एवमेव खलु सोम्य विद्धीति होवाच जीवापेतं वाव किलेदं म्रियते न जीवो म्रियते इति स य एषोऽणिमैतदात्म्यमिदं सर्वं तत्सत्यं स आत्मा तत्त्वमसि श्वेतकेतो इति भूय एव मा भगवान्विज्ञापयत्विति तथा सोम्येति होवाच ॥ ६.११.३ ॥
॥ इति एकादशः खण्डः ॥
evameva khalu somya viddhīti hovāca jīvāpetaṃ vāva kiledaṃ mriyate na jīvo mriyate iti sa ya eṣo’ṇimaitadātmyamidaṃ sarvaṃ tatsatyaṃ sa ātmā tattvamasi śvetaketo iti bhūya eva mā bhagavānvijñāpayatviti tathā somyeti hovāca || 6.11.3 ||
|| iti ekādaśaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||
3. The father said; ‘O Somya, know this: When the self leaves the body, the body surely dies. The self, however, never dies. That which is the subtlest of all is the Self of all this. It is the Truth. It is the Self. That thou art, O Śvetaketu.’ [Śvetaketu then said,] ‘Sir, please explain this to me again.’ ‘Yes, Somya, I will explain it again,’ replied his father.
Evam eva khalu, like this; somya, O Somya; viddhi, know; iti ha uvāca, he said; jīva-apetam, deserted by the self; idam, this [body]; vāva kila mriyate, is truly dead; jīvaḥ na mriyate, the self never dies; saḥ yaḥ, that which; eṣaḥ, this; aṇimā, the subtlest of all; idam sarvam aitadātmyam, the Self of all this; tat satyam, that is the Truth; saḥ ātmā, that is the Self; tat, that; tvam, you; asi, are; śvetaketo iti, O Śvetaketu; bhagavān, sir; bhūyaḥ eva, again; mā, to me; vijñāpayatu iti, will you please explain; tathā, so be it; somya iti, O Somya; ha uvāca, he [the father] said. Iti ekādaśaḥ khaṇḍaḥ, here ends the eleventh section.
The self is immortal. It is the body that dies, and it dies when the self leaves it.
Suppose you go to sleep leaving some of your work incomplete. As soon as you wake up, you remember that it was not finished, and you immediately start doing the work from where you left off. Your sleep was like the death of your body, for it was inactive and you were totally unconscious of your body. But the self never dies, and that is why when you wake up you remember your work is unfinished. Whether you are awake or asleep, you are the same self. The self never changes.
You may have seen how a new-born kitten behaves. It knows where to get its mother’s milk. No one teaches it, but how does it know? It knows from its past life.
Some of the scriptures say to perform sacrifices such as the Agnihotra. They say we will be duly rewarded for this. But we are asked to perform them to the last day of our life. If we perform them till we die, when are we going to get the reward? Obviously in our future life. The individual is born again and again to receive rewards and punishments, but the real Self remains the same.