12.13 – Let’s love Krishna too much to be fanatical
Fanatic. That’s among the worst labels a person can get in today’s multi-cultural world.
To avoid such labels, some people feel, “Better let me not get over-involved in any one path. Then I will stay open-minded towards other paths and won’t become a fanatic.”
Intriguingly, Gita wisdom underscores that the cause of fanaticism is not too much devotion, but too little devotion. When people’s devotion to God is weak and superficial, then their religious practice – like everything else that they do – becomes a means to boost their false ego, to feel good about themselves and their beliefs. So, they feel threatened by those with different beliefs. In extreme cases, to “prove” the certainty of their beliefs, they want to obliterate those with other beliefs. Thus, their ornamental devotion wherein God is an anodyne for their insecurities becomes a recipe for fanaticism.
Those who truly, deeply, wholeheartedly love Krishna don’t need to boost their false ego, for their love takes them beyond the clutches of their false ego. Their devotion enables them to see all living beings from Krishna’s perspective as his precious parts and parcels, as his lost children, as his potential devotees. This vision of a universal Krishna-centered family makes them the benevolent friends of all living beings, as the Bhagavad-gita (12.13) indicates. They don’t feel threatened by alternative beliefs because they know that such beliefs are engendered by people’s differing material conditionings. Knowing that Krishna recognizes such diversity of belief and provides multi-level spirituality to progressively elevate those on the various levels in the ladder of belief, they try to aid Krishna in his mission of compassion.
Thus, the antidote to fanaticism is not lesser devotion, but greater devotion – a deeper devotion founded on a philosophical vision that sees and seeks kinship with all living beings.
One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress…— such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.