Brahma Sutras – According to Shankara 2-3-10

Topic 10 - Birth and death are primarily spoken of the body, and metaphorically of the soul

Sutra 2,3.16

चराचरव्यपाश्रयस्तु स्यात् तद्व्यपदेशो भाक्तः,
तद्भावभावित्वात्  ॥ १६ ॥

carācaravyapāśrayastu syāt tadvyapadeśo bhāktaḥ,
tadbhāvabhāvitvāt || 16 ||

carācaravyapāśrayaḥ—Depending on (the bodies) of moving and stationary beings; tu—but; syāt—may be; tadvyapadeśaḥ—mention of that; bhāktaḥ—secondary; tadbhāva-bhāvitvāt—on account of (those terms) depending on the existence of that;

16. But the mention of that (i.e. birth and death of the individual soul) is apt only with reference to (the bodies) of moving and stationary beings. (With reference to the soul, however,) it is secondary, on account of (those terms) depending on the existence of that (i.e. body).

A doubt may arise that the individual soul, too, has birth and death, because people use such expressions as “Devadatta is born” or “Devadatta is dead”, and because certain ceremonies are prescribed by the scriptures at the birth and death of people.

This Sutra refutes such a doubt and says that the individual soul has neither birth nor death.

These belong not to the soul, but to the body with which the soul is connected. This connection and disconnection with the body is popularly called the birth and death of the soul.

Moreover, the Śruti says, “It is the body, which bereft of the soul, dies; the soul does not die” (Chh. 6. 11. 8). So birth and death are spoken primarily of the bodies of moving and stationary beings, and only metaphorically of the soul.

That birth and death mean, respectively the connection and disconnection of the soul with the body is proved by such texts as “That man, when he is born, or attains a body,” etc. (Brih. 4. 3. 8).