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Title: Implications of Killing
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-02-16 06:05:48
BG18.17: Even if he kills living beings, he who is free from the ego of being the doer, and whose intelligence is not attached to the fruits of karma, does not in reality kill, nor does he become bound by the result of his actions.
†I've been reading the purports on this Shloka over and over again, but still have difficulties understanding its true meaning. This verse makes sense to me as being a part of the Mahabharata, where Shri Krishna instructs Arjuna just before the great battle takes place, but seems to be a strange and even dangerous kind of verse in the hands of the wrong people or extremists. According to my opinion, the purport given by Shrila Prabhuapada, where the soldier kills because his officer commanded him to do so, still has a karmic reaction on both of them. It seems I can not find a meaning for this verse when applying it to my own situation.I can understand it as not to become attached to the fruits of our work, but the verb 'to kill' is just over the edge for me.† There has to be a much better purport to this verse. So I turn to You, my dear Swamiji. Please, kindly explain the real purport of this verse to me.
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Jaya Guru Parampara! Pranams! Interesting question.
Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura comments:
From a material perspective, it may seem that they kill all of these people, but from the spiritual perspective they do not actually kill because they are free from any selfish motivations. Therefore, they do not become bound by the results of karma."
When Lord Krishna is using the word "kill" here He is using the sentence "even if they kill" which means that even in the worst theoretical situation that a sober intelligent person may kill others (which is never going to happen because a sober intelligent will never do it as he or she is compassionate), still he or she will not get bound by the laws of karma because they are perfectly in knowledge that the Lord is using them as an instrument. The sober intelligent person talked about here is one who is fully free from false ego and thus a pure devotee who is very rare in this world. So this verse is not a license for the ordinary people of this world to kill anyone. Infact it is a warning for them not to kill by considering themselves as doers unless they become self-realized and freed of false ego and receive direct orders from the Lord to kill which is high improbably for almost all living beings. The killing which is done by false ego will lead to tremendous implications and reactions and when a person will become free from false ego he or she will never kill unless put in a very very special situation like Arjuna with the direct orders of the Lord. So it is just used by the Lord as a theoretical instance.
This verse just goes to highlight that in very very special and rare cases pure devotees who are completely devoid of false ego may act as an instrument of the Lord to kill someone and still not get implicated.† Such was the case 5000 years back with Shrila Arjuna but no one should imitate it because no one can become Arjuna. By this verse, the Lord also wants to tell the world in advance that His dear devotee Arjuna will not be implicated by killing millions in the Kurukshetra war because he is acting as a transparent instrument of Lord Krishna to rid the world from irreligion. Let me know if it is still not clear.