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That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul

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Expressions researched:
"That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul" |"consciousness pervades the entire body" |"pervades the entire body"

Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 1 - 6

BG 2.17, Translation and Purport:

That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.

This verse more clearly explains the real nature of the soul, which is spread all over the body. Anyone can understand what is spread all over the body: it is consciousness. Everyone is conscious of the pains and pleasures of the body in part or as a whole. This spreading of consciousness is limited within one's own body. The pains and pleasures of one body are unknown to another. Therefore, each and every body is the embodiment of an individual soul, and the symptom of the soul's presence is perceived as individual consciousness. This soul is described as one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size. The Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (5.9) confirms this:

śatadhā kalpitasya ca
bhāgo jīvaḥ sa vijñeyaḥ
sa cānantyāya kalpate

"When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul." Similarly the same version is stated:

śatāṁśaḥ sādṛśātmakaḥ
jīvaḥ sūkṣma-svarūpo 'yaṁ
saṅkhyātīto hi cit-kaṇaḥ
(CC Madhya 19.140)

"There are innumerable particles of spiritual atoms, which are measured as one ten-thousandth of the upper portion of the hair."

Therefore, the individual particle of spirit soul is a spiritual atom smaller than the material atoms, and such atoms are innumerable. This very small spiritual spark is the basic principle of the material body, and the influence of such a spiritual spark is spread all over the body as the influence of the active principle of some medicine spreads throughout the body. This current of the spirit soul is felt all over the body as consciousness, and that is the proof of the presence of the soul. Any layman can understand that the material body minus consciousness is a dead body, and this consciousness cannot be revived in the body by any means of material administration. Therefore, consciousness is not due to any amount of material combination, but to the spirit soul. In the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (3.1.9) the measurement of the atomic spirit soul is further explained:

eṣo 'ṇur ātmā cetasā veditavyo
yasmin prāṇaḥ pañcadhā saṁviveśa
prāṇaiś cittaṁ sarvam otaṁ prajānāṁ
yasmin viśuddhe vibhavaty eṣa ātmā

"The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air (prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, samāna and udāna), is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited."

The haṭha-yoga system is meant for controlling the five kinds of air encircling the pure soul by different kinds of sitting postures—not for any material profit, but for liberation of the minute soul from the entanglement of the material atmosphere.

So the constitution of the atomic soul is admitted in all Vedic literatures, and it is also actually felt in the practical experience of any sane man. Only the insane man can think of this atomic soul as all-pervading viṣṇu-tattva.

The influence of the atomic soul can be spread all over a particular body. According to the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, this atomic soul is situated in the heart of every living entity, and because the measurement of the atomic soul is beyond the power of appreciation of the material scientists, some of them assert foolishly that there is no soul. The individual atomic soul is definitely there in the heart along with the Supersoul, and thus all the energies of bodily movement are emanating from this part of the body. The corpuscles which carry the oxygen from the lungs gather energy from the soul. When the soul passes away from this position, the activity of the blood, generating fusion, ceases. Medical science accepts the importance of the red corpuscles, but it cannot ascertain that the source of the energy is the soul. Medical science, however, does admit that the heart is the seat of all energies of the body.

Such atomic particles of the spirit whole are compared to the sunshine molecules. In the sunshine there are innumerable radiant molecules. Similarly, the fragmental parts of the Supreme Lord are atomic sparks of the rays of the Supreme Lord, called by the name prabhā, or superior energy. So whether one follows Vedic knowledge or modern science, one cannot deny the existence of the spirit soul in the body, and the science of the soul is explicitly described in the Bhagavad-gītā by the Personality of Godhead Himself.


SB Canto 4

SB 4.24.40, Purport:

In the Vedas it is said, antar bahiś ca tat sarvaṁ vyāya nārāyaṇaḥ sthitaḥ: "Nārāyaṇa is all-pervading, and He exists both within and without." This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (13.34):

yathā prakāśayaty ekaḥ
kṛtsnaṁ lokam imaṁ raviḥ
kṣetraṁ kṣetrī tathā kṛtsnaṁ
prakāśayati bhārata

"O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so do the living entity and the Supersoul illuminate the entire body by consciousness."

In other words, the consciousness of both the soul and Supersoul is all-pervading; the limited consciousness of the living entity is pervading the entire material body, and the supreme consciousness of the Lord is pervading the entire universe. Because the soul is present within the body, consciousness pervades the entire body; similarly, because the supreme soul, or Kṛṣṇa, is present within this universe, everything is working in order. Mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram: "This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings." (BG 9.10)


Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Lecture on BG 2.17 -- London, August 23, 1973:


avināśi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idaṁ tatam
vināśam avyayasyāsya
na kaścit kartum arhati
(BG 2.17)

"Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul." (Prabhupāda recites verse in Sanskrit)

Now it is very clearly enunciated, the nature of the soul. Any sensible man can understand. This is practical. Formerly, all the verses, they were more or less theoretical: dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā (BG 2.13). This is, it may be taken theoretical. Not theoretically, but actually the fact, but still less intelligent cannot understand that there is a soul within this body. But here it is explained very clearly. Avināśi tu tad viddhi. Tat—that thing which is spread all over the body. Avināśi tu tad viddhi, tad—that, avināśi—imperishable. So what is spread all over the body? Consciousness. That is spread all over the body. Everyone can understand that if I pinch any part of my body or your any part of the body, you feel pain. Or similarly, if you get some other facilities, pleasure, so pains and pleasures are felt so long there is consciousness. Any man can understand. And as soon as the consciousness is not there, sometimes we are made unconsciousness by drugs, by chloroform and other anaesthetic medicine, or by nature, unconscious stage.

