Chapter 8: The Dewdrop and the Ocean
“It is never born and never dies,
it has no past, no present, no future;
it is unborn, everlasting, eternal, and ageless -
the indestructible in the destructible body.
“O Arjuna, he who knows it to be
indestructible, eternal, unborn and everlasting,
how and whom can such a person slay?
And how and by whom can he be slain?
“Just as man discards his old and worn-out garments
and replaces them with new ones,
so the being discards the old and worn-out body
and moves on to the new.”
“The one who thinks it to be the slayer, and the one who believes it to be the slain - both do not know. It neither slays nor is slain.”
In the context of the discussion we had about this verse this morning, if indeed the being neither slays nor can be slain, then General Dyers’ acts in India and the Nazi’s concentration camps can be justified.
Where do these events stand as far as total acceptability is concerned?
No one ever dies and no one ever kills. That which is has no possibility of ever being destroyed. Is one therefore to deduce from this that there is nothing wrong in committing violence? Does this mean that the violence committed by General Dyers or the genocide that took place in Auschwitz, Germany, or the total violence that happened in Hiroshima are not condemnable? Are they worthy of acceptance?
No. This is not what Krishna means, and this is worth understanding.
Just because no one is ever really killed doesn’t mean that the desire to kill is not bad. Death is not there, but the desire for violence, the motivation for violence, the violent state of mind is there. One who has a desire for violence, one who takes an interest in killing, one who feels happy killing another person, one who takes the credit for killing someone - even though no one ever actually dies, the idea that he killed someone, his taking pleasure in killing, his mental belief that killing is possible - all of this is evil, sinful.
The sin is not in the occurrence of violence. The sin is in the act of committing violence. The occurrence of violence is impossible, but the act of violence is possible.
When a person is committing an act of violence, two things are involved: Krishna says that the occurrence of violence is impossible, but a psychological state of violence is possible.