What Is Evil in the Hindu Religion?

Hindus believe that gods like Vishnu protect them from evil.
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From notions of dharma and karma to the Hindu pantheon of gods, Hinduism addresses the problem of evil in a number of ways. Unlike religions such as Christianity and Judaism, which struggle to understand the presence of evil in a world guided by a supreme and all-powerful God, Hinduism presents a conception of evil that easily fits within the context of the religion's cosmology.

1 Dharma

In the Hindu faith, evil comes from violating dharma -- the natural force of order that permeates the universe. Dharma is both universal and particular to an individual's status. For example, universal dharma includes helping people in need, while individual dharma for a child might consist of obeying his parents. According to Hinduism, if a person acts contrary to this dharma, they are creating evil in the world.

2 Karma

When people violate their dharma, they create negative karma, or retributive justice, that will affect them in the future. The Hindu belief in rebirth stresses that negative events in this life may be the result of an evil act in a previous one.

3 Origin

The notion of rebirth also addresses the problem of evil's origin. According to the Hindu faith, no aspect of reality, including the universe itself, is outside the cycle of death and rebirth. For this reason, evil has no origin, and always goes back to an earlier action. However, Hinduism does teach of the fall of man when demons destroyed the Golden Age of peace and caused humanity to fall from grace and act evilly.

James Stuart began his professional writing career in 2010. He traveled through Asia, Europe, and North America, and has recently returned from Japan, where he worked as a freelance editor for several English language publications. He looks forward to using his travel experience in his writing. Stuart holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy from the University of Toronto.