil feeds meaning to the godly. If man were godly would he speak of evil? Would not the mention of evil make him evil too? It certainly would, but life is intelligent because it maintains both the godly and the evil together. This means that the good and the evil are just one and the same for they contribute meaning to each other and, without each other, neither could exist. Godly is minimal evil that appears as godly and evil is minimal godly that appears as evil. This only proves that even duality is relative and not absolute, that evil is relative and not absolute, that evil is temporary and not permanent - which makes evil illusory and not real.
Evil and the godly are both absent during sleep. Sleep too is a part of man’s existence for he is as much alive as he is in the waking state. If evil and the godly were real, both would need to be present during sleep, but neither is. Man is free from both and they do not come into reckoning during sleep. They are absent because the mind is absent during sleep. The mind is an illusory manifestation of sound and, during sleep, sound is absent: only silence is present. This silence is the fundamental source of life and is even present during the waking state when it reflects as sound. The sound further manifests as illusory words with meanings, and one such word among the many in the vocabulary is ‘evil’.
Who could have created or manifested evil? If God were the creator of the world, it would imply everything in it, including man and his mind. This would mean that God is the creator of evil. But why would God create evil? If He did, would it not make God evil too? If God is evil, and He would be if He had created evil, how could man be blamed or punished for it? Would not God’s creation be only godly? It would be because God is everywhere and nothing could be separate from Him. And would not God be blamed when those responsible for evil are blamed? Would not the one who blames or punishes be God too? He would be and, if so, how could God blame or punish Himself? The scenario is unthinkable. It is not God who blames, punishes or has created evil - it is illusory man who blames or punishes another illusory man, and this illusion is a manifestation of light and sound, which is God. If God were compassionate and loving, He would never create evil as a reality in life. God is not a man. If He were, then He would be illusory too.
Evil cannot have a different source other than light or God. If it did, then God cannot be everywhere. If evil has a different source other than God, the sources have to be separate and not united, in which case all evil would be separate from the Godly and the two would never meet. But they do, for they confront each other in the world created by God. God manifests a play of light and sound, which reflects evil as a part of a drama and not anything real as such.
Hence, the source of evil is neither man nor God. Evil is an illusory manifestation of sound. Life is a transformation-process of energy. It is a process which is continuous, beginingless and endless, causeless and effectless, and it is unlimited in range, intensity, frequency and magnitude. This unlimited transformation-process of energy reflects an optical illusion of shape, form and consistency and an auditory illusion of names, actions and situations, which is limited. This limited manifestation is based on duality, which is relative and temporary and, therefore, illusory.
When the illusory manifestation is within a certain range of duality it appears as good and the godly, and these concepts become the acceptable, and their opposites appear as wrong and evil, and these concepts become the unacceptable. Since these concepts are based on duality, they are relative and not absolute. The duality of the mind manifests a drama, which forms the mental world of reality. A drama means illusory and so cannot be real. Evil is a mental concept, but not a reality, and all efforts to eradicate evil, including the efforts, remain within the mind and are illusory. Man experiences a world of thoughts and not anything physically real. Life is timeless and thoughtless - simply a flow of energy - not eventful in time and space.
Man is trying to drive away his thoughts about evil, but not evil as such, and he believes that he is involved in eradicating evil in life. Thoughts are absent in life; they are present only in the mind. Therefore, evil in any form is absent from life. Evil is in the past or the future, for it is in the mind and the mind is always in the past or the future. If the mind were present in life, life would not be illusory - it would be real. If life were real, enlightenment would not be a reality because enlightenment is a timeless and thoughtless state.
As man is frightened by evil, and evil is a thought in the mind, it proves that man is not the thinker for, if he were, he could very easily not think of evil, but only of the good and the Godly until his death. When good and godly thoughts make their appearance in the mind, life and those related to the thoughts appear good and godly. The converse is also true: if thought of evil appears in the mind, those related with those thoughts will appear wrong or evil. This is the reason why the same man is sometimes good and godly, but has the potential to become evil or to commit wrong. The person has not changed from godly to evil - it is only thoughts that have changed, and they will, because everything changes except the unchangeable, which is the soul.
Evil cannot be eradicated, it cannot be controlled and it cannot be avoided either by man or God. Evil is a word with a meaning, and both are illusory, needed for the drama of life to be frightful; and this fear maintains the concept of the good, religion, spirituality and God. Evil is just a state of transforming energy without a meaning. An enlightened being has a realisation that duality is illusory and this understanding transforms a man into an enlightened being.
© Copyright: V.S. Shankar, 2008