The Unborn is Indestructible
Arjuna remains crumpled-up in defeated fashion with a long, forlorn frown on his face; Krishna, the Divine Avatar of Immortal Consciousness, addresses him thus:
2.2 Why do you act cowardly, especially in this time of your great spiritual crisis? You are inflicting a grave injustice to those who uphold the Ariyan Spirit. What a shameful disgrace you are inflicting upon your-self; in this fashion you shall never behold the Noble Shores of Suchness.
2.3 Never yield to weakness when it arises in your spirit, it does not become you. Get-up! Forsake this pettiness and Recollect your Rightful Stature: Awaken!
As stated in the last segment the Gita is all about Spiritual Warfare, and Arjuna is in danger of losing his Noble (Ariyan) Spiritual Stature. Krishna wastes no time in “jump-starting” Arjuna’s stalled fortitude. He doesn’t stroke him by trying to gently soothe his cowardly countenance, rather he manly shouts, “Get-up!” Arise and Recollect your True Worth in the eyes of the Unborn. This is somewhat akin to what Jesus said to the disabled man after he cured him—“Pick-up your mat and walk!” No beating around the bush, no kiddy-coating what this Salvific Action is all about—just “get-up” now on your own power and “awaken” to the True Life in the Spirit.
But Arjuna remains adamant. He continues mumbling about how great the opposition is. It is better to grovel-about like a wounded puppy than striking any of these worthy elders-down. He’s giving into a “piteous weakness of spirit” insisting that he’s just not up to the fight. It’s obvious that Arjuna’s [self-worth] was becoming non-existent. He has no spiritual-guts left in him. So, he, who once was the conqueror of armies, again implores upon Krishna, like a frantic wretch, to listen and reason with him about his refusal to engage in his Noble Responsibility—which ultimately is a responsibility to his own Self/Mind.
The Blessed One then addresses him,
2.11 Why do you incessantly continue to lament over those whose spirits are not worthy? You may assume yourself wise-hearted in this matter, but the Truly Wise weep not for those who cling to life or those who are in fear of death.
2.12 Recollect! Was there ever a time when I, yourself, and your precious kin here were not; will there ever come a time when our Self will cease to be?
2.13 The embodiment of this Self will experience childhood, youth, middle-and old age, and then will consequently acquire another embodiment. Yet, this Karmic-Truth does not disturb the Pure Mind.
2.14 The skandhic-body will continue to experience the elements of cold and heat, will continue to be plagued with sensations of pleasure and pain. Yet, the skandhic-body is impermanent. This realization is to be patiently endured and no more.
2.15 The wise-spirit is not disturbed with any sensate sensations, whether good or bad, and so is prepared for the taste of immortality.
The Ariyan Spirit/Mind is impervious to any image of life or death. The Actual-Self is not existent or not ever non-existent in the conventional sense. It IS as Such and No-Thing more. Just be aware that the body consciousness is skandhic-based and hence inadequate for silencing the karmic-chimes of Samsara. The awakened Self is never perturbed with sensate-based reality and hence can patiently endure whatever comes and is thus better prepared for pari-nirvana.
2.16 There is no Real Substance in the impermanent. Non-Being does not exist in the Real Substance. This certainty can only be perceived by those who See with the Imageless Eyes of the Real Substance.
*This is only knowable through the Lankavatarian perspective. For a closer explanation within the Samkhya philosophy from which this verse was by and large originally spawned, the following by Kendra Crossen Burroughs citing Yogananda is helpful:
“That which is not” is the ever-changing Nature (Prakriti); “that which is” is the eternal Spirit (Purusha in the Samkhya philosophy) or Self (Atman in Vedanta). “The ocean can exist without the waves, but the waves cannot manifest without the ocean. The ocean is the real substance, the waves are only temporary changes on the ocean, and therefore ‘unreal’ (in themselves they have no independent existence). The ocean, in essence, does not change whether it is calm or restless with waves; but the waves change their forms—they come and they go. Their essence is change, and therefore unreality” (Yogananda).[Burroughs, Kendra Crossen (2011-05-10). Bhagavad Gita: Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations) (Kindle Locations 1577-1582). Jewish Lights Publishing. Kindle Edition.]
2.17 The Unborn Spirit is all-pervading and is indestructible.
The imageless Unborn Spirit is all-encompassing in Its Changeless Stature. It was never born and will never die, hence It Is Indestructible.
2.18 Recollect that the skandhic body consciousness and its sheath of bones and sinews is destructible; yet the Embodied Self that animates this mortal carcass shall always endure; so fight the good fight, the right-fight, Arjuna!
2.19 Anyone who imagines that the Spirit (embodied Self) kills or can be killed suffers from avidya. Hence the True Self is immune from the desire to kill or the fear of being killed.
2.20 Never born, the Self will never die. Nor will Its imageless actuosity ever cease from functioning. Unborn, Uncreate and Ever-Enduring, the Primordial-Self-Same-Animating Mind will never perish once the mortal carcass rots-away.
2.21 Arjuna, when you awaken and Recollect your Immortal Self, That imperishable Unborn Spirit-Mind, just who is it in your mind that is doing any slaying or who can be slayed?
The uncreated Selfhood does not move. It cannot uncreate, nor, since it is birthless, be uncreated.
2.22 Like discarding a worn-out set of clothing, just so does the Spirit, like a moth emerging from its rotting cocoon, abandon the suit of one’s mortal carcass.
2.23 No created-thing affects the Self. No-weapon is able to pierce-it. Fire cannot scorch it, water cannot dampen nor submerge it, and the blowing wind cannot ravage it.
2.24 Hence, It cannot be pierced, burned, moistened or withered. IT is Eternal, Unmoving; and fantastically primeval.
2.25 It is Unmanifested, Immutable and Inconceivable. Knowing now the Spirit-Self As Such, what more have you to tremble about?
2.26 The Divine Atman (Self) never enters the unhallowed canals of birth and death. Even if your body-consciousness imagines it not to be so, does your Actual-Self even care about this unwholesome thought?
2.27 Whatever is born will surely die; whatever dies will surely be reborn. Never mourn this inevitability.
2.28 There are always beginnings and endings, and in the middle only intervening material formations. Why express grief for these inevitable consequences?
2.29 Those who attempt to know the Self devoid of the Self-realization of Noble Wisdom, can only speak “about it” given their own limited perceptions and frames of reference.
2.30 The seed of Self-nature is imbedded within all sentient beings. It’s Unborn Nature is Indestructible. Do not grieve for the temple that houses the Immortal Spirit.