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It Is Not God Who Creates Unhappiness, But Our Own Sweet Free Will.

One so-called spiritualist once said in a lecture that "I do not believe in a personal God, because a personal God would never let the poor cows suffer and be eaten."

That same spiritualist, however, loved the taste of chicken.

How could an all-good God be so cruel as to let suffering happen in this world, especially, in some cases, on such a large scale? Sometimes, it's seen that man rejects the idea of God because of some traumatic incident in his life, by which he determines that God is dead, or that he was never there in the first place. One so-called spiritualist once said in a lecture that "I do not believe in a personal God, because a personal God would never let the poor cows suffer and be eaten."

We all want to put the blame on God when something bad happens and claim the credit for ourselves when something good happens. If we get something nice, we think it's due to our own own efforts, and if something unpalatable happens to us, then we think that God is very unfair. This is all the false ego. Something is good for us to so we accept, and when something is not good for us we reject it.

Krishna is the supreme controller and personality of Godhead, and by Krishna's supreme will, everything is happening. It is said that not even a blade of grass moves without the will of Krishna. But simultaneously, it is due to the individual, fragmental part of God, the minute living entity, what we are, that chooses to suffer. Krishna expands himself into minute part and parcels so that he can participate in transcendental loving relationships with him in service, which increases his transcendental bliss. Not that he needs such service, because he is atma-rama, or self-satisfied. If the living entities had no free will, then the relationship would not be blissful, as there would be no love. One cannot reciprocate with a programmed robot.

"Hold on." I hear you cry. "We choose to suffer? Why would we ever condemn ourselves like that?" Yes, this is what we accept as enjoyment. When we want to be the enjoyer of our senses instead of the servant of God, we have to accept a material body, and that covers us with the illusion that we are enjoying the separately from God. We are very much attached to the body, and we accept those in relation to the body as kinsmen and the land of it's birth as worshipable. The desire to become Krishna is very strong in the conditioned soul, and he chooses the temporary life of enjoyment in a material body in order to have that desire fulfilled. We substitute Krishna for things relative to the body in order to pretend that we are the maintainer and enjoyer, to usurp Krishna's position, although we are still serving Krishna through his impersonal expansion of energies, which make up the material world and body with it's sense objects and senses respectively.

"Oh boy, not again..."

For every action we perform in the material world for our own enjoyment, that is called work, which is better known as Karma. When we do something, we get a subsequent reaction from material nature. Just like if I overeat some nice sweets. It might seem very appealing in the beginning, but if I eat too much, I will find out very shortly that the same sweet will cause me indigestion, which is not so appealing. The reaction is unavoidable and guaranteed if I eat more than my body is capable of digesting. That is a law of nature.

So in the same way, whatever we do has a reaction. We might not immediately see the effect, or if we experience the effect we might not be able to ascertain the cause, but it is there. There's nothing that exists without a previous cause in this world. Even if one is a scientist and says there is no ultimate cause, there is still some kind of chain of action and reaction, and that's simple science. We can therefore understand that everything that is happening to us is just an impartial and natural reaction from nature. Furthermore, the cause is always intelligent, there is no example of a cause being initiated by something impersonal. There is no case of material elements or chemicals simply coming together on their own accord and creating something. We know that everything is enacted by some kind of intelligence. Even if a scientist tries to prove that chemicals are the ultimate cause, he will try to prove by an experiment conducted by himself, which means that a person will still always be the cause. So even if something appears to be caused by impersonal nature, from our practical experience we can logically conclude that even that had a person behind it. So the reactions we experience now as happiness and suffering are all of our own accord. The eternal soul is passing through varieties of bodies, creating reaction after reaction, some pious, some impious, and then that creates another body in order to taste the fruit of that seed of karma. It's not that everything is happening to us by chance.

This nature is ultimately under the control of Krishna, as is confirmed in his Bhagavad-Gita when he says:

This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again. [BG 9.10]

Everything's taken care of, now he can enjoy in peace.

Krishna is not partial to anyone here. Krishna is aloof from the dealings of the material world, it is simply going on by his energies. Just like in the material world, we have a practical example that a factory owner's factory is going on by his simple pushing of a button or by no effort at all, by his presence and direction the factory is going on. He simply set up the factory, employed some workers and now he can relax. So if a minute living entity with just a little bit of power can make something work by the effect of his energy, what to speak of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who full of inconceivable energies?

