न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः |
न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ||२-१२||


na tvevāhaṃ jātu nāsaṃ na tvaṃ neme janādhipāḥ .
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ sarve vayamataḥ param ||2-12||



2.12. Never indeed at any time [in the past] did I not exist, nor you, nor these kings; and never shall we all not exist hereafter.

Shri Purohit Swami

2.12 There was never a time when I was not, nor thou, nor these princes were not; there will never be a time when we shall cease to be.

Sri Abhinav Gupta

2.12 See Comment under 2.13

Sri Ramanuja

2.12 Indeed, I, the Lord of all, who is eternal, was never non-existent, but existed always. It is not that these selves like you, who are subject to My Lordship, did not exist; you have always existed. It is not that ‘all of us’, I and you, shall cease to be ‘in the future’, i.e., beyond the present time; we shall always exist. Even as no doubt can be entertainted that I, the Supreme Self and Lord of all, am eternal, likewise, you (Arjuna and all others) who are embodied selves, also should be considered eternal.

The foregoing implies that the difference between the Lord, the sovereign over all, and the individual selves, as also the differences among the individual selves themselves, are real. This has been declared by the Lord Himself. For, different terms like ‘I’, ‘you’, ’these’, ‘all’ and ‘we’ have been used by the Lord while explaining the truth of eternality in order to remove the misunderstanding of Arjuna who is deluded by ignorance.

[Now follows a refutation of the Upadhi theory of Bhaskara and the Ignorance theory of the Advaitins which deny any ultimate difference between the Lord and the Jivas.]

If we examine (Bhaskara’s) theory of Upadhis (adjuncts), which states that the apparent differences among Jivas are due to adjuncts, it will have to be admitted that mention about differences is out of place when explaining the ultimate truth, because the theory holds that there are no such differences in reality. But that the differences mentioned by the Lord are natural, is taught by the Sruti also: ‘Eternal among eternals, sentient among sentients, the one, who fulfils the desires of the many’ (Sve. U. VI. 13, Ka. U. V. 13).

The meaning of the text is: Among the eternal sentient beings who are countless, He, who is the Supreme Spirit, fulfils the desires of all.’

As regards the theory of the Advaitins that the perception of difference is brought about by ignorance only and is not really real, the Supreme Being - whose vision must be true and who, therefore must have an immediate cognition of the differencelss and immutable and eternal consciousness as constituting the nature of the Atman in all authenticity, and who must thery be always free from all ignorance and its effects - cannot possibly perceive the so-called difference arising from ignornace. It is, therefore, unimaginable that He engages himself in activities such as teaching, which can proceed only from such a perception of differences arising from ignorance.

The argument that the Supreme Being, though possessed of the understanding of nom-duality, can still have the awareness of such difference persisting even after sublation, just as a piece of cloth may have been burnt up and yet continues to have the appearance of cloth, and that such a continuance of the subltated does not cause bondage - such an argument is invalid in the light of another analogy of a similar kind, namely, the perception of the mirage, which, when understood to be what it is, does not make one endeavour to fetch water therefrom. In the same way even if the impression of difference negated by the non-dualistic illumination persists, it cannot impel one to activities such as teaching; for the object to whom the instruction is to be imparted is discovered to be unreal. The idea is that just as the discovery of the non-existence of water in a mirage stops all effort to get water from it, so also when all duality is sublated by illumination, no activity like teaching disciples etc., can take place.

Nor can the Lord be conceived as having been previously ignorant and as attaining knowledge of unity through the scirptures, and as still being subject to the continuation of the stultified experiences. Such a position would stand in contradiction to the Sruti and the Smrti: ‘He, who is all-comprehender’ (Mun. U., 1. 1. 9); all knower and supreme and natural power of varied types are spoken of in Srutis, such as knowledge, strength and action’ (Sve. U. 6. 8); ‘I know, Arjuna, all beings of the past, present and future but no one knows Me,’ etc. (Gita 7. 26).

