Question 6 Print E-mail


Q  Why is it that I feel very depressed when I see somebody known to me suffering? I try to be of help to them to the best of my ability, but still I am not able to get over their sorrows. Why is God so unkind sometimes? Why does He not help people who need His help?

A  In life, we must understand that we can only change ourselves. We may take the effort to enable someone else to improve their lives but ultimately, each one’s fate is in their own hands. For example, we may want a close friend to stop smoking but the most we can tell the person is about the ill effects of smoking and educate them about the consequences of smoking. In the end however, the choice of picking up the cigarette or resisting the temptation rests with the friend. He or she may listen to us or choose to disregard what we said. And the person will have to face the consequences of that choice. Thus it would be egoistic to think that we can help someone. No matter how much we do or how much we genuinely care for someone, they alone have the power to lift themselves.

As far as the query about suffering goes, we must understand that the world is a play of opposites. There will be heat and there will be cold. There will be joy and there will be sorrow. There will be honour and there will be dishonour. Such is the nature of the world. Thus pleasure and pain are an inherent part of life. Christ said ‘Iniquity there shall be, but woe unto you if you be the cause of it’. Life is always fair although there are times when it doesn’t seem so. It is governed by the Law of Karma. What goes around must come around. What we are today is the result of our past actions, feelings and thoughts. What we will be tomorrow is in our hands.

God is neither kind nor unkind. The role of God in life is that of a facilitator. God functions in our lives exactly as electricity manifests itself in different electrical appliances. It is the source of all of the manifestations, yet the manifestation itself depends on the nature of the equipment through which the electricity is manifest. Hence in a heater it will heat, in a refrigerator it will cool etc. It is merely the enabler, executor of the laws of life. Similarly in the world, God or that Divine Power is the Life Principle in each one of us. It is not responsible for our actions. The nature of our actions depend entirely on the quality of the desires we entertain. This is why the Divine Power is likened to a sakshi (witness), in the scriptures. It is unaffected and untainted by its manifestations.

Thus we must do our best to help others. At the same time, we must understand that we are only enabling a change. Whether the change occurs or not depends on the nature of the person, it depends on whether they are willing to help themselves.