Liberation and Non-Attachment: Arjuna’s Fear in the Bhagavad-Gītā
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This thesis takes liberation to be supreme knowledge of the unity underlying the world of multiplicity. This knowledge is always already attained, so all are eternally liberated, but it is unrecognized in ordinary experience. We will look at the Bhagavad-Gītā to consider why this is so. When Arjuna saw Kṛṣṇa’s imperishable Self, he saw all beings standing as one in Kṛṣṇa; thus, he was confronted by supreme knowledge. But he was overwhelmed with fear and confusion and took refuge in blindness. I argue that Arjuna was not prepared to face recognition because he was unpractised in non-attachment. Attached to his subjectivity, he trembled in the face of unity. The supreme goal is standing firm in recognition while living in the world.