There are three stages: jāgarti, svapna, suṣupti. Anyone has got this experience. One stage is that you are awakened, another stage is sleeping, and another stage is unconscious. Jāgarti, svapna and suṣupti, the Sanskrit name. Jāgarti, when you are awakened, our consciousness is very acute, very strong. In sleeping stage, there is consciousness, but it is not so active. And unconscious stage means consciousness is some way or other subdued, not working. Three stages. So death means that unconsciousness for a long period. That is death. Because the soul is eternal. It will be explained. There is no birth and death. So when this body is annihilated, so the soul remains unconscious for a period, seven months for a human being. Seven months unconscious stage within the womb of the mother. After seven months, the consciousness revives. Just like if you have got an experience under chloroform, unconsciousness. The surgical operation takes place, you do not understand, you do not perceive pains and pleasure, but you remains for a certain hours unconscious. Then, gradually, dream comes. Just, from unconsciousness the dream comes. And from dream, you are awakened. As you go down from awakening stage to dream, dream to unconsciousness, similarly, you come up also, from unconsciousness to dream, from dream to awakening conscious stage.

So death means when this body is lost, gross body, the soul remains in the subtle body—intelligence, mind and ego. That subtle body carries him to another body. But those who are not intelligent, they do not understand what is the subtle body, although it is clearly said subtle body means mind, intelligence. You have got mind, intelligence, everyone knows. But these rascals, because they cannot see mind and intelligence, they think that this man is gone, dead. Mind, intelligence, everyone knows that he has got mind. I know you have got your mind, I have got my mind, you have got intelligence, I have got intelligence. But I do not see your intelligence; it is subtle. Just like there is sky, but here is sky in my front, but I do not see. The things, as they become more subtle and subtler, these gross senses cannot experience. Therefore, the soul is so subtle that it is not possible to perceive the presence of soul with these material senses. So these rascals, they simply say, "No, I cannot see soul." How can you see? That is not possible? It is so minute and so subtle that it cannot be seen by this gross eye. Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet.

Philosophy Discussions

Philosophy Discussion on Rene Descartes:

Hayagrīva: There was a lot of conjecture at this time on where the soul is located, and he writes, "It is likewise necessary to know that although the soul is joined to the whole body, there is yet in there a certain part in which it exercises its functions more particularly than in all the others, and that it is usually believed that this part is the brain or possibly the heart."

Prabhupāda: The heart.

Hayagrīva: "The brain because it is within..., because it is with that the organ of sense are connected, and the heart because it is apparently in it that we experience the passions." We... He thought that the soul was in the pineal gland at the base of the brain, because we think with the brain, but that he wasn't certain. He thought, "Well, our passions are in the heart, so maybe it's in the heart."

Prabhupāda: No.

Hayagrīva: "Maybe it's in the brain."

Prabhupāda: Therefore we have to accept God's instruction. He definitely gives the information, īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). Īśvaraḥ means the controller. So the soul is the controller of this body. So He is within the heart; it is already there. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). There are two kinds of īśvaraḥ, controller. One is the ordinary controller, that means the individual living being, and the other is the supreme living being. We get from Vedic information both of them sitting together on this body tree. So both cases, the Supersoul and the individual soul, they are living within the heart. That is the right conclusion.

Hayagrīva: But at the same time the soul pervades the entire body.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam. That portion which is spread all over the body, that is immortal. So this is the illumination or the shining of the soul. That the sun is situated localized in a particular place, that we can see everyday, but his illumination is distributed all over the universe. Similarly, although the soul is situated within the heart, his illumination is spread all over the body. So that is consciousness. So as soon as the soul is out from the heart, which is known as heart failure, when he leaves the heart, then what is the use of this heart? It becomes a lump of matter. Immediately consciousness is absent from the whole body. So it is upon the leaving of the soul this body there is no more consciousness. This is reasoning. Why a second before there was consciousness and after there is no consciousness? If you chopped up the body there will be no protest, there will be no feeling of pain, that "What is that?" This is reasoning, that something is missing. That soul has gone out; therefore the consciousness in the body is absent. That soul is immortal; the consciousness is also immortal. Now the consciousness, by the influence of illusory energy, is engaged in so many material things—consciousness of society, consciousness of nationality, consciousness of this, that, so many. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is educating movement, how the consciousness can be purified to remain only Kṛṣṇa conscious. Then his life is successful.