If God is impartial, why does one person inherit a million dollars and 
another suffer a great loss? Why is one saved and another killed?

A lecture in Los Angeles in December 1973

prayenaitad bhagavata
isvarasya vicestitam
mitho nighnanti bhutani
bhavayanti ca yan mithah

"Factually this is all due to the supreme will of the Lord, the Personality of Godhead. Sometimes people kill one another, and at other times they protect one another." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.24)


Srila Prabhupada: Now you can read the purport

Devotee [reading]: "According to the anthropologists, there is nature's law of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest. But they do not know that behind the law of nature, there is the supreme direction of the Supreme Lord Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-gita it is confirmed that the law of nature is executed under the direction of the Lord. Whenever therefore there is peace in the world, it must be known that it is due to the good will of the Lord, and whenever there is upheaval in the world, it is also due to the supreme will of the Lord. Not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Lord. Whenever, therefore, there is disobedience of the established rules enacted by the Lord, there is war between men and nations. The surest way to the path of peace is, therefore, dovetailing everything to the established rule of the Lord. The established rule is that whatever we do, whatever we eat, whatever we sacrifice, whatever we give in charity, must be done to the full satisfaction of the Lord. No one should do anything, eat anything, sacrifice anything, or give anything in charity against the will of the Lord. Discretion is the better part of valor, and one must learn how to discriminate between actions which may be pleasing to the Lord and those which may not be pleasing to the Lord. An action is thus judged by the Lord's pleasure or displeasure. There is no room for personal whims. We must always be guided by the pleasure of the Lord. Such action is called yogah-karmasu kausalam, or actions performed which are linked with the Supreme Lord. That is the art of doing a thing perfectly."

Srila Prabhupada: So, the first step in spiritual understanding is to know that there is no enjoyment in this material world, only suffering. If in the struggle for existence we are able to counteract the suffering a little bit, we take that as enjoyment. But actually there is no enjoyment. In the Bhagavad-gita Krsna, the supreme authority, says that this material world is duhkhalayam, "the place for suffering." That is fact.

Now, if a person is accepting suffering as enjoyment, we would say he's insane, while the person who is trying to actually end suffering is sane. I'll give you a practical example. In the prison house, some prisoners are called first class. They are given special favor by the government. And there are third-classes prisoners also. But both of them are prisoners, and they must suffer. If the first-class prisoner thinks he can enjoy in the prison, he is fool number one. After all, a prison is not meant for comfortable life; it is meant for suffering. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura therefore sings, anadi karama-phale padi 'bhavarnava-jale taribare na dekhi upaya: "I have fallen into this ocean of material life because of my fruitive activities, and I can see no way out of this suffering."

So, we have no independence to do anything about the suffering of this prison house of the material world. Everyone is thinking, "I am independent," but that is not the fact. As Lord Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita [3.27],

prakrteh kriyamanani
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate

"Everybody is controlled by the laws of material nature, but the foolish persons think they are working independently."

And ultimately Krsna is doing everything. As it is said in this verse of the Bhagavatam, prayenaitad bhagavata isvarasya vicestitam: "Everything is due to the will of the lord." We cannot do anything without the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the civil state you cannot do anything without the sanction of the government. Similarly, without the sanction of the supreme "state," the supreme order-giver Krsna, or God we cannot do anything.

Here it is also said, mitho nighnanti bhutani bhavayanti ca yan mithah: "Sometimes, by His will, we kill one another, and sometimes we give protection to one another." So does this mean that at different times Krsna thinks differently, that He is partial? No. Krsna's actions are daiva, superior. Krsna is just like a high-court judge. In one case a judge will condemn somebody to be hanged, and in another case he will award someone millions of dollars. Is he partial? No. He is simply administering the law, that's all. One man has created a situation in which he should be condemned to death, and the other man has created a situation in which he will be rewarded with millions of dollars. Everything depending on one's actions.

So, we are acting in different ways, and by superior administration (daiva-netrena) we are getting different types of bodies and suffering of enjoying the consequences. This is our position. Krsna is impartial. As He says in the Bhagavad-gita, samo 'ham sarva-bhutesu: "I am equal to everyone." Otherwise, how could He be God? God is not partial deciding whimsically that somebody should be killed and somebody else should be rewarded with ten million dollars. No. By our own work we create our own situation. That you should know.

Now, according to the state law, if I kill somebody, I should also be killed. The law of nature, or the law of God, works similarly. But we forget our past life. No one thinks, "It is because I killed this person in my past life that he is now killing me." But although we forget our past life, Krsna does not forget. And He reminds us: "This child killed you in his past life, so now you can kill him in the womb." Krsna is described as upadrasta and anumanta, "the witness and permitter." So He sees everything, and then He reminds everyone how to act in order to enjoy or suffer the fruits of their actions. Sometimes He reminds us to kill someone, and sometimes He reminds us to protect someone.

