Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 11, Verse 32

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
कालोऽस्मि लोकक्षयकृत्प्रवृद्धो
लोकान्समाहर्तुमिह प्रवृत्त: |
ऋतेऽपि त्वां न भविष्यन्ति सर्वे
येऽवस्थिता: प्रत्यनीकेषु योधा: || 32||

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha
kālo ’smi loka-kṣhaya-kṛit pravṛiddho
lokān samāhartum iha pravṛittaḥ
ṛite ’pi tvāṁ na bhaviṣhyanti sarve
ye ’vasthitāḥ pratyanīkeṣhu yodhāḥ

śhrī-bhagavān uvāchathe Supreme Lord said; kālaḥtime; asmiI am; loka-kṣhaya-kṛitthe source of destruction of the worlds; pravṛiddhaḥmighty; lokānthe worlds; samāhartumannihilation; ihathis world; pravṛittaḥparticipation; ṛitewithout; apieven; tvāmyou; na bhaviṣhyantishall cease to exist; sarveall; yewho; avasthitāḥarrayed; prati-anīkeṣhuin the opposing army; yodhāḥthe warriors

Translation

BG 11.32: The Supreme Lord said: I am mighty Time, the source of destruction that comes forth to annihilate the worlds. Even without your participation, the warriors arrayed in the opposing army shall cease to exist.

Commentary

In response to Arjun’s question regarding who he is, Shree Krishna reveals his nature as all-powerful Time, the destroyer of the universe. The word kāla is derived from kalayati, which is synonymous with gaṇayati, meaning “to take count of.” All events in nature get buried in time. When Oppenheimer, who was a part of the first atom bomb project, witnessed the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he quoted this verse of Shree Krishna in the following manner: “Time…I am the destroyer of all the worlds.” Time counts and controls the lifespan of all beings. It will determine when the great personalities like Bheeshma, Dronacharya, and Karn will meet their end. It will destroy the enemy army arrayed on the battlefield even without Arjun’s participating in the fight, because the Lord wants it to happen as a part of his grand scheme for the world. If the warriors are already as good as dead, then why should Arjun fight? Shree Krishna explains this in the next verse.