The Adversary

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“Truly speaking, it is with the Adversary that suffering came into the world. And it’s only joy which can vanquish him, nothing else — vanquish him definitively, finally.”[1]

“Mother, you say that for conquering, it is only joy which can conquer the Adversary. But to attain the joy one must first conquer the Adversary!

Why no! One must go beyond him and ignore him.
         There is one thing you must begin by doing, it is true, that is to free yourself from his influence. But there is a difference between freeing oneself from the Adversary’s influence and conquering the Adversary. To conquer the Adversary is not a small thing. One must have a greater power than his to vanquish him. But one can liberate oneself totally from his influence. And from the minute one is completely free from his influence, one’s self-giving can be total. And with the self-giving comes joy, long before the Adversary is truly vanquished and disappears.
         The Adversary will disappear only when he is no longer necessary in the world. And we know very well that he is necessary, as the touch-stone for gold: to know if it is pure.
         But if you, whoever it may be, become truly sincere — what I call sincere, you see, what Sri Aurobindo calls sincere, that is, when nothing in the being contradicts the aspiration and the will to consecration, nothing disguises itself to continue living its own independent life... The disguises are countless, they are full of craftiness and malice, very deceptive, and unfortunately the human being has a very great innate tendency to deceive himself; and the more one deceives himself, the less one recognises the self-deception. But if one is really sincere, the Adversary can’t even approach him any longer; and he doesn’t try it, because that would be courting his own destruction.
         Only, some people have in them a kind of fighting instinct and they are not content to liberate themselves and come out of the influence; indeed they think they have the capacity to go to war and fight with the Adversary. So sometimes, if they are not quite ready, they go and land in very bad situations, difficult predicaments.”[2]

“The problem is not as simple as all that. The causes of suffering are innumerable and its quality also varies a great deal, although the origin of suffering is one and the same and comes from the initial action of an anti-divine will. To make this easier to understand, one can divide suffering into two distinct categories, although in practice they are very often mixed.
         The first is purely egoistic and comes from a feeling that one’s rights have been violated, that one has been deprived of one’s needs, offended, despoiled, betrayed, injured, etc. This whole category of suffering is clearly the result of hostile action and it not only opens the door in the consciousness to the influence of the adversary but is also one of his most powerful ways of acting in the world, the most powerful of all if in addition there comes its natural and spontaneous consequence: hatred and the desire for revenge in the strong, despair and the wish to die in the weak.”[3]

“Indeed, in the human being it is always the door of pride at which the Adversary knocks, for it is this door which opens to let him enter.”[4]

See also