[Advaita-l] The origin of evil

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Oct 22 13:19:43 CDT 2003

[Was: Re: [Advaita-l] From my files]

On Thu, 16 Oct 2003, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> The above objection by Hume is well-known. What is less known is that
> there is a counter-objection to Hume by Gottfried Leibniz (the inventor
> of calculus). Leibniz argues convincingly that God created the "Best of
> all possible worlds". Meaning that although God is both willing and able
> to prevent evil, He designed the world with the "least amount of evil
> that is logically possible". In other words, God has ALREADY minimized
> the amount of evil in the world as much as is logically possible.

It's interesting that Hindu theology has mostly minimized the role of God
as creator and explained evil in other ways such as:

* The material universe was not so much created as condensed or congealed
  from purer elements.  The more levels this continued, the more impure
  (and hence more evil) the product became.  This could be said to be the
  Samkhya view.

* The creator (Prajapati or Hiranyagarbha) first made a mental creation
  (manasika srshti)  which was pure but failed to flourish so he made
  woman and united with her to create all the living things through
  intercourse.  (Maithuna srshti)  As the female was technically His
  daughter, this was incest and because the act of creation was morally
  flawed, so was the result.  Such a story is mentioned in the earliest
  Vedic texts.

* The creator came into awareness and saw that He was alone.  He felt fear
or loneliness so created the universe for the sake of companionship.  Evil
arose as a result of that fear.  This is mentioned in the Brhadaranyaka
Upanishad I think.

There may be other examples but these come immediately to mind.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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