In Hinduism, is God both good and evil, because in Mahabharata Shri Krishna tells Arjuna that he is everything.

  • He says he is heaven and he is hell.
  • He says he has many avatars who play the role of both good and evil.

So what is the real truth about God in this picture from the Hindu point of view?

  • 2
    Yes, God is both good & evil- All that is Brahman alone , Now what? Oct 6, 2017 at 17:03
  • Well there are two sides of each thing, if bad/evil wasn't there how would you have known what is good and vice versa...
    – Just_Do_It
    Oct 6, 2017 at 17:04
  • Everything and everyone has three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas & Tamas, the good, the bad and the imbalance) in varying proportions. If a soul does good deeds his/her 'Sattva' would shine and we take him/her to be 'Good' and if he/she embodies less dharmic path their 'Rajas' would take over and to us he/she is 'Evil'. What you read is right. It is the same God everywhere, it is the perception that makes him good or evil.
    – WeShall
    Oct 6, 2017 at 17:53
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Should Krishna be considered good or bad?
    – iammilind
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:52
  • Depends on what He is dealing with. Evil with "evil" and good with good. Clearly said..abhyudhhanam adharmasya & parithranaaya sadhoonam. sambhavami yuge, yuge.
    – Narasimham
    Oct 6, 2017 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Brahman is beyond good and evil. Good and evil are anthropomorphic concepts, i.e. they only apply to Jiva.

Brahman is beyond vidya and avidya, knowledge and ignorance. It is beyond maya, the illusion of duality. The world consists of the illusory duality of knowledge and ignorance. It contains of knowledge and devotion, and also attachment to 'lust and greed'; righteousness and unrighteousness; good and evil. But Brahman is unattached to these. Good and evil apply to the jiva, the individual soul, as do righteousness and unrighteousness; but Brahman is not at all affected by them. One man may read the Bhagavata by the light of the lamp, and another may commit a forgery by that very light; but that lamp is unaffected. The sun sheds its light on the wicked as well as on the virtuous. You may then ask, 'How, then can one explain misery, and sin and unhappiness?' The answer is that these apply to the jiva. Brahman is unaffected by them. There is poison in a snake; but though others may die if bitten by it, the snake itself is not affected by the poison. What Brahman is cannot be described. All things in the world - the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, the six systems of philosophy - have been defiled,like food that has been touched by the tongue. Only one thing has not been defiled in this way, and that is Brahman. No one has ever been able to say what Brahman is. [August 5, 1882] In Samadhi one attains the knowledge of Brahman - one realizes Brahman. In that state reasoning stops altogether, and man becomes mute. He has no power to describe the nature of Brahman. Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. It wanted to tell others how deep the water was. But this it could never do, for no sooner did it get into the water than it melted. Now who was there to report the ocean’s depth.

[The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, August 5, 1882]


Depends on what He is dealing with. Evil with "evil" and good with good. Clearly stated..abhyudhhanam adharmasya, parithranaaya sadhoonam... sambhavami yugay, yugay.

Godhead is Nirguna, there is neither good or evil. Let me explain what I mean by "evil" ( in quotes) of Divine initiative. It is just His Leela.

True devotion with Dharma has given peace and happiness to the man and God, good is well known and harmony is experienced.

However in the re-establishment of Dharmic order Lord Rama and Krishna respectively had to resort to what may at the time appear out of proper limits. To appreciate this (who are we to do that?) one has to ponder over the magnanimity of the task for which Avatars had to be assumed by the Supreme for annulment of evil.

In case of Vali a boon to acquire power of his opponent during battle is quite unfair and formidable, needing to deliver a killing arrow at Vali's back by Rama.

In case of Duryodhana (tacitly and dishonestly supported by father Dritharashtra) Kauravas' diabolic unfairness to share in the kingdom even smallest extent (unwilling to allot even five small towns to those who were otherwise equal royal inheritors of Hasthinapur kingdom) it became imperative (among many other strategies and initiatives by Krishna) to spread an untruth [Ashwathhama hathah( but only a kunjaraha !)] in order to demotivate an adversary's army commander Drona for further continuous participation in fierce battle Kurukshetra ...or earlier Krishna's pretending to have not even seen Duryodhana's arrival when he came to seek His support.. because in the alternative scenario when supporting un-sharing possesive evil of the Kauravas the main purpose of Krishna Avatar would have been wastefully compromised..

The Supreme spirit is ever loving. But has a purpose and self-given Dharma protection responsibility in each Avatar. In Ramavathar, Soorpanakha when out to seduce Rama, he had to arrange to have her nose cut off; in Krishnavathar even after opportunity of 100 misdemeanors was granted, a violation spree by Dusshasan led to his decapitation.

It is not evil, it is countering evil in these and many more cases.

Seen in a wider context.. Self-defence in perilous times that comes instictually .. such a so-called "evil" is an integral part of Swadharma.

  • Evil with evil and good with good. You are totally wrong. Are you saying Krishna becomes evil to destroy evil? It's not correct. Krishna always follows path of Dharma. And the shloka that you mentioned is not saying the same thing that you have mentioned. Read the meaning of your mentioned shloka here. Even your mentioned shloka is not supporting your thoughts :)
    – Vishvam
    Oct 7, 2017 at 5:54
  • @Rishabh, but in Mahabharata why did Krishna say that he is everything. Also, i asked the question using the word God not any particular name of God like Krishna.
    – soGdrp
    Oct 7, 2017 at 6:53
  • @drpcoder "why did Krishna say that he is everything" Because Krishna is none other than but Parbrahma himself. I already mentioned that in comment section just below your question. "i asked the question using the word God not any particular name of God" There is no difference between Krishna and Parbrahma. Names are different but God is one. Krishna is parbrahma and parbrahma is Krishna. Both are same.
    – Vishvam
    Oct 7, 2017 at 6:57
  • @Rishabh Indeed. What is meant is the necessary scheming and "cunning" under Dharma re-establishment process in response to evil. It is not pure defence all the way.
    – Narasimham
    Oct 7, 2017 at 22:04

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