Having heard the bleak current news about the situation in the world, Theophile the Younger felt depressed and filled with doubt.
Theo. – Evil in this world has always outraged and disgusted me and I have never been able to accept it. I vainly tried to understand. No human or spiritual principle has ever convinced me.
The Elder – Human beings’ tragedy and greatness is that the Divine has endowed them with the gift of free will, hence the results we can see today.
Theo. – Here is precisely what saddens me.
The Elder – But what do we look at? How do we look at events? That is the question! I will tell you a story. A wandering dervish left us with the following account:
I had met a Sufi master who, like a magnet, attracted all sorts of people.
I said to him, “How can you bear the presence of such nasty people?
Being near you hasn’t even improved them.
Furthermore, your virtues are not really what has attracted them.
By their own admission, they are looking for one thing only:
Acquiring some powers other people don’t have.”
I will never forget the answer that master gave me:
“My friend, if all the snakes on the earth were doing their deadly jobs,
and if no one was there to divert them from it by giving them false hope,
there would not be a single living man left.”
Idries Shah (Sufi tales and stories)
Theophile the Younger, smiled, thus showing he appreciated the lesson. Then he said:
– “Down here, good and evil will always coexist, won’t they?
The Elder – I would say that there are the Yin and the Yang, whose polarities are founded on oneness. Lao Tzu said, “One united with Two, and generated Three and another 10 000 beings.” Chinese numerology is an expression of a great dynamism in life. ‘One’ was shared without being divided; then it united with ‘Two’ to give birth to ‘Three’. The Ying and the Yang have created a space within which ‘Three’ and the 10 000 beings, i.e. all living creatures, can develop. If we want to understand life, we must start from ‘One’ or, better still, from what existed before ‘One’. It has been called ‘Zero’. So you see, Theo, if you want to understand all about good and evil, you must first grasp what Ying and Yang mean. They don’t really exist. They are mere principles.
The Elder pointed at the mountain overlooking the path the two friends were treading:
– Look at the mountain, which is sunlit. The sunlit slope is Yang, whereas the slope in the shade, which gets no light, is Yin. Therefore, the mountain is said to be located between the Ying and the Yang.
After a long meditative silence where only the sound of their footsteps could be heard, the young man stopped and faced his friend:
– Do you mean that I can consider life is dual, according to the principle of good and evil – the primary principle – similarly to the sun, which shines on all that exists? The sun is reality, but we look only at its reflection or at the lack of sun. It reminds me of Plato’s cave. So we must learn how to see the ‘ONE’ in things, rather than only what is good or evil. Is that right?
The old man agreed and resumed his peaceful walk:
– Good is what light exposes, and evil is that which cannot receive any light. The light and the dark give shape to what exists under the sun. So, let us look only at the sun.
Theo. – Is that the reason why we meditate on the light in our hearts?
The Elder – It is, and the sun is interiorized. The light is what is going to draw our attention. Then we assert that it is not luminous, that it is a light without light. It is therefore said to be divine, being that ‘nothingness’ from which everything will emerge. You have understood it correctly: in order to attain ‘Nothingness’, we have to resort to light, without dwelling on it.
Theo. – So what about good and evil?
The Elder – Good is what is exposed to the light of the sun. Evil is what has ceased being exposed, but it is still connected to the sun. The sun is still present there, but what is in the dark ignores it. That which is in the light thinks evil is what is in the dark. Darkness would not exist without the sun either. You shouldn’t try to intellectualize it and just breathe the fragrance of good and evil.
Theo. – What do you make of this?
The Elder – We must look only at the sun within us. It is our original source, the fire that gives us life.
He keeps silent for a while:
– When we expose ourselves to it, during meditation, its heat provides joy and bliss.
Further down, it is all peace and serenity, in the oneness of all things.
Still further down, there is that indescribable ‘Nothingness’, the Centre some people will call God.
After a long silence, Theo emerged from his meditation and asked:
– What if a person is concerned with evil? What should we do?
