Gita Daily Readings

17th August
Chapter XI: 32
The blessed Lord said: I am the mighty world-destroying time, now engaged in destroying the worlds. Even without thee, none of the warriors arrayed in the hostile armies shall live.

Commentary

This highly inspiring verse was recalled to memory by Oppenheimer, the physicist, as he sat in his watchtower during the first atomic test explosion during World War II. He confessed that the destructive mushroom which he saw in the sky reminded him of the great utterance of lord Krishna: "I am the all-destroying time." "This is it," thought Oppenheimer. How true. The bomb, like all-devouring time, does not discriminate between combatant and noncombatant, good and wicked, men, women or children; it reduces all of them - and even inanimate objects - to their elemental state.

Lokakshayakrt has been translated into "world-destroying." Kshaya has several meanings, one of which is "an abode." This destruction is, in other words, not annihilation, but a return to the original abode, to the original state of matter from which newer forms could be fashioned. Once this fact is clearly grasped, very much heart-break can be avoided.

Even so, the other expression lokansamahartum has been translated into "destroying the worlds." Ahartum has other meanings, too! Surprisingly enough, one of them is "to unite, to bring together". This meaning is in line with the spirit of the Bhagavad Gita. it is as though the Lord said: "I have given you enough intelligence, discrimination and free-will to see that you are all one and to live in such unity. If life cannot unite you, then death will!"

The great misunderstanding about the role of Shiva in Hindu scriptures should be removed. He is not the "destroyer." The universe, being his own body - an inseparable part of the eternal - cannot he destroyed. It and all beings in it can only be redeemed. Thus, Shiva is the redeemer. For the redemption of the ignorance-imprisoned individual soul, he periodically re-shapes its outer covering, to suit better its evolutionary state.

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