Moral Law and Terrestrial Existence

Perhaps the must perplexing and frustrating set of facts that compels our attention revolves around the inter-relationship of good and evil in the world. It is obvious that good acts sometimes bring about evil results; and that things we consider to be evil can eventually yield good results. This is not meant to justify “doing evil for the sake of good” or abandoning good since it can lead to evil; rather, it is intended to provide us insight into the larger working of the universal manifestation that apparently does not have moral results as its sole goal.

Sri Aurobindo describes this issue: “The difficulty remains why that good should use evil as one and almost the chief of its means or the dominant moral law, sovereign, unescapable, categorical, imperative, the practical governor, if not the reason of our existence, should be compelled to fulfil itself through so much that is immoral and by the agency of a non-moral force, through hell on earth and hell beyond, through petty cruelty of punishment and huge fury of avenging calamity, through an immeasurable and, as it seems, never ending sequence of pain and suffering and torture.”

The conclusion is obvious when we remove the artificial filters from our vision: “It must surely be because there are other things in the Infinite and therefore other laws and forces here and of these the moral law, however great and sovereign to itself, has to take account and is compelled to accommodate its own lines to their curve of movement.”

If this is the case, then in order to get a clearer picture of the action of the moral law and its relation to our existence and the question of rebirth, we need to first gain an understanding of those other forces that impact, modify, dilute or derail the pure action of the moral law.

Sri Aurobindo,Rebirth and Karma, Section II, Chapter 14, The Terrestrial Law, pg. 118,