Commentary on verse 19 of samkhya yoga of Bhagavad Gita

Verse 19
ya enam vetti hantaram yas cainam manyate hatam ubhau tau na vijanito nayam hanti na hanyate
SYNONYMS
yah–anyone; enam–this; vetti–knows; hantaram–the killer; yah–anyone; ca–also; enam–this; manyate–thinks; hatam–killed; ubhau–both of them; tau–they; na–never; vijanitah–in knowledge; na–never;ayam–this; hanti–kills; na–nor; hanyate–be killed.
TRANSLATION
He who thinks that the living entity (Self) is the slayer or that he is slain, is Self-ignorant. One who is in Self knowledge knows that the Self neither slays nor is slain.

Commentary by the Author Dr.Raju:

Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna with Self-knowledge and Arjuna with Self-ignorance. The one with Self-ignorance lives a peripheral sensate life and so have no comprehensive understanding of life and so confused and all his actions are self contradictory. While a being with Self-knowledge posits himself in the centre of being and functions from that centre with comprehensive understanding of life. Being aware of the movements of his mind he acts in an integrated way in the phenomenal reality. He does not act according to ideas and so his actions are not contradictory unlike a man with Self-ignorance leading a sensate life who acts out of ideas and all his action is self contradictory.

That which dies is a momentary wave and unreal, that which is immortal is an ocean of consciousness and real. Arjuna being identified with momentary wave of unreal body and thinking it to be real, thinks other bodies also to be real, that is why he says “How can I kill, it is better to die”. A man who thinks in terms of killing is bound to think in terms of dying also, he is bound to suffer because death is a possibility for him. We are in the same situation as Arjuna is in. From our angle death is certain. But Krishna says exactly the opposite. He says death is an impossibility, nobody has ever died, nobody can ever die. Death is a deception. Our lives in each and every aspect revolve around death. Those who see death as real cannot experience anything in life except their bodies. This is the case with vast majority of humanity.

Because we do not experience psychological death while living we are afraid of physical death. Meditation provides this opportunity. In meditation we taste the nature of psychological death. You directly experience living thoughtless state of being and so living without the known. If we live a life of awareness we die to past moment and so death happens every moment and rejuvenates life. Death is not against life, it rejuvenates life. When a person dies meditative energy is release around him. That is why Buddha used to advise those who come to him for the first time to sit near a dead body in the burial ground. We feel the same energy around a saint with much more intense energetic presence. This is the way to taste death while living. Ramana Maharshi experienced even physical death three times which is a rare occurrence. After passing through death experience he touched that which is immortal in him. Such people and Lord Krishna have the authority to say ‘Whether you kill the body or you avoid killing the body, the Self does not die nor it can be saved. The Self neither dies nor it is need to be saved. That which is beyond death and salvation is Self, that is existence.”
Bhagawad Gita

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