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Bhagavad Gita vs Fear and Trembling

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By filatovsergey
Words 953
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Abraham, led by faith, was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. Along the way he experiences despair, but he quickly renounces it so that he is able to make the movement of infinite resignation. Throughout his journey, he exudes the traits of a wise man through his powerlessness thereby regaining his happiness tenfold. Arjuna, struggles with his own path in searching for the meaning of life in his battles. Filled with despair, he looks to God to show him the way to transcendence. Both men have similar motives, but two very different paths in discovering their fate.
In both Arjuna’s and Abraham’s path towards transcendence, there are similarities that contribute to the choices they make. First, both of the men have to make sacrifices; Arjuna is faced with making the decision to kill the enemy in order to have the luxuries in life, while Abraham faces what many would say is the worst thing that could happen, the loss of a child. They are both in the midst of a transition in their lives and they are looking to God for assistance. Although two very different tasks, both men are being tempted by God and it is in the response that decides their virtue, and thus transcendence. Both are striving toward the meaning of the eternal being, Abraham reaching for the infinite and Arjuna reaching for the Self; although different terms in the stories, they have the same meaning. Both of their lives at one point are filled with despair, which is crucial to experience in life in order to get to that state of happiness. After Abraham bound Isaac, he drew the knife and clenched it with despair (Fear and Trembling 24); if one does not feel despair, they will never know the meaning of their life. When Arjuna looked at the enemy, he saw fathers, grandfathers, and sons; this made him feel very ill and at that very moment he felt despair.
Although both men had experienced several similarities, there were a great number of differences that led them to separate paths. When faced with the task of killing Isaac, Abraham disregarded all human calculation, for he knew that this caused a man to act delusional. Abraham knew that if he were not disturbed by these sensations, he would be wise and attain immortality, and thus achieve infinite resignation. His faith in God was so powerful that he was able to accept the virtue of the absurd and knew that Isaac would be saved in the end. He knew that Isaac’s spirit (infinite Self) would live on and his body was only a vessel (the finite) that which his spirit dwelled in at the time. The fact that Abraham was able to focus his mind around one single desire (taking Isaac up the mountain and sacrificing him) shows that he was indeed on his way to making the movement to becoming a knight of faith, and this is the reason Isaac was saved in the end. Abraham knew that God had a greater test in store for him and that “his greatness would be determined by how he struggled (Fear and Trembling 26).” He was able to take out everything that existed in the finite world and focus solely on abandoning his desires, while at the same time he still held fast to them; this was his faith recognizing the virtue of the absurd, and thus he can transcend the world and regain it simultaneously.
Arjuna had integrated human calculation in his decision, which caused doubt and confusion in his mind. With this cloudy lens from which he was seeing through, he was overcome with compassion and grief; the finite took precedence over his infinite Self and he was not able to recognize his duty for a just cause. Since he was not concentrated on one thing, his soul was scattered into multiplicity and he could not make the movement of infinite resignation. He might have thought that by abstaining from fighting and thus giving up his desires of luxury and kingdom would be looked at as a wise thing in God’s eyes and thus he has detached himself and can transcend into liberation and become wise (the Divine State). God had told him that he was doing it for the wrong reasons; “he was grieving for those who should not be grieved for (The Bhagavad Gita 14).” The Self passes through bodies, and thus is eternal and infinite. Arjuna could not understand the fact that death is immanent and focused on his emotions in assisting him with making his decision, but what he needed was to love God infinitely, with faith. Unaware that he could still have his desires after he renounced them by virtue of the absurd, Arjuna was not a wise man, and thus not able to make the movement like Abraham had did with ease.
Both men experienced despair in their journeys, but it is their actions that separate their trials and tribulations. In loving God with pure faith, Abraham was able to make the infinite movement by accepting the impossible. Arjuna was not as lucky and was in deep contemplation which caused him to have delusional thoughts. Although Abraham was able to transcend into a knight of faith, it is not impossible that Arjuna could not as well. For a knight of faith makes mistakes and this could be the transition in Arjuna’s life that allows him to accept God in pure faith so that he too is able to transcend and make the movement toward infinite resignation. After all, a man’s greatness is determined by how much he struggled (Fear and Trembling 26); every man’s struggle is different and no less meaningful.…...

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