Is God Both Good and Evil?


I understand throughout Yoganandaji’s teachings that God is love but in the same way that he/she is all and everything in that sense, first of all - if God is all love, how can we explain the God in the Old Testament? Secondly, if God is all and everything, doesn’t that mean that he is Satan/Maya too and evil, chaos and all negativity is all part of his doing energy too? I am a little conflicted with this for a time.

—Leonel Medina Moreno, Puerto Rico


Dear Friend,

You are asking a timeless and yet timely question – one “for the ages,” as it were! I refer you to that summary of Yogananda’s teachings so well presented in the book, Essence of Self-Realization published by Ananda’s Crystal Clarity Publishers.

Yogananda explained that the nature of God is triune: essentially, the Trinity spoken of both in Christianity and in Hinduism (no doubt elsewhere as well though with different terms). God as Creator stands aloof from His creation: untouched and unsullied, forever in Bliss. God AS creation is His consort, or the Divine Mother (Blessed Virgin, etc.). At the heart of each atom of creation is the reflection of His ever-new and creatively inclined bliss consciousness in the inner stillness of the causal world (micro and macro).

When God became the creation He did so through an illusion which we call maya using the “trick” of duality, the pair of opposites (with a middle point), giving the appearance of separateness.  It produces a cosmic sound (Aum) as His consciousness comes forth into creation. This sound is universal and primordial (meaning “first”) as well as underlying or at the heart, as well as the source of things in vibratory creation. Endowed with the intention of creating, this force “goes out into the world” (so to speak) differentiating into the diversity of consciousness and objects. As the energy goes forth it goes further and further from its source and takes on the conscious desire and intention to remain separate. As this otherwise pure vibration (of Aum) becomes increasingly differentiated and takes on the consciousness inherent in differentiation (that is, separateness) it takes on an “evil” or satanic power (in relation to the purity and Oneness of the Creator).

In seeking self-perpetuation and in seeking the bliss of its nature in all the wrong places (i.e., the creation itself instead of returning home to the Creator) this Satanic force becomes part of the innate duality that keeps creation going.

Without this force, the creation would not continue. Every story, to be captivating and real, must have a hero and a villain. So its origins, like all creation, are of God but through the illusion of duality, this contrary force vies with wisdom and love so that creation will be perpetuated. Satan is in one sense then, the creation of and an aspect of God but only in the context of duality (creation). In God, all things dual resolve into One. God, like the cosmic playwright, writes the script but is no more evil for the fact of writing the villain’s part than the actor who plays the part! (Though the actor, if he thinks he is the villain, will receive the villain’s punishment.)

Moreover, suffering is the necessary prod to the soul to awaken to seek its home in Bliss by returning to God and transcending duality. Without suffering, we would be content with creation as it is and never seek to pierce the veil that separates us from God who is, alone, the sole reality and Doer of all.

So long as we feel we are separate, we too must contend with suffering and evil. But these cannot touch the soul, nor yet the person who has regained his Soul-Self in God. Jesus’ suffering on the cross was something he could have easily transcended but choose to go through with the experience in order to take on the karma of his disciples. His only real suffering was for the sadness he felt for those who caused his suffering, for their ignorance and the consequences to themselves of their actions. The transcended soul is untouched by suffering.

Thus it was that Lord Buddha sought the riddle to life, as you do, and found that suffering is transcended in Oneness.

I will conclude by saying, however, that no explanation (based on reason and intellect) can truly satisfy the heart when we see the suffering in this world (including our own). The great ones say to us, “You will know when you will know. When you find God, He will answer all of your questions to your satisfaction.” The greatest story ever told is this one: how we came into Being – were tempted by His creation, wandered from God in search of happiness and at last, worn and weary, resolved to find the “truth that shall make us free” – God alone.

The real question is, ‘What do I do about my life as I find it now?’ Not so much, why, or how? These questions will be answered in due time but it is right to ask them and right to live in such a way as to “realize” the truth (rather than only talk about it). Ok?

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA