nainam chindanti shastraani nainam dahati paavakaha |
na chainam kledayanyaapo na shooshayati maaritaha || 23 ||

acchedyoyamadaahyoyamakledyoshoshya eva cha |
nityaha sarvagataha sthaanurchaloyam sanaatanaha || 24 ||

Weapons cannot pierce this (the eternal essence), fire cannot burn this, water cannot wet this, and wind cannot dry this.

This is uncleavable, incombustible, and cannot be wetted or dried. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, immovable and everlasting.

enam : this (eternal essence)
na chindanti : cannot pierce
shastraani : weapons
na dahati : cannot burn
paavakaha : fire
cha : and
na kledayanti : cannot wet
aapaha : water
na shoshayati : cannot dry
maarutaha : wind

acchedyaha : uncleavable
ayam : this (eternal essence)
adaahyoha : incombustible
akledyo : wetted
shoshya : dried
eva cha : neither can
nityaha : eternal
sarvagataha : all-pervading
sthaanuha : stable
achalaha : immovable
sanaatanaha : eternal

We have been hearing a lot about the eternal essence since the 13th shloka began. By now, it must be clear to us that the topic of the eternal essence is abstract, and our intellect will have difficulty in grasping it. This is perfectly normal, because the eternal essence cannot be fully comprehended by the intellect. But we can get close to it through negation.

What does negation mean? Let’s say you want your friend to buy a shirt for you from the store. You will inform your friend about that the shirt is fuchsia color. If you were to use negation, you would say that the shirt is not regular pink, not dark pink, not fully bright pink etc.

Similarly, the eternal essence here is indicated by negation, that it cannot be cut, cannot be wetted or dried etc.

Shri Krishna will provide us with a few more shlokas about the eternal essence, after which the topic will change to something much more tangible and concrete.

1. The Jnyaneshwari, in the commentary for this shloka, declares that the eternal essence cannot be comprehended by our intellect.