Integral Emergence of Consciousness: The Goal of Evolving Nature

Sri Aurobindo cites the Bhagavad Gita at the beginning of this new chapter: “My supreme Nature has become the living being and this world is upheld by it…all beings have this for their source of birth.”

As we have seen in the prior chapter, there is an involution of the Supreme Consciousness into what is apparently Inconscient in the world of Matter. This is where evolution of consciousness then begins to successively, stage by stage, layer by layer, bring out an unfolding of the higher planes of consciousness to eventually allow for the manifestation of the supreme Existence, Consciousness and Delight of Existence in the manifested universe.

This process takes place successively and we can trace the steps in the internal “inconscient” but precisely organised working of Matter itself, to the development of Life out of Matter, and eventually to the development of the powers of Mind out of Life and Matter.

“Consciousness, involved and non-apparent in Matter, first emerges in the disguise of vital vibrations, animate but subconscient; then, in imperfect formulations of a conscient life, it strives towards self-finding through successive forms of that material substance, forms more and more adapted to its own completer expression. Consciousness in life, throwing off the primal insensibility of a material inanimation and nescience, labours to find itself more and more entirely in the Ignorance which is its first inevitable formulation; but it achieves at first only a primary mental perception and a vital awareness of self and things, a life-perception which in its first forms depends on an internal sensation responsive to the contacts of other life and of Matter.”

“In man the energising Consciousness appears as Mind more clearly aware of itself and things; this is still a partial and limited, not an integral power of itself, but a first conceptive potentiality and promise of integral emergence is visible. That integral emergence is the goal of evolving Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 17, The Progress to Knowledge–God, Man and Nature”

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