Bhagavad-gītā 2.23–24 , London , 1973-08-27
Pradyumna: [leads chanting of verse] [devotees repeat]
nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ
na cainaṁ kledayanty āpo
na śoṣayati mārutaḥ
[leads chanting of synonyms]
na---never; enam---unto this soul; chindanti---can cut into pieces; śastrāṇi---all weapons; na---never; enam---unto this soul; dahati---burns; pāvakaḥ---fire; na---never; ca---also; enam---unto this soul; kledayanti---moistens; āpaḥ---water; na---never; śoṣayati---dries; mārutaḥ---wind.
Translation = "The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind."
Prabhupāda: So here is another puzzle for the rascal scientist---because they are contemplating that except within this earth, in other planet there is no life. Because the atmosphere is different, they cannot live there. Now take for example the sun planet, fiery planet. So naturally, we shall imagine that no living entity can live there = it is fiery planet. But Kṛṣṇa says that nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ: the fire does not burn it. This is quite reasonable because the living entities are there, we can experience.
Roughly we see that we are on the land, and the aquatics, fishes, they are in the water. I cannot live within the water, neither the fish cannot live on the land, but from my experience, if we think that there is no living entities in water, is it not rascaldom? Similarly, these rascals are thinking from his own point of view. Because he cannot live within the fire or within the water, he's thinking there is no life within the fire. This is rascaldom. To refute these rascals, Kṛṣṇa says, nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ. Even within the fire there are living entities.
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1] = "I spoke first of all this Bhagavad-gītā system to the sun-god." Now rascals will think that "How there is a god or there is a person in the sun planet?" They'll think like that---everything from his own angle of vision. This is modern science = "I cannot think of such thing; therefore there cannot be any such thing." Just like everything should be within my experience. This is going on.
They'll never admit that "What is your experience? You are imperfect, your senses are imperfect, how you can be perfectly experienced? It is not possible." Acintya. There are so many inconceivable powers acting on behalf of Kṛṣṇa. What are you? You may cheat some people that you have become God. That is another thing. But the inconceivable potency of Kṛṣṇa, they are working differently.
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that unless we accept this principle that Kṛṣṇa, or God, has got inconceivable power, acintya-śakti, we cannot understand. If we put Kṛṣṇa within the jurisdiction of my limited understanding, that is not understanding of Kṛṣṇa. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye [Bg. 7.3]. That inconceivable power is also within us. We do not know. So many things are happening. The example, as I gave many times, that the one nail was taken off.
Still, it grew exactly to the size of the nail in my personal body, in the nails. So the doctors cannot make exactly fitting nail, but it is growing exactly to the size. Even it is inconceivable to me how it is growing. Even my hair grows inconceivable, I do not know. I cut every week, and it still grows. There are so many little inconceivable power within me. I am part and parcel of God. Just imagine how much inconceivable power is there in Kṛṣṇa. It is common sense.
We understand from the śāstras that Kṛṣṇa, as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, He created water within this universe and lied down, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Now, we cannot conceive that how a person can produce water from the body like the sea and ocean. But if you think over little soberly, that sometimes we perspire, we get perspiration, that is water. In India, we have got special experience during summer season = sometimes a small pot can be filled up with the water produced from my body like this, put. Of course, one must be healthy man; then he'll perspire and water will come out from the body. So I am limited. I am only a small particle of Kṛṣṇa's body, part and parcel. If I have got this power of producing water, maybe one grain or two grain or one ounce, Kṛṣṇa has got unlimited power---why not a sea? Where is the difficulty to understand? He can produce unlimited quantity of water, which may be known as ocean and sea. Yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante [Taittirīya Upaniṣad 3.1].
Therefore Vedas say that "From whom all these five elements have come into being?" And Kṛṣṇa says,
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
"That is my energy." So everything is Kṛṣṇa's energy. He can produce. Try to verify from the example. Because you are little sample of Kṛṣṇa. You can study what you are doing, what you are feeling, what you are acting. The same thing in unlimited quantity, Kṛṣṇa has got the power. That's all.
So here it is said, Arjuna might be thinking that "Kṛṣṇa says this body is different from the soul. The soul is within. So now suppose when I place my sword on the body of my grandfather or my kinsmen, the body will cut, and in the meantime, the soul is within the body, it may be cut, because the soul is there. By accidentally, he may be cut."
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says very distinctly, nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi, that "Soul cannot be cut, any weapon. It cannot be pierced by your arrows, it cannot be cut into pieces by your sword, or if you use firearms it will not burn." Nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ. This is the position of soul = immutable, indestructible. Another... This is the negative description of the soul. Nainaṁ chandanti śastrāṇi, chindanti śastrāṇi. Is there anything in this material world which cannot be cut into pieces? Have you got any experience? Take wood, stone, iron, or anything, it can be cut into pieces.
Therefore the..., when Kṛṣṇa says nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi, that means it is nothing like anything material elements. It is different. It is different. Any material elements. There are earth, water, fire, air and ether. You can prepare weapons from earth. Water, you cannot do now, but there can be a weapon from the water also. That was used in the Battle of Kurukṣetra. Here, the atomic bomb is thrown, brahmāstra. From the other side the watery astra is thrown so that the energy of the atomic bomb is immediately finished. So what the scientists know now?
Although they have manufactured atomic bomb, but they are unable to manufacture another weapon counteraction of atomic bomb. That is not possible. But there is. Atomic bomb is fiery, and if you manufacture another bomb, which is watery, then you can counteract. Because fight means I charge you with some kind of weapon. You have to protect yourself by the counteraction. That was going on. So nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ.
So it is quite natural to understand that if there is living entity within the earth, within the water, even in the air... That we experience. In the air there are so many living entities. In the water, unvisible, not seen by the naked eyes. By microscope, we can see so many germs are there in the water, in the air. So why not in the fire? Fire is also one of the material elements. Therefore the sun planet, although it is fiery planet, there is inhabitation of different type of human being who may be called as demigods. But there are similar buildings, similar persons, cities, motorcars, everything. Everything is there. Otherwise, how Kṛṣṇa could go there and says that imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1], unless it is exactly a planet like this where living entities, houses, roads and cars and everything is there?
As Kṛṣṇa advented Himself within this planet---He came here---Kṛṣṇa can go anywhere. Kṛṣṇa, when He was present, He was going anywhere = sometimes within the waters, sometimes within the walls of the universe, sometimes in the spiritual world. He went the spiritual world, taking Arjuna with Him. Arjuna also went with Him. And He saw the Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu in the spiritual world. These things are there, described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He could go anywhere. They were going to the heavenly planets. That is Kṛṣṇa. Not Guruji, [laughs] that one slap and he's blind. Not like that. Kṛṣṇa could go, Kṛṣṇa can do... All..., this is called omnipotent, all-powerful. So unless we think of Kṛṣṇa possessing unconceivable powers, we cannot understand Kṛṣṇa.
Nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ. Another study from this verse is that the Māyāvādī philosophy, they say that spirit is one. The Supreme Spirit, impersonal. When the spirit is embodied, it becomes individual. This is their philosophy. Otherwise, they give the example... Just like there is water on the sea. It is also sustained on the earth, a big mass of water. And on that water you can put one boat or ship full of water. And on that boat, you put another, a cup of water, and in the cup of water, you put another pot, a small cup or small utensil or even the skin of a grain, that will also contain. So their philosophy is that the water is one, but according to the pot or container, it becomes small and big. This is their philosophy. And when the container is broken, then the whole water becomes one. This is their philosophy.
Now this nonsense philosophy is refuted in this verse. How? Now because spirit, either you take whole spirit or part spirit, nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi: you cannot divide it by cutting into pieces. That is not possible. So their philosophy is that the water has been put into different pots, therefore we see this small water, this smaller or bigger, this division. But they are all individual, always. It is not that it has been divided. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ jīva-loke sanātanaḥ [Bg. 15.7]. Sanātana. Sanātana means eternally they are divided. It is not that it has been divided by some means, just like we keep water in big pot or small pot. That is not possible. They are big or small eternally. Viṣṇu-tattva, jīva-tattva. The jīva-tattva, they are small fragments. They are eternally. Viṣṇu-tattva... Viṣṇu-tattva means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Viṣṇu-tattva is unlimitedly great eternally, sanātana. And the jīva-tattva, they are infinitesimally smaller eternally. Not that it has been cut into small and big. No.
So this Māyāvādī theory cannot stand here if we accept the Bhagavad-gītā's statement, nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi. It is not divided by some means. No. It is already divided. It is already divided. Neither the small piece of soul or the big piece of soul you can divide.
nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ
na cainaṁ kledayanty āpo
na śoṣayati mārutaḥ
Air... There are earth, water, fire, air. So none of these material things can act on the soul. It is not that because air dries up everything, anything... Big, big ocean is dried up by evaporation. Big, big river, big, big lakes are evaporated, but soul cannot be evaporated. Nainaṁ śoṣayati mārutaḥ. This is the distinction. The air can evaporate a big ocean. Gradually, it is being done. As the days will go on, the seawater will be evaporated, and at the end there will be no water. These are the statements. Towards destruction, there will be no water. Just like now it is already begun. There is scarcity of water, no rainfall. So we see that the lakes and rivers and other water reservoirs, they are becoming dried up. Śyāmasundara, you were telling that river? What is that lake?
Prabhupāda: There is... Drying up. So there must be dry up and there must be supply. Nature's way. That is the way. But in the..., and with the advancement of Kali-yuga, there will be scarcity of supply, but the water will dry up gradually. The result will be there will be no water. As there will be no water, everything, all living entities, vegetation, living being, everything will finish, will die. For hundreds of years there will be no water, and then when everything is finished, dried up, burned into ashes due to..., and the sunshine, the glare of the sunshine will be twelve times increased, and there will be no water. How one can live? So everything on this planet will be finished. And then, being warmer, warmer, there will be fire. In the fire, all planets of the universe will be burned into ashes. Then there will be rainfall, another, for hundred years. So the whole universe will be filled up with water. Then it will be evaporated, and the whole universe, cosmic manifestation, finished. This is called annihilation.
So in Bhagavad-gītā there is a statement that when everything is annihilated, the spiritual world is not annihilated. Na vinaśyasi. So as the spiritual world does not annihilate, similarly the soul, the spirit, by any such disturbances, the soul is never annihilated. Avyayam: indestructible, immutable. So Kṛṣṇa is explaining in different ways the nature of the soul. We have to take it seriously, then we get perfect knowledge.
[aside:] So, next verse you can...
Pradyumna: [leads chanting of verse]
akledyo 'śoṣya eva ca
nityaḥ sarva-gataḥ sthāṇur
acalo 'yaṁ sanātanaḥ
[break] [leads chanting of synonyms]
Translation = "This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same."
Prabhupāda: So this is another way, negative way. In the previous verse Kṛṣṇa says, nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi. And now, negatively, or passively, it is said that acchedyo 'yam. In every way, Kṛṣṇa is suggesting the immortality of the soul. There are five elements = earth, water, fire, air. So none of these elements can act on the soul. You can prepare sword, cutting sword from earth, from metal, but it does not mean that you can cut anything material with your sword. But you cannot cut the spirit soul with your sword or with your other material weapons. Neither... Acchedyo 'yam adāhyaḥ. Neither you can burn with fire, neither you can moisten it with water, neither you can dry. In every respect, Kṛṣṇa explains how soul is immutable. Another significance is nityaḥ sarva-gataḥ. Sarva-gataḥ means all-pervading; everywhere the soul is there. Even within the stone, even within the sands there are. So how these people can say there is no existence of living entity in the moon planet? Sarva-gataḥ.
We have seen sometimes that from the stone, I have marked it... There is one Jama Masjid in Agra. On the top of the stone dome a plant has come out, on the top. Now who has gone to place that seed that a banyan tree, banyan plant has come out and it has cracked the stone? So nobody has gone there, but this means the soul is everywhere. As soon as it gets the opportunity, it accepts a material body immediately. As soon as there is opportunity. That is explained in the Seventh Chapter...
viddhi me prakrtim para
jiva bhuta maha baho
yayedam daryate jagat
So how the material world is and how the soul is acting, utilizing this material world in different ways? It is said in the scripture that those who are promoted to the higher planetary system, say moon planet or other planet, they also again come down on this earthly planet. Kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti [Bg. 9.21].
[audio back to normal]
Huh, just like you get visa for going to a foreign country. As soon as the visa period is over, the visa department immediately reminds you = "Sir, your visa is finished. Now you must go. You must go out." So the whole, the puṇya-loka, the higher planetary system, svarga-loka, you can go there by your pious activities, by performing big, big yajñas, puṇya, pious activities, go there. But kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti. When your puṇya, it is also limited thing, when it is finished, you have to come back. It is said that when they come back on this planet they come through the water, showers, and they fall down on this earth. Again they begin their life as grass and something like that, evolution. Kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti.
Therefore this elevation to the higher planetary system, Kṛṣṇa condemns them. Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna [Bg. 8.16]. "My dear Arjuna, even if you go to the higher planetary system, Brahmaloka, to live for many millions of years, still, when your asset of pious activity will be finished, you'll have to come back here." So... But He again said, mad-dhāma gatvā punar janma na vidyate, that "If you try to come back to My place, then you'll not come back."
So the karmīs, karma-kāṇḍīya, they are trying to be elevated to the heavenly planet, higher planetary system. That is not very good idea. You can go to the higher planetary system by your pious activities. First of all the modern age, the people are so much impious, sinful, that is not also possible. They may go down. Jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthā adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ. They are covered with ignorance. The ignorance is wine, women and meat-eating. So they are going down. There is no possibility of going higher planetary system. Not possible. Who will go to the higher planetary system? Ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ [Bg. 14.18]. Ūrdhvam means higher. Only those who are pious, they can be elevated. So even if you are pious, still you have to come back again. This is the process.
So sarva-gataḥ. Sarva-gataḥ means a soul is free to go anywhere. Anywhere. Full freedom, as he wants. That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gītā:
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtejyā yānti bhūtāni
mad-yājino 'pi yānti mām
As you like. It is up to you. Make your selection where you want to be. You have, somehow or other, you have come here. That's all right. But Kṛṣṇa gives you chance to be elevated to any planetary system you like. Ultimately, if you want to go back to home, back to Godhead, that is also given, everything. Mad-yājino 'pi yānti mām. So if you want to go to the moon planet, there is no need of the sputnik. There is a process so that after this body you become elevated to the moon planet. Why should you make research for, and become futile research, going to the moon? You just prepare yourself. There are different processes. If you want to go to the moon planet, you can go. If you want to go to the heavenly planet, you can go. Similarly, if you want to go to the planet where Kṛṣṇa is, you can go.
So sane man, intelligent man, should consider that "If I have to prepare myself for going, for being elevated to the higher planetary system, but we have to come back again, kṣīṇe puṇye punar martya-loka, why not endeavor for going back to Kṛṣṇaloka?" That is intelligence. But there are big, big yogīs, they elevate themselves to the higher planetary system. They... Before going to the spiritual world, they want to see how the higher planetary system are working. Just like the visitors, tourists, they are going somewhere, and drop, by journey, somewhere to see. But you should not make such ambition. You should endeavor directly going back to home, back to Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. That should be your endeavor. Yes. Mad-yājino 'pi yānti mam [Bg. 9.25].
And the process is very simple. Yājinaḥ, just worshiping Kṛṣṇa, as we have introduced = this maṅgala-ārātrika, this offering food, worshiping. Mad-yājinaḥ. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī Smāṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. Yājī. Yajana means worship.
So what is the difficulty? If, by this simple process, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti [Bg. 4.9], you can go back to Kṛṣṇa, why we shall try for going to the heavenly planet, moon planet, this planet, where again we have to come from? Kṣīṇe puṇye punar martya-lokam. This is intelligence.
Thank you very much. [end]