If God is benevolent, why should He put humans through the hardships and tests to work out their problems? Why not make everyone happy and blissful? What’s the logic behind making an imperfect world?

As Swamiji (Chinmayananda) has said, “Why is never answered in science.” Scientific enquiry makes observations and comes to certain conclusions.

From Gold only Gold can come. From Love, Knowledge and Existence only Love, Knowledge and Existence can come. Still we see this creation with all its imperfection and misery.

First of all, who is asking this question? You imply that you are the questioner and are different from God. When you really discover who you are, or when you come face to face with God this question will not exist. When a seeker reaches the state of God Consciousness the creation is no more seen as separate from oneself and in that final merging there is no one left to ask the question! In fact at that moment all creation dissolves. The question is similar to: Why does the snake get created from the rope? (In the darkness you MISTOOK the rope to be the snake). Now all your suffering, fears etc. are a product of your IGNORANCE. Once you awaken to the knowledge of the rope – the snake vanishes in an instant. The snake was never real. So too this world APPEARS as a miserable place with people struggling and suffering. On making a deep inquiry you discover that in reality there is no world. The world is a mere illusion from the standpoint of the Absolute Reality. You had a dream. Who created the dream? The waker, forgetting himself, identifying with the ‘dream creation’ , himself became all the rivers, mountains, animals and beings in his dream and came to suffer. Once he wakes up, how real is his dream? During the dream you don’t doubt the reality of your dream. So too you are unable to doubt the reality of this world in your waking state. How can the mind which has itself created this world accept it as unreal?

The world is neither, good or bad. The world simply is. There is much speculation about creation. No final answer can be given to the intellect. One hypothesis is that Consciousness which is one without a second manifested itself in order to know or experience itself. It manifested as total goodness. The creative power of this consciousness called God, created beings with basic consciousness, yet essentially infinite and eternal. Consciousness forgetting itself identifies with the Body, Mind, Intellect and its’ own creation. Not knowing the Truth, it projects and then comes to suffer. At any moment God is not suffering. You, who are asking this question, are suffering in your ignorance. We beings have to evolve to discover their inherent divinity, which is already in us, but is simply covered due to ignorance. My mind creates my world. As my mind, so is the experience of the world. Everyone’s experience is subjective. The same situation can bring pain to one and joy to another (example: smoking). So it is evident that my experience and perception of the world is purely subjective. The individual mind projects its’ individual world. At the Macrocosmic level, the Total mind projects the Total world of names and forms.

Consciousness, through this Total Mind appears to be distorted. The Absolute is apparently conditioned when viewed through the prism of Time and Space. If you examine closely, all sorrow is created by our mind. We perpetuate our mental beliefs, act accordingly and start a cycle of events. All of life is an effort to resolve our imperfections and mature to a higher state of being which is our true nature.

God Energy manifested as the world so that It could experience Itself, which is Perfect Love, Perfect Suffering, Perfect Creativity, Perfect Agony.

Due to our own ignorance, we forget. We awake from our sleep thinking “I am tired, I am sore, I am worried, I am sad.”

Those of us who remember our True Self, wake up thinking, “I am Love, I am Eternal, I AM THAT.”

Everything, every feeling, every thought we have is a manifestation of Perfect Love.

To answer your question: Pure Consciousness manifested all aspects of itself as this creation and then identified with them. That is why we all have this essential divinity in us. In our error, we have wrongly identified with our own thoughts and we come to suffer. In order to retrace our steps to our Infinitude we have to experience this finitude.

To discover our Limitlessness we must undergo all limitation and through this self imposed conditioning we can slowly ascend into our ultimate nature which is total freedom and bliss. How else can we know who we are? Everyone is happy and blissful, we just don’t know it, because our mind is too extroverted at this moment! Once we discover our glory, the world is seen in its correct light.