Fanaticism is caused not by excessive devotion, but by inadequate devotion

When some religious people try to convert everyone to their faith, others get put off. They feel, “These guys are fanatical – their devotion is excessive.”

However, Gita wisdom explains that the cause of fanaticism is inadequate devotion, not excessive devotion. When we are deeply devoted, we relish the joy of devotion and naturally want to share it with others. But we also understand that we can’t force others – they are individuals, parts of Krishna, endowed with God-given free will. They all are at different stages in their spiritual evolution and have their own personal relationships with Krishna. The Gita (18.61) states that he, as the indwelling Supersoul, guides everyone’s wanderings.

The superficially devoted think that they are the doers, that they have the mandate and the power to convert others to their faith by persuasion or even coercion. They see others instrumentally, as things to be converted to demonstrate the glory of their devotion. Or if others refuse to convert, then they demonize such people as “infidels.” And if their fanaticism moves from verbal aggression to physical aggression, they may even destroy the demoniac infidels. Their inability to see God at work in everyone’s hearts reflects their devotion’s inadequacy.

In contrast, when we cultivate deep devotion, we know that we can’t do anything without God’s grace. All that we can do to help others in their spiritual evolution is inform, inspire and facilitate them. They alone can take the decision to evolve. And how and when they do so is between them and the Lord. With this deep philosophical understanding, when we share bhakti wisdom, we don’t objectify or coerce others. Instead, we strive to connect deeper with our indwelling Lord, beseeching him to do from within their hearts that which is beyond our power to do from without.

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6 Comments

  1. Very beautiful article. This kinda message is much needed in today’s world where people have so much of disagreements and fights over their religious faiths and where “deeply religious ” practitioners are often termed as fanatics.
    This article helps distinguish between between genuine and inadequate ones.thank you very much for your daily nectar.

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      • FROM YEARS TOGETHER I WAS LOOKING FOR THIS EXPLANATION…. I TOO HAVE TRIED PREACHING TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE THINKING IT IS YAARE DEKHO TAARE KAHO KRSNA UPADESH BUT I HAD ALWAYS DEPEMDED ON MY STRENGTH AS U RIGHTLY POINTED OUT.. BUT NOW A DAYS FROM 2 TO 3 YEARS.. I DO NOT FORCE.. MANY A TIMES I CHANT FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE OTHERS.. ESPECIALLY WHEN I HAVE NO COIN AND A BEGGAR COMES.. I CHANT MENTALLY AND OFFER IT TO HIS SPIRITUAL WELFARE IN SOME LIFETIME. I NOW KNOW WE CANNOT CHANGE.. IF KRSNA WANT AND IF THEY WANT THEN THEY CHANGE BUT WE CAN CHANT FOR THEIR WELFARE!

        I WAS WONDERING WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO MY ENTHUSIASM.. NOW I UNDERSTOOD THIS IS HOW A PERSON MATURES WHEN THEY REGULARLY CHANT.

        PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD THIS ARTICLE.

        I FOUND THIS VERY BENIFICIAL AS I WAS EAGER TO KMOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FANATIC AND GROWN UP DEVOTEE

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  2. Beautiful article!

    HG CCP has started a literary spiritual revolution.

    Such high class explanations and insights on Gita have never been produced before.

    HG CCP deseves more applause than words could ever express and mind could ever imagine.

    Thanks Pr.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you, Parikshit P, for your effusive appreciation. Such words humble me and inspire me to keep contemplating the Gita’s message and sharing it with intelligent readers like you.

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