Gita Study: Class 25


Topics for today:

  1. Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
  2. Chapter 2 verses 23 to 27

 Highlights of today’s class:

Verse 2.22 (conclusion):

vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grhnati naroparani | tatha sarirani vihaya jirnanyanyani samyati navani dehi ||

  • In this illustration of physical bodies compared to worn out clothes, we addressed a potential objection viz. the scenario where even non-worn out bodies or not-yet-old bodies do get destroyed. We stated the reason to be the jiva’s prarabdha.
  • Another reason given by Swamiji to resolve this objection to the use of the term “old” with reference to bodies, jirna sariras, is to point out that “old”ness and “new” ness are relative terms. A once-used cloth of a king may be old for him, whereas for his subject who receives it, it is as good as brand-new. So the objection we saw in last class is thereby resolved. This style of raising objections (purvapaksha) and resolving them (siddhanta) is a unique feature of commentaries of shastras.

Verse 2.23

nainam chindanti sastrani nainam dahati pavakah | na chainam kledayantyapo na sosayati marutah||

  • Continuing the topic of indestructibility of atma, Lord Krishna here elaborates that atma can not be destroyed by any weapons, cannot be burnt up by fire, cannot be wet or drowned by water, and also it cannot be dried up by wind.
  • Our scriptures present a 5-element model of the world. The 5 elements, viz. space (akasa), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (apah) and earth (prithvi) – make up everything in the gross universe.
  • Atma being of a different order of reality altogether, cannot be destroyed by any of the elements of universe. Just as a shadow of a stick cannot beat and cause harm to anything because the shadow and the thing (say a dog) do not belong to the same order of reality.
  • Atma being the consciousness behind all experiences, is at a different level of reality than the objects of experiences including the five elements of the universe.

Verse 2.24

acchedyo’yamadahyo’yamakledyo’sosya eva ca | nityah sarvagatah sthanuracalo’yam sanatanah ||

  • This verse adds on to the prior verse that atma cannot be impacted by any of the five elements, by affirming that it is indeed an existing entity which is un-cuttable, un-burnable, un-drownable and un-dryable. The point is that one must not mistake atma to be sunya or on-existence in light of so many negative descriptions.
  • A few more adjectives are used to describe atma such as – nityah, sarvagatah, sthanuh, achalah, sanatanah.
  • Atma is nityah and sanatanah since it is not bound by time.
  • Atma is sarvagatah since it is not bound by space. Sarvagatah means all-pervasive.
  • Atma is sthanuh and achalah since it doesn’t move, it is already everywhere

verse 2.25

avyakto’yamacintyo’yamavikaryo’yamucyate | tasmadevam viditvainam nanuscitumarhasi ||

  • Three few more adjectives are used to describe atma in this verse – avyaktah, achintyah and avikaryah.
  • Atma is avyaktah, meaning unmanifest or not an object of perception by sense organs viz. by sight, smell, taste, touch or hearing. It is the enabler of all sense perceptions.
  • Atma is achintayah, meaning not an object of thought. It is the enabler of all thoughts.
  • Atma is avikaryah, meaning not subject to change or modification. It has no limbs or parts or even attributes which may undergo gain or loss over time.
  • A point to note here is the terms ‘sat‘, ‘cit‘ and ‘ananda‘ are used to describe Atma, yet they are not attributes such as heat of fire, or blueness of a blue-lily. ‘sat’, ‘cit’ and ‘ananda‘ are the very svarupa of atma and not attributes of a distinct entity called atma.

verse 2.26

atha cainam nityajatam nityam va manyase mrtam | tathapi tvam mahabaho naivam socitumarhasi ||

  • Starting from this verse and for next two verses, Lord Krishna shifts the emphasis from showing that there was no reason to grieve for atma to showing that there was no reason to grieve for anatma.
  • By anatma here is meant the physical body-mind-sense complex. Even if atma doesn’t get destroyed as seen in the several earlier verses, the body does get destroyed. Shouldn’t we grieve for it? Krishna says no, even then grief is not justified.

verse 2.27

jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyurdhruvam janma mrtasya ca | tasmadapariharye’rthe na tvam socitumarhasi ||

  • The rationale for the message of prior verse is given in this verse. That which is born is certain to die; that which dies is certain to be born. This cannot be altered. For this reason one need not grieve at the loss of the bodies.
  • We will continue in next class

om tat sat


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