Submitted by William Page
Sri Ramakrishna states repeatedly that God alone is the Doer, God alone does everything, and everything happens by the will of God. (See The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, pp. 236, 379, 609, 616, 648, 699, 783, 791.)
Given the amount of evil in the world, this doctrine makes God a monster. It means that God, rather than man, committed genocide in the Holocaust, the Cambodian Killing Fields, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur.
Q: How can we be expected to love and worship such a god?
Amal Gupta wrote:
William Page raised a question, which is a profound paradox. Yes, Ramakrishna repeatedly said that God alone is the doer, but he also said:
“There is no doubt that virtue and vice exist in the world; but God himself is unattached to them… The very nature of God’s creation is that good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, will always exist in the world.” (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, p. 247)
“I too think of God sometimes as good and sometimes as bad. He has kept us deluded by His great illusion… One is aware of pleasure and pain, birth and death, disease and grief, as long as one is identified with the body. (Ibid,. p. 257)
God or Vedanta’s Brahman is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda). There is no ego in God. Ego or the “I”-ness (Aham) appears in the phenomenal universe much later in evolution. Swami Ranganathananda explains this point in Universal Message of the Bhagavad Gita, Vol.1, pp.179-186:
“It [ego] is a remarkable datum which has been thrown up in evolution only at the stage of man… It was not there in any animal, it is not there even in a newborn baby. After about two to two-and-half-ayears, you find a child says ‘I’, ‘I want this, I want that’… and I am glad to find that for the last 50 or 60 years, the West has been turning its attention to this wonderful subject of the ego and its possibilities.”
During the past century the West has come up with many theories as to how ego appeared in evolution as the part of the human psyche. But I like the following simple explanation by Dr. Wayne Dyer:
“In the mechanistic view of nature, everything is an artifact made by a boss who has many different names. In the Western view, the boss is called God… Essentially the universe is a monarchy, God the king and we the subjects. All subjects are considered born with the stain of sin as a part of their nature and are therefore untrustworthy. This theory of nature makes many people feel estranged, creating an attitude of separateness from the boss [God]. The more we feel separated from this God, the more we feel the need to create some way of feeling worthy. So we create an idea of our importance based on externals and call it “ego.” Reliance on ego ultimately leads to more separation as life becomes a contest and competition with designated others.” (Manifest Your Destiny, p. 21)
In this book, Dr. Dyer presents many characteristics of ego. For example, one’s ego is never satisfied and constantly instructs one to complain and to want more. Ego loves confusion and chaos, hatred and jealousy, authority and power. Ego is conniving to keep us from knowing that we are manifestations of one and the only one God — as Vedanta teaches, “Thou Art That,” and so on.
Obviously, it was not God but man’s ego that committed genocide in the Holocaust, the Cambodian Killing Fields, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur. And finally, the sole objective of a contemplative and spiritual life to practice spiritual disciplines is to minimize the ego.
Edith Tipple (Nalini) recollects:
Swami Prabhavananda used to mention a discussion between Swami Turiyananda, who was a great scholar, and Swami Adbhutananda, who was completely unlettered. When Swami Turiyananda explained the law of karma to Swami Adbhutananda, the latter said, “Brother, did the Lord appoint you as his lawyer to justify His own conduct?”
Swami Prabhavananda would go on to say that we cannot deny any experience, no matter how much anybody might say it is not true. A bad experience in a dream will make our hearts palpitate – but when we wake up, we realize it was a dream. Nevertheless, he would continue, there is an experience which is not contradicted by any other experience but which itself contradicts all other experiences. It is an experience in which there is neither good nor evil, happiness nor suffering. We talk about good and evil, happiness and suffering, when we are caught in the wheel of karma, as long as we remain in ignorance. Our goal and our duty must be to come out of that ignorance.
And then he would quote Swami Brahmananda: “Meditate, meditate, meditate. Find that mine of bliss.” The world will go on as it is, he said. To expect a millennium is to expect the impossible. Individuals have to come out of the world. And there is a way out. As Buddha taught: there is suffering, there is a cause of suffering, there is a way out of suffering – there is a way of peace. And then he would quote the Chandogya Upanishad: “One who knows, meditates upon, and realizes the truth of the Self — such a one delights in the Self, revels in the Self, rejoices in the Self. He becomes master of himself, and master of all the worlds.”
What more questioning can there be?