नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः।
न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः।।2.23।।
2.23 Weapons do not cut It, fire does not burn It, water does not moisten It, and air does not dry It.
2.23 Weapons cut It not, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not.
2.23. Weapons do not cut This; fire does not burn This; water does not (make) This wet; and the wind does not make This dry.
2.23 न not? एनम् this (Self)? छिन्दन्ति cut? शस्त्राणि weapons? न not? एनम् this? दहति burns? पावकः fire? न not?,च and? एनम् this? क्लेदयन्ति wet? आपः waters? न not? शोषयति dries? मारुतः wind.Commentary The Self is indivisible. It has no parts. It is extremely subtle. It is infinite. Therefore? sword cannot cut It fire cannot burn It water cannot wet It wind cannot dry It.
2.23 Why does It verily remain unchanged? This is being answered in, Weapons do not cut It, etc. Sastrani, weapons; na, do not; chindanti, cut; enam, It, the embodied one under discussion. It being partless, weapons like sword etc. do not cut off Its limbs. So also, even pavakah, fire; na dahati enam, does not burn, does not reduce It to ashes. Ca, and similarly; apah, water; na enam kledayanti, does not moisten It. For water has the power of disintegrating a substance that has parts, by the process of moistening it. That is not possible in the case of the partless Self. Similarly, air destroys an oil substance by drying up the oil. Even marutah, air; na sosayati, does not dry; (enam, It,) ones own Self. [Ast. reads enam tu atmanam, but this Self, in place of enam svatmanam.-Tr.]
2.23 See Comment under 2.25
2.23 - 2.24 Weapons, fire, water and air are incapable of cleaving, burning, wetting and drying the self; for, the nature of the self is to pervade all elements; It is present everywhere; for, It is subtler than all the elements; It is not capable of being pervaded by them; and cleaving, burning, wetting and drying are actions which can take place only by pervading a substance. Therefore the self is eternal. It is stable, immovable and primeval. The meaning is that It is unchanging, unshakable and ancient.
Also, it is not possible to injure the soul at all by the weapons used by you in the battle. That is explained in this verse. Weapons such as swords cannot cut it. The fire weapon cannot burn it. The rain weapon cannot wet it, nor can the wind weapon dry it out.
The imperishable nature of the eternal soul is being explicitly proven by showing the impossibility of any means to slay it by these examples in answer to the previous statement of how can the eternal soul be slain in any way?
In the normal course of events in the material existence although there is no destruction there may appear that some being is destroyed like in the case of Daksa losing his head due to the wrath of Siva. To avoid misinterpretations in this way the Supreme Lord mentions the fact that the soul can not be pierced in any way. Now begins the summation. As there is no means for the destruction of the Supreme Lord there is also no means of destruction for the immortal soul.
There is no commentary for this verse.
It could be interjected that just as in a burning house the occupants of the house are burned along with it, so also in the case of the soul if the physical body is burnt or cut might not the soul be burnt or cut as well. To annihilate this misconception the Supreme Lord Krishna expains that never can the soul be cut by weapons, never can the soul be burned by fire, never can the soul be moistened by water and never can the soul be withered by air. Although only one use of the word na meaning never would have been sufficient to establish the premise of utter futility in trying to destroy the soul, it is used four times to strengthen the empasis insuring there is not even the slightest vestige of doubt.
Nainam cchindanti shastraani nainam dahati paavakah; Na chainam kledayantyaapo na shoshayati maarutah.
na—not; enam—this soul; chhindanti—shred; śhastrāṇi—weapons; na—nor; enam—this soul; dahati—burns; pāvakaḥ—fire; na—not; cha—and; enam—this soul; kledayanti—moisten; āpaḥ—water; na—nor; śhoṣhayati—dry; mārutaḥ—wind