Why do innocents suffer at the hand of vicious?

Are honest harassed while dishonest prosper? Do innocents suffer at the hand of vicious?

At the outset I express my gratitude to Vedanta Academy for guidance and inspiration – Swamy A Parthasarathy and Dr Janki. (www.vendantaworld.org)

The honest and innocent are frustrated not knowing the reason for this paradox in life.

The reason becomes obvious with study of the inner personality of humans through Vedanta, which clearly distinguishes virtue from vice. A careful analysis would reveal that the nature of human being falls under two broad classifications. The active and the passive. Each of these can further be classified good and bad. Thus, there are active good and active bad persons. Likewise, the passive good and passive bad. Illustrated as below:

Classification of Human Nature


The epic Mahabharata presents a picture of the passive and active natures of human beings. The royal cousins, Pandavas and Kauravas, in the epic represent these two categories. The Pandava princes were distinct in their passive goodness. The kauravas in their active badness. Consequently, the Pandavas suffered untold humiliation at the hands of the Kaurava prince, Duryodhana. He was a clear specimen of active badness. He schemed and planned the destruction of his passively good cousins.

The Pandavas sought the guidance of Lord Krishna. He was a personification of active goodness. He used his intellect effectively to destroy the vicious plans of Duryodhana and the rest. The active good prevailed over the active bad. Krishna relieved the suffering of the Pandavas and restored justice in the country.

Let us recollect the meaning of intellect and mind. The faculty of discrimination: reasoning, thinking, judging, etc. is called intellect. Whereas, Mind is the seat of impulses, feelings, emotions, etc. Whereas the intelligence is a just a bundle of information and the discriminative use of intelligence is intellect.

Active and Passive Human Being

Active Bad

The terms active and passive herein have a particular connotation depending on the use or non-use of the intellect respectively. The mind and the intellect are the two equipment that propel human activity. A person would be classified as passive when he acts from feeling and emotions of the mind without the guidance of the intellect. Whereas, he who acts with intellect governing the mind through reason and judgement would be classified as active.

A passive person functioning from his mind’s feeling and emotion may be good or bad. He conducts himself either way unaware of his goodness or badness. He merely manifests his good or bad impulses. His intellect is not sufficiently developed to examine the nature of his activities. He does not intend to be either good or bad. Thus, there are passively good and passively bad persons.

Many of us follow the set rules of religion, family or an organisation without ever questioning or analysing their validity or relevance. The ones who follow the rules or dictates, which do not cause any harm, either to humanity or

Passive Bad

environment, are passively good. The ones who follow or accept the rules or dictates which cause destruction of humanity or environment are passively bad.

In contrast to the passive, the active persons function with intellect. The active also may be classified as good or bad. An active bad person is wilfully vicious, catering to his personal needs. He plans, manipulates and manoeuvres in his immoral, corrupt way of living. Breaks customs and traditions, rules and regulations to feed his egocentric desires. The use of intellect makes him more powerful to dominate over the passive good and bad. Since the passive do not use the intellect and function directly from the mind, they succumb to the oppression of the active bad. Look at the terrorism in the world today. The

Passive Good

minuscule masterminds of Islamic Jihadists, are actively bad and most Muslims who support them become passively bad. They become victims of intellectual manipulations.

As opposed to the active bad, the active good is essentially benevolent. He uses his intellect to evaluate his role in life and act in the best interest of the community, service oriented.

Understanding Human Nature

Study these four classifications of human nature. You will find that the honest suffer because of lack of use of the intellect. Vedanta says,

“Operating at the level of mind the passive become victims of intellectual manipulations of the active bad. The solution to this problem lies in the passive developing and using their intellect to turn into active good persons.”

The fact is that the active bad dread the active good. The active goodness would therefore take care of all evil and corruption in the world. Not knowing this solution there is no attempt to develop, strengthen the intellect and promote active goodness. Instead most people lead a passive life, complain of malpractices and suffer at the hands of the oppressors.

How become Active Good?

The development of the intellect however would need time and effort. As you develop intellect to set right the malpractices you must also try to take a mature stand:

  • Sympathise with the ignorance and foolish behaviour of the wicked.
  • Understand the world as admixture of good and evil.
  • Neither virtue nor vice can sustain itself indefinitely.
  • The good yields to bad, so does bad to good.
  • The cycle rolls on perennially.
  • Keep your mind calm and composed in and through life’s changes.
  • A calm mind helps the intellect become sharp to effectively manage one’s affairs in life.

