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Religious Fables, Folklore, Legends, and Stories
Is There More Evil Than Good in the World?

Submitted by Yuri Klitsenko, Russia

This is a small extract from a Kalmyk Buddhist legend about: a young Kalmyk prince, Manvarhkan; a beautiful swan-girl, called the Nimbus of the Heavenly Lotus; and a wise elder, Tsetsen.

Elder Tsetsen couldn’t tell the whole truth to Manvarhkan, for he needed to test Manvarhkan. The uneasy truth was that it wasn't external enemies, but good Kalmyks who wanted to kill the Nimbus of the Heavenly Lotus (the evil was inside Klamyks, and not outside Kalmyks).

“Manvarhkan wandered in steppes and deserts for a long time. Once he saw an eagle who has spread the wings over a nest with baby birds of a lark. – Hey, eagle, what are you doing with these babies? - Manvarkhan asked. The eagle answered: You see, Mother of baby birds has departed in search of food, and I preserve her children against the scorching beams of the sun. Having driven off at some distance, Manvarhan turned back and saw how the eagle was eating baby birds. "It appears, that lies exist in this world ", - Manvarhan thought.

The next day he met a raven who carried a crawfish in his claws. – Why do you carry a crawfish? - Manvarkhan asked the raven. Having been confused, the raven answered: "I'm transfer it from a dirty bog to a pure lake to providing a better life for my friend." Manvarhan has driven off for a little, and then turned back and saw, how the raven was eating the crawfish. "There are more lies here", - Manvarhan has thought.

For the third day Manvarkhan passed by one lake and saw people who pulled a seine. – What do you do? – Manvarkhan asked.  The people answered:  "We are clearing the lake from ooze to provide the fish more space to float.  The fishes will feel much better." Manvarhan had driven off, and then turned back and saw, how people pulled the fish out from a fishing net. "There's toomany lies here," Manvarhan thought.

Manvarhan also thought, did Tsetsen also say a lie to me? Is the Nimbus of the Heavenly Lotus still alive?"  He thought that the Nimbus of the Heavenly Lotus could escape death and this thought had entirely seized him. Manvarkhan saw vision of his mother and recollected the last request to protect the Nimbus of the Heavenly Lotus. He imagined his mother transfering to the Nimbus of the Heavenly Lotus her swan attire.

After many days of wandering, Manvarkhan turned his horse towards his native settlement. Women and girls saw the horseman who went down from a green hill on the thin and tired horse. It was impossible to recognize Manvarkhan. From the former blossoming young man only bones and skin remained. Only his eyes were still shining brightly. Manvarkhan approached the wise elder, Tsetsen.  "I have doubted your words," he said to the old man. 

Manvarkhan told him gloomy. "I saw an eagle, a raven, and fishermen who told lies to me." Tsetsen answered, "but why were they shy to tell you the truth? After all it would be easier for them to tell the truth. Have you thought of it? But their truth would distress you. They have told you lies to make you feel better. They wished you good. Do you still think that there is more evil than good in the world?"

[Ed. Note] From our own experience, most people who do similar things, rarely tell lies to make others feel better; rather they do it to hide their own evil ways of life.  Furthermore, both killing and lies show the corrupt nature of  the earth.  God is a God of love and truth, and He wants us to be the same way.  So, from our point of view, there is more evil than good in the world.

Yuri Klitsenko is a Russian living in Moscow.  He works for the Russian Orthodox Church.

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