Before we answer this, we have to check if the question is valid. This question has two parts – First, did God create injustice and suffering. If yes, then how to accept it?
As news stream through the internet every day, we hear of murder, rapes, assault, wars, disease, genocide and death. Our hearts weep, our blood boils and we feel angry and saddened at the sheer injustice and suffering. We try to make sense of it. Surely, the fact that these different phenomena continue means it is being allowed to continue. Society made up of you and me, the powers that be, the political and economic powers etc allow, contribute to and influence these happenings.
As we try to extract moments of calm, peace and happiness through our lives, we have to reconcile the idea of a benevolent and all powerful God with that of a God who allows injustice and suffering. How does one reconcile these seemingly contradictory aspects?
The truth is that God has not created injustice and suffering we as human beings have.
At the same time God sustains injustice and justice, suffering and happiness in as much as a video game developer sustains the game. Let me explain
The definition of Ishvara in the Vedic tradition is that from which all this world of names and forms has come, is sustained by and resolves into.
Ishvara has crafted an awe-inspiring multi-dimensional, multi-world manifestation that we call life just like the video game developer has developed a video game. The similarities are –
Intelligent and Meticulous Design
Immersive, Learning Experiences
Gains and losses
Purpose and Challenges
Freedom of Choice and responsibility
Intelligent and Meticulous Design: Just as a video game creator meticulously designs every aspect of their virtual world, Ishvara has carefully shaped the cosmos with the building blocks of panchamahabhutas.
With mayashakti he has set in motion the laws of nature – discovered and yet to be discovered.
All laws of geology that influence the earth and its many processes of formation.
All laws of biology that influence the functioning of living beings – respiration, digestion, circulation, evacuation, assimilation.
Laws of physics that influence how objects move, the behaviour of heat, light and, sound. Laws of physiology of different beings from an octopus to a walrus to a human being.
Ishvara has established the constants of nature, and orchestrates the intricate interplay of celestial bodies such that they rotate and evolve at phenomenal speeds and some like the Earth sustain life.
The video game creator also creates a world that is self-sustained. Such is the meticulous design of this world that operates according to laws that are intelligent, reliable and predictable.
The individual is sustained by the total. The snake, the caterpillar, the fungi, the fish, the bird, the tiger, the elephant, the trees, the forest, the human being are all made up of and sustained by the panchamahabhutas. Both the creation and the laws of creation, sustenance and resolution are made by Ishvara.
Immersive, Learning Experiences: As players immerse themselves in virtual adventures, there is no scope to be a bystander or a mere observer. One must play and experience everything.
Likewise, humanity finds itself enmeshed in the grand tapestry of life. In this vast and immersive game human beings explore, learn, grow and build their mastery, just as players do in a captivating video game world.
Gains and losses – As players play by the rules of the game, there are gains and losses depending on how alert and resourceful they are. The points gained are then used to mitigate the losses. The effort is to avoid falling in ditches, miss the arrows of enemies, and overall to not gain negative points.
In the game of life, the karma performed by the person results in punya and paapa.
Punya is transformed into pleasant, supportive experiences such as health, education, loving family, wealth, supportive people, opportunities for growth and excellence, healthy work environment etc.
Paapa is transformed into diseases, ill health, breaks in education and learning, dysfunctionality in family, inimical people, constant struggle to even get opportunities etc. On any given day, paapa and punya are unfolding.
We use the strength of our punya to align with dharma and maximise more punya and reduce the paapa in our life.
Constant battling with punya and paapa makes us become a seasoned player who navigates through life ‘s experiences and is better able to gain from the game of life.
4. Purpose and Challenges: Like a video game developer who instils purpose and challenges into their creations, Ishvara has endowed each living being with unique gifts, quests, and trials.
The challenges are dictated by one’s own karma some of which gets fructified in this lifetime as punya and paapa.
Just because you have the punya of time, will you fritter it away in meaningless pursuits or use it meaningfully in your pursuits?
Just because there has been paapa of an experience of neglect in life, will you define yourself by that experience or grow into a loving person who does not neglect others.
Video games allow us to create and develop new characters, explore the world, take risks and develop our mastery. The game of life is to play by the rules of the game that is Dharma, the universal framework of ethics.
Every person has to discover and perform one’s svadharma. This would be living the values of Dharma, performing one’s responsibilities in all one’s roles and contributing to positive change in the world with one’s unique position, knowledge and skills. Through the pursuit of moksha, in time the person can be free from the very game of life itself.
From the tiniest microorganism like fungi to the ant to the tiger to human being to devatas every life form serves a purpose in the grand scheme of creation.
Freedom of Choice and responsibility: Like a game developer gives choice to its players to construct or destruct, to help or harm, to create or refurbish, Ishvara has endowed each living being with freedom of choice. The range of freedom given to different beings is different. While cows may not have the freedom to decide what is for breakfast, cutlets or an omlette, there is some freedom in whether to graze here or there. The range of choices available to human beings is definitely higher. We can choose to do, not do or do differently. Kartum shakyam, akartum shakyam, anyatha va kartum shakyam.