Life Stretches Itself upon Earth, pp. 157-158

Opening Remarks
Life has emerged upon earth; it is born out of matter’s womb so to say. Now it must set about its task of expansion and growth.

A godhead woke
A godhead woke but lay with dreaming limbs;
Her house refused to open its sealed doors.

In a remarkable poetic image Sri Aurobindo describes the first stage of life upon earth. It is beginning to stir in its sleep even as its hour of waking up is near at hand. However matter is still unwilling to open its doors to the emergence and expansion of life.

Our eyes that only see the form
Insentient to our eyes that only see
The form, the act and not the imprisoned God,
Life hid in her pulse occult of growth and power
A consciousness with mute stifled beats of sense,
A mind suppressed that knew not yet of thought,
An inert spirit that could only be.

What escapes our vision is much more important than what we see. We see only the surfaces of form but are unaware of what is stirring in its depths. We are unaware of the occult impulsions that are seeking to emerge. We are unaware of the consciousness hid in forms that is striving to express itself. We are unaware of a mind struggling to be born. We are unaware of the spirit concealed within the form, tied to its hard and inert shell.

Clung to her roots
At first she raised no voice, no motion dared:
Charged with world-power, instinct with living force,
Only she clung with her roots to the safe earth,
Thrilled dumbly to the shocks of ray and breeze
And put out tendril fingers of desire;
The strength in her yearning for sun and light
Felt not the embrace that made her breathe and live;
Absorbed she dreamed content with beauty and hue.

Initially life remains intimately tied to earth. Its roots are stuck deep within from where it draws nourishment and support. This is the symbol of the plant kingdom. There is no sound nor movement apart from the push of breeze and the secret pull towards light. Yet life in the plant world is not yet conscious enough of the impulsion. It is moved by an instinct unaware of the surrounding consciousness. Its life is a dream of beauty expressing through the tree and flowers.

Forced the reluctant mould
At last the charmed Immensity looked forth:
Astir, vibrant, hungering, she groped for mind;
Then slowly sense quivered and thought peered out;
She forced the reluctant mould to grow aware.

Slowly some kind of an awareness begins to be felt within the living plant that will emerge eventually as the animal and human life.

Brain and nerves
The magic was chiselled of a conscious form;
Its tranced vibrations rhythmed a quick response,
And luminous stirrings prompted brain and nerve,
Awoke in Matter spirit’s identity
And in a body lit the miracle
Of the heart’s love and the soul’s witness gaze.

This pressure of a growing consciousness began to shape the brain and nerves as instruments of its expression. The living beings, until now dreaming and asleep in a state of charm began to think and love and seek in a form growing slowly conscious of the world’s impacts.

Closing Remarks
Thus we see the transition from the plant to the animal kingdom with matter as a base and consciousness as the primary cause.

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