Is Evil Necessary?
Is that which we label “evil” in the world actually necessary for us? Sadhguru explains, whether you perceive something as good or evil just depends on which side of the border you are on, as one person’s actions in pursuit of happiness in some way cause suffering to others.
Q: My question concerns the duality of existence and I wonder, is what we perceive as evil and negative necessary for our growth?
Sadhguru: What is your idea of evil?
Q: Murder, hate, war – that is what I perceive as evil. Do these things have to happen for enlightenment to even be possible?
Sadhguru: What you label as evil essentially depends on which side of the border you are on. I want you to understand, the only evil on the planet is, people are in pursuit of happiness. In pursuit of our happiness, we will do many things which we think are perfectly okay, but somebody else thinks is evil. The man whom you call a criminal is also in pursuit of happiness. It is just that he is pursuing it far more vigorously than you. That is why he creates unpleasant results. You worked for 30 days and you made some money; you made this money in pursuit of your happiness. But his longing for happiness is so vigorous that 30 days looks too long. He wants to get it in ten minutes – which you call as crime. He thinks it is just pursuit of happiness.
When you are in pursuit of happiness, you are in some way causing suffering to others all the time. For us to sit in a comfortable home, do you know how many worms, insects and other creatures have suffered? In pursuit of human happiness, every creature on this planet has gone through untold suffering. If you ask the worms and the insects, they will say human beings are evil!
Just an Ant’s Life?
We are doing these things in pursuit of our happiness, but that is not coming easy for others. It is just that we think, “Oh, it is just a damn insect,” but an insect does not think so. In an insect’s mind, the most important life on this planet is an insect’s life. If you try to crush an ant, does it not do everything in its capability to save itself? Obviously it values its life. It does not think, “Oh, just an ant’s life. Okay, take it.” How much you value your life, the same is instilled in every life.
The moment you are in pursuit of happiness, you do not know what you are doing to others. If your life is an expression of your joy, you will still do some of these things, but only to the extent it is necessary – no more. And that is all you can do. You cannot stop completely. If you simply inhale and exhale, a million microorganisms die. Your existence is evil, if you want to look at it that way. But if you were very pleasant within yourself, you would not do it to an unnecessary length and extent.
Let us not go about labeling people as good and evil. The essential problem is, we believe too many things that we do not know. If you see, “what I know, I know; what I do not know, I do not know,” you have no fight with anybody. If you believe something is right, somebody else believes something else is right – do you think the fight is ever going to stop?
Violence and war are not happening just like that. They are in pursuit of somebody’s happiness. If you were joyful by your own nature, then you would not do anything that is not needed. You would conduct your life sensibly to the extent it is needed.
Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights in the ebook “From Creation to Creator”, available at Isha Downloads. Pay what you wish and download it. Enter “0” or click “Claim for free” for a free download.
A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower.