Path to Siva: A Catechism for Youth

25 What About Evil, Hell and Sin?§


This fierce monkey guards the entrance to a temple in Bali, frightening away those who should not enter. He is fearsome, but like sin and evil, he is not feared by those who are pure in heart.§


In the highest sense, there is no good or bad. God did not create evil as a force distinct from good. He granted to souls the divine laws of dharma and karma along with the freedom to act as they wish in the great ocean of experience. This is God’s grace allowing us to learn and evolve. There is no eternal hell, nor is there a Satan. However, there are hellish states of mind and painful births for those who think and act wrongfully. Sin is related only to the lower, instinctive-intellectual nature as a transgression of dharma. Man’s true nature is not sullied by sin, and no bad deed can cause the soul to be forever lost or damned. Still, wrongful actions are real and to be avoided, for they return to us as sorrow through the law of karma. Bad deeds can be atoned for with sadhana, worship and penance. As Saivites, we do not see a sharp contrast of good and evil in the world. Instead we understand that all people have a threefold nature: instinctive, intellectual and spiritual. The instinctive nature is the outer, lower or animal nature of I, me and mine. When it dominates, people become angry, fearful, greedy, jealous and hurtful. The intellectual nature is the soul’s mental aspect. When it rules, people can become arrogant and prone to argument and conflict. The spiritual, or superconscious, nature of the soul is the source of compassion, insight, modesty, peace and understanding. The animal instincts of young souls are strong. Their intellect, which is needed to control the instincts, is yet to be developed. When we encounter meanness and wickedness in others, we recall this threefold nature and have compassion for those in the lower, instinctive states. We know they will continue to evolve, as they learn from their self-created karma. We also know there is no intrinsic evil.§


GURUDEVA: Hinduism is such a joyous religion, freed of all the mental encumbrances that are prevalent in the various Western faiths. It is freed of the notion of a vengeful God. It is freed of the notion of eternal suffering. It is freed from the notion of original sin.§