अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव च |
नित्य: सर्वगत: स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातन: || 24||
achchhedyo ’yam adāhyo ’yam akledyo ’śhoṣhya eva cha
nityaḥ sarva-gataḥ sthāṇur achalo ’yaṁ sanātanaḥ
achchhedyaḥ—unbreakable; ayam—this soul; adāhyaḥ—incombustible; ayam—this soul; akledyaḥ—cannot be dampened; aśhoṣhyaḥ—cannot be dried; eva—indeed; cha—and; nityaḥ—everlasting; sarva-gataḥ—all-pervading; sthāṇuḥ—unalterable; achalaḥ—immutable; ayam—this soul; sanātanaḥ—primordial
The Atma cannot be cut, cannot be burnt, cannot be wetted, and also cannot be dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, firm, immovable, and ancient.
The five elements can only affect the body because it is composed of the five elements. The Self is not a composition. If it is a composition, it should naturally decompose like the body and die. But the Self is deathless. It is One.
Eternal, all-pervading:- By these two epithets, Atma is declared to be beyond time and place. ‘Nityah’ mean eternal (i.e.) having existence in the past, present and future. ‘Sarvagatah’ means all-pervading i.e. pervading the whole universe entirely. Having entered time and space, the Self remains still above and beyond them. Every object in time is subject to time. There is no object which is not finally destroyed by time. Worlds, stars, constellations, all things seen and known are swallowed up by time. And what is most wonderful is that the Self swallows up time and remains as Self. It is known as `antakantaka’. It is eternal. It is eminence. It shines in all as existence, knowledge, and bliss. Such being the truth, how can anyone commit sin against another. The noble ideal of universal love is the logical corollary from this truth that the Self alone exists everywhere, and in all beings. The seeker has thus to eliminate all sin and uncharitable thoughts and feelings against others by the contemplation of the supreme Self as the Lord of the Universe.
Because Atma is all-pervading and universal, there is no question of its moving from one place to another. And so, it is the immoveable (` sthanu’). It is also the ancient (sanatanah). So Sanatana dharma’ would really mean Atma-dharma’. Those who have reached the state of Atma are liberated men, `Jivanmuktahs’ the living-free.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
We would describe the soul in these words: This soul the sword cannot cut, nor the spear pierce; the fire cannot burn nor water melt it; indestructible, omnipresent is this soul. Therefore weep not for it.[Source]
So then the Hindu believes that he is a spirit. Him the sword cannot pierce — him the fire cannot burn — him the water cannot melt — him the air cannot dry. The Hindu believes that every soul is a circle whose circumference is nowhere, but whose centre is located in the body, and that death means the change of this centre from body to body. Nor is the soul bound by the conditions of matter. In its very essence it is free, unbounded, holy, pure, and perfect.[Source]
Again, it follows that because the soul is not made of matter, since it is spiritual, it cannot obey the laws of matter, it cannot be judged by the laws of matter. It is, therefore, unconquerable, birthless, deathless, and changeless. “This Self, weapons cannot pierce, nor fire can burn, water cannot wet, nor air can dry up. Changeless, all-pervading, unmoving, immovable, eternal is this Self of man.” We learn according to the Gita and the Vedanta that this individual Self is also vibhu, and according to Kapila, is omnipresent. Of course there are sects in India which hold that the Self is anu, infinitely small; but what they mean is anu in manifestation; its real nature is vibhu, all-pervading.[Source]
You are all materialists, because you believe that you are the body. If a man gives me a hard punch, I would say I am punched. If he strikes me, I would say I am struck. If I am not the body, why should I say so? It makes no difference if I say I am the spirit. I am the body just now. I have converted myself into matter. That is why I am to renounce the body, to go back to what I really am. I am the spirit — the soul no instrument can pierce, no sword can cut asunder, no fire can burn, no air can dry. Unborn and uncreated, without beginning and without end, deathless, birthless and omnipresent — that is what I am; and all misery comes just because I think this little lump of clay is myself. I am identifying myself with matter and taking all the consequences.[Source]
Let me tell you, strength, strength is what we want. And the first step in getting strength is to uphold the Upanishads, and believe — “I am the Soul”, “Me the sword cannot cut; nor weapons pierce; me the fire cannot burn; me the air cannot dry; I am the Omnipotent, I am the Omniscient.” So repeat these blessed, saving words. Do not say we are weak; we can do anything and everything. What can we not do? Everything can be done by us; we all have the same glorious soul, let us believe in it.[Source]
The masses have been told all over the world that they are not human beings. They have been so frightened for centuries, till they have nearly become animals. Never were they allowed to hear of the Atman. Let them hear of the Atman — that even the lowest of the low have the Atman within, which never dies and never is born — of Him whom the sword cannot pierce, nor the fire burn, nor the air dry — immortal, without beginning or end, the all-pure, omnipotent, and omnipresent Atman! Let them have faith in themselves.[Source]
The god went home, and at last found that he was the Self, beyond all thought, one without birth or death, whom the sword cannot pierce or the fire burn, whom the air cannot dry or the water melt, the beginningless and endless, the immovable, the intangible, the omniscient, the omnipotent Being; that It was neither the body nor the mind, but beyond them all. So he was satisfied; but the poor demon did not get the truth, owing to his fondness for the body.[Source]
Question: What is the nature of Atma?
Answer: It cannot be cut or burnt or wetted, or dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, immovable, and ancient.