वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही।।2.22।।
As after rejecting wornout clothes a man takes up other new ones, likewise after rejecting wornout bodies the embodied one unites with other new ones.
However, let us return to the topic of discussion. The topic is the imperishability of Atman. What exactly it is like?
Just as in world, a person wears new clothes discarding the old wornout ones, this embodied unites with new bodies discarding the old wornout body. The essence is to show that the embodied is immutable (in the context of mutable bodies) just as the persons remains immutable (in the context of mutable clothes).
Why does this embodied remain unchanged? (in next shloka)
The important word here is ’embodied’. It is to be noted that this word is synonymous to the usage of word ‘jiva’ or ‘atman’. This should not be confused with Brahman. Brahman cannot be ’embodied’ because Brahman is both, embodied as well as body. I am reproducing the postscript of Gita 2.19 for better clarity.
It is important to understand the meaning of word atman. It is used in the sense of Brahman as well as in the sense of jiva. Brahman is everything. So Brahman cannot be embodied because body is not different from Brahman so as to have a cognition of embodied. The topic of discussion is dehi=shariri=embodied. This is also known as jiva. Thus, in the current topic of discussion, wherever atman comes, one should not confuse with Brahman. Brahman is the swa-roopa of both atman and the world. Brahman is known through shastra alone. Atman (=jiva) is self-evident. This is beautifully explained by the use of word aham-pratyaya-vishayam for atman. Elsewhere in Brahm Sutra Bhashya too, Shankaracharya refers to pratyagatma (indwelling Self) as asmat-pratya-vishayam. Thus, the following can be said as the conclusion:-
Both world and jiva are non-different from Brahman. But Brahman is different from both of them. Just as pot is not different from clay but clay is different from pot. Just as clay is the swa-roopa of pots, Brahman is the swa-roopa of world. As far as jiva is considered, the apt analogy is that of snake and rope and not of clay-pot.