The God of Creation–The God of Destruction

We like to think of God as a God of love, peace, goodness and harmony. We find rationales for then saying that everything opposite to this is not due to God, but to “the devil” or some duality that makes Nature separate and different from God. Some religious traditions place the blame for bad things happening on human beings, as if we were separate and independent actors with total free will who have the ability to oppose God and do something other than what God wants. The fact that all of these positions negate the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of God simply gets overlooked.

Sri Aurobindo takes up the Gita’s response to this issue: “Indian spirituality knows that God is Love and Peace and Calm and Eternity,–the Gita which presents us with these terrible images, speaks of the Godhead who embodies himself in them as the lover and friend of all creatures. But there is too the sterner aspect of his divine government of the world which meets us from the beginning, the aspect of destruction, and to ignore it is to miss the full reality of the divine Love and Peace and Calm and Eternity and even to throw on it an aspect of partiality and illusion, because the comforting exclusive form in which it is put is not borne out by the nature of the world in which we live. This world of our battle and labour is a fierce dangerous destructive devouring world in which life exists precariously and the soul and body of man move among enormous perils, a world in which by every step forward, whether we will it or no, something is crushed and broken, in which every breath of life is a breath too of death.”

The Gita does not accept the duality that treats the one form as God and the other form as something “other”. “We have to look courageously in the face of the reality and see that it is God and none else who has made this world in his being and that so he has made it. We have to see that Nature devouring her children, Time eating up the lives of creatures, Death universal and ineluctable and the violence of the Rudra forces in man and Nature are also the supreme Godhead in one of his cosmic figures.”

“The discords of the world are God’s discords and it is only by accepting and proceeding through them that we can arrive at the greater concords of his supreme harmony, the summits and thrilled vastnesses of his transcendent and his cosmic Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 10, The Vision of the World-Spirit–Time the Destroyer, pp. 367-368