Sadhguru: Evil is neither a quality nor is it an act, it is a consequence of ignorance. This has been expressed in so many ways. You have surely heard the statement, “They know not what they do.” Where there is ignorance, evil – whether it gets recognized as such or not – is a natural play.


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Evil is neither a quality nor is it an act, it is a consequence of ignorance.

The most horrendous things happen not because somebody is evil, but because he is ignorant. Whether something horrific that a human being may be doing gets labeled as evil or not, is simply a question of numbers and strength. It all depends on how many people are with you. If you manage to get the whole town into an evil act, it will become the right thing to do. Today, we don’t want to have anything to do with the right things that people did in the past because they were the most horrendous things they could have done. The most evil man today is not qualified to do what the good guys of the past did. And things are not any different today either. 

Evil never leaves. It cannot leave because it is not a quality or an act, it is a certain absence of knowing. If something is present, we could destroy it but absence cannot leave – you cannot destroy darkness, you just have to bring light. Similarly, you cannot destroy evil, you just have to bring knowing and awareness. Evil changes form, complexion and direction but fortunately, ignorance has only one form, so it is easy to deal with. To deal with ignorance we must know the existence. 

To know the existence, first we must see that your mind and your body are a product of the world and its people. Your original nature is not in your experience because it is on the other side of the mind. In a way, your mind is like a mirror. It may be a distorted one, but still a mirror. You see the world because it is reflected in your mind. But the mind never reflects the self. I am not talking about your physical or psychological self. You can contemplate your thoughts and emotions, but you cannot contemplate the self. Your existence cannot be contemplated – it can only be experienced. The mind is reflecting the world around you, but there is no experience of you as a life.

So if you know the nature of this “mirror,” you know the nature of all the images that it can project. So ignorance is only of one kind – that you do not know what this mirror is. If this one thing is settled, you do not have to be enlightened about all the things in the cosmos. If you just know what this is, it is the end of ignorance and the end of evil too. 


Editor’s Note: Curious to know if there is such a thing as “necessary evil”? Click here to read Sadhguru’s take.