Why do bad things happen to good people?


We often witness awful things happen to good people and good things happen to evil people, and we wonder why life is so unfair.

However, life is not unfair; we are ignorant.

In this article, with the help of Vedic philosophy, we will analyze why do bad things happen to good people and vice versa, and attempt to comprehend the reasons behind this seemingly unfair mechanism of the universe.

Knowledge of Karma

To understand this, we must first understand the Law of Karma. Simply put, according to the Law of Karma, a person’s deeds determine their reaction. To put it another way, good activities lead to good outcomes, whereas poor actions lead to bad outcomes.


To read more about the Law of Karma, click here.

But this is where the confusion begins. We watch wonderful people who have always done everything right in their life – working hard, treating others properly, not harming others, sacrificing their joys for others, never complaining – suffer as a result of ill luck or other people’s faults. How can we say that the Law of Karma operates effectively?

If we examine the scenario superficially and attempt to make judgements, it seems clear that the Law of Karma is erroneous and does not work.

However, if you have the correct understanding, you will recognize that things are not as simple as they appear. We think that what we do not see is not there. That is a fallacy, and it is totally to blame for the erroneous belief that the Law of Karma is a ruse.

To understand this whole thing, we must first grasp the fundamentals of spirituality. Understanding that we are spirit souls is the first step toward spirituality. And souls have more than one birth. Souls enter a body, and when that body dies, the soul is given a new body, either material or spiritual, based on the sum of the soul’s karma. The material body may be in the form of a demigod, a human, a fish, a dog, a horse, a mosquito, or any of the 8.4 million species that exist on this planet.

Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “But never indeed, I, at any time, did not exist, nor you, nor all these rulers of men; nor verily, will any of us ever cease to exist hereafter. As boyhood, youth and old age are for the embodied (the soul) in this body, similar is the attainment of another body; this being so, a wise man (one in knowledge of the principles of reincarnation) is never bewildered seeing such changes.” [BG 2.12-2.13]

He again says, “Just as a person, casting off worn-out clothes, puts on other new ones, in the same way, the embodied (the soul), relinquishing decayed bodies, verily accepts other new ones.” [BG 2.22]

As a result, when we say “karma,” we must mean “the sum total of the quality of all our activities in this life as well as all prior incarnations that we, as souls, have lived thus far.” But, because we do not remember our former lives’ activities and are not spiritually aware, we assume God and life are both unfair. We lose hope when our good intentions are not rewarded despite our best efforts.

A video emerged in my Facebook feed a few days ago. It began with a tiny girl who appeared to be from a wealthy family. She had a new haircut and was enjoying a delicious meal while watching her favorite cartoon on TV. Her mother then arrived and presented her with a lovely gift: a Barbie doll, which the young kid appeared to like. She gave her mother a big hug and began playing with her new toy. The scene was followed by another girl of the same age constructing bricks. Her hair was untidy, and she appeared physically frail. Her eyes, on the other hand, shone with strength and confidence.

The video was intended to demonstrate how varied people’s lives may be, and how we must respect everyone because we never know what they are going through. “It is all about karma,” one person wrote in the comments, ” Based on our previous karma, we all suffer or benefit.”  However, her comment received a lot of backlash. “Ohh yes!” one woman exclaimed. “The poor girl had to be a dreadful person previously.” “You do not have a heart,” another replied. How can you say something like that about a tiny girl? “Do not you feel sorry for her?”

To be honest, reading their responses disappointed me. However, I recognize that the majority of people are spiritually unaware. “What other motive could there be for that little girl’s suffering?” I would like to ask. “Bad luck that she was born into an impoverished family,” you may say. “And what do you think is bad luck?” I will respond. Do you believe in a fair God if you believe our lives are dictated by luck? If not, do you believe God can be unjust? Is it really conceivable for God to be unjust if that is the case? Does God have the right to be called God if He is unjust?”

The Holy Bible also mentions multiple times, either directly or otherwise, that what one sows so one reaps. In fact, the principle of Karma appears in some form in all major world faiths. It also makes great sense. What is the sense of worshiping God as God if He cannot or will not do justice?

When we can not comprehend the logic behind God’s seemingly harsh treatment of us, it is not God’s fault. It is we who must extend our horizons. And the only way to do this is by Jnana, or knowledge.

How to become free from Karma?

Books could be written on this subject, but I would want to give you a quick answer.

In the Bhagavad Gita, verse 8.3, Lord Krishna defines Karma as “action causing material beings to take birth.” To secure a happy future, one must become free of one’s karmic obligations and their positive and negative consequences. This will ensure that the seeker is placed on a spiritual platform that is considerably higher than that of materially inclined beings.

The goal of human life, according to Vedic literature, is to engage in Yoga and seek for escape from material existence in order to attain Krishna’s divine abode. And in order to achieve this goal, one must be rid of one’s Karma.

But how does one become rid of karmic repercussions? In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna advises that to be free of Karma, one must surrender all of one’s activities and their rewards to Krishna.

This concept is tough for most novice seekers to grasp. So, let me give you a quick explanation.

Dedication of all of one’s actions to Krishna purifies those actions. And if these activities are performed without the desire for good returns for oneself, but with the intention of dedicating whatever results are obtained to Krishna, it indicates the seeker’s complete devotion to the Lord.

This makes Krishna happy. As a result, Krishna assists the seeker in reaching Him. He clarifies this when He says to Arjuna, “O Pandava, one who works for Me (dedicates his actions to Krishna), makes Me the supreme goal, is devoted to Me, is free from material attachment, and is free from enmity toward all beings, certainly comes to Me.” [BG 11.55]


Being confined by material nature prevents one from living in peace and happiness. In the material realm, negative and seemingly unfair nature reigns supreme. In such circumstances, one is constantly worried and sad. This irritates us, and we frequently blame God, despite the fact that we are the ones who are at fault in reality.

We are chained to this brutal material existence by our own unwillingness to bridge the material ocean and the resulting lack of effort in that direction. Yoga should be embraced as a way of life. This is the only way to attain everlasting happiness.

So the next time someone says to you, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” simply direct them to this article.