In the 11th sloka, Sri Krishna told Arjuna that Pundits or Learned, never worry about the soul or the body. They know the nature of both – the body is perishable and the soul never dies. They also know that the soul is superior to the body. With this sloka we can say the introductory part of the Gita is over and from the 12th sloka the sermonizing starts. The 12th sloka is:
na tv evaham jatu nasam
na tvam neme janadhipah
na caiva na bhavisyamah
sarve vayam atah param
"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."
Sri Krishna wants to tell that the souls are permanent and everlasting. So He says that neither He was not there in the past, nor Arjuna was not there in the past nor these kings were not there in the past. He is here now, Arjuna is here now and all these kings are here now. Neither Sri Krishna will not be there tomorrow, nor Arjuna will not be there tomorrow, nor all these kings will not be there tomorrow. The words of Sri Krishna appear to be confusing. Instead of saying He is there, He says that it is not that He is not there. Double negative is used to bring home a point. Such use of two negatives gives unambiguousness. For example, in a village, if one asks who was educated there and if the reply was that so and so was educated, it can mean that there were many educated persons in that village and that the so and so also was educated. On the other hand, if the reply was that excepting the so and so, no other was educated, it means that the person in question alone was educated. The latter form of reply gives certainty and emphasizes the fact forcefully. So by saying that not that He was not there in the past, He emphasizes He was there in the past. Similarly, by saying that nor Arjuna was not there in the past, it is meant that Arjuna was there in the past. Similarly about all others. That is, Sri Krishna tells that all of them [Sri Krishna, Arjuna and all those kings and warriors] were there in the past, are there in the present and will be there in the future. In this, Arjuna appears to have no doubt about the present position as it is being felt. Only for the statements regarding the past and future proof was needed. Because the past and future are not perceivable. But Sri Krishna hints that when Arjuna feels he perceives the present, he is thinking of the body that is visible. Whereas, Sri Krishna is referring to the soul or atman. Therefore, Sri Krishna when mentions ‘I’, He is meaning His soul, which was, is and will be there. Similarly Arjuna’s soul was, is and will be there always. Equally true is the statement that all those, the innumerous souls, were, are and will be there always. So Sri Krishna’s words point to Atman only and not to the body, which cannot be told that it was, is and will be there. The body constantly changes and once the soul departs the body, it perishes. As a sort of example, when a person complains of chest pain, people enquire ‘was he taken to the hospital?’ But if unfortunately, the person dies in the hospital, people ask ‘is it [the body] taken to the cremation ground?’ That is suddenly there is a change in the value given to the body can be seen. Earlier people referred to the body as ‘he’ and after death, the same body is referred to as ‘it’. As long as soul is in the body, it is given due respect and after the soul departs, the body is treated like any other inanimate objects. This applies to all we so dearly love. So Sri Krishna refers only to atman and He makes Arjuna to infer that souls are permanent and they reside in various bodies at different times. Sri Krishna employs amazing words in this sloka. He refers to Himself as ‘aham’ or ‘I’. Normally, if we want to explain something by citing an example, the example should be easily understood. If the illustration itself is complicated or abstract, then we will not succeed in explaining. In Srimad Ramayana, at one place Lakshmana says to Sri Rama that just as Sri Sita cannot remain without Sri Rama, Lakshmana also cannot be separated from Him. Why should Lakshmana draw the analogy of Sri Sita? Because, entire world knows that Sri Sita will not remain if separated from Sri Rama and so this example is able to explain Lakshmana’s point that he cannot remain without serving Sri Rama. A well-known fact is used to explain. Here Arjuna is having a wrong concept that soul and body are same. To make him understand that soul is never perishable, He cites His soul as illustration. Because everyone knows that God is always there in the past, present and future. So when He says His soul and Arjuna's soul have the same nature of permanency, Arjuna is able to understand. There is no difference in the everlasting being of all souls, including that of God, though there are other differences between the Soul of God and our souls. Here, He also refers to all these people, which means all in both sides of the battlefield. So Arjuna is driven to understand that jus as his soul is imperishable so also the souls of the Kauravas. Arjuna will then conclude that with his arrows he can only destroy the bodies and not the souls. This way an abstact concept is explained using a well-known fact that Sri Krishna is God and He is everlasting. That is why in Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, at the beginning itself He is named as Bhootha Bavya Bhavath Prabhu. Here bhootha means past, bavya is present and bhavat means future. So He is the Lord [Prabhu] of all those in the past, present and future. Everything in this universe is subject to time or place or appearance. God is the Only One that is not limited by all these. God is beyond all past, present and future. He is omnipresent. And, He cannot be limited to a particular appearance only. We appear only as what we are, and we cannot appear as a third person. Whereas He cannot be comprehended in any particular form only. One more great concept is brought out here. He says, ‘I’, ‘you’ and ‘they’. This brings out that the Soul of God, soul of Arjuna and the souls of all others are all different. That is God, Paramathman is One and He is different from the Jeevatman, which are many. This is called the thatvathraya or the triple entity philosophy, which will be explained later.