Upon witnessing the first atomic bomb explosion, Robert Oppenheimer, the head of the team of scientists who built that first nuclear bomb, recalled a verse from the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
Robert Oppenheimer limited his comment to the first part of the first verse of thirty fourth stanza in the Chapter 10 of Bhagavad Gita.
Robert Oppenheimer never mentioned the next words in the same line – I am the Source of things to be. Perhaps he thought human beings only knew how to destroy or did not then realize the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The original Quote from Chapter X
म्र्त्युह सर्वह्रास्चाहमुद्भावास्चा भाविश्यतम
किर्तिही श्रीवाकिचा नारीणँ स्मृतिँमृधा
Mrtyuh sarvahras-ca-ham-udbhavas-ca bhavishyatam
Kirtih sririvakca narinam smrtir-medha
I am the all-embracing Death, and the Source of things to be, and of Women, the Fame, Fortune, Speech, Memory, Intelligence.
Now in 2007, Dr. Christopher A. Ford, United States Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation, while giving opening Remarks to the 2007 Preparatory Committee Meeting of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in
But the Treaty also faces great opportunities in the area of peaceful uses, for nuclear energy has always had a Janus-faced aspect, offering humankind both great peril and extraordinary promise. Upon witnessing the first nuclear explosion, Robert Oppenheimer, the head of the team of scientists who built that first atomic bomb, recalled a line from the great Indian classic, the Bhagavad-Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." But Oppenheimer only quoted the first half of that sentence from the thirty-fourth stanza of the tenth chapter of the Gita. The second half of it translates roughly as: "and I am the origin of things that are yet to be."