Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1, Verse 40

कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्मा: सनातना: |
धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत || 40||

kula-kṣhaye praṇaśhyanti kula-dharmāḥ sanātanāḥ
dharme naṣhṭe kulaṁ kṛitsnam adharmo ’bhibhavaty uta

kula-kṣhayein the destruction of a dynasty; praṇaśhyantiare vanquished; kula-dharmāḥfamily traditions; sanātanāḥeternal; dharmereligion; naṣhṭeis destroyed; kulamfamily; kṛitsnamthe whole; adharmaḥirreligion; abhibhavatiovercome; utaindeed


BG 1.40: When a dynasty is destroyed, its traditions get vanquished, and the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.


Families have age-old traditions and time-honored customs, in accordance with which, elders in the family pass on noble values and ideals to their next generation. These traditions help family members follow human values and religious propriety. If the elders die prematurely, their succeeding generations become bereft of family guidance and training. Arjun points this out by saying that when dynasties get destroyed, their traditions die with them, and the remaining members of the family develop irreligious and wanton habits, thereby losing their chance for spiritual emancipation. Thus according to him, the elders of the family should never be slain.