Should You Indulge in Religious Hatred?

Krishna and Arjuna

by Jayaram V

Notes: I have translated the Bhagavadgita twice. The first one was a loose translation. The second one was a word to word translation with a detailed commentary. The commentary is however different from what you will find here. In this section I will share with you my thoughts about the knowledge, philosophy and wisdom of the Bhagavadgita as I understand it from my perspective. Jayaram V


Nowadays one can see that religious intolerance and acrimony are on the rise. The easy access to the Internet has matters worse. If you visit social networks or internet forums you will realize how pervasive it has become. Hatred begets hatred, and it is very much true in case of religoius debates and discussions also. Religion is a sensitive subject, since it can evoke a broad range of feelings and reactions among people depending upon their personal beliefs and values. You have the freedom to speak freely about your religious beliefs, but if you want to criticize any religion, you must be careful since you do not know how others may receive it.

Especially, you have to be careful what language and words you use to speak about any religion or point out its drawbacks. On social networks you can often see people using abusive and degrading language to put down people of other faiths, their prophets or gods. In a way it is counter productive because the reason why anyone should practice any religions is to elevate oneself mentally and spiritually. Religions are meant to help people become good human beings by strengthening their divine nature and cultivating virtues. For that, right knowledge, right thinking and right speech are imperative. Instead if people use religions to vent their anger or negativity it will only hurt them and lead to their spiritual downfall.

The Bhagavadgita (2.67) says that when the mind is obedient to the senses, it carries away the wisdom of the person like the wind carries away a boat on the waters. Many people mistakenly understand that obedience to senses or moving among the sense objects simply means indulging in the pleasures of life. It is actually a very insignificant aspect of your sensory activity.

Spiritually speaking, dwelling (dhyayata) upon the sense-objects (visayan) means not only enjoying the pleasures of life but also getting involved with the world itself with passion and attachment.

The world that you experience exists because of your senses. It is not a small world. It goes as far as your mind and senses go, which means it can extend beyond the earth, the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars into the deeper space, as far as you thinking and imagination can go.

Sense-object are anything that you can perceive and think of, which can be even your religion, and your religious and spiritual leaders. Hence, taking any interest in the world, or anything around you, means following your senses and dwelling upon the sense-objects.

Why it is not good? The Bhagavadgita and so also many Hindu scriptures suggest that if you are drawn into this world, you have no chance of finding your inner Self or finding peace. You will remain drawn outwardly into people and things and find no respite and opportunity to know yourself.

Therefore, spiritually it is not good to remain focused upon the world and become involved with it, even for religious purposes. If you want to do it, you must do so with detachment and dispassion, with your mind focused upon the Self or God.

The same principle applies even when you want to defend your religion or your religious leaders. You cannot do it with passion, anger, vengeance or aggression or indulge in religious hatred even if you think it is in defense of your religion.

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Bhagavadgita Translation and Commentary by Jayaram V Avaialbe in USA/UK/DE/FR/ES/IT/NL/PL/SC/JP/CA/AU

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