Spiritual Evolution

Sri Aurobindo continues in his exposition of the meaning and purpose of terrestrial life within the larger framework of the universal creation and the supreme Being. While there are “worlds of a greater consciousness beyond the earth”, the powers that act there manifest and develop themselves here as well, albeit in sometimes limited forms, or in an evolving manner. In fact it is necessary for the individual to experience these higher planes and worlds of consciousness in order to properly understand and evaluate the meaning of earthly life within a more complete context. The underlying principle, however, comes back to the question of the intent of the manifestation. “An integration of this kind would not be possible if a spiritual evolution were not the sense of our birth and terrestrial existence; the evolution of mind, life and spirit in Matter is the sign that this integration, this completed manifestation of a secret self contained in it is its significance. A complete involution of all that the Spirit is and its evolutionary self-unfolding are the double term of our material existence.”

Other worlds of consciousness tend to be “typal” rather than “evolutionary” in that they manifest a specific principle of consciousness in its purity from its own native power of action. These typal worlds therefore are not subject to the kind of pressure of change that occurs in an evolutionary world where these principles have to not only find their own expression, but do so within the framework of expression of other principles. Thus, a world of pure mind would not have the limitations that are placed upon mind in our world where it is subject to the pressures of life and matter, and thus, dramatically and severely curtailed in its native power of action.

The process here is described thus by Sri Aurobindo: “But there is also a possibility of self-expression by self-finding, a deployment which takes the form and goes through the progression of a self-veiling and an adventure of self-recovery; that is the principle of becoming in this universe of which an involution of consciousness and concealment of the spirit in Matter is the first appearance.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 16, The Integral Knowledge and the Aim of Life; Four Theories of Existence


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