How Does One Spiritually Encounter the Holocaust?


I am the descendant of victims of the German holocaust. Most of my family perished including little children. How could God allow these things to happen? And what i see on the internet is a continuation of that racial hatred against the Jewish race i was born into. How does one spiritually encounter that hatred? I feel if i ignore it i help it, but if i try to counter it, I get attacked with more hate.

—Jennifer, United States


Dear Jennifer,

I am sorry for your deep sufferings and the death of your family in the holocaust.

I too was born Jewish and grew up in Israel. The holocaust and the sufferings of the Jews are imprinted in my own consciousness.

You are not alone in feeling deep compassion and hurt by the sufferings of the Jews, as well as many other people, in the holocaust. It is almost impossible to understand and fathom how such thing can happen.

On the bright side, the holocaust played a major role in the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel.

From the Yogic perspective, God is not the cause of our suffering. We, because of ignorance, bring it on ourselves and others.

God has created this world, and gave people free will. We all have a choice to move toward God or away from Him. God does not want us to suffer, but he didn’t make us puppets so he can pull all the strings. He gave us free choice.

God is hoping that his children will wake up and seek Him behind the curtain of delusion. Unfortunately, some people think that the way to be happy is to eliminate other people. They can play it out for a period of time, but they will have to pay for their evil doing.

Suffering can be an incentive to seek the answer to life’s mystery. Suffering means that man or a nation has erred in the past, and has gone against nature’s laws. We need to use our free will wisely. Sufferings will help us eventually to turn back to God. We are all like the prodigal son in the biblical story: we leave the Father to experience the world; we get lost; we first enjoy, then suffer, and finally decide to return back to Him.

The real question is not why God does permit suffering, but what do I do about it?

We have the freedom and the opportunity to solve the mystery of life by our efforts.

Evil cannot be conquered by evil. Evil can be only conquered by love. I have read of people who became saints while living in the concentration camps, through the power of love and forgiveness. One great man who survived the holocaust was Viktor Frankl. Here are a few of his inspiring sayings:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

The only way that you can change the world is by love and forgiveness.

In your own life, find ways to share love with others. You might start meditating daily, and connect with God. Let Him reveal to you his love and wisdom.

Each day pray and meditate and try to contact God. Daily serve others, guided by wisdom and compassion, and gradually, you will understand why we are here and for what purpose.

I pray that you’ll find peace in your heart.

Nayawswami Diksha