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We are all aware how the gods became immortal after consuming Amrit but I came across another interesting story about how they gained immortality even before drinking the elixir. Shatapatha Brahmana 2.2.2 mentions the following story:

  1. Now the gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, were contending with each other. They were both soulless, for they were mortal, and he who is mortal is soulless. Among these two (classes of beings) who were mortal, Agni alone was immortal; and it was through him, the immortal, that they both lived. Now whichsoever (of the gods) they (the Asuras) slew, he, indeed, was so (slain).

  2. Thereupon the gods were left inferior. They went on praising and practising austerities, hoping that they might be able to overcome their enemies, the mortal Asuras. They beheld this immortal Agnyâdheya (consecrated fire).

  3. They said, 'Come, let us place that immortal element in our innermost soul! When we have placed that immortal element in our innermost soul, and become immortal and unconquerable, we shall overcome our conquerable, mortal enemies.'

  4. They said, 'With both of us is this fire (Agni): let us then treat openly with the Asuras.'

  5. They said, 'We shall set up (or, establish within ourselves, â-dhâ) the two fires,--what will ye do then?'

  6. They replied, 'Then we shall lay it down (ni-dhâ), saying, Eat grass here! eat wood here! cook pap here! cook meat here!' Now that fire, which the Asuras thus laid down, is this same (fire) wherewith men prepare their food.

  7. The gods then established that (fire) in their innermost soul; and having established that immortal element in their innermost soul, and become immortal and unconquerable, they overcame their mortal, conquerable enemies.

Not sure when this incident happened and why did they need to drink the Amrit later. Perhaps they lost their immortality after the curse of Durvasa and it had to be regained through Amrit in the previous Manvantar. But irrespective of that, I want to know which Kalpa or Manvanatar did the gods FIRST become immortal? Are there any details mentioned in any other scriptures?

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    What does the translator translate as "soulless" in the 8th verse? – Surya Oct 4 '18 at 16:59
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    Once again, look who the translator is. A Western Orientalist from the 1880s. Find a good translation by an Indian who knows Sanskrit... – Swami Vishwananda Oct 5 '18 at 4:28
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    @SwamiVishwananda why don't you help with the trans;lation if you have a better one? Anyhow the question is not about the presence or absence of soul it is about immortality through Agni if the other translation helps with that please feel free to share. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Oct 5 '18 at 5:17
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    @Surya not sure but I am more interested in the immortality bit. This incident would imply they were immortal even before having Amrit. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Oct 5 '18 at 5:18

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