Evil

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General description

Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

The odd numbers are divine, the even numbers are terrestrial, devilish, and unlucky. The Pythagoreans hated the binary. With them it was the origin of differentiation, hence of contrasts, discord, or matter, the beginning of evil. . . With the early Pythagoreans, however, the duad was that imperfect state into which the first manifested being fell when it got detached from the Monad. It was the point from which the two roads—the Good and the Evil—bifurcated. All that which was double-faced or false was called by them “binary.” ONE was alone Good, and Harmony, because no disharmony can proceed from one alone.[1]
In human nature, evil denotes only the polarity of matter and Spirit, a struggle for life between the two manifested Principles in Space and Time, which principles are one per se, inasmuch they are rooted in the Absolute. In Kosmos, the equilibrium must be preserved. The operations of the two contraries produce harmony, like the centripetal and centrifugal forces, which are necessary to each other—mutually inter-dependent—“in order that both should live.” If one is arrested, the action of the other will become immediately self-destructive.[2]

View in The Mahatma Letters

In one of his letters, Mahatma K.H. wrote about the Masters' views on evil. First, they do not assign to evil a real entity:

Evil has no existence per se and is but the absence of good and exists but for him who is made its victim . . . and no more than good is it an independent cause in nature.[3]

At the same time, it is defined as "the exaggeration of good" that is, the excess of what in appropriate measures is good, is also the source of evil.[4]

Natural and moral evils

According to the Masters the suffering produced by natural causes cannot be regarded as evil:

Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends suffering [and] death, and destroys what she has created. Nature has an antidote for every poison and her laws a reward for every suffering. The butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, and the little bird killed by an animal goes into a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity and the eternal fitness of things, and hence cannot be called Evil in Nature.[5]

In their view, the real evil is the one produced by human action:

The real evil proceeds from human intelligence and its origin rests entirely with reasoning man who dissociates himself from Nature. Humanity then alone is the true source of evil. . . . Think profoundly and you will find that save death — which is no evil but a necessary law, and accidents which will always find their reward in a future life — the origin of every evil whether small or great is in human action, in man whose intelligence makes him the one free agent in Nature.[6]

Origin of diseases

Regarding diseases, they are seen as "the progeny of human selfishness and greediness", that is, the result of an excess of what per se is good:

It is not nature that creates diseases, but man. The latter's mission and destiny in the economy of nature is to die his natural death brought by old age; save accident, neither a savage nor a wild (free) animal die of disease. Food, sexual relations, drink, are all natural necessities of life; yet excess in them brings on disease, misery, suffering, mental and physical, and the latter are transmitted as the greatest evils to future generations, the progeny of the culprits. Ambition, the desire of securing happiness and comfort for those we love, by obtaining honours and riches, are praiseworthy natural feelings but when they transform man into an ambitious cruel tyrant, a miser, a selfish egotist they bring untold misery on those around him; on nations as well as on individuals. All this then — food, wealth, ambition, and a thousand other things we have to leave unmentioned, becomes the source and cause of evil whether in its abundance or through its absence. Become a glutton, a debauchee, a tyrant, and you become the originator of diseases, of human suffering and misery. Lack all this and you starve, you are despised as a nobody and the majority of the herd, your fellow men, make of you a sufferer your whole life.[7]

According to Master K.H., one-third of the problem of evil can be assigned to humanity's tendency to fall into excesses:

Therefore it is neither nature nor an imaginary Deity that has to be blamed, but human nature made vile by selfishness. Think well over these few words; work out every cause of evil you can think of and trace it to its origin and you will have solved one-third of the problem of evil.[8]

Religions

Mahatma K.H. makes a strong criticism to organized religions, making them responsible for "nearly two thirds" of the evil in the world:

And now, after making due allowance for evils that are natural and cannot be avoided, — and so few are they that I challenge the whole host of Western metaphysicians to call them evils or to trace them directly to an independent cause — I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatsoever nation.[9]

The criticism is not directed to the pure original religious teachings (which in many cases is a source of help to humanity), but to their manipulation by the "sacerdotal caste", the creation of tribal gods and their exploitation to gain power over the followers:

It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches; it is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity and that almost overwhelms mankind. Ignorance created Gods and cunning took advantage of the opportunity. Look at India and look at Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism. It is priestly imposture that rendered these Gods so terrible to man; it is religion that makes of him the selfish bigot, the fanatic that hates all mankind out of his own sect without rendering him any better or more moral for it. It is belief in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretence of saving them. Is not man ever ready to commit any kind of evil if told that his God or Gods demand the crime?; voluntary victim of an illusionary God, the abject slave of his crafty ministers. The Irish, Italian and Slavonian peasant will starve himself and see his family starving and naked to feed and clothe his padre and pope. For two thousand years India groaned under the weight of caste, Brahmins alone feeding on the fat of the land, and to-day the followers of Christ and those of Mahomet are cutting each other's throats in the names of and for the greater glory of their respective myths. Remember the sum of human misery will never be diminished unto that day when the better portion of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, morality, and universal charity, the altars of their false gods.[10]

Online resources

Articles and pamphlets

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 16.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 16.
  3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 273.
  4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 274.
  5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 273.
  6. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 273-274.
  7. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 274.
  8. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 274.
  9. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 274.
  10. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 274-275.