Why bad things happen to good people

In this passage, The Mother (Mira Alfassa) explains why it seems like the bad people seem to win and good suffer.

Summary: Man’s judgement of the surface realities is false. We cannot see what is behind the veil. Everything on Earth is mixed in nature therefore one cannot make the simplistic assumption that the good suffer and wicked win. The purpose of life is to evolve to full consciousness rather than remain mired in the petty joys of life. If there was no suffering or struggle, we would remain stuck in our current stage of evolutionary development. If you practise Yoga, you will experience inner joy which will be independent of circumstances.

Question: “Sweet Mother, it is said that the good and the true always triumph, but in life, one often sees the opposite happen. The wicked win and seem to have some protection against suffering.”

We always confuse two notions.

It is from the universal and spiritual point of view that, not exactly “good” as people understand it, but the True, the Truth, will have the last word, that is well known. In other words, the Divine will eventually be victorious. That is what has been said, what all those who have lived a spiritual life have said – and it is an absolute fact. When people translate it, they say, I am a good boy, I live according to what I think to be true, therefore life should be a bed of roses for me! (Mother laughs) To begin with, self-appreciation is always very doubtful, and then, in the world as it now is, everything is mixed and what openly manifests to the half-blind human consciousnesses is not the Law of pure Truth – they wouldn’t even understand it. To be more precise, I mean that what is constantly realized is the supreme vision, but its realization in this mixed material world isn’t seen by the ignorant human vision as the triumph of good (of what men call “good” and “truth”). But – to put it in jest – it’s not the Lord’s fault, it’s men’s fault! That is, the Lord knows what he is doing, but men don’t understand it.

In a true world, everything would perhaps be the same as now, but it would be seen differently.

Both. There would be a difference. The ignorance and darkness present in the world are what gives divine Action a distorted appearance; and naturally, that must tend to disappear. But it is also true that there is a way of looking at things which … I might say, which gives their appearance another meaning – the two are there, like this (intertwined gesture).


It always comes down to this: men’s judgment is false – false because their vision of things is false, incomplete – and their judgment necessarily has false results, too.

The world is in perpetual change – perpetual, it doesn’t remain the same for one second – and the general harmony expresses itself more and more perfectly; so nothing can remain as it is, and in spite of all contrary appearances, the WHOLE is always in constant progression: the harmony grows increasingly harmonious, the truth grows increasingly true in the Manifestation. But in order to see that, one must see the whole, and man only sees … not even just the human field, but his own tiny, so tiny, microscopic field – he can’t understand.

It is a double thing that grows towards completion (same intertwined gesture), and with a reciprocal action: as the Manifestation grows more conscious of itself, its expression grows more perfect, and also truer. The two movements go together.

That’s one of the things that was seen very clearly the other day, when there was that Knowledge-Consciousness: when the Manifestation has sufficiently emerged from the Inconscient for that whole need for struggle created by the presence of the Inconscient to ,become progressively and increasingly unnecessary, it will disappear quite naturally, and instead of taking place in effort and struggle, progress will begin to take place harmoniously. That’s what the human consciousness envisions as a divine creation on earth – it will still be only a stage. But to the present stage, it’s a sort of harmonious culmination that will change universal progress (which is constant) from a progress in struggle and suffering into a progress in joy and harmony…. But what was seen was that this sense of inadequacy, of something incomplete and imperfect, can be expected to exist for a very long time (if the notion of time remains the same – I don’t know about that?). But any change means time, doesn’t it? We can’t translate it in terms of time as we conceive of it, but it means a succession.

All those so-called problems (I constantly receive questions and more questions and problems of the mind – all the problems of Ignorance) are problems of worms. As soon as you emerge above, that kind of problem no longer exists. There are no contradictions either. Contradictions always arise from the inadequacy of vision and the incapacity to see something from all standpoints at once.

