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In the verses up to Verse 2:35, Krishna talks about Atman being inde-structible and seems to be telling Arjuna that, “Go ahead and kill these guys. It is f i ne because you can’t kill the Atman and only the body which is anyway perishable etc etc.” Try telling that to judge after committing a murder: “Your Honor, there is this Atman which is never born and never dies; so you see ....” Fat chance you have for beating the noose! The only reason it makes sense in this context is because, when you are acting mindfully, you are making no choices borne of emotional attachment. The results of such actions leave no traces (fresh vasanas) in your subconscious. In such choiceless awareness theres is no question of good or bad, sacred or sinful actions. Am I correctly interpreting?

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  • Just a clarification - The "Try telling that to the judge..." analysis is unnecessary since Krishna did not say that to an ordinary citizen, but to the executioner after the guilt of the condemned party had already been adjudicated by Kings (whatelse do you think wars are?). Because this executioner instead of swinging his sword hesitated and felt dejected, hence Sri Krishna then & thus mentions verse 2.35. Commented Dec 30, 2023 at 1:28
  • Acting 'mindfully' is still the jiva, through the ego, acting. Only a person who has attained full Brahman consciousness, nirvikalpa samadhi, acts without thought of good or bad. See Gita 2.53-59. To do otherwise is only your ego fooling you. Commented Dec 30, 2023 at 10:22
  • @SwamiVishwananda u mean consciousness implies mindfulness but mindfulness doesn't implies consciousness
    – quanity
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 6:47

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Krishna was not advocating murder. Krishna advocated the path of minimum violence to uphold Dharma. It is not always possible to eschew violence. One can not live life by running away from evil. There are situations when one has to fight to uphold Dharma. Take the cases of Adolf Hitler or terrorists. You will not be able to contain their depredations by taking 'the higher moral ground and the noble path' because any energetic action would result in many deaths. In fact such a course would be simply cowardice and egoistic. It would simply result in the massacre of innocents. Should one live oblivious of the cry of the innocents?

We see in the teaching of the Gita how subtle a thing is the freedom from egoism which is demanded. Arjuna is driven to fight by the egoism of strength, the egoism of Kshatriya; he is turned from the battle by the contrary egoism of weakness, the shrinking, the spirit of disgust, the false pity that overcomes the mind, the nervous being and the senses, - not that divine compassion which strengthens the arm and clarifies the knowledge. But this weakness comes garbed as renunciation, as virtue: "Better the life of the beggar than to taste these blood-stained enjoyments; I desire not the rule of all the earth, no, nor the kingdom of the gods." How foolish of the Teacher, we might say, not to confirm this mood, to lose this sublime chance of adding one more great soul to the army of Sannyasins, one more shining example before the world of holy renunciation. But the Guide sees otherwise, the Guide who is not to be deceived by words: "This is weakness and delusion and egoism that speak in thee. Behold the Self, open thy eyes to the knowledge, purify thy soul of egoism." And afterwards? "Fight, conquer, enjoy a wealthy kingdom." Or to take another example from ancient Indian tradition. It was egoism, it would seem, that drove Rama, the Avatara, to raise an army and destroy a nation in order to recover his wife from the King of Lanka. But would it have been a lesser egoism to drape himself in indifference and misusing the formal terms of the knowledge to say, "I have no wife, no enemy, no desire; these are illusions of the senses; let me cultivate the Brahman-knowledge and let Ravana do what he will with the daughter of Janaka"? The criterion is within, as the Gita insists. It is to have the soul free from craving and attachment, but free from the attachment to inaction as well as from the egoistic impulse to action, free from attachment to the forms of virtue as well as from the attraction to sin. It is to to be rid of "I-ness" and "my-ness" so as to live in the one Self and act in the one Self; to reject the egoism of refusing to work through the individual centre of the universal Being as well as egoism of serving the individual mind and life and body to the exclusion of others. To live in the Self is not to dwell for oneself alone in the Infinite immersed and oblivious of all things in that ocean of impersonal self-delight; but it is to live as the Self and in the Self equal in this embodiment and all embodiments and beyond all embodiments.

The Bhagavad Gita with Text, Translation and Commentary in the Words of Sri Aurobindo

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