Tolerance and the Threat of Evil

“Tolerance is a sign of growth on the spiritual path” – Swami Sivananda

There is much concern about evil in this world. Indeed, there are threats from evil all around us.  Just listen to the news. There is much to fear. ISIS is evil. Al Qaeda is evil. Terrorists are evil. Dictators are evil. Those who hate and hurt others are evil. Evil lurks in the hearts of all mankind. Evil is the darkness within. Evil is the ego. Evil is the demon of desire. 

To be in this world is to live in the realm of duality. There exists good and bad in the world; right and wrong, demons and angels. Yogic and Vedic science teaches that duality is the nature of creation. Because duality is the nature of creation, each time we think we have defeated an evil doer, another evil doer takes his place. Stalin, Hitler, Bin Laden, Kim Jong Un, Putin. Of course there are many more both past and present. And, there will be many more in the future. Simply put, we can’t defeat evil in the world or the realm of duality (nature) would not exist. This world is a part of existence. We are simply not powerful enough to control the forces of existence.  This why Yoga and Vedic Science teach that we must turn our focus upon ourselves and eradicate the evil within.

Evil within ourselves takes the form of desire, anger, greed, hatred and jealousy. These lead us to act in ways that harm others, harm the earth and harm ourselves. This is a battle we can win. Peace begins when we eradicate the evil within our own hearts.

Tolerance is an advanced spiritual concept. As we grow, we evolve from a state of spiritual ignorance into a state of spiritual awareness before finally moving into the highest state of Spiritual transcendence or Self Realization. 

Spiritual Ignorance is the state in which a person is completely unaware of the Divine. This person says ” This world is all there is.” This is a very simple perspective and requires no self-exploration.  

Spiritual Awareness is the next stage. There are two subtypes. The first is Spiritual Fundamentalism.   This person says “There is a God. God is this or that. Any other understanding of God is incorrect.”.  Such a person can be a dangerous, self-righteous fanatic. This individual has absolute opinions about right and wrong, good and evil.  This individual is intolerant. 

The second or higher stage of Spiritual Awareness is  “Spiritual Tolerance”. This person appreciates God in all forms and traditions, has developed compassion for humanity, and acceptance and respect for other traditions.. This person realizes that there are many paths to God, Heaven or Spiritual Liberation and picks the one they feel will serve them most.   This is a much higher state. This person is not bound by “the literal word.” This person sees metaphors and symbols in the scriptures and begins to realize how different traditions have different ways of conveying Higher Truth.  

The highest state is that of  Spiritual Transcendence or Self Realization. This person has only an awareness of the Divine and sees the Divine equally in all paths. This person has transcended any need for a path having already arrived at the highest summit. Others will try to put this person’s teachings into words but most will misunderstand them. Each person can only understand higher Truth in relationship to their own spiritual growth. One person ignores this person’s words.  Another takes them literally. Another gains deep insight beyond the words themselves. The one who truly understands them has no need to read them.

These states of spiritual awakening are natural. There will always be people in each state and they will react to worldly events from their own perspective. 

There will always be duality in nature.  Those who are Spiritual Fundamentalists will experience this to the greatest degree. Each fundamentalist looks at the world from their pole of duality and will insist that the other side as “evil” This is human nature. 

The Divine is One, Non-dual Truth that is all-encompassing.  There is no eternal good or bad or right or wrong. Good and bad, right and wrong exist in the world of nature only. One cannot exist without the other. It is for this reason that one cannot defeat the other. Thus, the battle will go on for all eternity, swallowing up those who find themselves engaged in it. And, there will always be those righteous warriors who engage it. – Om Shanti, Dr. Marc Halpern, Author of Healing Your Life; Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda and the CD, Yoga Nidra and Self Healing. He is also the President and Founder of the California College of Ayurveda.