Krishna is not a jealous God; he is a zealous God

The Western monotheistic traditions frequently depict God to be jealous; he forbids the worship of any other gods and even approves the destruction of their places of worship.

In contrast, the Bhagavad-gita reveals a God who is not jealous but is zealous. Krishna as God is concerned not about guarding his position as the exclusive object of worship, but about facilitating the spiritual evolution of everyone. Knowing that some spiritually under-evolved people won’t be ready to worship him, he arranges for them to worship other gods – a worship that can serve as a starting spur for the spiritual journey of those souls.

Krishna as God is concerned not about guarding his position as the exclusive object of worship, but about facilitating the spiritual evolution of everyone.

Souls in their spiritual kindergarten, by acknowledging the need to worship some being greater than themselves, begin the process for kindling the mood of devotion towards the Supreme. Krishna assists them by strengthening their faith in the demigods (07.21) and by empowering the demigods to bless according to that faith (07.22). Nowhere in the Gita does Krishna endorse violent intolerance towards other gods – a defining feature of the jealous God.

No doubt, Krishna unambiguously describes his supreme position as the source of all the gods (10.02). And he also unequivocally urges everyone to give up all other forms of worship and surrender to him alone (18.66).

Does this call demonstrate his jealousness?

No, it too demonstrates his zealousness, albeit in a different, more direct way.

This call expresses Krishna’s compassionate desire that souls who are ready to worship him return to him as quickly as possible by taking the best path for their spiritual growth: the path of pure devotional service to him.

Thus, both in arranging for the worship of other gods and in endorsing his exclusive worship, Krishna demonstrates the same zealousness for others’ elevation – a zealousness customized according to their level of receptivity.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 07 Text 22

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2 Comments

  1. Hare krishna dear prji.
    Pamho agtsp. A very important article. In the upanishads its said satyameva jayate meaning truth alone triumphs. So the ultimate victory of going back to Godhead depends on the knowledge of the ultimate truth that Krishna is the supreme brahman and enjoyer and master of all worships. Krishna wants to emphasize this truth in the gita so that the readers achieve the highest destination. If he didnt do that people would consider the demigods the supreme brahman which is untruth and therefore lacks the potential to deliver the highest inspite of such worship being in the mode of goodness as stated in chapter 17. Jealousy pictures nowhere in krishna’s intentions.
    Ys
    Subash

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  2. Hare Krishna,
    Jealousy arises our of fear and insecurity. Krishna is detached from everything as he is fully self-satisfied in Himself. He affirms that he is the owner of everything but immediately asserts that he has nothing to gain or do with his creation. He is truly and supremely renounced – one of the six definining features of Bhagavan.

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