There is nothing wrong with this; it is equal justice. So don't think that because Krsna gives sanction (vicestitam) He is partial. No. He is always impartial. We are simply suffering the results of our own activities that violate the will of God. Therefore, for our own benefit we should always try to understand the will of God. That is our duty. The human form of life is an opportunity to understand the will of God. He expresses His will very clearly in the Bhagavad-gita [18.66]: sarva-dharman parityayja mam ekam saranam vraja. "Just give up all other business and surrender to Me." Nobody can say, "What is the will of God? I do not know." No, you know. And what is the result of surrendering to Krsna? He says, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami: "I will give you protection and relieve you from the effects of all sinful activity."

If you become nicely educated, cultured, then you get a good position in society. But if you're a rascal, you suffer. Similarly, we suffer on account of our sinful activities, and we enjoy by performing pious activities. That is nature's law, called karma-bandha. So long as we do not know what is the will of God, what is our duty, we will create our own position by sinful or pious activities, and therefore we will sometimes suffer and sometimes enjoy.

So, we must know what our duty is. That we have forgotten. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum: In the material condition we have forgotten our actual aim of life Lord Krsna. Therefore Krsna comes here. He says in Bhagavad-gita [4.7], yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata… tadatmanam srjamy aham: "When people forget their duty, I come." When we forget our duty, that is called dharmasya-glanih. Dharma is not a religious sentiment. Dharma means "one's occupational duty." This is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam.

So, our real occupational duty is to serve the Supreme Lord. We are meant for serving Krsna, but when we forget to serve Krsna and we try to serve so many other things our lust, our greediness, our illusion so many problems result. We have to serve that is our position. Nobody can be free from service. That is not possible. But we do not know where to give our service. That we have forgotten.

Kamadinam kati na katidha palita durnidesah: The human beings in ignorance are serving lust, greediness, illusion, anger so many things they are serving. One man kills another because of lusty desire, or out of illusion. So, we are serving there is no doubt about it but we are serving our lust, avarice, and so on. Now we have to learn that we are being frustrated by serving all these things, and then we have to turn that service attitude toward Krsna. That is Krsna's mission. Krsna says, "You are serving already. You cannot be free from service. But your service is misplaced. Therefore just turn your service unto Me and you will become happy." That is Krsna consciousness.

A greedy man suffers because he eats more than he needs. So many diseases diabetes, dysentery. These diseases come from eating more than required. Still, even though he is suffering, he cannot stop overeating, because he is greedy and lusty. That is the cause. If you have no appetite and still you eat, then you must suffer. You will contract some disease and suffer. That is a medical fact.

So, we are serving, but we are serving our lust and our greediness, and therefore we are suffering. We are infected with lust, greediness, illusion, fearfulness so many things. If you steal, you will be fearful: "Oh, I may be arrested, I may be arrested." Because you have done something wrong, you are under the influence of fear. It is very easy to understand.

We are creating our situation by serving different types of desires. That's all. And sometimes we are doing something which we know we should not do. But although we have done so much to serve our lust and greediness, they are not merciful, and still they are dictating: "Go on doing this, go on doing this." We are suffering, yet still we are following the dictation of lust and greed. In this way we are creating our own karma. Any sane man will think, "For so long I have served my nasty desires, but still I am not happy, nor are my desires satisfied." The desires of the lusty man are never satiated. He has killed so many animals simply for the satisfaction of his tongue, and he may know that he should stop, but no, he will go on killing, killing, killing, killing, killing, killing. He is never satisfied. He never concludes, "I have killed so many innocent animals. No more! Let me stop." No, there is no stopping.

The biblical injunction is "Thou shalt not kill," but people will kill and kill and kill and kill, and still they want to be peaceful and satisfied. Just see! The Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill," and even though they are simply engaged in this killing business, still they want to be happy. "Therefore," Krishna says, "be killed by occasional world war." You must be killed. You have created this situation, so you must be killed. You may be an American or an Englishman or a German, this or that, and you may be very proud of your nationality, but you must be killed. This is the position of the modern civilization. Everything takes place by the will of God: isvarasya vicestitam. You have killed so many animals? Now let there be wholesale human slaughter by one atom bomb.

These rascals do not know how things are going on by the will of the Lord. If the ordinary state laws declare that one who kills somebody must be hanged, do you think you can simply bluff the supreme authority, Krsna? Do you think you can go on killing, killing, killing and remain unpunished? No. You will be killed by pestilence, by famine, even within your mother's womb. In the womb there is supposed to be good protection, but there also you will be killed. Human civilization has degenerated so much that the killing business is increasing daily.

Therefore, we must submit to Krsna. We cannot remain free of the laws of God That is not possible. So we must surrender: "O Krsna, O God, I have acted sinfully for so many births, but I did not become happy. Nor am I happy at the present moment. So now I surrender unto You. You promise to give protection to those who surrender unto You, so kindly give me protection from my sinful reactions and engage me in Your service." This is the Krsna consciousness movement.

Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.