An Experiment in Evolution
A distinctive feature of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy of evolution is that it is not speculative; its premises and conclusions are tested on the anvil of experimentation. The animal is a living laboratory in which Nature has, it is said, worked out man. Man himself may well be a thinking and living laboratory in whom and with whose conscious cooperation she wills to work out the superman, the god. Or shall we not say, rather, to manifest God?' Indeed, Sri Aurobindo made an experiment upon his entire integral being, using it as an evolutionary laboratory, so as to evolve and manifest higher and higher grades of consciousness reaching up to the supermind and to supramentalize the human body to the furthest extent possible. Even when he left his body, he assigned the task to his collaborator, whom he called The Mother (1878-1973), to continue the task of the supramentalization and integral transformation.
Sri Aurobindo discovered in the ancient systems of Yoga some of the basic clues for the experiment. He did not, however, find in any one of them the secret that would enable him to eventually bring about the mutation of the human species. He and The Mother, therefore, experimented, day after day, for years and decades, and they developed a synthesis of Yoga and laboured to perfect it.
The practical necessity of this experiment was not merely to advance knowledge; nor was this experiment directed towards seeking any personal gain, gratification or glory. But Sri Aurobindo and The Mother saw that the contemporary human crisis cannot truly be met without the evolutionary saltation or mutation. There are, according to them, only two alternatives before mankind today: either a revolutionary and evolutionary ascent towards the supramental manifestation on the earth or abyss.