Is God Willing to Prevent Evil, but Not Able? (and other questions)


Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent!
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent!
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

Epicurus, Greek philosopher

Did Yogananda ever say anything about this ?

—BCA, Europe


Dear B.C.A.:

My inclination when I read your question was to return it and ask that someone else answer. I realized, however, I have a little bit to say. So here it is. If it is insufficient, please resubmit your question and someone else will answer.

Yes, Yogananda did speak on this issue. Not cleverly, as this man does, leaving the reader as confused at the end as he is at the beginning, but as a man of realization answers – clearly and decisively with the power of superconscious intuition.

I suggest you look up the word “evil” in the index of at least the following books, which contain Yogananda’s words and teachings: The Essence of Self-Realization, The Essence of the Bhagavad-Gita, and Revelations of Christ.

In various forms, I have been asked this question many times. The reason I didn’t want to answer is because whatever answer I give is simply countered by another objection. You can’t reason your way through this one.

As Swami Vivekenanda put it, “The level of consciousness that asks this question cannot understand the answer.”

That is a clever response and worth quoting, but not entirely satisfactory. So I have come up with another one, not original, but a quote from Lahiri Mahasaya: “Do Kriya.” Or another technique like it that will lift your consciousness from the level that asks the question to the level where the answer will be experienced and the question itself will dissolve.

Another way to phrase this question is, “Why did God make the world the way He did?”

When a devotee reduced that question to the single word, “Why?” Swami Kriyananda answered, “What difference would it make?”

His meaning was, the need to find happiness (leading to bliss) and escape suffering remains exactly the same, whether or not we know why we got into this situation in the first place. To do nothing until the question is answered is to postpone bliss and prolong suffering. To that I say, “Why?”

The first order of business is to escape the bondage of material ego consciousness. With or without an explanation, the way out is the same. “Do Kriya.”

Nayaswami Asha