How To Deal with Evil


“Blame no one as all are struggling their ways out of the jungle of delusion.” Should all wrong deeds be tolerated? One answer might be people on spiritual path should keep themselves out of pointing out mistakes. But then again the question arises that don’t spiritual people have any responsibility towards raising voice against evil or wrong deeds, especially those of criminal nature? One more question is how do we distinguish between general wrongs and those of criminal nature?

—Rohit, India


Dear Rohit,

Your questions are timeless, long confounding scholars and philosophers, and unanswered, has perpetuated discord, misery and suffering throughout mankind’s history. However when the answer is perceived correctly with wisdom, it elevates the seeker into greater light and peace, uplifting the world. I hope my response helps you and others understand this important aspect of what we call The Battle of Life.

Part of the solution is to understand that many people are not ready to accept the higher truths we are presenting here. There are different levels of consciousness, different degrees of willingness, energy and magnetism within individuals and societies. What works for some, doesn’t hold for others. Jesus said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Why did he say this? To blame, judge or castigate denies their real nature as God’s creation. It limits them (us as well) and results in an ever more unreal perception God’s children from their Source, which is Joy, Satchidananda. It is God’s play, Her Lila, Her Dream. Humanity can demean itself because of its ignorance or its intentions.

Let’s address the first. For those living in ignorance or who are naive, our compassion may serve best. But it doesn’t mean we acquiesce or agree to the wrong. Yogananda said that if we remember this is God’s Dream, then it can be joy, but if we forget and think the dream ours (and ours to fight), it can be a nightmare! As a spiritual warrior, if there is a cause for right against wrong, you can’t effectively fight that injustice when you yourself are full of those cross-currents, of vrittis, attachments, reactions and moods. You’ll just end up muddied and carrying even more obstructive karma.

This is a major understanding of Yogananda’s teachings on Raja Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna states, “Even a little practice of this inward religion will free one from dire fears and colossal sufferings.” The battle begins within us with yoga, pranayam, sadhana (spiritual practices) in order to alleviate & mitigate karmic tendencies. Yogananda said, “A good rule to live by, and one that will take you sailing through many tests in life and circumstances, is to remain even-minded and cheerful.” And to never let anyone “get your goat”, because your goat is your peace, and as Peace itself is an aspect of God, so too is it your soul’s identity. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. Practice, embrace, focus and enjoy this Presence and it will be increased in our self, in others, finally in our environment. A close friend, Nayaswami Maria, put it this way: Detach yourself, control the reactive process, live the teachings. You can become a clear channel, a magnetic one as the channel is blessed by what flows through it!

You say, people on spiritual paths should keep themselves from pointing out mistakes. Those sadhakas can best alleviate pain and suffering in the world and themselves by adhering to Dharma, right action, as expressed in Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga. I suggest you read, contemplate and introspect the Yamas and Niyamas: non-violence, non-lying, non-attachment, non-sensuality, non-greed, cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self-study, devotion.***

And what of of criminal nature? Criminal nature is a conscious choosing to do what is wrong, a compromise, an embracing of satanic forces, and a denial of God’s presence. Our own true nature, if we raise our vibration and expression of Peace, of Joy, of Love, of Calmness (and Wisdom, Light, Vibration, and Power) through prayer, Kriya meditation, through adherence to dharma, will do more to change our environment and those around us, more than all the guns of darkness. Again compassion for those souls caught in the web of delusion and an affirmation of their soul nature is what is needed. Affirming their soul qualities will give them a chance for redemption, a decision only they can make. As you cannot absolve them of their Karma, nor their pain and suffering, they may continue their free will to choose darkness. You on the other hand, hold to Light, Peace, Calmness, Joy, the qualities of sainthood. Speak to and of Truth in all its spiritual qualities I’ve mentioned herein. That is the most powerful weapon.

Blessed are the peacemakers….The world is such a difficult and confusing field, because until there is a real desire to remove pain and suffering, this globe will continue the cycles of ignorance. When there is tiring of maya and desire for happiness, then there is a possibility for higher awareness. Where there is adherence to right action (virtue), there is victory! One by one, this starts with you, with me. This is the true battle of life befitting the spiritual warrior.

***I recommend Swami Kriyananda’s The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, a presentation of Yogananda’s commentaries. You can deepen your understanding of yogic principles in a book in our Ananda Course, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, also by Swami Kriyananda.
Yours in Spirit,
Nayaswami Premdas