Feb 5, 2015

All Life Is Good

The Universe Lives in Boundless Unity,
And the Law of Equilibrium Embraces It All

Carlos Cardoso Aveline 

“Let us, then, live happily we who possess nothing. 
Let us live like the Shining Ones nourished on joy.”

(The Dhammapada)

No obstacle can resist the Universal Power of Brotherhood. The ability to keep loyal to the simple idea of sincerity in one’s heart contains in itself an unlimited amount of energy which is capable of changing the whole world in due time.

The power of mutual reliability and selfless friendship in the work for a noble cause cannot be easily calculated.

By ceasing to live in the world of selfishness, one starts to live. The truth of altruism leads to mutual help, and mutual help produces higher levels of happiness. Thus one comes to understand that no real evil exists, either in oneself, in others, or in the universe. 

Life and nature unfold in cycles, and no part of a cycle can be seen as bad in theosophy. The entirety of a timeline brings lessons of courage and detachment. From its observation one can obtain a wisdom that refers to beginnings and endings.  It is not enough to learn how to start new actions. One must know to consolidate them, to preserve them as long as they are correct, to handle the final phase of their operations, and finally to give them up entirely when the time comes to close the whole cycle.   
Life gives us what we need to learn and not necessarily what we wish. We can get what we deserve. On different occasions we may grow in wisdom or not. We may win or fail, and every failure is part of a wider process of learning which is not always easy to understand in the short term. 

However, life itself never fails. It teaches us wisdom in every phase and aspect of our existence. The learning is not limited to an individual or community. Far from that: one’s personal cycles are but the moths of a day in actual Reality. Long-term life includes different kinds of humanity in various globes. It unfolds across immeasurable ages, past and future.  While examining some of the greater cycles in the universe, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

“Upon inaugurating an active period, says the Secret Doctrine, an expansion of this Divine essence from without inwardly and from within outwardly, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the ultimate result of the long chain of cosmical forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. The visible universe becomes disintegrated, its material dispersed; and ‘darkness’ solitary and alone, broods once more over the face of the ‘deep’. To use a Metaphor from the Secret Books, which will convey the idea still more clearly, an out-breathing of the ‘unknown essence’ produces the world; and an inhalation causes it to disappear. This process has been going on from all eternity, and our present universe is but one of an infinite series, which had no beginning and will have no end.”[1]

Therefore there can be no substantial evil in the universe or its cycles. The Night of Brahma, for instance, is not “bad”: there is no need for superstitious fear on the part of theosophists. The Night of Brahma is a period of Good Rest.  

Not a few students have a difficulty in understanding that Kali Yuga, too, can only be described as “bad” from a superficial point of view. Kali Yuga exists so that mankind can learn the lessons it needs to learn in the present. Kali Yuga is our good teacher: it saves us from our own ignorance. We should be thankful to it.

While fear is the result of ignorance, confidence in life emerges from true Knowledge. Cycles big and small are united by correlations, and we all know how good it is to have some rest after a long day’s work. Just as in the 24 hours’ cycle, the Good Law guides succeeding universes through endless Manvantaras and Pralayas.

Every loss and disintegration in the manifested universe takes place in various 360 degree cycles of learning and self-renewal.  The Universe is a school of souls. Within it, nothing is useless which does not deny life’s unity and cyclic self-renewal. All that maximizes wisdom and avoids stimulating the causes of pain is good. Classical thinker Musonius Rufus examines the mystery of goodness:

“…Those of us who have taken part in philosophical discussion obviously have heard and been exposed to the ideas that pain, death, poverty and other things which are free of wickedness are in no way evil and, in turn, that wealth, life, pleasure or other things that have no share in virtue are not good. Nevertheless, even though we have heard these ideas, because of the corruption which has been ingrained in us all the way from childhood and because of the wicked behavior caused by this corruption, we think it a bad thing when pain comes on us, and we think it a good thing when pleasure comes.” [2]

All Phases of the Moon Are Good

Another example of unnecessary attachment to illusion is in the habit of calling “good” the fortnight of the Moon cycle which goes from New Moon to Full Moon, just because the light of the Moon increases in this period, and to consider “bad” the Moon cycle which goes from Full Moon up to the end of Waning, because in these days the moonlight decreases.

It is true that in the outer world life-energy expands during the “luminous” fortnight, and decreases in the other side of the cycle.  This is a small scale reflection of the manvantara-pralaya cycle, and a larger version of the alternating trends of light and darkness in day and night.  But there is no presence of “bad things” or “evil” in this.

The decreasing fortnight cycle of the Moon is good to finish matters not yet complete. It is the right time to give up, to let go and renounce to that which is useless or harmful.  It is also good to persevere in that which is fundamental, essential, invisible, lasting, and unconditionally good. The Waning Moon has a relation to Nivritti Marga. It invites us to walk the way back home, whereas the “luminous” fortnight is so at the material and astral level, thus expanding physical and lower-self actions.

The Full Moon is associated to Enlightenment. That does not mean the whole cycle leading to it is good for Spirit. Its growth expands attachment to the world as well, while the Waning Moon teaches modesty, humbleness, silent action, transcendence - and the planting of good karma. 

The 24 hours cycle should inspire us with the same all-inclusive respect for life.  Night constitutes a necessary period of rest. It is the Pralaya that prepares a new Manvantara next morning, just as the Waning Moon prepares the new expansion starting with the moment of New Moon.

