न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्
नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः |
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ||२-२०||


na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin nāyaṃ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ .
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato.ayaṃ purāṇo na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre ||2-20||



2.20. This is neither born; nor ever dies; nor, having not been at one time, will This come to be again. This is unborn, destructionless, eternal and ancient and is not slain [even] when the body is slain.

Shri Purohit Swami

2.20 It was not born; It will never die, nor once having been, can It cease to be. Unborn, Eternal, Ever-enduring, yet Most Ancient, the Spirit dies not when the body is dead.

Sri Abhinav Gupta

2.20 Na jayate etc. Having not been at one time, This etc. : this Self will come to be, having not been at any time non-existent, but only having been existent. Therefore This is not born, This does not die too. For, having been [at one time], This will never be non-existent [at another time]; but certainly This will be [always] existent.

Sri Ramanuja

2.20 As the self is eternal for the reasons mentioned (above), and hence free from modifications, it is said that all the attributes of the insentient (body) like birth, death etc., never touch the self. In this connection, as the statement, ‘It is never born, It never dies’ is in the present tense, it should be understood that the birth and death which are experienced by all in all bodies, do not touch the self. The statement ‘Having come into being once, It never ceases to be’ means that this self, having emerged at the beginning of a Kalpa (one aeon of manifestation) will not cease to be at the end of the Kalpa (i.e., will emerge again at the beginning of the next Kalpa unless It is liberated). This is the meaning - that birth at the beginning of a Kalpa in bodies such as those of Brahman and others, and death at the end of a Kalpa as stated in the scriptures, do not touch the self. Hence, the selves in all bodies, are unborn, and therefore eternal. It is abiding, not connected, like matter, with invisible modifications taking place. It is primeval; the meaning is that It existed from time immemorial; It is even new i.e., It is capable of being experienced always as fresh. Therefore, when the body is slain the self is not slain.

Sri Shankaracharya

2.20 Na kadacit, neverl; is ayam, this One; jayate, born i.e. the Self has no change in the form of being born to which matter is subject ; va, and ( va is used in the sense of and); na mriyate, It never dies. By this is denied the final change in the form of destruction. The word (na) kadacit), never, is connected with the denial of all kinds of changes thus never, is It born never does It die, and so on. Since ayam, this Self; bhutva, having come to exist, having experienced the process of origination; na, will not; bhuyah, again; abhavita, cease to be thereafter, therefore It does not die. For, in common parlance, that which ceases to exist after coming into being is said to die. From the use of the word va, nor, and na, it is understood that, unlike the body, this Self does not again come into existence after having been non-existent. Therefore It is not born. For, the words, ‘It is born’, are used with regard to something which comes into existence after having been non-existent. The Self is not like this. Therfore It is not born. Since this is so, therefore It is ajah, birthless; and since It does not die, therefore It is nityah, eternal. Although all changes become negated by the denial of the first and the last kinds of changes, still changes occuring in the middle [For the six kinds of changes see note under verse 2.10.-Tr.] should be denied with their own respective terms by which they are implied. Therefore the text says sasvatah, undecaying,. so that all the changes, viz youth etc., which have not been mentioned may become negated. The change in the form of decay is denied by the word sasvata, that which lasts for ever. In Its own nature It does not decay because It is free from parts. And again, since it is without alities, there is no degeneration owing to the decay of any ality. Change in the form of growth, which is opposed to decay, is also denied by the word puranah, ancient. A thing that grows by the addition of some parts is said to increase and is also said to be new. But this Self was fresh even in the past due to Its partlessness. Thus It is puranah, i.e. It does not grow. So also, na hanyate, It is puranah, i.e. It does not grow. So also, na hanyate, It is not killed, It does not get transformed; even when sarire, the body; hanyamane, is killed, transformed. The verb ’to kill’ has to be understood here in the sense of transformation, so that a tautology [This verse has already mentioned ‘death’ in the first line. If the verb han, to kill, is also taken in the sense of killing, then a tautology is unavoidable.-Tr.] may be avoided. In this mantra the six kinds of transformations, the material changes seen in the world, are denied in the Self. The meaning of the sentence is that the Self is devoid of all kinds of changes. Since this is so, therefore ‘both of them do not know’ this is how the present mantra is connected to the earlier mantra.

Swami Adidevananda

2.20 It (the self) is never born; It never dies; having come into being once, It never ceases to be. Unborn, eternal, abiding and primeval, It is not slain when the body is slain.

Swami Gambirananda

2.20 Never is this One born, and never does It die; nor is it that having come to exist, It will again cease to be. This One is birthless, eternal, undecaying, ancient; It is not killed when the body is killed.

Swami Sivananda

2.20 It is not born, nor does It ever die; after having been, It again ceases not to be; unborn, eternal, changeless and ancient, It is not killed when the body is killed.


Swami Sivananda

2.20 न not? जायते is born? म्रियते dies? वा or? कदाचित् at any time? न not? अयम् this (Self)? भूत्वा having been? भविता will be? वा or? न not? भूयः (any) more? अजः unborn? नित्यः eternal? शाश्वतः changeless? अयम् this? पुराणः ancient? न not? हन्यते is killed? हन्यमाने being killed? शरीरे in body.Commentary This Self (Atman) is destitute of the six types of transformation or BhavaVikaras such as birth? existence? growth? transformation? decline and death. As It is indivisible (Akhanda). It does not diminish in size. It neither grows nor does It decline. It is ever the same. Birth and death are for the physical body only. Birth and death cannot touch the immortal? allpervading Self.