11. God and Evil
In a strictly scientific sense God is at the bottom of both good and evil. He directs the assassin's dagger no less than the surgeon’s knife. But all that good and evil are, for human purposes, from each other distinct and incompatible, being symbolical of light and darkness, God and Satan.
Harijan, 20-2-1937, p. 9
I do not regard God as a person. Truth for me is God, and God’s Law and God not different things or facts, in the sense that an earthly king and his law are different. Because God is an Idea, Law Himself. Therefore, it is impossible to conceive God as breaking the Law. He, therefore, does not rule out actions and withdraw Himself.
When we say He rules our actions, we are simply using human language and we try to limit Him. Otherwise He and His Law abide everywhere and govern everything. Therefore, I do not think that He answers in every detail every request of ours, but there is no doubt that He rules our action, and I literally believe that not a blade of grass grows or moves without His will. The free will we enjoy is less than that of a passenger on a crowded deck.
“Do you feel a sense of freedom in your communion with God?”
I do. I do not feel cramped as I would on a boat full of passengers. Although I know that my freedom is less than that of a passenger, I appreciate that freedom as I have imbibed through and through the central teaching of the Gita that man is the maker of his own destiny in the sense that he has freedom of choice as to the manner in which he uses that freedom. But he is no controller of results. The moment he thinks he is, he comes to grief.
Harijan, 23-3-1940, p. 55
A correspondent writes:
“I am reading your Gitabodh these days and trying to understand it. I am puzzled by what Lord Krishna says in the 10th discourse: ‘In dicer’s play I am the conquering double eight. Nothing either good or evil, can take place in this world without my will.’ Does God then permit evil ? If so, how can He punish the evil-doer ? Has God created the world for this purpose ? Is it impossible then for mankind to live in peace ?”
To say that God permits evil in this world may not be pleasing to the ear. But if He is held responsible for the good, it follows that He has to be responsible for the evil too. Did not permit Ravana to exhibit unparalleled strength ? Perhaps, the root cause of the perplexity arises from a lack of the real understanding of what God is. God is not a person. He transcends description. He is the Law-maker, the Law and the Executor. No human being can well arrogate these powers to himself. If he did, he would be looked upon as an unadulterated dictator. They become only Him whom we worship as God.
Harijan, 24-2-1946, p. 24