It is impossible and undesirable to remove the divisive components of society, or any other aspect of life.  Separation is part of life just as union is. One should avoid creating unnecessary disharmony, yet disharmony is a factor in life and in our learning. Conflict is often the manifestation of a particular form of ignorance to be removed. It is therefore not bad in itself, and English poet Alexander Pope wrote:

“All Nature is but art, unknown to thee
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
And partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.” [3]

Being universal, the theosophical conception of brotherhood must transcend, not remove, divisive and separative factors in life. Both separation and union can create suffering. And suffering or Dukkha is part of life, as the first noble truth of Lord Buddha clarifies. Philosophy removes the Causes of unnecessary pain, and teaches us to be bigger than suffering; not to remove it. 

One’s future karma depends on one’s motive and inner intention. As long as one is aiming at his own personal enlightenment, prestige, knowledge, political correctness and soon, personality will still provide the world one lives in, regardless of words and declared intentions. It is only when one starts living for mankind and putting everything else on a secondary level that personality will be recognized as a mere instrument; not before that.  It is the main purpose in one’s life - much more than good-will in doing this or that specific task - that creates the wholesale karma, the large scale, decisive situation in one’s trajectory.  Then small efforts find their proper context.

Life as an Unseparable Oneness

The universe is alive and ONE.  It is not divided in “good” and “evil”.  While ignorance exists, it is only the seed of a level of wisdom which has yet to come to active life.

Everything in our planet and solar system is operating under the good LAW.  Each aspect of life is essentially good in the sense that it is connected to everything else by the Law of Justice, the Law of Unity, the Law of Affinity,  and Karma. 

In spite of pain and maya, the whole life is good. Illusion and suffering are compassionate lessons given by Nature so that we can move on along the path to wisdom. Both pleasure and pain are mayavic. Under the surface of everyday challenges, life unfolds in peace and follows eternal law. The Universe exists but for the right development of Soul (Patanjali).

A Master of the Wisdom explains:

“Evil has no existence per se and is but the absence of good and exists but for him who is made its victim. It proceeds from two causes, and no more than good is it an independent cause in nature. Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends suffering [and] death, and destroys what she has created. Nature has an antidote for every poison and her laws a reward for every suffering. The butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, and the little bird killed by an animal goes into a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity and the eternal fitness of things, and hence cannot be called Evil in Nature. The real evil proceeds from human intelligence and its origin rests entirely with reasoning man who dissociates himself from Nature. Humanity then alone is the true source of evil. Evil is the exaggeration of good, the progeny of human selfishness and greediness. Think profoundly and you will find that save death - which is no evil but a necessary law, and accidents which will always find their reward in a future life - the origin of every evil whether small or great is in human action, in man whose intelligence makes him the one free agent in Nature. It is not nature that creates diseases, but man. The latter’s mission and destiny in the economy of nature is to die his natural death brought by old age; save accident, neither a savage nor a wild (free) animal die of disease. Food, sexual relations, drink, are all natural necessities of life; yet excess in them brings on disease, misery, suffering, mental and physical, and the latter are transmitted as the greatest evils to future generations, the progeny of the culprits.” [4]
Why should it be so difficult then for some of us to see that all life is essentially good? One may refer to at least three factors:

1) Churches and sects - both in East and West - are dependent on human belief in the existence of “evil” because they need to threaten their followers with Hell or its equivalents, in order to convince them that blind obedience is their best alternative to many an imaginary horror.

2) Narcissistic individuals may indulge in believing that “the world is bad” so that they can deceive themselves in thinking they are much better than the world; they try to convince themselves they are fine people,  wise and purified individuals making a sharp contrast with such a horrid world of their own imagination. 

3) Ill-advised individuals can deceive themselves by thinking that “the world is bad” so that they can justify their own acts of selfishness.

Wiser people, however, are humble. Theosophists know that the world is as good as one deserves. The whole Universe is always learning and evolving, and no citizen is an exception to the rule. By not being in a church or sect, and by not subconsciously adopting Money as our God, we can see that the whole life is inner bliss and peace, amidst outer pain.

The Dhammapada teaches:

“Let us, then, free from hate, live happily among those who hate; among men who hate let us dwell free from hate.  Let us, then, free from the disease of longing,  live happily among those who suffer that disease; among men with the disease of longing let us dwell free from that that disease. Let us, then, free from anxiety, live happily among those who are careworn; among the anxious, let us dwell free from anxiety.” [5]

Error provokes suffering. Pain serves the purpose of preventing us from getting asleep in the process.  The absence of comfortable conditions makes it more difficult for Life’s students to slumber and snore in the occult classroom which is provided by their own karma. They must eventually get to this point, which is taught by the Dhammapada:

“Let us, then, live happily we who possess nothing. Let us live like the Shining Ones nourished on joy. Victory breeds hatred; the vanquished dwell in suffering; but the tranquil man disregarding both victory and defeat lives happily.” [6]


[1] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, volume I, p. 4.  Actually, H.P.B. is quoting the words from her previous work “Isis Unveiled”. 

[2] “Musonius Rufus - Lectures and Sayings”, translated by Cynthia King and with a preface by William B. Irvine, CreateSpace, USA, copyright 2010, 2011, by Cynthia King, 101 pp., see p. 37.

[3] “Essay on Man and Other Poems”, Alexander Pope, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, copyright 1994, 99 pp.,  see pp. 52-53.

[4] “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP edition, Pasadena, California, See Letter X, pp.56-57.

[5] “The Dhammapada”, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, Chapter 15, “On Happiness”, p. 47,  verses   1-3.

[6] “The Dhammapada”, Chapter 15, p. 47.