yavad dhato ’smi hantasmi-
ty atmanam manyate ’sva-drk
tavat tad-abhimany ajno
badhya-badhakatam iyat
yavat—as long as; hatah asmi—I am now being killed (by others); hanta asmi—I am the killer (of others); iti—thus; atmanam—own self; manyate—he considers; a-sva-drk—one who has not seen himself (because of the darkness of the bodily conception of life); tavat—for that long; tat-abhimani—regarding himself as the killed or the killer; ajnah—a foolish person; badhya-badhakatam—the worldly transaction of being obliged to execute some responsibility; iyat—continues.
In the bodily conception of life, one remains in darkness, without self-realization, thinking, “I am being killed” or “I have killed my enemies.” As long as a foolish person thus considers the self to be the killer or the killed, he continues to be responsible for material obligations, and consequently he suffers the reactions of happiness and distress.
By the grace of the Lord, Kamsa felt sincere regret for having unnecessarily persecuted such Vaisnavas as Devaki and Vasudeva, and thus he came to the transcendental stage of knowledge. “Because I am situated on the platform of knowledge,” Kamsa said, “understanding that I am not at all the killer of your sons, I have no responsibility for their death. As long as I thought that I would be killed by your son, I was in ignorance, but now I am free from this ignorance, which was due to a bodily conception of life.” As stated in Bhagavad-gita (18.17):
yasya nahankrto bhavo
buddhir yasya na lipyate
hatvapi sa imal lokan
na hanti na nibadhyate
“One who is not motivated by false ego, whose intelligence is not entangled, though he kills men in this world, is not the slayer. Nor is he bound by his actions.” According to this axiomatic truth, Kamsa pleaded that he was not responsible for having killed the sons of Devaki and Vasudeva. “Please try to excuse me for such false, external activities,” he said, “and be pacified with this same knowledge.”

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