An organisation with all the inputs for effective management could still break down if it lacks character. It is important to conduct business with ethics and morality. the general grievance everywhere is that the innocent suffers at the hands of the vicious. That the honest are deceived and harassed while the dishonest exploit and prosper.

A Lesser Known Story from The Ramayana

Here are the dialogues between Ram (active good) versus Ravan (active bad) from Ramayana.

After a long journey, Sri Ram with the army of monkeys, reached the southern coast of our vast land and camped near water (later called Dhanushkodi) separating them from Sri Lanka.

The search for Sita was over; Shri Ram now knew where she was; it only remained to redeem her from Ravana, by peaceful persuasion or by war. In line with our tradition of seeking Divine help, before commencing any work, Ram desired to consecrate and offer worship to Shiva.

Arrangements were soon completed, except finding a suitable priest to guide the function. Ram thought for a while and then decided on the best person available nearby – Ravan the king of Sri Lanka. Without hesitation he ordered Hanuman to fly to Ravan’s palace and request him to conduct the pooja.

There was considerable shock and dismay among the assembly; to invite an enemy to conduct a pooja, specially meant to conquer and destroy him! Will Ravan accept such a preposterous invitation?

But Hanuman as a loyal soldier implicitly obeyed the royal command and flew to Sri Lanka to convey the message to King Ravan. Men and women Lanka’s court were also deeply shocked, surprised and mystified at this strange invitation from the prince of Ayodhya.

Ravan, true to his stature as a great pundit in Vedic literature, he should never decline an invitation to organize Divine worship. Hence, true to his intense devotion to Lord Shiva, accepted the invitation.

Active Good (Ram); Active Bad (Ravan)

He came with Hanuman to Sri Ram’s place, much to the concern of everyone. Soon the king of Sri Lanka inspected all arrangements, and turning to Ram, said, (observe the active bad element)

“O prince of Ayodhya, though you have made very satisfactory arrangements, you are not qualified to install the idol of Lord Shiva in the absence of your wife. Our edicts declare that no person, however high, can perform such ceremonies without his consort nearby”.

The mood of the entire assembly now changed from confusion to curiosity – how would Ram react?

The noble prince smiled and calmly replied, (observe the active good element)

“We have invited you for the flawless performance of the ceremony. You have pointed out a flaw in tune with your duty as a pundit; I thank you for it. I now invite you to provide a solution, which also forms part of your duty”.

This exposition of Dharmic postures and privileges between the greatest of kings and the noblest of men, was becoming even a treat for the Gods!

The king of Sri Lanka, besides being a demon, was not only a great ruler but also a great scholar. The scholar in him rose to the occasion now and Ravan said, (observe active bad thoughts)

“O Rama, I can and shall provide a solution, since I do not wish to bear the blame for non-performance of Divine worship, but on one condition. I shall arrange to bring Sita here for the pooja but you should permit her to return to my palace after the function”.

All around, people were astounded and speechless at the clash of wit and fantasy of words between the two great men and waited breathless for Ram’s rejoinder. The noblest of men, simply and cheerfully accepted the offer, and the ceremony was completed in all solemnity.

Only one more formality remained, that of honouring the priest. Ram invited Ravan himself to suggest the fees (dakshina) for the function. It was at this moment that the greatest and the most crucial episode of Ramayana unfolded before an unbelieving audience.

Ravan, the king would not take any fees, not even from Ram, as he was always at the giving, and not the receiving end of fees or favours. But again, the Vedic pundit in him came to the fore.

He said, (now observe the victory of active good over active bad in the following statement)

“Sri Ram, knowing you very well, the only fees I solicit is that you stand by me when my life departs”.

And thus, it came to pass, that when Ravan lay in his last moments Sri Ram was near him. It only reveals that ultimate comfort for everyone high or low is to have Divinity nearby at the moment of death.

Story of Shri Ram, Courtesy: The Awakening Times

Source: Veda Vyasa Ramayana




2 thoughts on “Why do innocents suffer at the hand of vicious?

  1. Very well drawn out conclusion in religious terms. I wish it was true in real life too. The author has a simple good style which makes the reading a joy. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.