The real struggle of life is not the struggle for survival or competing with other forms but rather, the struggle against the Inconscient resistance that deforms and denies. This is also the root of suffering that life experiences in bird and beast and man.
Wide, unquiet mist
A wide unquiet mist of seeking Space,
A rayless region swallowed in vague swathes,
That seemed, unnamed, unbodied and unhoused,
A swaddled visionless and formless mind,
Asked for a body to translate its soul.
The earliest forms of life are hardly forms but simply chemical bonds formed in matter that somehow become the skeletal frame to support the force of life. They vanish as soon as they are born or live by multiplying themselves endlessly. Science calls these earliest living ‘forms’ as prokaryotes and strands of RNA as the cells that would house and embody the forces of life is yet not formed. Sri Aurobindo with his yogic vision seems to refer to this primal state out of which living forms emerge. He also points out that this early life lives by darkness and who knows, may also be destroyed, diminished in power and scope or even transmuted by Light. It too has an obscure mind that makes some blind ‘choices’ even as an electron seems to make. These blind instincts propel and move it unconsciously through this vague, obscure space between matter and life..
Its prayer denied, it fumbled after thought.
But the Wisdom that works in the heart of creation would not let it happen as by a sudden miracle. It rather prefers the long winding route through a complex evolutionary process with its own share of hazard and adventure in Time and Space. The next step for the ascension of Life is to give birth to Thought. The true spiritual Light is to come later.
Weird and pigmy world
As yet not powered to think, hardly to live,
It opened into a weird and pigmy world
Where this unhappy magic had its source.
But it is not yet empowered to think. Its first steps must be to affirm life over matter. It is a world teeming with tiny life particles that appear and disappear suddenly, a dark weird world where life is an instrument of Death.
The borderland between Life and Matter
On dim confines where Life and Matter meet
He wandered among things half-seen, half-guessed,
Pursued by ungrasped beginnings and lost ends.
It is here, in this strange world where life is born amidst the trance of matter that Aswapati enters with his seer vision. It is a dark uncertain world where life emerges suddenly and vanishes as soon as it is born.
Birth accompanying death
There life was born but died before it could live.
That is to say that the force of life, in its early beginnings, finds it difficult to establish itself in matter. It is almost swallowed up immediately. It dies as soon as it is born so to say.
No solid ground
There was no solid ground, no constant drift;
Only some flame of mindless Will had power.
It is almost like life in a quantum form. A form that could hold it has not yet emerged. The cell has not yet been formed, that first solid vehicle of life. There are some chemical units through which life flows, held together by a blind will to be. It has not yet crystallised as living forms.
Struggle of the Void
Himself was dim to himself, half-felt, obscure,
As if in a struggle of the Void to be.
That is the experience of Aswapati there, in that world of utter obscurity. It is a state on consciousness bordering on the blind Inconscient Void that is somehow struggling to deliver life out of itself.
Shapeless energies and a disordered glow
In strange domains where all was living sense
But mastering thought was not nor cause nor rule,
Only a crude child-heart cried for toys of bliss,
Mind flickered, a disordered infant glow,
And random shapeless energies drove towards form
And took each wisp-fire for a guiding sun.
In its infancy, life has yet to harmonise with matter in which it is born. It must adapt to the conditions of earth. All that the early forms of life are equipped with is a rudimentary sense through which it in contact with the world around it. There is also submerged as it were, an infant mind, a rudimentary mind that is blindly and instinctively driving the energies of life to create forms. But the force of life is very far from its divine origin. What drives it is a dark and limited power seeking for and feeding on sensory pleasures of a rudimentary kind.
This blindfold force could place no thinking step;
Asking for light she followed darkness’ clue.
It is blindfolded with hard matter and is driven by the darkness in its search for light.
This is a vivid description of the early origins of life that emerges from matter. It reveals to us the ground of consciousness in which these early life forms are born, the purpose and ends they serve in the long, complex chain and the nature of life-energy that drives them.