Chapter 2The Eternal Reality of the Soul's ImmortalityVerse 13


Sanskrit Vocal





Commentaries of the Four Authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

as confirmed in the Garga Samhita Canto 10, Chapter 61, Verses 23, 24, 25, 26
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Sridhara Swami's Commentary

It may be argued that although it is certainly true that the Supreme Lord Krishna is not ever subject to birth and death being transcendental to the material manifestation what about the individual living entities who everyday are dying and being born. This is what is being answered in this verse. Even as the embodied living entity in the very same lifetime, possesses different physical bodies during different stages of life such as infancy, youth and old age; but always keeping the consciousness that one is the same individual despite these modifications presented in the form of the body. So it can be understood that on the destruction of the physical body the eternal soul is embodied in another physical body only due to the impressions one has accumulated in their subtle body and that the subtle body is real is observed at the birth of an infant who begins to suck the mothers breast immediately owing to past life impressions. The eternal soul does not perish when the physical body perishes; therefore the spiritually intelligent are not deluded by the birth or destruction of the body knowing that the eternal soul is not subject to birth or death.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

This verse confirms that the soul is distinct from the body but by it being distinct does not make it independent. Only when the physical body is seen changing through infancy, childhood, youth etc. can this separate distinctness be perceived and thus confirmed until the soul giving up its present body acquires a new body and in some rare cases a living entity can recollect their past lives.

The physical body is obviously not what has the experience of childhood, youth, etc as is evidenced when the body is dead. The body is just the container and when the soul has departed. The body has no further identification with the soul leading itself to experience that it is a human being or tiger or worm or whatever physical form it possessed as the case may be. But due to the fact that the soul remains within the physical body during deep sleep similar to the ego centered mind; it is possible to perceive the existence of the soul as an independent consciousness whereas the body is merely like a wooden box.

This is verified by direct experience from the transcendental authority of the Vedas. It cannot be conceived by any mental or intellectual genius because it is beyond the scope of materialism. Nor can the Vedas reflect any vestige of human intellect or human endeavour within them because they come exclusively from the divine revelations of Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa avatara an authorised incarnation of the Supreme Lord confirmed by name in the Vedic scripture known as Srimad Bhagavatam or Bhagavat Purana

Without understanding that there is a transcendental source to the eternal Vedas, the establishment of statements regarding righteousness cannot be applicable for all eternity and if they are not accepted for all time then there would have been no reason for them to exist and they would not have been the basic foundation for the instruction of righteousness. Without the universality of these premises the denial of what is not truth would not have been possible. There would then have been no connection to eternality from any established source. Therefore the principles found in the eternal Vedas constitute what is real. Otherwise without superior guidance from an eternal source nothing in this life can be accepted as absolute evidence. Things that we have heard would have no relevance as they would have nothing to reference it to. Otherwise one would have no thoughts or response to this that you are now reading. It would appear as a figment of the imagination. It would then be a cause of misery unless one was due to self-realisation an exception to this. If activities are judged with reference to righteousness or unrighteousness then facades of being unaware are not valid and intention is automatically exposed.

The transcendental statements found in the Vedas are eternal being established beyond the purview of time, hence the Vedas are self-evident and are to be known as absolute giving perfect knowledge of the Ultimate Truth. By the authority of the Vedas the wise are never deluded. Otherwise why would there be any sorrow thinking that the destruction of the physical body is the destruction of the soul. The soul cannot be destroyed. The soul is eternal thus the statement not that you were not. Not even by the destruction of the physical body. Hence the statement dehinah meaning the soul being the occupier of the deha which is the body. Even with the physical body changing its form as from infancy to childhood to youth etc. or being pitiful on account of old age etc. With the deterioration and demise of the body certainly comes the acceptance of another new body.

Now begins the summation.

The Supreme Lord Krishna to illustrate that there is no possibility of His having a physical body uses the word dehinah as an adjective to describe the plight of all embodied beings by stating: with the transmigration from one body to another. Therefore perceiving it as just a further modification of the body coming after old age there is no justification for sorrow.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary


Bhagavad-Gita: chapter 2, verse 14

The qualities of sound, feeling, colour, taste and smell with their corresponding faculties known as the senses are called matras because they manifest from the basic fundamental elements of water, fire, earth, air and ether. Contact of the senses with these matras cause such physical perceptions of duality as cold and hot, hard and soft, bitter and sweet that are experienced as pleasure or pain.

