Exploring the Nature of Falsehood & Evil

In perhaps one of the longest single chapters in The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo undertakes to present before us an understanding of falsehood, error, wrong and evil that we can both appreciate and work with in terms of our approach to the meaning and significance of life. This issue is one which interests virtually all of humanity, and one which has exercised human thought throughout history. “Why does God permit evil?” is one formulation of this question which we raise when we see bad things happen. “Why do wicked people prosper?” is another such formulation. “Can evil be overcome?” is yet a third. The exploration of this important subject from all sides is the focus of this next chapter.

To illustrate the long-standing nature of these concerns, Sri Aurobindo cites references to the Veda, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita in the preliminary quotations with which he begins this chapter.

For instance: “They live and move in the Ignorance and go round and round, battered and stumbling, like blind men led by one who is blind.” (Mundaka Upanishad)

“One whose intelligence has attained to Unity, casts away from him both sin and virtue.” (Bhagavad Gita)

“He who has found the bliss of the Eternal is afflicted no more by the thought, “Why have I not done the good? Why have I done evil?” One who knows the self extricats himself from both these things.” (Taittiriya Upanishad)

“The first and the highest are truth; in the middle there is falsehood, but it is taken between the truth on both sides of it and it draws its being from the truth.” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad).

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 14, The Origin and Remedy of Falsehood, Error, Wrong and Evil