And then is the famous two verses where the Imperishable is described:
nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ |
na cainaṁ kledayanty āpo na śoṣayati mārutaḥ ||23|| (II)
acchedyo ’yam adāhyo ’yam akledyo ’śoṣya eva ca |
nityaḥ sarvagataḥ sthāṇur acalo ’yaṁ sanātanaḥ ||24|| (II)
“The weapons cannot cut the Self, the fire cannot burn it, the water cannot drench it, nor can the wind dry it.” (II, 23)
“The Self is eternal, all pervading, immutable, stable, and everlasting. Therefore, it cannot be cut, or burnt, or drenched, or dried up.” (II, 24)
“The Self is said to be unmanifest, unimaginable, and unchangeable. Therefore knowing this to be so, you should not grieve.” (II, 25)
‘The grief is because you feel the destruction, but if the Reality is indestructible which can never be killed, then you should be free from grief.’ The whole argument is not expounded; there is only emphasis upon one aspect.
“O Mighty-Armed Arjuna! Even if you think that the Self is born due to the birth of the body, and consider it dead, due to the death of the body, you still have no reason to grieve.” (II, 26)
‘If you think that there is no Indestructible Reality at all, that there is only the movement, in which birth takes place followed by death and another birth takes place, if this is your argument, then also you should not worry, because what is born will die, and then there is again another birth! On that ground also you should not grieve, this is the nature of the world!’
“Death is certain for the one who is born, and birth is certain for one who dies. For this inevitable fact you should not grieve.” (II, 27)
“O Bharata! All the created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in the middle and un-manifest again after the death. So, what need is there for lamentation!” (II, 28)
This is one of the very powerful arguments: we, human beings are in the middle; we do not know what is before; we do not know what is here after. We are caught in the manifest. Before manifestation there is un-manifestation, after the manifestation there is un-manifestation. Therefore, we do not know the beginning or the end, we are only caught in the middle, and all our arguments are on in the middle path. Sri Krishna says, ‘All your problems, all the grief arises, because we do not go to the root. Your arguments are because you are not going to the root of the matter; in your arguments there is no place for the Indestructible.’
āścaryavat paśyati kaścid enam āścaryavad vadati tathaiva cānyaḥ |
āścaryavac caiman anyaḥ śṛṇoti śrutvāpy enaṁ veda na caiva kaścit ||29|| (II)
“Some see Him as wonderful, some speak of Him as wonderful, some hear of Him as wonderful. Even after hearing, one does not know what is that wonderful” ‘That which is in the beginning and that which is in the end, that is really the wonderful, and you have not yet spoken of Him, you have not known Him. Unless you know Him, how can you come out of the grief?’
“Some look upon this Self as a wonder, some talk about Him as a wonder, and some hear about Him as a wonder and yet having heard of Him, none are able to understand at all.” (II, 29)
“O Bharata! The eternal Self that dwells in the bodies of all beings cannot be slain. Therefore, you should not grieve for any living being.” (II, 30)
This is the end of one argument by lifting Arjuna to a perception of the Indestructible. In other words, in the entire argument, a new element is introduced by Sri Krishna, that changes the whole complexion of the situation. And yet, it is only one aspect that God is still brought into the picture: in His aspect of the immobile, indestructible Reality. The connection between the indestructible and the destructible is not yet brought out, excepting that that Reality pervades all that is here. This is all that he has been given so far.
Later on, we shall have a greater knowledge of that Reality. And as we go to the greater knowledge, the greater and greater is the clarity, and the nearer to the solution. But in the mean time, having argued this, Sri Krishna comes as it were on the earth, having greeted the Indestructible, knowing that Arjuna is lifted up certainly to a new perception, which he cannot bear immediately. He is still on the earth, he comes back again on the earth, and speaks the language which is appropriate to a warrior who has come to war with certain ideas, and refers to those ideas.