When people’s ideas are so fixed that they will not entertain any discussion or argument it is called “fanaticism” [1A]. Fanaticism occurs when physical considerations outweigh rationality. Religious fanaticism occurs when fanaticism centers on a particular religion [1B]. Fear and blind faith are common elements that encourage fanaticism [1C,3].
The only way to combat religious fanaticism is to strengthen the logical wave. Rational thinking will remove the fear psychosis from the human mind – rationality will defeat fanaticism [1C]. A powerful intellectual appeal rather than the application of force is required to bring religious fanatics onto the right path, because force will only create a reaction which will intensify religious fanaticism [1B].
It is noticeable that in the fanatical religious communities that we see in the world today, there is very little intellectual clash among the vipras. However, whenever fanatical religious communities made systems of social rules and regulations – in other words, whenever they made some effort to build a social structure – their social systems would be stronger than those of societies which followed a subtle philosophical theory or those of kśatriya societies .
Although fanaticism ususally relates to religion, it may relate to any movement where the fear psychosis in human beings does not allow them to engage in rational disscussion.
1A. “When people’s ideas are so fixed that they will not entertain any discussion or argument it is called “fanaticism”. It is said that religion is a question of faith, not logic. In India, there are many religious fanatics. Due to religious fanaticism and bigotry, there have been innumerable violent clashes in the past. How repugnant that thousands of people were killed on the pretext of a single strand of hair! These fanatics never bothered to listen to the beliefs of others, and moreover, for them it is a sin to listen to others. In one sense they are worse than animals, because animals do not harbour any communal feeling. Physical sentiments are predominant in such religious expressions. People should keep aloof from the bondages of religion. Behind all religious dogma, physical considerations are dominant. One community considers it a sin to eat beef but not goats or deer. The custom of wearing a vermilion mark on the head and forehead by Indian women is an expression of religious sentiment. The women of other countries do not follow this practice. It does not matter at all if Indian women stop using vermilion. All religions exploit people by appealing to religious sentiments.
There are many people who worship particular scriptures. These scriptures were most likely composed, printed and bound by the followers of other religions. As soon as a book of scripture has been published, Hindus regard it as the goddess Saraswati. There are many people who spend money extravagantly to build idols, then after a day or two, a long procession and a lot of fanfare, the idol is immersed in a river. If a member of another religion accidentally damages any part of the idol, an undesirable incident of unprecedented magnitude may occur.
[1B.] Fanaticism occurs when physical considerations outweigh rationality. Religious fanaticism occurs when fanaticism centres on a particular religion. A powerful intellectual appeal rather than the application of force is required to bring religious fanatics onto the right path, because force will only create a reaction which will intensify religious fanaticism.
Certain practices were not originally religious rituals, but traditions or customs. Long ago the Jews started practising circumcision. When Moses converted some of his contemporaries to Judaism, and later when Mohammed converted some local people to Islam, neither prophet dared to instruct their new followers to discard the old customs they followed, consequently the old customs continued after their conversion. In ancient times, the Austrics used to worship the sun god because they believed that if it was propitiated it would send abundant rays and produce rich harvests; In Austric society, women have a very important role, consequently the role of the priests is not so important. The Austrics believed that the sun was a female god and that the moon was a male god, so they addressed the sun as mother. They introduced Chat Puja, the worship of the sun goddess. In olden times, people used to worship the sun goddess only once a year, but in Magadh it is worshipped twice, during the two major harvests. The tradition of Chat Puja became so strong among the inhabitants of Magadh that despite the enormous influence of the Aryans, Buddhists and Muslims, the custom of Chat Puja continued unchanged. Even today, the Muslims in some areas of Magadh worship the sun goddess. In some places they perform the worship themselves, and in other places they get it done with the Hindus. Similarly, in Bengal the Muslims worship the deities Satya Narayana and Olabibi. These are expressions of traditional beliefs which have been passed down from one generation to another.
