Is evil only a natural defect, an imperfection dis appearing of itself with the growth of good, or is it a real power, possessing our world by means of temptations, so that for fighting it successfully assistance must be found in another sphere of being? This vital question can be fully examined and solved only in a complete system of metaphysics. I began carrying out this task for those who are capable of contemplation,1 but I soon felt how im portant the problem of evil is for everybody. Some two years ago a change in the tenor Of my spiritual life, which there is no need to dwell upon just now, created in me a strong and firm desire to illumine in some clear and easy way the main aspects of the problem of evil, which must concern everybody. For a long time I was unable to find a suitable medium for carrying out my plan. In the spring of 1899, however, during my stay abroad, I spontaneously composed and wrote in a few days the first discussion on this subject, and on returning to Russia wrote the two others. In this way I dis covered the literary form which this work assumes.