The Inner Life, v. I/Second Section/VIII
The devil is non-existent. There are persons who imagine themselves to have made pacts with him, sometimes signed with their own blood. The result depends largely upon what sort of entity happened to personate him for the occasion. There are plenty of creatures of various sorts who would hugely enjoy such a joke at the expense of a man; but no such entity, whatever he may be, could possibly have any use for the “soul” of a man — nor would the “soul” of anybody foolish enough to make such a compact be likely to be of any use, either to the owner or anybody else. All these absurd superstitions are disproved by the fact that the man is the ego, and therefore cannot sell himself, and also that there are no buyers in such a transaction; so the whole thing is nothing but foolishness.
There are many entities who may be both willing and able to arrange twenty years of material prosperity for a person. They are generally willing to do it in return for some material consideration, such as the sacrifice of babies, goats or fowls. The ego has no share in these pacts, either in the rare individual cases, or in general fetish worship. These entities cannot possess the human ego, nor could they use it if it could come into their possession. A human body is sometimes convenient for them, and for the sake of being permitted to obsess it they will sometimes enter into an arrangement. The making of a compact of this nature gives the entity a strong hold upon the man; but as soon as he discovers the folly of his action, the proper course for the man to take is to resist such obsession to the utmost. Childish ceremonies, such as signing with his own blood, would of course make no difference whatever.
There is no hierarchy of evil. There are black magicians certainly, but the black magician is usually merely a single solitary entity. He is working for himself, as a separate entity, and for his own ends. You cannot have a hierarchy of people who distrust one another. In the White Brotherhood every member trusts the others; but you cannot have trust with the dark people, because their interests are built upon self.
You must, however, take care what you mean when you speak of evil. The principle of destruction is often personified, but it is only that old forms are broken down to be used as material for building new and higher ones. Here in India there is Shiva, the Destroyer, but no one would think of Him as evil; He is one of the highest manifestations of the deity. The principle of the destruction of forms is necessary in order that life may progress. There is a Great One, a part of whose function it is to arrange when the great cataclysms shall take place — but He works for the good of the world. These things are not to be thought of as in any way evil. The notion of a supposed angel who revolted and was turned out of heaven is very much based upon John Milton. The conception is not at all the same in the Book of Job. In that story the devil is quite a different person from the gloomy hero in the Miltonic conception. Then the Buddhists have Mara — a personification of the karma of the past descending upon the man at once and taking many forms. There is an instant working-out of karma upon the attainment of enlightenment.
The statement that all material things, all differences and limitations are evil is misleading. If by evil you mean what is ordinarily connoted by that word, and not some other and quite different notion of an abstract kind, then matter is not evil. Spirit and matter are equal. Matter is not in opposition to spirit. We find matter troublesome because of the bodies we have to use; but we are here in order to learn what without the physical life could not be conveyed to us. The physical plane experiences give a definiteness and precision to our consciousness and powers which we could never acquire on any plane unless we had spent the necessary time on this. But why do people bother about evil? There is plenty of good in the world, and it is better to think of that, for your thought strengthens that of which you think. To think and talk so much about black magicians unquestionably attracts their attention to you, and the results are often exceedingly undesirable.