निवर्तते तत् पुनरीक्षयैव
न गृह्यते नापि विसृज्य आत्मा ॥ ३३ ॥
ajñānam ātmany aviviktam aṅga
nivartate tat punar īkṣayaiva
na gṛhyate nāpi visṛjya ātmā
pūrvam — previously; gṛhītam — accepted; guṇa — of the modes of nature; karma — by the activities; citram — made varied; ajñānam — the ignorance; ātmani — upon the soul; aviviktam — imposed as identical; aṅga — My dear Uddhava; nivartate — ceases; tat — that; punaḥ — again; īkṣayā — by knowledge; eva — alone; na gṛhyate — is not accepted; na — nor; api — indeed; visṛjya — being rejected; ātmā — the soul.
Material nescience, which expands into many varieties by the activities of the modes of nature, is wrongly accepted by the conditioned soul to be identical with the self. But through the cultivation of spiritual knowledge, My dear Uddhava, this same nescience fades away at the time of liberation. The eternal self, on the other hand, is never assumed and never abandoned.
It is emphasized here that the eternal self is never assumed or imposed as a material designation, nor is it ever abandoned. As explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, the soul is eternally the same and does not undergo transformation. The modes of nature, however, create the gross material body and subtle mind as a result of one’s previous fruitive activities, and these gross and subtle bodies are imposed upon the soul. Thus the living entity can neither assume nor reject the soul, which is an eternal fact. Rather, he should give up the gross ignorance of material consciousness by cultivating spiritual knowledge, as indicated here.