At the Laguna Beach Ratha-yatra, a young man asked me why God created us. He appreciated my answer, but then he had another question. “If God is all-knowing,” he said, “He would have known that some of us would become bad, and if God is all-powerful, He could have made us different. Why didn’t He?” I told him that because God created us to enjoy loving reciprocation with Him, we must have free will, because love is voluntary. As Srila Prabhupada explained, “It is not some mechanical process—if we force in such a way they will come out like this—no. We are persons, and Krishna is a person, and our relationship with Krishna He leaves open as a voluntary agreement always, and that voluntary attitude—‘Yes, Krishna, I shall gladly co-operate, whatever You say’—that ready willingness to obey is only possible if there is love. Forcing will not make me agree. But if there is love, oh, I shall gladly do it. That is bhakti, that is Krishna consciousness.”
On another occasion, Srila Prabhupada elaborated: “God is great, and we are dependent on God. Therefore the natural conclusion is that we have to serve God. This is the whole comment. Serving means with love. Now just like these boys, my disciples, they are serving me. Whatever I say, they are immediately executing. Why? I am an Indian; I am a foreigner. Two or three years ago I was not known to them, nor they were known to me. Why they are doing that? Because it is love. Serving means developing love. So unless you develop your love for God you cannot serve Him. Anywhere. Whenever you give some service, it is based on love. Just like mother giving service to the helpless child. Why? Love. So similarly, our life will be perfect when our love is perfect with the perfect Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then it is all right. You have to learn this. This is Krishna consciousness: in a relationship with Krishna. Just like I am loving my disciples, my disciples are loving me. Why? What is the medium? Krishna.”
And again, in a lecture in Bombay: “Brahmacari means living under direction of guru, guror hitam [only for the benefit of the guru]. And guror hitam: how he can be simply thinking of benefiting the spiritual master. Unless that position comes, nobody can serve guru. It is not an artificial thing. The brahmacari, the disciple, must have genuine love for guru. Then he can be under his control.”
Why didn’t God force us to be good? Because without free will, without individuality, we would be unable to enjoy loving reciprocation with Him. And without pure, spiritual love, how would we ever experience the happiness for which we were created?