[Advaita-l] GITA - 2.23

Amuthan aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Fri Jan 27 22:24:34 CST 2006

namo nArAyaNAya!

kR^iShNa now teaches arjuna that the self cannot be
destroyed by any means,

nainaM chindanti shastrANi nainaM dahati pAvakaH.
na chainaM kledayantyApo na shoShayati mArutaH.. 2.23

weapons cannot cut it (the self), fire cannot burn it,
water cannot wet it and wind cannot dry it. 

here, kR^iShNa first mentions shastra-s (weapons)
since He is teaching Atma vidyA to arjuna in a
battlefield. since the self is niravayava (without any
parts), it cannot be cut. since it is arUpa
(formless), it cannot be burnt or wetted or dried. it
can also be interpreted to mean that none of the
pa~ncha bhUta-s can destroy the self (AkAsha is
excluded since it does not destroy anything). 

the reason for mentioning these specific examples is
that all these are applicable to the body. the body
can be cut, it can be burnt, it can be wetted and it
can be dried. we normally identify ourselves with the
body and consequently suffer by superimposing all it's
changes as happening to our own self. it is for
removing this false superimposition that kR^iShNa
teaches this. 

bhagvatpAda gave another commentary to this shloka in
His own life. when the kApAlika-s tried to offer Him
as a human sacrifice by trying to cut off His head, He
remained undisturbed knowing fully well that the self
cannot be cut. similar is the case of mahAtma-s like
prahlAda, jaDa bharata, sadAshiva brahmendra etc. if
not for these mahAtma-s who have shown the truths of
vedAnta by their own lives, shloka-s like these would
have been very hard to digest in the first place!

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

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