The Self is changeless and needs no evolution in Itself. Atma is free from the six types of transformation (vikara) such as birth, existence, growth, transformation, decline and death. It is indivisible and does not diminish in size. It is ever the same. The immutability of the Self (atma) is again stressed by the next verse: Na jayate mriyate va kadaachinnaayam bhoothvaabhavithaa vaa na bhooya: AjO nithya: shaashvathO(a)yam puraaNO na hanyathe hanyamaane shareere 2.20 This (Self) is neither born at any time nor does It die (at anytime). It will neither come to existence (at one time) nor will It disappear again (at another time). This is unborn, eternal and free from decay as well as growth, (It) is not affected when the body is affected. Though atma is intimately connected to the body, whatever happens to the body does not affect the atma. Birth and death are for the physical body only. They cannot touch the immortal all-pervading Self. Thus we conclude that thus atma is Asochya, not a source of sorrow. The meanings of this and the previous verse are borrowed from Upanishads. Kathopanishad 1 .2 .18 says Na jayatharmriyathae vaa vipas(h)chid Naayam kuthas(h)china babhoova kas(h)cid Ajo nithya: s(h)aas(h)vathO(a)yam puraaNa: Na hanyathae hanyamaanaee s(h)areerae This omniscent one does not originate or die. It did not originate from anything. It did not become anything. It is unborn, eternal, decayless and growthless. It is not afflicted when the body is afflicted. Again this only goes to prove that atma is free from modifications and hence “nirvikara”. Then what is the phenomenon of death, we constantly observe all around us? Vasamsi jeerNaani yathaa vihaya Navaani gruhNaathi narO(a)paraaNi Thathaa shareeraaNi vihaaya jeerNani Anyani samyaathi navaani daehi - 2.22 Just as a person gives up worn out clothes and puts on other new ones, so also, this Self gives up worn out bodies and enters into new ones. This oft-quoted stanza of Gita is universally famous. The body-mind complex (and not the Self) throws away the present body (and so its present relationships) and rises to put on again the most appropriate body in the most conducive environment, so that It can exhaust the vasanas. This verse re-educates us with a new vision and a total understanding of the world around it. It is the immutable atma which is behind and beneath life’s total play of change. This is unaffected by anything including death and destruction. We thus gain a new vision into the secret of living. To put in a gist again, the atma pervades all that exists; yet It cannot be destroyed – no one can kill the soul. From the beginning of time, the atma has dwelt in bodies. Though everybody is finite in size, the atma is infinite. Though everybody dies, the atma is immortal. If people think, the atma can commit murder, they are mistaken. If they think that the atma within them can be murdered, they are mistaken. The atma cannot kill or be killed. The atma is not born and does not die. Thus Krishna makes it clear to us that evolution and change are for the mind and intellect and not for the Self. Love, Chithra.