The Elder – Do nothing. See only the light in the person’s heart, the ONE within him or her, and ignore the evil that dwells there. That is a spiritual way for fighting evil. Nowadays, we often fight evil with evil, which entails war, and that very war, that darkness, is what we fuel for the sake of good and light.
Theo. – That is the way Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi fought invaders, through active non-violence and love.
The Elder – “We must look at the heart of evil and see the divine seed, which is eternal.” That is the best way to fight evil enduringly. When we fight evil for what it is, i.e. for evil, we cannot get out of it. We’ll just add fuel to it. Let us have instead a loving look at the one who carries that divine seed within him or her.
Theo. – When will the seed fructify?
The Elder – Like the wheat that was found intact in an Egyptian pyramid three thousand years later: once sowed, the seed could grow. In order to germinate in our hearts, that divine seed needs to be exposed to the light of love.
Theo. – Actually, our ego is torn between good and evil!
The Elder – Of course it is, but it will break even and grow, provided love is there to subdue it. It will then take its true dimension, even if it takes years to do it. Leili Anvar wrote: “Good and evil are a base but we must move beyond it. When the stage for love comes, there is no more faith or belief, no more good or evil.” Love transcends the good and evil principles. When the sun shines, it can’t see the dark. There’s no such thing as darkness for it.
Theo. – Then what is duality for? Why Yin and Yang, good and evil?
The Elder – That creates a space where love, life and creation can be manifested.
To be clear, good and evil exist and it is quite normal for society to combat evil and support good. There is no doubt about it.
Theo. – That is apparently contradictory, isn’t it?
The Elder – You must understand that each plan has its specific laws, which we have to comply with. If we go against them, we risk being sanctioned in either material terms, by society, or in spiritual terms, by those who enforce the laws regulating it. These laws are just different ones. They belong to principles. The level of g-force gravitation acting upon an object is one g, but the object can break the sound barrier. When in the space vacuum, it can go faster than the speed of light. It takes nine minutes for a photon to come from the sun, and as for thought, it can travel instantaneously through the whole universe.
Theo. – Quantum Physics make me dream and take me miles away.
The Elder – We are beings of light and our souls make quantum leaps from one dimension to another. At the time of death, the soul goes through a black hole and it comes out through a white hole. It can fold the space instantly. Mysticism can make use of an up-to-date vocabulary, you see!
Theo. – How do these laws and principles function?
The Elder – What was originally the highest prevails over what follows it. The Divine prevails over the cosmic, and then comes the spiritual, followed by what is manifested.
Theo. – Does that mean that a spiritual master who has become divinized can do whatever he wants?
The Elder – No, but then he can do whatever he must do. Nothing can stop him. But if ever he breaks the law governing a plan, even for good reasons, it will come at a price. For instance, if a master brings rain to save a population from starvation, he is going to divert water to another spot, which can lead to other consequences. He will be accountable to Nature for having interfered with Its plans and he will have to accept responsibility for his action.
In another way, for the good of all, he can also commit an act unacceptable in our society and be punished for it. Though rightly condemned by the society and its rules, he will be blessed on the divine plan and praised at a cosmic and spiritual level. He will accept his sentence but he will act again in the same way and without any hesitation if it is necessary. He has achieved what his heart had told him to do. It is normal, as he was then all love, forgetting his own interests for the sake of God. Moreover, he will admit men’s sentence.
Theo. – That is something I cannot really contemplate.
The Elder – If you are spiritually well prepared, it is easy to go through it since you just act as you must.
Theo. – It is a vast and challenging program! It does not make me feel like being a holy man. Babuji used to say that saints would pray even for being harmed, which I think is quite unreasonable.
The Elder – This is not about reason. It is about love. Any mother would sacrifice herself for her child’s sake, spontaneously and without thinking.
Theo. – That’s true, and even if she thought about it, she would still do it. That’s love!
The Elder – When you love, all idea of sacrifice will simply disappear. Chariji would say that a spiritual Master is a true friend who will readily sacrifice his life for us.
Theo. – And what about his disciple?
– That is another story…
Theophile the Elder
An excerpt from Dialogs with Theophile the Elder
Theophile the Younger’s initiation