While we have a basis in the material substance as a starting point for the evolution, Sri Aurobindo points out that a material Inconscience cannot, based on its inherent nature, evolve consciousness; therefore, there must be an energy and consciousness that is primary and which precedes the development of material Nature. That energy and consciousness must involve itself in the substance of Matter; otherwise it could not evolve out of something totally “other” than itself.
“There must be, therefore, since Mind and Life also are not taht, a secret Consciousness greater than Life-Consciousness or Mind-Consciousness, an Energy more essential than the material Energy. Since it is greater than Mind, it must be a supramental Consciousness-Force; since it is a power of essential substance other than Matter, it must be the power of that which is the supreme essence and substance of all things, a power of the Spirit.”
While the powers of Mind and Life have their own action on Matter, and act to modify and transform it, these powers are limited and incomplete in their action. “If there is to be an entire transformation, it can only be by the full emergence of the law of the Spirit; its power of Supermind or gnosis must have entered into Matter and it must evolve in Matter. It must change the mental into the supramental being, make the inconscient in us conscious, spiritualise our material substance, erect its law of gnostic consciousness in our whole evolutionary being and nature. This must be the culminating emergence or, at least, that stage in the emergence which first decisively changes the nature of the evolution by transforming its action of Ignorance and its basis of Inconscience.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 18, The Evolutionary Process — Ascent and Integration