[1C] The only way to combat religious fanaticism is to strengthen the logical wave. Through the study of science, we know that an eclipse is a physical phenomenon. The deities Ráhu and Ketu have nothing to do with it. Although this sort of superstitious belief is no doubt diminishing, there are some people who still worship mythological deities because they believe that the deities can be propitiated to release the sun and the moon from an eclipse. The reason is that the fear psychosis in human beings is stronger than logic. When human rationality is strengthened, irrational ideas will vanish from society.
Many people today advocate the formation of theocratic states (dharmarasta). But when they use the term theocratic states, they mean religious states, not states which uphold the cause of righteousness. We should strive to establish states which uphold righteousness (dharma), and for this the physical sentiments that are the basis of religion should be ignored. People must remain aloof from dogmatic religious ideas. Some people perform religious observances which relate to the moon – after sighting the moon, they start their religious penance. But what will happen to those who will live on the moon itself. Rational thinking will remove the fear psychosis from the human mind – rationality will defeat fanaticism.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, January 1970 RU, Patna, Prout in a Nutshell Part 21, How to Unite Human Society, Religion
3. “In places where, for whatever reason, intellectual clashes among the vipras were not very intense, their philosophy was very simple. They would say to the people directly, “I am the angel or incarnation of God. The things I have said are not the words of a human being but the words of God,” or “I have received the divine revelation that you will eat this and not that, worship in this way and not that, and offer this to God. If you obey my commandments God will bless you and you will go to heaven; otherwise you will be burnt to death in the fire of hell.” The people were fooled this easily.
The vipras used to tempt people with an imaginary heaven and inject in them the fear of an imaginary hell. In this way they would accomplish their objectives; their exploitation would proceed smoothly; and moreover the fear they aroused in people’s minds would turn those people into fanatics.
It is noticeable that in the fanatical religious communities that we see in the world today, there is very little intellectual clash among the vipras. However, whenever fanatical religious communities made systems of social rules and regulations – in other words, whenever they made some effort to build a social structure – their social systems would be stronger than those of societies which followed a subtle philosophical theory or those of kśatriya societies. Where there were intellectual clashes among the vipras, each vipra would have his own supporters, and their different supporters would never think of themselves as belonging to the same group. As a result those vipras were unable to build a strong social structure. Though their philosophies may or may not have had some good in them, the Buddhists and Hindus were unable to build strong societies because of their subtle mentality.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1967, Prout in a Nutshell Part 5, The Vipra Age, Simple Philosophies and Contrived Philosophies
4. “In the Middle Ages fanatic Catholics, who regarded non-Catholics as unbelievers, burnt them alive; and many orthodox mullahs decreed that killing an infidel was not a sin. Orthodox Sanátaniis tried to murder Lord Buddha. During the reign of Bimbisar, power-mad Buddhist monks oppressed the Hindus. Hindu Brahmans and Muslim mullahs were equally vindictive towards Mahatma Kabir. Similarly, orthodox vipras oppressed Chandidasa, Ramamohana and Ishvarchandra Vidyasagara.
Although kśatriyas acted meanly at times for the sake of their prestige, their meanness had some limit; but when vipras became mean-minded, they became totally blind. Of course out of personal interest they would support those kśatriyas who had sold their own personal force to the vipras’ glib oratory, surrendered at the vipras’ feet, and become their slaves.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1967, Prout in a Nutshell Part 5, The Vipra Age, Religious Conflicts
“We have to keep in view three fundamentals before imparting education. The first is that education must always be based on factuality. There must not be the injection of any dogma or fanaticism or any type of geographical or racial chauvinism in the education system.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, August 1980, Prout in a Nutshell Part 18, Talks on Education – Section E, SOME HINTS ON EDUCATION
5. “We should not forget that today, because of historical and many other practical reasons, English is not only the language of England, but has become a world language. All the people of the world should have equal rights to this language. In the future some other language may occupy the status of the lingua franca, but today English should be accepted as the link language of the world. Without introducing and adopting a policy based on the natural process of language selection, if someone tries to forcibly impose any particular language on others, it will lead to clash, dissension and disintegration amongst different interest groups in a country. Such a situation will encourage linguist fanaticism amongst the people and poison the environment of the whole society.” – Sarkar, Prabhat ,1981, Calcutta, Prout in a Nutshell Part 13, The Language Issue