य एनं वेत्ति हन्तारं यश्चैनं मन्यते हतम् | उभौ तौ न विजानीतो नायं हन्ति न हन्यते ||२-१९||
ya enaṃ vetti hantāraṃ yaścainaṃ manyate hatam ubhau tau na vijānīto nāyaṃ hanti na hanyate ||2-19||
2.19. Whosoever views This to be the slayer and whosoever believes This to be the slain, both these do not understand : This does not slay, nor is This slain.
Shri Purohit Swami
2.19 He who thinks that the Spirit kills, and he who thinks of It as killed, are both ignorant. The Spirit kills not, nor is It killed.
Sri Abhinav Gupta
2.19 Ya enam etc. Whosoever veiws This i.e., the Self and the body, to be the slayer and the slain, ignorance is in him. That is why he is in bondage. The same [point the Lord] clarifies -
2.19 With regard to “This” viz., the self, whose nature has been described above, he who thinks of It as the slayer, i.e., as the cause of slaying, and he who thinks ‘This’ (self) as slain by some cause or other - both of them do not know. As this self is eternal for the reasons mentioned above, no possible cause of destruction can slay It and for the same reason, It cannot be slain. Though the root ‘han’ (to slay) has the self for its object, it signifies causing the separation of the body from the self and not destruction of the self. Scriptural texts like ‘You shall not cause injury to beings’ and ‘The Brahmana shall not be killed’? (K. Sm. 8.2) indicate unsanctioned actions, causing separation of the body from the self. [In the above otes, slaughter in an ethical sense is referred to, while the text refers to killing or separating the self from the body in a metaphsyical sense. This is made explicit in the following verse].
2.19 But the ideas that you have, ‘Bhisma and others are neing killed by me in war; I am surely their killer’ this idea of yours is false. How? Yah, he who; vetti, thinks; of enam, this One, the embodied One under consideration; as hantaram, the killer, the agent of the act of killing; ca, and; yah, he who, the other who; manyate, thinks; of enam, this One; as hatam, the killed (who thinks) ‘When the body is killed, I am myself killed; I become the object of the act of killing’; ubhau tau, both of them; owing to non-discrimination, na, do not; vijanitah, know the Self which is the subject of the consciousness of ‘I’. The meaning is: On the killing of the body, he who thinks of the Self ( the content of the consciousness of ‘I’ ) [The Ast. omits this phrase from the precedig sentence and includes it in this place. The A.A. has this phrase in both the places.-Tr.] as ‘I am the killer’, and he who thinks, ‘I have been killed’, both of them are ignorant of the nature of the Self. For, ayam, this Self; owing to Its changelessness, na hanti, does not kill, does not become the agent of the act of killing; na hanyate, nor is It killed, i.e. It does not become the object (of the act of killing). The second verse is to show how the Self is changeless:
2.19 He who deems It (the self) a slayer, and he who thinks of It as slain - both are ignorant. For, the self neither slays nor is slain.
2.19 He who thinks of this One as the killer, and he who thinks of this One as the killed both of them do not know. This One does not kill, nor is It killed.
2.19 He who takes the Self to be the slayer and he who thinks It is slain, neither of them ï1knowsï1. It slays not, nor is It slain.
2.19 यः he who? एनम् this (Self)? वेत्ति knows? हन्तारम् slayer? यः he who? च and? एनम् this? मन्यते thinks? हतम् slain? उभौ both? तौ those? न not? विजानीतः know? न not? अयम् this? हन्ति slays? न not? हन्यते is slain.Commentary – The Self is nondoer (Akarta) and as It is immutable? It is neither the agent nor the object of the act of slaying. He who thinks I slay or I am slain with the body or the Ahamkara (ego)? he does not really comprehend the true nature of the Self. The Self is indestructible. It exists in the three periods of time. It is Sat (Existence). When the body is destroyed? the Self is not destroyed. The body has to undergo change in any case. It is inevitable. But the Self is not at all affected by it. Verses 19? 20? 21? 23 and 24 speak of the immortality of the Self or Atman. (Cf.XVIII.17)