Sri Aurobindo's - 'The Life Divine' - The Human Aspiration - Chapter I

Track Running The Human Aspiration - Track 704

We were asking the question: What is the explanation of Evolution? If Life evolve out of Matter and if Mind evolve out of Life and if you ask the question of explanation, not only stating but explaining: why should Life evolve out of Matter and why should Mind evolve out of Life? Then Sri Aurobindo makes two statements. This explanation can be there only in terms of the Vedanta which says two things, namely that not only is the effect in the cause but also that effect itself IS the cause the difference being only of a form.

We read now the sentence of Sri Aurobindo:

"For there seems to be no reason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mind out of living forms, unless we accept the Vedantic solution that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness."

You can see how lucid and straightforward this statement is.

We shall now repeat from the beginning of the paragraph:

"We speak of the evolution of Life in Matter, the evolution of Mind in Matter; but evolution is a word which merely states the phenomenon without explaining it. For there seems to be no reason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mind out of living forms, unless we accept the Vedantic solution that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness."

That is to say basically all this here is consciousness, there is nothing in the world excepting One: Eka eva advitiyam. There is only One. Reality is only One and that reality is Consciousness. And this Consciousness when it is veiled we call Life. This Life when it is veiled we call Matter. It is for this reason that when the veil is taken out, what was there is manifested. When you say that Matter gives rise to Life it means that when the veil of Matter is removed, it manifests itself as Life and when the veil of Life is removed, it manifest itself as Consciousness.

But now, we can ask this question: May be our Mind which is Consciousness is also a veil? If you remove that veil then there will be manifestation of – if Consciousness is the reality – it will be full Consciousness. Our present Mind is a veiled Consciousness, partly veiled, not fully conscious. We need to sleep, we need to go to unconsciousness from time to time, we forget things, we acquire knowledge with a great labour. Therefore, although we are conscious, we don't have that Consciousness. It is still veiled. Therefore it can be argued that out of the Mind a Supermind can be evolved. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo says: "And then there seems to be little objection to a further step in the series and the admission that mental consciousness may itself be only a form and a veil of higher states which are beyond Mind." Therefore, we can predict, that out of Mind will evolve highest states of Consciousness which are beyond Mind. This is the full argument.

We have now, in a brief compass, the statement of the theory of evolution, which simply says, Life evolves out of matter and Mind evolves out of life. Then there is a question of explanation of that fact. And Sri Aurobindo says, that explanation can come about only if we admit that Life is in Matter and that Mind is in Life, and go further, that Life is itself a veiled Consciousness. And as Life is veiled Matter; therefore Matter is a doubly veiled consciousness, you might say. Matter is nothing but what we ourselves become in our sleep. When we go to sleep, then we become almost like Matter – except that Matter does not breathe and we breathe at least during our sleep, but as far Consciousness is concerned we are like a log, therefore we say "I slept like a log", when all Consciousness is withdrawn completely. It is doubly veiled – you don't even remember that you are breathing. And then Sri Aurobindo says, if this is so, then Mind itself may be a veil, a veil of higher level of consciousness. Therefore we can predict that out of Mind will evolve higher levels of consciousness. If this is so, we can now ask, why is it that man is constantly seeking for God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. The answer is that this Mind is a veiled Consciousness and there is an effort to break that veil. Mind is an obstruction and there is inwardly a big Consciousness working behind and that big consciousness wants to break this veil.

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