And again, if the perception of difference and distinction are said to persist even after the unitary Self has been decisively understood, the estion will arise - to whom will the Lord and the succession of teachers of the tradition impart the knowledge in accordance with their understanding? The estion needs an answer. The idea is that knowledge of non-duality and perception of differences cannot co-exist. If it be replied by Advaitins holding the Bimba-Pratibimba (the original and reflections) theory that teachers give instructions to their own reflections in the form of disciples such as Arjuna, it would amount to an absurdity.

For, no one who is not out of his senses would undertake to give any instruction to his own reflections in mediums such as a precious stone, the blade of a sword or a mirror, knowing, as he does, that they are non-different from himself. The theory of the persistence of the sublated is thus impossible to maintain, as the knowledge of the unitary self destroys the beginningless ignorance in which differences falling outside the self are supposed to be rooted. ‘The persistence of the sublated’ does occur in cases such as the vision of the two moons, where the cause of the vision is the result of some real defect in eyesight, nor removable by the right understanding of the singleness of the moon. Even though the perception of the two moons may continue, the sublated cognition is rendered inconseential on the strength of strong contrary evidence. For, it will not lead to any activity appropriate for a real experience.

But in the present context (i.e. the Advaitic), the conception of difference, whose object and cause are admittedly unreal, is cancelled by the knowledge of reality. So the ‘persistence of the sublated’ can in no way happen. Thus, if the Supreme Lord and the present succession of preceptors have attained the understanding of (Non-dual) reality, their perception of difference and work such as teaching proceeding from that perception, are impossible. If, on the other hand, the perception of difference persists because of the continuance of ignorance and its cause, then these teachers are themselves ignorant of the truth, and they will be incapable of teaching the truth.

Further, as the preceptor has attained the knowledge of the unitary self and thery the ignorance concerning Brahman and all the effects of such ignorance are thus annihilated, there is no purpose in instructing the disciple. It it is held that the preceptor and his knowledge are just in the imagination of the disciple, the disciple and his knowledge are similarly the product of the imagination of the preceptor, and as such can not put an end to the ignorance in estion. If it is maintained that the disciple’s knowledge destroys ignorance etc., because it contradicts the antecedent state of non-enlightenment, the same can be asserted of the preceptor’s knowledge. The futility of such teachings is obvious. Enough of these unsound doctrines which have all been refuted.

Sri Shankaracharya

2.12 Why are they not to be grieved for? Because they are eternal. How? Na tu eva, but certainly it is not (a fact); that jatu, at any time; aham, I ; na asam, did not exist; on the contrary, I did exist. The idea is that when the bodies were born or died in the past, I existed eternally. [Here Ast. adds ghatadisu viyadiva, like Space in pot etc.-Tr.] Similarly, na tvam, nor is it that you did not exist; but you surely existed. Ca, and so also; na ime, nor is it that these ; jana-adhipah, rulers of men, did not exist. On the other hand, they did exist. And similarly, na eva, it is surely not that; vayam, we; sarve, all; na bhavisyamah, shall cease to exist; atah param, after this, even after the destruction of this body. On the contrary, we shall exist. The meaning is that even in all the three times (past, present and future) we are eternal in our nature as the Self. The plural number (in we) is used following the diversity of the bodies, but not in the sense of the multiplicity of the Self.

Swami Adidevananda

2.12 There never was a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor any of these kings of men. Nor will there be any time in future when all of us shall cease to be.

Swami Gambirananda

2.12 But certainly (it is) not (a fact) that I did not exist at any time; nor you, nor these rulers of men. And surely it is not that we all shall cease to exist after this.

Swami Sivananda

2.12 Nor at any time indeed was I not, nor thou, nor these rulers of men, nor verily shall we ever cease to be hereafter.


Swami Sivananda

2.12 न not? तु indeed? एव also? अहम् I? जातु at any time? न not? आसम् was? न not? त्वम् thou? न not? इमे these? जनाधिपाः rulers of men? न not? च and? एव also? न not? भविष्यामः shall be? सर्वे all? वयम् we? अतः from this time? परम् after.Commentary – Lord Krishna speaks here of the immortality of the Soul or the imperishable nature of the Self (Atman). The Soul exists in the three periods of time (past? present and future). Man continues to exist even after the death of the physical body. There is life beyond.