अन्तवन्त इमे देहा नित्यस्योक्ताः शरीरिणः | अनाशिनोऽप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत ||२-१८||
antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ . anāśino.aprameyasya tasmādyudhyasva bhārata ||2-18||
2.18. These physical bodies that have an end and suffer the peculiar destruction, are declared to belong to the eternal embodied Soul, Which is destructionless and imcomprehensible. Therefore fight, O descendent of Bharata !
Shri Purohit Swami
2.18 The material bodies which this Eternal, Indestructible, Immeasurable Spirit inhabits are all finite. Therefore fight, O Valiant Man!
Sri Abhinav Gupta
2.18 Antavantah etc. The bodies, at the time of their attaining the unobservable stage, meet their apparent destruction. This would be impossible if they do not suffer the peculiar destruction, that it to say they undergo changes every moment. For, it has been said-
‘By observing the dilapidated condition of beings at their last moment, the loss of newness is very moment is inferred’
The same has been said by the Sage (Vyasa) also as-
‘In every being, in every moment, there is mutual difference between its tiny parts that have different purposes. But on account of its subtlity, it is not cleary comprehended (MB, Santi., Moksa. Ch. 308, verse 121).
[In theabove passage] having different purposes amounts to say ‘because they perform different acts having their own respective special purposes.;
Now, the bodies have thier end and are ever changing. On the other hand, the Self is destructionless, because It is incomprehensible. Changing nature belongs only to the insentient thing which is comprehensible, but not to what is non-insentient and is exclusively consciousness in nature. Because, it is not possible [for one] to gain an altogether different nature. Thus, the bodies meet permanently their end and hence they cannot be lamented for; the Self ever remains without destruction (or without changing) and hence need not be lamented for. Thus a single krtya-suffix has been employed on both the senses simultaneously by the sage in the expression asocyan.
2.18 The root ‘dih’ means ’to grow.’ Hence these bodies (Dehas) are characterised by complexity. They have an end - their nature is perishablity. For, jugs and such other things which are characterised by complexity are seen to have an end. The bodies of the embodied self, which are made of conglomerated elements, serve the purpose of experiencing the effects of Karmas, as stated in Brh. U. IV. 4.5, ‘Auspicious embodiments are got through good actions.’ Such bodies perish when Karmas are exhausted. Further the self is imperishable. Why? Because it is not measurable. Neither can It be conceived as the object of knowledge, but only as the subject (knower). It will be taught later on: ‘He who knows It is called the knower of the Field by those who know this (13.1).
Besides, the self is not seen to be made up of many (elements). Because in the perception ‘I am the knower’ throughout the body, only something other than the body is understood as possessing an invariable form as the knower. Further, this knower cannot be dismembered and seen in different places as is the case with the body. Therefore the self is eternal, for (1) It is not a complex being of a single form; (2) It is the knowing subject; and (3) It pervades all. On the contrary, the body is perishable, because (1) it is complex; (2) it serves the purpose of experiencing the fruits of Karma by the embodied self; (3) it has a plurality of parts and (4) it can be pervaded. Therefore, as the body is by nature perishable and the self by nature is eternal, both are not objects fit for grief. Hence, bearing with courage the inevitable strike of weapons, sharp or hard, liable to be received by you and others, begin the action called war without being attached to the fruits but for the sake of attaining immortality.
2.18 Ime, these; antavantah, destructible; dehah, bodies as the idea of reality which continues with regard to water in a mirage, etc. gets eliminated when examined with the means of knowledge, and that is its end, so are these bodies and they have an end like bodies etc. in dream and magic ; uktah, are said, by discriminating people; to belong nityasya, to the everlasting; anasinah, the indestructible; aprameyasya, the indeterminable; sarirnah, embodied One, the Self. This is the meaning. The two words ’everlasting’ and ‘indestructible’ are not repetitive, because in common usage everlastingness and destructibility are of two kinds. As for instance, a body which is reduced to ashes and has disappeared is said to have been destoryed. (And) even while existing, when it becomes transfigured by being afflicted with diseases etc. it is said to be ‘destroyed’. [Here the A.A. adds ’tatha dhana-nase-apyevam, similar is the case even with regard to loss of wealth.’-Tr.] That being so, by the two words ’everlasting’ and ‘indestructible’ it is meant that It is not subject to both kinds of distruction. Otherwise, the everlastingness of the Self would be like that of the earth etc. Therefore, in order that this contingency may not arise, it is said, ‘Of the everlasting, indestructible’. Aprameyasya, of the indeterminable, means ‘of that which cannot be determined by such means of knowledge as direct perception etc.’ Objection: Is it not that the Self is determined by the scriptures, and before that through direct perception etc.? Vedantin: No, because the Self is self-evident. For, (only) when the Self stands predetermined as the knower, there is a search for a means of knolwedge by the knower. Indeed, it is not that without first determining oneself as, ‘I am such’, one takes up the task of determining an object of knowledge. For what is called the ‘self’ does not remain unknown to anyone. But the scripture is the final authority [when the Vedic text establishes Brahman as the innermost Self, all the distinctions such as knower, known and the means of knowledge become sublated. Thus it is reasonable that the Vedic text should be the final authority. Besides, its authority is derived from its being faultless in as much as it has not originated from any human being.]: By way of merely negating superimposition of alities that do not belong to the Self, it attains authoritativeness with regard to the Self, but not by virtue of making some unknown thing known. There is an Upanisadic text in support of this: ‘৷৷.the Brahman that is immediate and direct, the Self that is within all’ (Br. 3.4.1). Since the Self is thus eternal and unchanging, tasmat, therefore; yudhyasva, you join the battle, i.e. do not desist from the war. Here there is no injunction to take up war as a duty, because be (Arjuna), though he was determined for war, remains silent as a result of being overpowered by sorrow and delusion. Therefore, all that is being done by the Lord is the removal of the obstruction to his duty. ‘Therefore, join the battle’ is only an approval, not an injunction. The scripture Gita is intended for eradicating sorrow, delusion, etc. which are the cases of the cycle of births and deaths; it is not intended to enjoin action. As evidences of this idea the Lord cites two Vedic verses: [Ka. 1.2.19-20. There are slight verbal differences.-Tr.]
2.18 These bodiesof the Jiva (the embodied self) are said to have an end while the Jiva itself is eternal, indestructible and incomprehensibel. Therefore, fight O Bharata (Arjuna).
2.18 These destructible bodies are said to belong to the everlasting, indestructible, indeterminable, embodied One. Therefore, O descendant of Bharata, join the battle.
2.18 These bodies of the embodied Self, Which is eternal, indestructible and immeasurable, are said to have an end. Therefore fight, O Arjuna.
2.18 अन्तवन्तः having an end? इमे these? देहाः bodies? नित्यस्य of the everlasting? उक्ताः are said? शरीरिणः of the embodied? अनाशिनः of the indestructible? अप्रमेयस्य of the immesaurable? तस्मात् therefore? युध्यस्व fight? भारत O Bharata.Commentary – Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna the nature of the allpervading? immortal Self in a variety of ways and thus induces him to fight by removing his delusion? grief and despondency which are born of ignorance.