2.19 ya Enam vEththi hanthAram

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Chapter 2

<< Chapter 2 verse 18

SlOkam – Original

ya Enam vEththi hanthAram yaS chainam manyathE hatham |
ubhau thau na vijAnIthO nAyam hanthi na hanyathE ||

word-by-word meaning

ya: – one who
Enam – about the AthmA
hanthAram – as that which is killing (through fire etc)
vEththi – knows
ya: cha – and one who
Enam – about the AthmA
hatham – being killed
manyathE – considers
thau ubhau – both of them
na vijAnItha: – lack understanding;
ayam – this fire etc
na hanthi – do not kill.
ayam – this AthmA
na hanyathE (cha) – and does not get killed.

Simple Translation

Both the one who thinks about the AthmA as that which is killing (through fire etc) and the one being killed, lack understanding about the AthmA. This fire etc do not kill AthmA and this AthmA does not get killed.

Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam

Both of them lack understanding, he who thinks this ātmā to be the destroyer and he who thinks it as the destroyed. For (ātmā) neither kills nor is killable.

Whoever fancies that anyone can be an instrument for killing ātmā, and whoever fancies that ātmā is killable by any cause, both of them are short of wisdom. For reasons stated already that ātmā is of eternal character etc., it can never be the cause of destruction; ergo, ātmā can never destroy. The root hanti, to kill, connotes an act which requires ātmā as its object. But the act is expressive of that which causes a separation, viz: separation of ātmā from body’.

The Śāstra-injunctions such as:

‘No creature shall be harmed’.[1. ‘Na himsyād bhūtani.’]

‘No brāhmaṇa shall be killed’[2. ‘Brāhmaṇo na hantavyah.’] etc.

are but expressions indicating that, unlawfully, no separation of ātmās from bodies shall be caused.

>> Chapter 2 verse 20

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