Good and evil

Updated - January 24, 2019 08:41 pm IST

Published - January 24, 2019 08:40 pm IST

After listening attentively to Sage Suka’s narration of the Ajamila and Vritrasura episodes, Parikshit confesses that he is unable to understand why the Lord who is equal to all also shows strong bias in favour of the devas rather than the asuras. Is not the Lord ever blissful and is there anything that He needs to achieve through Indra and the devas? Suka points out to the basic duality comprising both good and evil forces that are manifest in Prakriti, said Sri Ramanujam in a discourse.

The Lord is beyond Prakriti but the two opposing forces of good and evil are subsumed in His Yogamaya. He is untouched by the gunas, satva, rajas and tamas that constitute Prakriti. Each of these is in dominant mode or in its subdued form during particular periods. By His Yogamaya, He augments rajas during creation, satva when He sustains and tamas at the time of dissolution. His main concern is to protect the good against the evil forces. So, when Satva is dominant He seems to favour the devas and the rishis; when rajas prevails, He sides with the asuras and when Tamas reigns, He is with the yakshas and rakshasa.

Sage Kashyapa and his wives Aditi and Diti are symbolic of how good and evil are from the same source and are inherent in each one of us. Like Kashyapa, who is a witness to the positive and negative forces, each individual atma is distinct from the good and evil thoughts that arise in the human mind. The devas are the sons of Aditi and the asuras of Diti and represent the distinct features of these rival forces. God as the indweller in each being is responsible for the jivatma’s ability to think, act and speak. But individual thought, word and deed is not forced by God since each one is endowed with free will to choose between good and evil.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.