Questioner (Q): When we see terrible crimes like rapes, mass murders, lynchings, etc. happening so openly, we wonder where that benevolent God is? He could have easily prevented all of it. He is supposed to be omnipotent, yet he does nothing. My question is not whether there is God or not. My question is why is he so very absent when people need him the most?
Acharya Prashant (AP): If you really need the Truth, Truth is at your service. If there are rapes, then in your own eyes, rape is what you need. Does the rapist need God? No, he needs flesh. He gets flesh. Mass murders; does the murderer need God? No, he needs revenge or whatever exploitation. He gets it. Same with the other things. You would say, “But what if the exploited one, raped one, murdered one needs God?” If the one who has been exploited or tortured is really God-loving, in God, full of godliness, then all these events, that happen to him or her, mean exactly zero to him. There is no guarantee at all that an extremely godly woman will never be raped. That can happen. It has happened several times in history. It happens maybe all around us, all the time. There is no guarantee that an extremely godly person will never be assaulted, insulted or tortured, or murdered. That can happen. But it would mean nothing at all to that person. Others may make stories and draw their own conclusions and those conclusions would always be like, “See! Such a godly person, and yet he had to face such a dastardly end.” That’s not what the experience or observation of that killed or raped person is.
There is no guarantee ever in life. One does not turn spiritual in order to obtain guarantees regarding one’s experiences or events in life. Anything can happen to anybody. The godliest persons in history have often died very violent, very ordinary deaths. They have been killed, murdered, beheaded, publically executed, stoned, name it, you have instances. In fact, the crucifixion of Christ was the basis of all Christianity. All those things can happen to anybody. But is Christ wondering why it is happening to him? It doesn’t look like. If Christ is really godly, those events wouldn’t have mattered much to him. The murderer murders because he is godless. The rapist rapes because he is godless. The raped one might actually not be raped in spite of being physically raped if she is godly. The murdered one might never be killed in spite of being physically killed because the godly one becomes immortal.
It’s not the business of Truth to intervene in your daily affairs like some headmaster or police constable. Another name for God is ‘Freedom’. And ‘Truth’ stands for absolute Freedom. You have all the freedom to live the way you please. You may live in a godly way, you may live in a totally ungodly way, your choice. It’s just that there is something inside you that’s absolutely crazy for godliness. And if you keep it deprived, it will not let you live, sleep or die in peace. So, I mean this entire concept of a benevolent, omnipotent God is quite childish. Keep it aside. God is neither benevolent nor malevolent, neither full of pity nor full of spite.
God is an absolute giver. He has given you absolute freedom.
God is an absolute. What will you do with that freedom is your business. It’s just that if you misuse your freedom, then the results are for you to bear. Similarly the myth of that omnipotent God. God is not omnipotent in the same sense that people on the earth have potency or power. Again, quite a childish concept to say God can do anything, God is omnipotent. God does not do anything. God is a non-doer. God is the ultimate non-doer. He has left the business of doing to you, all human beings. You do what you please because you are the ones hungry for attainment or hungry for liberation. What does God have to do with any doing? God is beyond all doing because God is beyond all desires.
God did not even perform the basic doing of creating the universe. What else do you think he is going to do at all? No, God didn’t create the universe. That too is a myth. Just as these things, God’s benevolence, God’s omnipotence are a myth, similarly that whole idea of ‘the creator God’ is quite a myth. This world is godliness itself. God or Truth, or Centre or ‘that first thing’ manifests itself as the world. God is not some creator sitting elsewhere. God is very much in the creation itself. So even in the matter of the creation of the universe, God doesn’t quite do anything. He lets you do the doing. Do this, do that, whatever.
Then you will say, “Then who created the sun, moon, earth, and the stars?” You did. Not God. "Huh! We did? I don’t quite remember creating the moon. Maybe my dad did." You create the moon every time you look at it. Yes, sir, you do. God didn’t do that. You are creating the moon all the time. You create the sun every time you experience the warmth and radiance of the Sun or you think about the sun.
You create the entire universe. God doesn’t.
"Then who created me? From where did I come?" When you ask that question then you are no more there. Ask that question attentively and you will find that neither the universe nor you remain. Now tell me, where is the universe that you were asking about?
So, these childish notions about God have to be exceeded. You cannot base your life with such a concept of God or godliness. And if your life is based on such childish concepts, then your life will lack in maturity as the lives of most people anyway do. Now you know why we live such immature and kiddish lives? Because our very first principle is immature and kiddish- the principle of God. That’s why I keep inviting people to Vedant. That’s where you keep God aside and meet Truth. And you can not meet Truth till you have the ‘holy God thing’ ruling your mind.
In Vedant, there is no God, there is Truth. Yes, Ishwar is there but that Ishwar does not have the pole position. That Ishwar is one of the things, in fact, relating to Maya . So if you find the universe around you quite hellish, then do not bring God in between. It’s none of God’s business. It’s your world. You mind it. You run it. You dissolve it.