na tv evaham jatu nasam
na tvam neme janadhipah
na caiva na bhavisyamah
sarve vayam atah param
Word for word:
na — never; tu — but; eva — certainly; aham — I; jatu — at any time; na — did not; asam — exist; na — not; tvam — you; na — not; ime — all these; jana-adhipah — kings; na — never; ca — also; eva — certainly; na — not; bhavisyamah — shall exist; sarve vayam — all of us; atah param — hereafter.
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
In the Vedas – in the Katha Upanisad as well as in the Svetasvatara Upanisad – it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the maintainer of innumerable living entities, in terms of their different situations according to individual work and reaction of work. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is also, by His plenary portions, alive in the heart of every living entity. Only saintly persons who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Lord can actually attain to perfect and eternal peace.
nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman
tam atma-stham ye ’nupasyanti dhiras
tesam santih sasvati netaresam
(Katha Upanisad 2.2.13)
The same Vedic truth given to Arjuna is given to all persons in the world who pose themselves as very learned but factually have but a poor fund of knowledge. The Lord says clearly that He Himself, Arjuna and all the kings who are assembled on the battleﬁeld are eternally individual beings and that the Lord is eternally the maintainer of the individual living entities both in their conditioned and in their liberated situations. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme individual person, and Arjuna, the Lord’s eternal associate, and all the kings assembled there are individual eternal persons. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past, and it is not that they will not remain eternal persons. Their individuality existed in the past, and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone.
The Mayavadi theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of maya, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence is not supported herein by Lord Krishna, the supreme authority. Nor is the theory that we only think of individuality in the conditioned state supported herein. Krishna clearly says herein that in the future also the individuality of the Lord and others, as it is conﬁrmed in the Upanisads, will continue eternally. This statement of Krishna’s is authoritative because Krishna cannot be subject to illusion. If individuality were not a fact, then Krishna would not have stressed it so much – even for the future. The Mayavadi may argue that the individuality spoken of by Krishna is not spiritual, but material. Even accepting the argument that the individuality is material, then how can one distinguish Krishna’s individuality? Krishna afﬁrms His individuality in the past and conﬁrms His individuality in the future also. He has conﬁrmed His individuality in many ways, and impersonal Brahman has been declared to be subordinate to Him. Krishna has maintained spiritual individuality all along; if He is accepted as an ordinary conditioned soul in individual consciousness, then His Bhagavad-gita has no value as authoritative scripture. A common man with all the four defects of human frailty is unable to teach that which is worth hearing. The Gita is above such literature. No mundane book compares with the Bhagavad-gita. When one accepts Krishna as an ordinary man, the Gita loses all importance. The Mayavadi argues that the plurality mentioned in this verse is conventional and that it refers to the body. But previous to this verse such a bodily conception is already condemned. After condemning the bodily conception of the living entities, how was it possible for Krishna to place a conventional proposition on the body again? Therefore, individuality is maintained on spiritual grounds and is thus conﬁrmed by great acaryas like Sri Ramanuja and others. It is clearly mentioned in many places in the Gita that this spiritual individuality is understood by those who are devotees of the Lord. Those who are envious of Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no bona ﬁde access to the great literature. The nondevotee’s approach to the teachings of the Gita is something like that of a bee licking on a bottle of honey. One cannot have a taste of honey unless one opens the bottle. Similarly, the mysticism of the Bhagavad-gita can be understood only by devotees, and no one else can taste it, as it is stated in the Fourth Chapter of the book. Nor can the Gita be touched by persons who envy the very existence of the Lord. Therefore, the Mayavadi explanation of the Gita is a most misleading presentation of the whole truth. Lord Caitanya has forbidden us to read commentations made by the Mayavadis and warns that one who takes to such an understanding of the Mayavadi philosophy loses all power to understand the real mystery of the Gita. If individuality refers to the empirical universe, then there is no need of teaching by the Lord. The plurality of the individual soul and the Lord is an eternal fact, and it is conﬁrmed by the Vedas as above mentioned.