Evolution is a two-way process. On the one hand there is an outpouring of higher forces and powers from Above, on the other hand there must be an increasing openness and receptivity below.
The higher Worlds are concealed within matter as states of Consciousness. They are the secret cause of our striving towards perfection and the sudden efflorescence of marvels upon earthly life. To bring the Divine Perfection out in symbols of names and forms is the labour of love undertaken by earth.
Evolution has an antecedent which is described as involution. It is the plunge of the One Infinite Consciousness along with all Its Powers and degrees into the darkness of Inconscience. Then starts the reversal which we call as evolution.
Our gross material world, as also the subtle worlds, are clothes worn by the Spirit who remains hidden within it as in the oyster shell a pearl of great price. Sri Aurobindo now describes this subtle dress worn by the Spirit before it assumes this thick and heavy and obscure cloak we know as our physical body.
Now we see another interesting aspect of the subtle physical matter. It is a resting ground before the divine energies and thought forms enter into our material sheath. The subtle matter is plastic and responsive to the Spirit’s intimations.
It is a world where beauty of form predominates everything else. All other aspects of the Spirit are subordinated to Beauty in figure and form.
The subtle physical world is a junction between the involutionary and the evolutionary world. It wraps around the physical and surrounds it, letting only few things pass through it. In this sense it serves as a protective envelop around the body.
Immediately behind this world of ours, we can discover the world of subtle forms, beautiful and charming. Sometimes it can show up in dreams or trance or even in thought and feelings. But our human organs are not yet trained to catch its murmur and subtle indications.
Behind the veil of our solid outer world and its forms that we see and touch there exists a Kingdom of subtle matter. It is this world that is just behind this material world as we know it, its beings and forces and action, function and influences, that is being described here in this Canto.
Thus we see the broad foundation being laid for us to receive what is revealed to Aswapati, the seer and yogi. From the next Canto until the end of this Book we shall see and share Aswapati’s discoveries regarding these hidden worlds as they climb from Matter through worlds of life and mind towards the Supermind.
In an amazing passage that combines the intuitions of spiritual consciousness and the discoveries of modern Science, Sri Aurobindo reveals to us the process of creation, the weaving of five elements and the soul’s purpose of birth into this enigmatic world.
Sri Aurobindo reveals to us the secret of evolution, the Power that works within it, the direction and the divine intent behind it.
Evolution is neither a freak nor a chance accident that has somehow occurred within the boundaries of Space and Time. In truth, from the deepest spiritual standpoint, as revealed by Sri Aurobindo, it is a progressive manifestation of the One Infinite. Out of nothing only nothing could emerge.
The involution of the One (who is also Infinite) is through successive stages and degrees until there is a complete self-forgetfulness.
We see a comprehensive description of the ladder of consciousness that is one of the secret keys to understanding evolution. This shall be described in detail subsequently.