Question: Does evil have a real existence?

Sri Chinmoy: At the highest level of spiritual consciousness, there is no such thing as evil, but in the lower manifestation of divinity here on earth, there is something which we call ignorance. This ignorance has been interpreted in the Western world as evil, sin and so forth.

Now if you say that by losing contact with the Divine, we have allowed evil to take birth inside us or in the world atmosphere, I say it is true to some extent, but let us not use the world “evil”. We should rather use the word “ignorance” here because in this world we human beings are not in direct contact or in conscious union with God. We are one in God; that is one thing. But conscious union is altogether a different matter. So when most of us are not in conscious oneness with God, we are away from the Highest, from the deepest Truth or the Transcendental Reality. So you can call it “evil” if you like, but I would like to call it ignorance.

In India there is a philosophy called Vedanta philosophy. The followers or practitioners of that philosophy are not satisfied even with calling it ignorance; they will say that it is a mere obstacle in our path. What you call evil, what I call ignorance, they call an impediment, an obstacle in our way to absolute oneness with God.

So if you take evil in the sense of ignorance or an obstruction on earth, it does exist. But if you say that evil is something very dark or dangerous, like a roaring lion wanting to devour us at every moment, standing right against the Divine Will, a demon or a hostile force incarnate, it is not like that. It is only the play of ignorance in the lower planes of consciousness that we see. We use various terms to describe it. In the highest world, the spiritual world, there is no evil and God Himself has not created any evil. God had created only Good, Light, Peace and Bliss.