अग्निवद्दारुवदचिद्देह: कस्येह संसृति: ॥ ११ ॥
agni-vad dāru-vad acid
dehaḥ kasyeha saṁsṛtiḥ
ātmā — the spirit soul; avyayaḥ — inexhaustible; aguṇaḥ — transcendental to the material modes; śuddhaḥ — pure; svayam-jyotiḥ — self-luminous; anāvṛtaḥ — uncovered; agni-vat — like fire; dāru-vat — like firewood; acit — nonliving; dehaḥ — the material body; kasya — of which; iha — in this world; saṁsṛtiḥ — the experience of material life.
The spirit soul is inexhaustible, transcendental, pure, self-luminous and never covered by anything material. It is like fire. But the nonliving material body, like firewood, is dull and unaware. So in this world, who is it that actually undergoes the experience of material life?
The words anāvṛtaḥ and agni-vat are significant here. Fire can never be covered with darkness because by nature fire is illuminating. Similarly, the spirit soul is svayaṁ-jyotiḥ, or self-luminous, and thus the soul is transcendental — he can never be covered by the darkness of material life. On the other hand, the material body, like firewood, is by nature dull and unilluminated. In itself it does not have any awareness of life. If the soul is transcendental to material life and the body is not even conscious of it, the following question arises: How does our experience of material existence actually take place?