Before we go to God for an explanation and reprimand Him for all the evil that exists in the world, let us take a closer look at it in all its totality and angles rather than react to several images which themself remain debatable due to the possible misuse of technology, allowing to morph pictures making it near-impossible to distinguish the real from the fake. This is not to say that the violent breeds fed on the ideologies of war garbed in words that deceive do not indulge in such acts. they do and much worse. the entire history of the Islamic movement is stained with blood. Of course, other religions have also committed evil acts including killings and whatever else. They have but either to punish evil or else as certain periods in their history. But for Islam, at least for the last few centuries, it has become almost a way of life to control, dominate, conquer through fear and terror. Often such resurgence of the worst in a group of people is an indication of destruction or else of a massive shift and change after the purge of the darkest side. Whether this shift will take place within Islam or not is right now debatable given the way the Sunnis largely control the movement and being crude and fierce have their way unless actively resisted. The very birth of the religion is in turbulence and its growth and adolescence were all passed under the shadows of bloodshed. Yet it does not seem to have become much wiser with the passage of Time while many other religions have modified themselves according to the pressure of Time and the general evolution of the human race.
Well that apart, the fact is that violence exists and in quite extreme forms in Nature. It is there in the volcano and the deluge, in the avalanche and the storm. It is not regarded as evil since nature is neither good nor evil but amoral. Its deeds are motivated by a secret impulsion that often opens the doors to a new possibility through the doors of destruction. Even in animals we do not regard it as evil when a tiger tears the entrails of a deer to appease its hunger. Here it maintains a balance through the food chain. It is with the coming of the human mind that such perversions and deviations, deceit and crookedness come into play and will pass away as man ascends beyond the mind. the reason is very simply that the mind is a narrow consciousness. It limits and analyses by breaking things into parts. Therefore it creates the ego-sense, not only for individuals but also for groups almost endlessly. Then groups strive to possess and convert and dominate or decimate those not like them. It is a very primitive action of the human mind and one can read it well in Savitri.
With Islam it has gone to an extreme tendency like the symptom of an illness that shows up while the deeper rot remains. The deeper is group egoism, lust for dominance and power, fear and greed for money. All these have to be taken into consideration to find a lasting solution. This means quite a tough task on God’s hands. Until now He has been simply saying ‘it is not me who created evil, it is man who misread my book of creation, misused the powers I gave him and hence the burden of evil lies squarely with man and not with the Creator”. However, Sri Aurobindo accepts that the last buck stops with the Creator Himself who created Nature and man and the tendencies and impulses. Up till now the Creator has been coming from time to time to reset the balance of creation through the Avatars, slay the evil that has come up on the surface and restore order and peace. But this remedy is obviously temporary and the roots of evil that lie deep in the human soil spring up again. One option has been pralaya, a complete dissolution, but this too is not an option since it all starts again and the long passage and the painful journey. Hence this time Sri Aurobindo are not keen to keep destroying, though they did that too during the first half of the previous century through Their spiritual Force which they had put against the axis powers. But that was not the final plan. That was a needed clearing to ensure that the Supramental force is rooted well in the human soil and a process of transformation is thereby initiated. The more this New Force becomes active through individuals and groups opening to it, the sooner we shall see the dissolution of these tendencies. Fortunately it does not need an extremist to open to this Force though that is best. It is enough if we can open to these tendencies, however minute within us. There is an interconnectedness and what we work out within us gets transcribed into others. But that apart by the resistance that is being put up by certain sections of the people of Afghanistan, one feels hopeful that the time is fast approaching whence the world will be free from evil since the battle is being fought in the very den of darkness wherein a group is refusing to succumb to terror and fear.
Still the original question remains about the wherefore of evil. Very simply it is bound to be inbuilt in any evolutionary world. When matter was hard as rock extreme Rudra forces were needed to knead it. These forces persist and continue to work though largely modified with time. They will continue as long as man remains barbaric and crude, as long as people choose unthinkingly their way of life, call it religion or whatever, as part of a herd or flock in which they are born. It will exist as long as man needs these extremes to awaken a little true aspiration in him. When and those in whom the consciousness becomes subtler, the means that the Divine smith uses also change. Humanity is still too much of an iron ore and hence needs these violent methods that compel it to think and feel and seek through the depths. It jolts the collective conscience of the world and jolt turns us inwards and a cry goes forth from earth to God building a bridge that lets in forces of a higher order come in. Of course, they come even otherwise but it is not the same thing as when we consciously seek, for man is not meant to be an automaton of God but His representative shaped in His image. Can he so become without facing the furnace of purification? Yes, there is a way, the sunlit way of the soul but man treads the same old paths whose steps lead towards the Night. Here is a quote from a poem by Sri Aurobindo, which reveals the ways of the Divine, the secret purpose of going through this furnace of purification that burns the body and mind but releases the gold of the soul within us.
The Iron Age is ended. Only now
The last fierce spasm of the dying past
Shall shake the nations, and when that has passed,
Earth washed of ills shall raise a fairer brow.
This is man’s progress; for the Iron Age
Prepares the Age of Gold. What we call sin,
Is but man’s leavings as from deep within
The Pilot guides him in his pilgrimage.
He leaves behind the ill with strife and pain,
Because it clings and constantly returns,
And in the fire of suffering fiercely burns
More sweetness to deserve, more strength to gain.
He rises to the good with Titan wings:
And this the reason of his high unease,
Because he came from the infinities
To build immortally with mortal things;
The body with increasing soul to fill,
Extend Heaven’s claim upon the toiling earth
And climb from death to a diviner birth
Grasped and supported by immortal Will.
(from the poem ‘In the Moonlight’, CWSA Vol 2)
Let us trust the Pilot who is navigating us through the kurukshetra (the battle field where the Mahabharata war was fought, the field of action) so that it may truly become the Dharmakshetra (the field of an evolving Truth) which it was and is meant to be.