Is God partial?

Some people ask, “In earthly conflicts, as depicted in the Mahabharata, why does God take sides? Is he being partial?”

No, he is simply being responsible and reciprocal.   

Suppose a thief attacks a law-abiding citizen. If the police take the side of the law-abiding citizen, are they being partial? No, they are simply being responsible. After all, they are duty-bound to uphold the law. If they didn’t intervene to uphold the law, law-breakers would become increasingly brazen and criminal. And law-abiders would lose heart and stop abiding by the law. Both ways, society would become lawless and end up disrupted, degraded, destroyed. 

What applies for upholding law also applies for upholding virtue. The Mahabharata describes elaborately how the Pandavas were unflinchingly virtuous and how the Kauravas were unconscionably vicious. If the Kauravas were not curbed, their influence would make people vicious and society degraded. If the Pandavas were not protected, people would lose inspiration to be virtuous. And the predominance of vice and the eclipse of virtue would spell disaster for society. Indeed, it is to prevent the hegemony of vice over virtue that the Lord descends to the world (Bhagavad-gita 04.08). Thus, when he takes the Pandavas’ side, he is being responsible, not partial. 

Additionally, the Lord wants to reciprocate love with the devoted. For helping him establish virtue in society, some devoted souls are ready to fearlessly stick to virtue even when threatened by the vicious. Appreciating their courage and devotion, he lovingly reciprocates by empowering them and disempowering their opponents. 

By thus transcending both the partiality of unreasonably favoring one side and the neutrality of  staying negligently silent in the high-stakes fight between virtue and vice, the Lord reciprocates by revealing his loving heart. 

One-sentence summary:

For the Lord of virtue to take the side of the virtuous is not partiality; it is responsibility and reciprocity. 

Think it over:

  • When God takes the side of the virtuous, how is he being responsible?
  • How is the Lord’s descent related to his apparent partiality?
  • In siding with the virtuous, how is God being reciprocal?


04.08: To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.

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  1. This is one of the most important hyme of the Bhagavad Gita, I consider, taught by the blessed Lord to all of us through Arjuna. Every human being must remember this in every act of one’s life.

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  2. GOD is the Master of ALL things

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  3. Thanks for this explanation. There are people (may be like Kauravas) who feel Krishna was partial….so this is a solid answer to their baseless argument.

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  4. Love all your articles. In this responsibility is nicely objectified and world can relate without ambiguity…thank you for spending your precious time on writing… it’s worthwhile!!

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