2.21 – “How can he, O Parth, who is conscious of the Soul within as imperishable, permanent, birthless, and immutable, kill or move another to kill?”
Arjun is addressed as Parth, for he has made a chariot of the earth-made body and is preparing to take a perfect aim at the Supreme Spirit. The man who knows that the embodied Soul is indestructible, permanent, beyond birth, and unmanifest-how can he make others slay or be a slayer himself! Destruction of what is indestructible is impossible. And, being beyond birth, the Self is also never born. So why grieve for the body?
2.22 –“Like a man who puts on new garments after discarding his worn out clothes, the embodied Self, also, casts off tattered bodies and transmigrates into other bodies that are new.”
The Soul rejects bodies that have been ravaged by old age or some other disease and dresses himself in new apparel just as a man throws away old, torn clothes and puts on new clothes. But if new clothing is needed only when the fabric of old clothes is weakened, why do young children die?
These “garments” have yet to grow and evolve. It was said a little earlier that the body rests on sanskar, the impressions from action attained in the course of a previous existence. When the store of sanskar is depleted, the Self discards the body. If the sanskar is of two days’ duration only, the body will be on the brink of death on the second day itself. Beyond sanskar there is not even a single breath of life; sanskar is the body and the Self assumes a new body according to his sanskar.
According to the Chandogya Upanishad,” A man is primarily his will. As is his will in this life, so does he become when he departs from it.”It is the firmness of his will in one life that determines what a man will be in the next. Man is thus born in bodies that are shaped by his own will. So death is a mere physical change: the Self does not die.
2.23 –“This Self is neither pierced by weapons, nor burnt by fire, nor made damp by water, nor dried up by wind.”
Weapons cannot cleave the Self. Fire cannot singe him. He cannot also be drenched by water, nor withered by wind.
2.24 –“The Self, which cannot be pierced or burnt or made wet or faded, is uninterrupted, all-pervasive, constant, immovable, and eternal.”
The Self cannot be cut or pierced through; he cannot be burnt; and he cannot be soaked. Even the whole firmament cannot contain him within its expanse. The Self is beyond doubt, ever-fresh, omnipresent, immovable, constant, and everlasting.
Arjun has pronounced family traditions to be eternal. So, according to him, the war will destroy Sanatan Dharm itself. But Sri Krishn finds it an example of ignorance and points out that the Self alone is eternal.If we do not know the means by which we can realize our Self and his goal, we have no inkling of Sanatan Dharm.
That which is eternal is so strong and impregnable that arms cannot pierce it, fire cannot burn it, and water cannot wet it. Nothing that belongs to the material world can touch it, let alone food and drink.
Some such misguided traditions had prevailed at the time of Arjun, too, and he was obviously one of their victims. So he tearfully whines to Sri Krishn about the eternal nature of family rites and customs. The war, he says, will destroy Sanatan Dharm, and when this is lost, all the members of the family are bound to end up in hell. It is evident that what Arjun is talking about is some customary beliefs of his time. That is why the spiritually adept Sri Krishn refutes him and points out that the Self alone is perpetual. If we do not know the way to this embodied God, we are yet uninitiated into the spirit of Sanatan Dharm.
2.25 –“Knowing that the Self is unmanifest, a non-object to the senses, incomprehensible because he is a non-object to the mind, and changeless, (O Arjun), it does not befit you to grieve (over him).”
The Soul is unmanifest and not an object of the senses. He cannot be grasped by the senses. He is present even when there is the association of senses with their objects, but he cannot be comprehended. He is beyond thought. He is eternal and he is present even when the mind and its volitions persist, but he is beyond perception, enjoyment, and access. So the mind has to be restrained.Sri Krishn has told Arjun that the unreal has no existence and neither is the real ever nonexistent. The Self is that reality. It is the Self that is changeless, constant, eternal, and unmanifest. They who know essence have found the Self adorned with these traits. Not linguists nor the affluent, but only seers have known the unique character of the Self.