A question is raised, whether when we speak of evolution of man, evolution of the spiritual man, evolution of supramental being, is it based upon the findings of Darwin, if so then this theory is very shakable. One day Darwin’s theory maybe proved to be wrong; who knows then this theory also will go away with it. So there is one full chapter Sri Aurobindo has written in The Life Divine called, ‘Man and the Evolution’ in which Sri Aurobindo has discussed all the possible objections against the evolutionary theory and said that the theory of spiritual evolution is not based upon the theory of physical evolution.
Darwin’s theory is a theory of physical evolution, evolution of the physical organs one after the other, so that the physical creatures are able to survive by a process of struggle against the nature. Spiritual theory of evolution is based upon the study of consciousness.
Although in the process of evolution consciousness seems to have arrived much later, but when it does arrive we get the chance of studying that consciousness. And then we discover that behind all process of evolution the basic impelling force was consciousness, because basically consciousness is evolutionary in character. Matter by itself is not evolutionary in character; Life by itself would remain content within its own movement. It is not true to say that every creature has to struggle against nature.
You remember in the beginning we had said that whether nature is hostile to man or not, is a questionable proposition. The very fact that nature itself produces a creature that fact itself shows that nature may not be necessarily hostile to the production of the creature. There is also something like harmony with nature that nature actually supports the creature in the development. By itself we find that various species are satisfied within themselves. What is it that really pushes the real capacity of progressive manifestation is inherent in consciousness?
If you examine the nature of consciousness then merely on the basis of data of consciousness, not on the basis of physical phenomena which have come about, but merely by seeing that consciousness is capable of evolution, even of mutation. A robber can become Valmiki such a mutation of consciousness can take place in the same physical; you don’t need to change the body. In the same body, previously it was robber and now you find that that is gone completely. There a mutation of consciousness has taken place.
It is the capacity of evolution which is inherent in consciousness. So, merely on the basis of the phenomena of consciousness you can establish the whole theory of evolution. You don’t need to support yourself on the theory of physical development. You can then explain even the physical development by a deeper understanding that even behind the development of the brain there was a consciousness behind it, and that is why, when the brain developed, consciousness manifested. Consciousness is actually the driving force and the physical forms are actually gradual developments by means of which consciousness is creating, developing organs in such a way that it can manifest better and better. If you do not know this process inwardly then you may be misled in thinking that it is the physical organs which are producing consciousness. Although the reality is the opposite, take for example, you stand before a steam engine which runs a train and you observe the piston and the emergence of steam. You find that whenever the piston is moving the steam comes out. From outside you might say that steam is the consequence of the movement of the piston, but the real reality is that if there was no steam already, piston itself would not have moved. Steam is a real cause of the movement of piston not that the piston is the cause of the steam. It’s a fact that if merely piston was moving mechanically steam wouldn’t have come out. Even you are seeing the steam coming out because of the fact that steam was really there originally by means of which the piston is moving.
Similarly, it may be that outwardly it may seem that development of physical organs is the cause of consciousness, but really speaking the very development of organs is caused by the consciousness. And in the human being these things now becomes much more evident that even without the development of physical organs the consciousness can evolve further, you don’t need to have a new brain or a new kind of a human body to change Valmiki from a robber into a poet. With the same organs of a robber he was transformed.
So, the evolution of consciousness is independent of the physical. Between the human being as he is now and the spiritual man there are gradation of evolution and all these gradation are effected without the development of any new physical organ. Or else, you might say that it is the consciousness, which can consciously create a new organ not the other way round. The organ producing consciousness can be reversed; consciousness can produce a new organ.
If you want to develop the brain you ask the child to concentrate, which is the process of consciousness. By learning, by concentrating, by widening, the convolutions of the brain also develop, not that the convolutions take place first and then consciousness develops. You develop the powers of the consciousness first and then the organs of the body are affected correspondingly.