Question: If someone does something bad and undivine, does God punish them or do they bring things on themselves?

Sri Chinmoy: If someone does bad, undivine things, God does not punish him the way we would. His punishment comes from some other place. Punishment comes from those whom we have deceived or from those to whom we do undivine things. It can also come from the world or place where certain forces exist. But God does not punish us when we do something wrong. On the contrary, when we do something wrong, He brings us a friend, light, and tells us, "If you mix with this friend and play with him all the time, then you will not do anything wrong. This friend will always tell you to do the right thing. But we do not like that friend; we ask him to go away. Again and again we do things wrong. Then forces around us and forces inside the person whom we have hurt try to punish us.

When we do something wrong, we find that we are inside a dark room. God comes into that room with a lantern. He says, "My child, take this lantern. If you keep it, you won't make the same mistake again." But we don't like this; we want to stay all by ourselves. So we take that lantern and throw it away. Our individuality is darkness, but we like it because it is ours. God brings us a friend to play with, which is light. If we stay with our friend light, then we will never make any mistakes. And since we won't make any mistakes, nobody will be able to punish us.