In any case, to come back to the down-to-earth question in his notebook, I don’t think any sage in any age said, “Be good and all will outwardly go well for you” – because that’s rubbish. In a world of disorder and a world of falsehood, hoping for that isn’t reasonable. But if you are sincere enough and total enough in your way of being, you can have the inner joy and the full satisfaction, whatever the circumstances – and nobody, nothing has the power to touch that. But it’s something else. But to ask for your business to do well, for your wife to be faithful and your children not to fall sick and all those things, that of course is rubbish!

The Mother, Mother’s Agenda: August 26, 1967

21 thoughts on “Why bad things happen to good people

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  3. Sandeep Post author

    Taken off the web..

    TAOISM: Bad things happen.
    BUDDHISM: If bad things happen, it isn’t really bad.
    HINDUISM: This bad thing happened before.
    ISLAM: If bad things happen, it is the will of Allah.
    PROTESTANT­ISM: Let bad things happen to someone else.
    CATHOLICIS­M: If bad things happen, you deserved it.
    ATHEISM: Bad things happen and religion is to blame for it.
    AGNOSTICIS­M: We will never know why bad things happen.
    SPIRITUALI­SM: Evil spirits cause bad things to happen.
    MORMONISM: Too busy making children for bad things to happen.
    JUDAISM: Why do bad things always happen to us?

    1. Sandeep Post author

      > JUDAISM: Why do bad things always happen to us?

      There is a Jewish one-liner related to this one: Jewish telegram says: “Start worrying. Details to follow.”

    2. Sandeep

      >> JUDAISM: Why do bad things always happen to us?

      The comedian Jon Stewart, who is Jewish, once told Tony Blair on The Daily Show in a September 2008 interview, “My wife is Catholic. I’m Jewish. It’s very interesting; we’re raising the children to be sad.”

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  6. ipi

    When thou art able to see how necessary is suffering to final delight,failure to utter effectiveness and retardation to the last rapidity, then thou mayst begin to understand something,however faintly and dimly,of God’s workings.

    Sri Aurobindo, The Hour of God: Jnana

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  12. mw

    Beyond Goodwill 3/5/15

    An enlightened and self-realized soul who lives in his divine self can see the totality or entire truth of a person. He can see very clearly the positive and negative elements in the surface nature of the person. He can see the dubious motives of ego, ambition, self-seeking, lurking behind a pleasant appearance. He can also see the unmanifest potentialities of his subliminal being and the unalloyed divinity of his soul. But when such an enlightened soul sees the negativities in a person, he doesn’t react in the same way as the average man. When he sometimes talks about it, it is not like the criticism of the ordinary mind; it is something scientific, objective and impersonal. For example, when a botanist says that a plant, leaf or fruit, is poisonous it is not a condemnation but an objective statement based on a scientific understanding of the nature of the plant. He has no personal negative feelings for the plant because it is poisonous. In an illumined soul, along with this scientific objectivity there is a compassion which comes from deep understanding of the root cause of the negativity of the person. When we know the entire complex of forces acting on a person and driving him, — material, psychological, evolutionary, karmic, spiritual — we will never or condemn or judge a person. We can only say with a deep understanding and compassion “He is what he is”.

    Most of us are very far from this state of enlightenment. However, we can hold it in our mind as an ideal, and slowly march toward it, by progressively moulding our mind and heart in the image of the ideal.


  13. 01

    The bible says only god is good, or something along these lines. I assume because personality is based on traumas and true good comes from god/soul.

    It’s easy to notice how violence originates from victim mentality. Everyone hurts me, I’m so poor, me, me, me. Then victim turns into next Stalin. I wonder, if reincarnation is real, if it’s going something like this… Someone does evil, then reincarnates as a victim to feel how it’s like, then get’s all ‘oh, I’m so poor, I’ll make them all pay’ does evil again, then reincarnates again and so on, over and over again. Just wondering.

    Heart is full of evil, good and everything in between, all kinds of samskaras. People don’t know themselves and their potential (for all kinds of things, evil too) and then they complain god is unfair.


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