Explanation of evil – Ramakrishna
Questioner: Why does a man have sinful tendencies?
Master: In God’s creation there are all sorts of things. He has created bad men as well as good men. It is He who gives us good tendencies, and it is He again who gives us evil tendencies.
Questioner: In that case we aren’t responsible for our sinful actions, are we?
Master: Sin begets its own result. This is God’s law. Won’t you burn our tongue if you chew a chilli? In his youth, Mathur led a rather fast life; so he suffered from various diseases before his death.
One may not realize this in youth. I have looked into the hearth in the kitchen of the Kāli temple when logs are being burnt. At first the wet wood burns rather well. It doesn’t seem then that it contains much moisture. But when the wood is sufficiently burnt, all the moisture runs back to one end. At last water squirts from the fuel and puts out the fire.
So one should be careful about anger, passion, and greed. Take, for instance, the case of Hanuman. In a fit of anger he burnt Ceylon. At last he remembered that Sita was living in the Aśoka grove. Then he began to tremble lest the fire should injure her.
Questioner: Why has God created wicked people?
Master: That is His will, His play. In His Maya there exists avidyā as well as vidyā. Darkness is needed too. It reveals all the more the glory of light. There is no doubt that anger, lust, and greed are evils. Why, then, has God created them? In order to create saints. A man becomes a saint by conquering the senses. Is there anything impossible for a man who has subdued his passions? He can even realize God, through His grace. Again, see how His whole play of creation is perpetuated through lust.
Wicked people are needed too. At one time the tenants of an estate became unruly. The landlord had to send Golak Choudhury, who was a ruffian. He was such a harsh administrator that the tenants trembled at the very mention of his name.
There is need of everything. Once Sita said to her Husband: ‘Rama, it would be grand if every house in Ayhodhya were a mansion! I find many houses old and dilapidated.’ ‘But, my dear,’ said Rama, ‘if all the houses were beautiful ones, what would the masons do?’ (Laughter.) God has created all kinds of things. He has created good trees, and poisonous plants and weeds as well. Among the animals there are good, bad, and all kinds of creatures – tigers, lions, snakes, and so on.
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna