2.17 avinASi thu thadh vidhdhi

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 2

<< Chapter 2 verse 16

SlOkam – Original

avinASi thu thadh vidhdhi yEna sarvam idham thatham |
vinASam avyayasyAsya na kaSchith karthum arhathi ||

word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

yEna – that AthmA
idham sarvam – all these insentient objects
thatham – pervaded
thath thu – that AthmA
avinASi – indestructible
vidhdhi – know
avyayasya – imperishable
asya – this AthmA
kaSchith – all objects
vinASam – to destroy
karththum – to do
na arhathi – not possible

Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)

Know that the AthmA that is pervaded all these insentient objects, that AthmA is indestructible. It is not possible for anything to destroy this imperishable AthmA.

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

Know that that verily is indestructible by which all this is pervaded. No one can cause destruction to this ‘exhaustless.’1

Know that the ātmā-category is indestructible, i.e. that sentient category (or principle) by which all this insentient category (or inert matter) is permeated. The latter is quite distinct from the former. By reason of the pervasive nature of ātmā, it is exceedingly subtle2, and is incapable of perishment. Nothing which is of a different kind or of dissimilar nature from it (ātmā) is capable of destroying it (ātmā), for it (the other thing) is the pervaded, by (the pervading) ātmā, and is grosser than ātmā (which is subtle). Such things as weapons, water, fire, air etc., can, as agents of destruction, enter into such things as are of the destructible kind, and cause disintegration thereof.

The rationale of a club or a mallet etc., striking a thing and destroying it is thus given: (The mere contact of the club with the thing does not destroy, the mere force caused by wielding the club, without coming in contact with the thing cannot destroy. Therefore), the club when used with force and the thing is struck, what happens is that rapid vibration is produced in the air-particles, which, entering into the thing, produce molecular disruption3. Hence the ātmā-principle is indestructible.

The next verse tells us that perishability is the very nature of bodies:

>> Chapter 2 verse 18

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  1. Means that which cannot be expended, and therefore infinite.
  2. The idea is the subtle always penetrates, the gross is penetrated. Light penetrates glass. Glass may get broken, but it never can destroy light. As glass is to light, so body is to ātmā.
  3. We know of loud noises, like the thunder-clap, shattering glass panes. A loud noise is a sound, a sound is but a rapid commotion and agitation set up among the air-particles, which strike each other and produce the sound.

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