Is God Sadistic?

Is Krishna sadistic and narcissistic?

Sadistic means “to enjoy causing pain.” It may seem that God is sadistic:

a) God is all-powerful, nothing can exist against his will.

b) Pain exists

c) Therefore God must want pain to exist. He is sadistic.

Statement A, however, is flawed.

Being all-powerful doesn’t mean you are the only one with any power. It doesn’t mean you won’t respect the power of others. “All-powerful” does not mean “absolute-maniacal-dictator.” “All-powerful” means śaktimān: all energies are rooted in him. All freewill and all power comes from him. It is not that only God is free and conscious, but everyone and everything else is an insentient puppet. Many, many entities exist with freewill and power (tat tvam asi). From the One Complete Will, many complete wills emanate (pūrnaṁ adaḥ pūrṇaṁ idam).

Therefore not everything that exists is a direct result of God’s will, some things are a result of my will, your will, his will, her will, etc. Pain is not directly manifest from God. It exists as a result of other willpowers.

Narcissistic: Complaints About God’s Ingenuity

We could complain, “why did he create a situation in which pain is even possible?”

Basically it is because there is no meaning to pleasure unless there is also a possibility of pain.

Here comes the complaint of narcissism: “So for the sake of pleasure, he allows pain to exist? How narcissistic!”

It’s not narcissistic (self-serving, self-engrossed). His intention is to share pleasure, not to horde it.

The One Being expands into many beings for the sake of expanding ānanda (so’kāmayta bahu syāt). That ānanda is the ultimate purpose of existence itself (ānanda-mayābhyāsāt) Ānanda is perceived as love, just as spatial dimensions are perceived as sound, wind is perceived as movement, and light is perceived as vision. Bhakti (love) is the tan-matra(perceivable essence) of ānanda (bliss).

So, the purpose of existence, the reason why the one becomes many, is to share and amplify the bliss of love. If we understand what love is, we will understand why freewill and pain exist.

The core of love is is anukūlyatā – an emotion of being “favorably inclined” towards the beloved. An angle cannot be measured with only two points, there must be three. One point, at the center, is the will of the individual existence (you or I). Another point – to the right of center, let’s say – is the self integrated in the Original Being. The third point – to the left of the center – is a the self separate from the Original Being. With these three points we can measure an angle of inclination, with the ray of will emanating from the center of the line.


Thus there must be an option for the will to divorce itself from the Original Being rather than integrate with it. If there is no such option, the anykūlyatā that is the core of love, cannot express itself. So we have the option to separate from the Original Being and exist on our own.

If we want to take this option, however, we run into a problem, engrained in the fundamentals of geometry itself.

Infinite existence is a circle (an infinite shape without sides or corners or beginning/end points). The root of the circle is the center-point. Circles have only one center point. So, if we want to exist without centering on that point, how will it be possible at all?

God has a powerful śakti called māyā which allows reality to be perceived subjectively, according to preferences of the individual will. Those inclined to separate from the Origin come under the wing of Māyā, and experience existence as if there were more than one center, or as if they themselves were the center.

A problem still exists. Again its in the fundamental architecture of geometry. Points within a center that subjectively imagine themselves central will inevitably come into conflict with one another. This conflict is experienced as “pain.”

We could file a complaint to God: “Change geometry!” But why should he? Geometry is working wondrously well for infinite zillions of individual wills experiencing ever-amplifying bliss by inclining themselves towards the real center. How would it be fair for him to change this situation?

“Change it just for us!” To an extent, he already did. That’s what māyā is. It permits geometry to be circumvented. But the side-effect of this circumvention plays an important role in bringing the divorced will eventually into a situation of true joy. More about this in a moment.

We could modify our complaint: “Change us! Stop us from conflicting.” He tries. He helps by establishing ethics and moral principles, and by his avatāra demonstrating the actual joy available in an existence centered correctly on the Original Being. But to actually stop us from generating pain would require him to force us into certain positions, defeating the purpose of creating individual wills, and horribly disrespecting our essence. This is the one thing that you must do. This is the “rock God created, to heavy to lift.” You must willingly embrace the concept of self integrated with his center. He cannot force it upon you.

Individual wills are inherently free to change their position, their vantage point, their center. Those not centered on the original being often come into conflict with one another, trying to occupy the same space, or control the same perimeter simultaneously. This causes the experience of pain.

Pain is a waste-product of love. But excrement and evacuation is also crucial to health. It is not that pain is without purpose. As the individual wills experience first-hand the pain incurred by conflicting with other centers, they began to want an answer, a solution. They start to avail of ethics and morality (dharma), and eventually seek their original root (mokṣa) and attain the perfect bliss within the Original Circle (prema).

Thus pain eventually leads us to incline away from a divorced conception of self, towards a conception of self fully integrated with the Original Whole.

I believe this demonstrates that God is neither sadistic nor narcissistic.


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  1. I’m sorry this comment is completely irrelevant from this article but it’s been on my mind for some time:

    What about people with severe mental illness? I’ve seen it many times that they are asked to leave or banned because they aren’t contributing enough and quite often these people don’t have anyone or anywhere to go because they’re just not stable enough to do anything for themselves. It happened to me, I was in a deathly state and no one wanted or tried to understand and so I had nowhere to go because I was useless to them – yet they have a program to help mentally ill non-devotees…


    1. Institutions exist to serve themselves, mostly. They should exist to serve their ordinary members, but things like this prove that is not the case. I am sorry for your situation and hope that Rādhā and Krishna will care for you directly.


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