As children of Mother Nature, which nourishes and nurtures all life whilst also being destructive and merciless, humans are complex bundles of the good, the bad and the ugly, appearing in constantly varying proportions of these three basic characteristics. Our situation and circumstances dictate which one of these characters becomes our dominant character at any particular moment or in a particular situation. As Nature keeps showing both its kind and destructive sides, we humans also show our two distinct shades – as angels and as monsters – from time to time, thus, mirroring Nature.
As long as the world exists, Good and Evil in humans will exist, like the two sides of a same coin. As such, it is impossible to get rid of one side without the other. As night can’t be separated from day, Good can’t be separated from Evil. One may even go as far as to claim, albeit appearing to some as committing blasphemy, that Evil may be as dear to Nature (God) as Good is. If it was not so, why would Evil be even born? As Nature cannot be sadistic as to keep testing and punishing us poor humans, Evil has to be an intrinsic part of Nature, intertwined with Good and, therefore, logically embedded into each one of us poor mortals, as we are all products of Mother Nature.
Without Nature’s hand – in its birth and nurture – Evil would not exist. Evil uses the same elements of Nature to grow and flourish as does Good. Nature must not, therefore, be expected to destroy or punish Evil. However, as history bears witness, Evil invariably self-destructs, albeit temporarily and after enjoying some short-lived glory on the way in each stint, while as Good may seem to suffer at times but never truly dies. Human spirit too never dies. Can we ever forget the hardships and mental stress experienced by humans born at the start of the 20th century? They survived through two world wars, Spanish Flu pandemic and Great Depression before reaching 50 years of age. Their survival and resilience is enough to inspire us and instill hope in us during the current pandemic. Instead of feeling helpless, therefore, we should persevere and earnestly do all right things to keep ourselves and others safe in these trying times and lift our mental health, and individual and collective well-being.
We must repose complete faith in humans and our humanity, which does not see manmade borders – geographical, physical, political, religious, ethnic etc. Like Nature, humanity transcends all divisions. Like sun, air, water or flora, it does not recognise fences between individual houses or hard borders between countries. Humans always know how to transcend the fences and reach out to their kind in need; their humanness and empathy works through them and makes them to do so. If it was not so, how did humans grow four-fold in the last one century despite witnessing two world wars and numerous other wars and strife, two pandemics, epidemics and other diseases, and numerous natural catastrophes? The positive side in most humans has remarkably survived and remained their dominant characteristic throughout their evolution and existence.
The cumulative positivity in the world far exceeds its cumulative negativity; otherwise, humans would have long become extinct.
Regardless of our ever-changing characteristics and facades, we humans must never lose hope in our own kind – in our humanity or humanness – in our empathy and a caring side. The collective good in us humans has always prevailed and shall always prevail over our collective destructive side. As a note of caution, therefore, when we are adorned with an angel form, howsoever, transitory that period may be, we must try to remain humble and thankful and, most importantly, less judgemental, as we never know when our situation changes and we also turn into ugly monsters, especially when we feel threatened by fellow humans.
A life that is born is also destined to die at some point of time. Death defines the most certain aspect – the truth – of life. Disease, pain and suffering too are all parts of life, and so are natural catastrophes parts of Nature.
As a warm and bright day fades into a dark and cold night, summer passes into autumn and then winter before returning with a new lease of life, hope and promise in spring. These cycles of the opposites will keeps turning till the end of time.
I recall, during our prayers in Sanskrit, we would say, ‘Dharmo namah, Adharmo namah’, which means in the simplest terms: ‘Bowing unto Preservation / Good / Light / Life / Support / Noble / Conscientiousness / Consciousness / Kindness, while also bowing unto their opposites.’
Who is Evil? What is Evil?
The answers to those questions are individual, community, country specific. All opposing individuals, communities, countries call their opponents as Evil. By that definition, we all are Good (as we see ourselves) and we all are Evil (as our enemies see us).
So, what is the truth?
To be a judge and be able to know the truth, one has to transcend the divide between Good and Evil, to the level of Nature and be impartial to the extent possible. Nature creates and also destroys, without bias. Have we ever seen Nature sparing the lives of Good people during earthquakes, drought, flood, Tsunami, pandemic, cyclones, landslides and killing only the Evil (as perceived by us)? No, we have not! During the current pandemic, majority of casualties are people above 60, although majority of infections occur in the age group of 15 to 30. Does that make people above 60 Evil? No, they are not!
Once we understand this higher, transcended truth, we’ll figure out practical solutions to most our issues – individual, social, community, national and global.
Individual human endeavour alone is the key to our individual and collective well-being. Natures resides in each one of us, that is why we have the tradition of greeting one another as ‘Namaskar’, i.e. ‘bowing unto the Formless / the Infinite / the Truth (God) within you.’
We were wise and realised, we were boundless, we were transcended. Once again, let us break out of our self-created silos and remove our tinted glasses. The world is beautiful, unbound. Let us attain freedom from our little self-created prisons. Let us rid ourselves of our internal hell.
Embrace every human you come across. Love and receive love. Care and receive care. Empathise and receive empathy. What you give, you will receive in return. It all begins with you and it all ends with you.
You are That, That resides in you and in each one of us.
Dharmo Namah, Adharmo namah! Namaskar!
… Bill K Koul (Perth, 21 Oct 2020)