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Theodicy  - Hindu view


Since time immemorial, philosophers, soothsayers, prophets, priests and diviners have been asked to answer - Why a good God allows evil to exist ?  Why do bad things happen to good people?


This is an age old question that everyone asks – good and bad people. 

Everyone wants to know why did heaven dump on ME ? 

Everyone considers themselves as ‘good’ and ‘in the right’ and can’t understand why they were badly treated by fate.


Hinduism being as holistic as it is, offers a number of different answers as to why bad things happen to good people.  For sake of simplicity, I will keep it brief.  There are other articles on this site to elaborate on the individual points.


1) Karma Marg - Good and bad happens as a result of our past karmas.  Just because you are good now doesn't mean you can "do no wrong".  Even the good and the great can make mistakes.  Everyone, including the Gods, have to pay for their mistakes.  It is not a punishment, but fruit of your own actions.  There is no need to feel despondent though, as once the karma is paid for, you are free and will not have to suffer its effects again.  If you do not like the karma-phal, learn from your mistakes and do not repeat the same karma again.


2) Jyana Marg - Life is a journey.  In a journey we may have many ups and downs.  We may even have to turn around because our earlier choices did not work out.  Course correction is the only constant in a journey till we reach our goal.  In a journey as long as ‘life’, we are bound to make many course corrections.


Mistakes happen.  Sometimes we make them.  Sometimes others make them.  Sometimes we suffer as a result of our mistakes.  Sometimes we suffer as a result of mistakes made by others.  Key thing is to learn from it and not make the same mistake twice.  It’s the old adage, "Make a fool of me once, shame on you.  Make a fool of me twice, shame on me."  If you learn from your mistake, you have gained something even from an adverse condition.  It is no longer a loss but a gain.  If you convert enough losses into gains, you can be an overall winner in this journey of life.  


It doesn't matter if you classify yourself as "good" or bad, and by the way, no one classifies themselves as "bad".  If you make a mistake, life will punish you for it.  It’s a universal law.  Nothing personal.  Its just the way it is.  Learn from your mistakes and move on.


3) Bhakti Marg – Everything we see in the universe is divine lila – play.  Just as you need tragedy, comedy, romance, pathos, victory and loss for a play to be interesting, ‘life’ as its ups and downs to make ‘life’ interesting.  You need a variety of different spices to make dinner interesting.  You need a diverse range of colours to make a painting interesting.  Similarly, life gives us our share of ups, downs and total wipe outs to make life interesting.  Without the full range of experiences, life would be boring, dull and monotonous.  God sends us all the experiences we have so that we can appreciate ‘life’.  He does it so that we can have fun.  Bad times allow us to appreciate the good times and hence we can value the moment when we have "fun".  Life, even our life, is God's nirdosh lila - innocent fun.


What we see as good, bad or ugly in life, is actually lila of the lord.  It isn’t fate.  Fate is what God as decreed for you and you must submit to it.  This is play.  There is an element of free will, an element of fun and element of ‘surprise’ too.



Theodicy - Hindu view

Theodicy - Lila aspect

Lila as per Pushti Marg


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