2.20 na jAyathE mriyathE vA kadhAchin

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Chapter 2

<< Chapter 2 verse 19

SlOkam – Original

na jAyathE mriyathE vA kadhAchin nAyam bhUthvA bhavithA vA na bhUya: |
ajO nithya: SAsvathO ’yam purANO na hanyathE hanyamAnE SarIrE ||

word-by-word meaning

ayam – AthmA (Self)
kadhAchith api – never
na jAyathE – created
na mriyathE vA – destroyed;
ayam – this AthmA
bhUthvA – created (during the beginning of kalpa – brahmA’s day)
bhUya: – again (at the end of the kalpa)
na bhavithA (ithi) na – not that he will be destroyed
ayam – this AthmA
aja: – unborn
nithya: – eternal
SAsvatha: – unchangeable
purANa: – both ancient and ever-fresh
atha: – thus
SarIrE hanyamAnE (ithi) – when the body is destroyed
ayam – this AthmA
na hanyathE – not destroyed

Simple Translation

The AthmA (soul) is never created nor destroyed; this AthmA is not created (during the beginning of kalpa – brahmA’s day) and again (at the end of the kalpa) not that he will be destroyed; he is unborn, eternal, unchangeable, both ancient and ever-fresh; thus when the body is destroyed this AthmA is not destroyed.

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

‘At no time is it (ātmā) born, nor does it die. Having been in the past, it cannot be that it is not going to be in the future. It is birthless (aja), eternal (nitya), constant (śāśvata), and ancient (purāṇa), and is never destroyed though the body be destroyed.’[1. Cf. ‘Na jāyate mriyate vā vipaschin-nāyam kutaschin na babhūva kaschit, ajo nityaś śāśvatoyam purāṇo nahanyate hanyamāne śarīre.’ (Kat. Up. II-18).]

For reasons set forth, the characteristics which are natural to insentient (inert) bodies such as birth, death etc., do not pertain to ātmā, for it has no changes on account of its eternality. The bodily experiences known as birth and death do not affect ātmā, and hence the expressions “it is not born, nor doth it die.” It cannot be said that having been before a kalpa[2. Brahmā’s age.], ātmā is not going to be after a kalpa. Such births and deaths, at beginnings and ends of kalpās, the Āgamās (Scriptures) say, as happening to Prajāpati[3. The Lord of creatures, lit: meaning the four-faced Brahmā who is charged with the minor creations falling within the limits of a single globular system in the infinite kosmos, called brahmānḍa (or Brahmā’s egg).] and others, are with reference to their bodies, but do not affect ātmā.

Ātmā which pervades all bodies is therefore unborn (aja); and therefore it is eternal and constant. These two terms denote that like matter (prakṛiti), even its incessant subtle (or insensible) changes (in the stage before manifestation as the visible kosmos) do not affect ātmā.

Purāṇa (ancient): is etymologically purāpi navah, meaning ‘old, yet new’; meaning that ātmā is such that though ancient or old, it is experiencable (or enjoyable) ever as new.

Hence, though bodies may perish, ātmā can never perish.

>> Chapter 2 verse 21

archived in http://githa.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.