Three Viewpoints to Examine the Origin of Falsehood & Evil

Sri Aurobindo points out that once we accept the process of the Unity of Brahman, both in Manifest and Unmanifest form, we have to accept that what we term “evil” or “falsehood” must have some basis for its occurrence and some rationale. He proposes to examine the problem from three viewpoints: “its relation to the Absolute, the supreme Reality, its origin and place in the cosmic workings, its action and point of hold in the individual being. It is evident that these contrary phenomena have no direct root in the supreme Reality itself, there is nothing there that has this character; they are creations of the Ignorance and Inconscience, not fundamental or primary aspects of the Being, not native to the Transcendence or to the infinite power of the Cosmic Spirit. It is sometimes reasoned that as Truth and Good have their absolutes, so Falsehood and Evil must also have their absolutes, or, if it is not so, then both must belong to the relativity only; Knowledge and Ignorance, Truth and Flasehood, Good and Evil exist only in relation to each other and beyond the dualities here they have no existence. But this is not the fundamental truth of the relation of these opposites; for, in the first place, Falsehood and Evil are, unlike Truth and Good, very clearly results of the Ignorance and cannot exist where there is no Ignorance: they can have no self-existence in the Divine Being, they cannot be native elements of the Supreme Nature.”

This implies that if and when the Ignorance disappears, then evil and falsehood will be eliminated, as they are not “absolutes”. For those of us who have accepted a truth of the duality, that “good” cannot exist without “evil”, Sri Aurobindo challenges our assumptions. We shall explore these issues much more in depth in the coming days.

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