Blog Post

Is fanaticism tolerated in Hinduism?

A Blog Post

I would prefer to answer this from the perspective of the scriptures not from the perspective of Hindus since Hindus are not an organized community and their numerous opinions on this subject cannot be summarized or generalized. The Bhagavadgita says clearly that those who do not disturb others are the best and the dearest to God. They are the most qualified for liberation. Similarly non-violence is regarded as the highest virtue by the scriptures. Lastly fanaticism stems from either rajas or tamas or both, but certainly not from sattva. From sattva arise divine qualities, while demonic qualities stem mostly from rajas and tamas. They promote delusion, egoism, sinful actions and bondage. In Hinduism it is your duty to protect and defend your faith and your gods by resisting evil and practicing your faith. However, in doing so you have to abide in the principles of dharma and be righteous.

I therefore do not think fanaticism will do us any good. Fanatics are more like Duryodhana, Dussasana or Dhritarashtra rather than Arjuna or Dharmaraj. They may think that with their aggressive behavior they may be serving the religion or the dharma. In truth, they serve none but their demonic nature and their delusional sense of self-importance. I often come across Hindu fanatics. I can understand their zeal, but I cannot agree with their views or their methods of suppressing other people's opinions. Hinduism is not a dogmatic religion. So a thousand views can coexist in our religion, even when they are contradictory. These views, whatever they may be, do not represent absolute truths, but only the diversity and the delusion to which we are subject. They suggest the predicament of human existence and the limitations of the human mind in understanding transcendental truths. We should defend our religion by practising it and upholding its values and vision. A religion lives through its people. Its greatness is reflected in the character of its adherents. Therefore do not argue with me that your religion is great. Show it to me through your character and behavior.