07.23 – Be not fanatical but fanatically focused
Some people ask Krishna devotees, “When the Vedic culture includes the worship of so many gods, why are you a Krishna fanatic?”
Because Krishna devotees simply follow the Gita, which, it is important to note, teaches not fanaticism but fanatical focus.
The Gita (7.23) recognizes the existence of many gods and also acknowledges that their worship produces results. By accepting the reality and the efficacy of various paths, the Gita steers clear of fanaticism. Nonetheless, it concludes (18.66) by unambiguously recommending worship of Krishna alone. Why? Because Gita wisdom explains that Krishna alone is eternal as he is the Supreme Person residing in the imperishable spiritual world, whereas the demigods are temporary as they are administrators of various utilities in the perishable material world. Consequently, worshipping Krishna yields the eternal result of return to his everlasting abode, whereas worshipping demigods yields temporary material results that cannot free the worshiper from the cycle of birth and death. So, the same Gita verse (7.23) that acknowledges demigod worship deems demigod worshipers as alpa-medhasah, deficient in philosophical insight.
Those with adequate philosophical insight recognize that life’s supreme success is the conquest of mortality by realizing our innate spiritual nature as souls. To attain this success, one needs to redirect one’s love from the temporary to the eternal, from matter to Krishna. Extraordinary success requires singular, even fanatical, focus. No wonder then that those seeking the most extraordinary success of attaining immortality don’t let their devotion get distributed over various gods. Significantly, focused devotion to Krishna enables one to make authentic spiritual advancement and thereby see all living beings as inter-related family members in Krishna’s family. Thus, this fanatical focus, far from breeding intolerance, engenders authentic affection for all living beings, including the demigods and the demigod worshipers.