The use of cold and heat in this verse is symbolised as the summation of all external experiences. The Supreme Lord instructs Arjuna to tolerate them with courage while fulfilling ones duties to completion. As these external experiences come and go they should not be regarded as impediments to discharging one's responsibilities by men of courage.

Also they are anitya or temporary, meaning that for whoever has achieved the termination of their karma as in the case of one who has attained mukti or liberation, the dualities of physical sensations are not able to disturb or distract. Are these experiences of the duality of physical sensations causing the perception of pleasure and pain of any value? It will be discoursed in the next verse.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Because of the traditional conception that a son is born of a father and and that the grandfather died and also due to there being an injunction by the authority of the Vedic books of law that a brahmana remains impure during the ten days following a birth or death in his immeadiate family; how is it possible that one can think of the soul as being birthless and deathless? And if one continues to think of the soul as being born and of dying how can one alleviate their grief when the physical body dies? Can the authority of the Vedic books of law be denied? To clarify such doubts Lord Krishna uses the word dehinah meaning attributed to the embodied soul. It is the embodied soul who occupies the physical body which is the vehicle to experience the consequences of all ones actions. The embodied soul allocated a particular body experiences infancy, childhood, youth and old age, each stage of life which possess its own distinct attributes at different time periods. But although there is a difference in the stages and a difference in the perception of identity there is absolutely no difference in the soul. This is because although the activities one experiences continuously reside in the compartment of the memory and because when one is experiencing these different stages there developes the conception of identifying with the bodily designation in the form of it was I who in a young body played upon a fathers lap and was fed by a mother in infancy and it is I who now in an old body experience various relationships with children and grandchildren in old age. Only the bodily conception has changed the soul remains the same. In the same way that the embodied soul experiences the changing physical body, the embodied soul changes physical bodies at the time of death. There is no difference in the soul during any of these modifications of the physcical body and there is no difference in the soul due to the natural process of receiving another new body. One who is spiritually intelligent realizes that there is no birth or death associated with the soul and is not deluded by the apparent disfunctiong of the physical body even in the death of a son or father.

From this verse up until verse 30 beginning with dehi nityam avadhyo meaning the embodied soul can never be destroyed, the use of the singular is in the collective sense referring to all existing souls and this does not suggest that these embodied soul although of the nature of the Supreme Soul are on the same paltform with. This collectivity of the individual souls referred to is taught by the expert preceptor in the line of disciplic succession that the soul is eternal and never suject in any way to old age and death.

Statements supporting the varieagatedness of attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousnes can be found in almost all of the chapters of Bhagavad-Gita and this variegatedness is supported based on the context by which they are written. Statements such as those of great virtue whose sins have been dissolved, those being freed from the delusion of the dualities, those great souls who possess the divine nature offer exclusive worship to the Supreme Lord, with their minds and lives surrendered to the Supreme Lord, those free from pride and infatuation, those who have conquered the vice of attachment and those whose desires have completely dissapeared, This varieagatedness is delieanated for those whose nescience is completely dissolved, whose doubts have been dispelled by knowledge, whose minds are firmly established in God, whose are righteously engaged in promoting the welfare of all living entities whose sins have been washed away, who are free from lust and anger, who have controlled their minds and who have realised the Ultimate Truth.

If this were not the case then accepting the conception of the oneness of all souls in all bodies would mean that we all would have a singular uniform experience. If we were all one soul then whether one were sleeping, another was waking and another fainting, all would experience the same sensations of pleasure pain simultaneously. Moreover there would be no difference in anyones perception due to the absence of any individuality and perceptions of you are and I am. But it is factually not like this in this world and this can be clearly understood by ones individual consciousness. Therefore it is established that those who propound oneness of the soul in all living entities are mistaken for even in the eternal soul there is also varieagatedness. So regarding death of the soul and other such fallacious arguements those with spiritual intelligence neither lament nor are deluded.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 2, verse 13 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 13

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