God is aloof from the material manifestation even though it is expanded from His energy and is under His ultimate control. Meanwhile, He is enjoying in the spiritual world in His eternal and transcendental blissful pastimes. When we become envious of his supreme position, we have to come down to the material world to try enjoy our so called pastimes, which are temporary, mundane and miserable. But because that is our desire, Krishna is obliged to fulfill it. Krishna is the dearest friend of all living entities, and when one of them wants something, Krishna immediately fulfills that desire. So this material world is simply the manifestation of our desire to be God, and everything that happens within it is a reaction to our previous attempts to lord it over the material nature. We shouldn't get it wrong that Krishna is a person like us, who enjoys the sufferings of others and thinks it well that those who displease him are punished.

It is said in the Upanishad,

"The Lord engages the living entity in pious activities so that he may be elevated. The Lord engages him in impious activities so that he may go to hell." [Kausitaki Upanishad 3.8]

The Lord is impartial to the living entities. He does not interrupt their free will. The Lord, however, is expanded within the hearts of all living beings as the expansion of his energy called the Paramatma [God, within the heart], or the Super-soul. This is sometimes felt as intuition. Depending on a soul's desire, Krishna inspires him from within to act in a certain way. Therefore, if one wants to act as a criminal, he can do so, but he has to suffer the consequences, and those same consequences are felt in later lives in the forms of disease, misfortune and similar other calamities. In the same way, pious activities reward one with material benedictions like a good birth in a highly respected family, a healthy, beautiful body, different degrees of wealth and a highly desirable significant other.

Ultimately, however, all of these so-called pious or impious activities are bad for living entities. Someone might be very inclined to do good for others, and so he engages in philanthropy, charity and the like, but that is all unfavorable because it is done for sense gratification. Sense gratification is for immediate enjoyment of the gross senses, and then it extends to family, society and nation, but remains selfish. Anything done in such a consciousness means one has to take a material body to enjoy the fruits of that labor of love. Therefore, even though our sense gratification may take the guise of pious, "good" works, it is actually all bad and very much against our interest.

But because we are an eternal part and parcel of Krishna, who is sac-cit-ananda [Bs 5.1], eternally blissful and full of knowledge, we are also constituted like that, but in a minute form. That's why we are always looking for happiness, education and the preservation of life. Being covered by the material energy and reactions to past deeds, however, we are forgetful of our original nature and try to find the same satisfaction of the self through the agency of the body and the sense objects. Such a attempt will always prove frustrating however, because we are not the body, but spirit soul. When you try to satisfy the senses, whether its in an illegal and impious way, through intoxication and illicit sex, or through pious activities like charity and philanthropy, these things only affect the body and mind, and therefore they don't satisfy the soul. Even more pressing is the fact that whatever we accumulate in this life due to our activities will be taken away by the influence of eternal time in the form of death. We may be very proud of our nice material situation, with a bank balance, healthy body and happy family, but at the end of the body we will have to start all over again and again eternally, remaining ever unsatisfied.

"How many times do I have to tell you? You're already getting the bread!"

So the jiva [spirit soul] always has free will and that continues even when under the control of material nature, although in a limited way. We can choose from two consciousnesses: God-consciousness, or Krishna consciousness, and material consciousness. In the former consciousness, we are in our real position of freedom, where we can choose out of our complete free will to serve Krishna in myriad ways in a blissful eternal life. Material consciousness means just the opposite: One is pushed by the relentless senses to enjoy and control everything one surveys. Free will is limited to being pushed from enjoyment to another, and one must struggle to service and maintain the material body in order to do so. In Krishna-consciousness, everything done for Krishna elevates one higher and higher on the spiritual plane, because work in Krishna consciousness is transcendental, it incurs no reaction. In material consciousness every action done for our sense enjoyment leads to more material bodies. Free will is always there and it is the cause of our eternal happiness or eternal distress. Krishna is not inimical towards the living entities, He is their dear-most friend and always has their interests in heart. Therefore, this material world exists as a manifestation of the mercy of Krishna. It is not that God has forsaken us, and he is some frustrated old man in he sky who's just taking out that frustration on us. It's like a prison. The government doesn't want people to go to prison, but they are forced by the criminals to create a place for them. They would rather everyone be a happy and good citizen, but at the same time they cannot check the illegal desires of the would-be criminals. Therefore, a prison-house is erected and such a place, although the inmates may think it unfair, is actually for their own benefit. It rectifies their mentality so one day they might enjoy the same freedom and happiness that is automatic once their attitude and behavior is nice. In the same way, the material world is against our interest to be happy because everything we do here, be it pious or impious, will cause a reaction from material nature by which we have to enjoy or suffer the result in a temporary material body, and that can never make the eternal self that we are happy. That unhappiness eventually pushes to question, "why am I here?' and "why should I have to die?". Our real happiness is to understand the proper use of our free will: Instead of using it to try and lord it over everything, we should serve Krishna in love and devotion, because actually it is our own attitude of trying to be Krishna that creates our unhappy position, not the other way around.

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