I acknowledge this graphic from the Net.

Whoever views him as the killer

Who ever views him as the killed

Both are wrong, he neither slays nor is slain


Moving forward from the last verse, where he said that whereas the Self is eternal, its manifested mind body forms have an end in that form, urging Arjuna to fight, Krishna now provides more substance to remove Arjuna’s disinclination to kill.

Krishna’s injunction to Arjuna to fight is not an open invitation to all to indulge in wanton killing. It is an advice to one who is a warrior in the middle of the battle field having resolved to end injustice through fighting. Krishna’s advice needs to be viewed in the context of the responsibility of the person and intent. A soldier’s duty is to fight, and as needed to kill. There can be no pacifist soldier. There cannot be as well as soldier who kills selectively based on his choice. he obeys the system and its rules, the code of conduct, the dharma. So would the police and other similar professions act.

On the other hand, the code of conduct, dharma, of the medical profession and others associated with it is to heal. There can be no intent to kill in such a profession, under whatever provocation. In the case of a warrior, what drives him is the desire to end what is perceived as evil. In the case of a doctor the motivation is to save lives. These activities need to be viewed in the context what Krishna refers to later as the disengaged state of mind while performing actions. There should be no obsession with the outcome while performing these actions. One must act according to one’s dharma and intent based on that dharma. That is all. The rest is not the responsibility of the doer.

Having said that the mind body has an end, Krishna anticipates Arjuna’s query as to why he should be the cause of that end for some mind body. Even if that person has to die, why should i cause his death, Arjuna may ask.

In answer to that anticipated query, Krishna says: That which causes you to act, the eternal Self, of which you are a microcosm, neither kills nor is killed. Self, like nature, is neutral. It does not have an intent. When nature destroys thousands in an earthquake or tsunami, no purpose would be served in blaming nature. What happens, happens. Such is the nature of Self; it merely IS.

Krishna tells Arjuna that he surrender to the Self within him. It is not he who is acting, but the Self, when he is acting in dharma. The results of the action do not impact him. This verse has tremendous implications in terms of karma. Actions done without engagement and desire, in the line of dharma, do not face karmic consequences.

Reflect on this.