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. But since it is the Divine Consciousness that has gone into the swoon of Inconscience, it must slowly emerge out of it and in the process create forms, energies, qualities corresponding to the level of consciousness that emerges.
The evolutionary labour
Acting upon this visible Nature’s scheme
It wakens our earth-matter’s heavy doze
To think and feel and to react to joy;
It models in us our diviner parts,
Lifts mortal mind into a greater air,
Makes yearn this life of flesh to intangible aims,
Links the body’s death with immortality’s call:
Out of the swoon of the Inconscience
It labours towards a superconscient Light.
The ladder of consciousness that creates typal worlds during the involutionary process now becomes a force to draw the soul above through evolution. As each layer presses upon the material world, forms emerge to embody this level, such as living and thinking forms to bear the action and powers of the vital and mental worlds. But since the Power that has gone into it is not just the mind but still higher ranges of Consciousness right upto the Supreme, there is a tendency for evolution to continue upwards towards some secret divinity which we cannot yet fully grasp beyond a few glimpses here and there. For a moment the very body built of matter forgets death and yearns for immortality and seeks the superconscient Light it seems to have lost by plunging into matter.
If earth were all
If earth were all and this were not in her,
Thought could not be nor life-delight’s response:
Only material forms could then be her guests
Driven by an inanimate world-force.
Indeed if matter was the sole reality then there is no reason why out of inert unconscious matter why and how living forms and forms with a capacity to feel and think and grow conscious could emerge. Thus we see that evolution is fully consistent with the spiritual view of things. Not only so, it in fact explains it, otherwise evolution remains a freak phenomenon whereby somehow strangely inexplicably new forms with new capacities are emerging out of inert matter.
Earth by this golden superfluity
Bore thinking man and more than man shall bear;
This higher scheme of being is our cause
And holds the key to our ascending fate;
It calls out of our dense mortality
The conscious spirit nursed in Matter’s house.
The hidden levels of consciousness now concealed within matter are bound to emerge with time even though at present all this seems superfluous. Yet the eventual divinisation of our clay and the transmutation of earthly life into a diviner living is not only plausible but is inevitable in the logic of things since what has gone within must one day emerge.
The living symbol of these conscious planes,
Its influences and godheads of the unseen,
Its unthought logic of Reality’s acts
Arisen from the unspoken truth in things,
Have fixed our inner life’s slow-scaled degrees.
In fact all this is already prefigured in some larger divine plan whence these planes and their powers and godheads and energies came into being during the involutionary lapse. Our mind cannot fathom it nor thought surmise, yet this secret truth hidden within nature acts with an inevitability and intuitive certainty manifesting the aspects of the One degree by degree, scale by scale through the evolutionary process.
Paces of the soul’s return
Its steps are paces of the soul’s return
From the deep adventure of material birth,
A ladder of delivering ascent
And rungs that Nature climbs to deity.
The soul in its ascension returns through this ladder resting a awhile at each step or rung or the plane of consciousness only to resume the climb further.
Thus Sri Aurobindo brings in a synthesis of prevalent scientific ideas of material evolution and the ancient Indian idea of the soul’s evolution as it passes through countless forms.