Man Can Aid the Evolution of the Bodily Forms Needed to Hold the Spiritual Consciousness

As long as the evolution that takes place in the material world remains unconscious, based in the Inconscient, the effort of material Nature is to systematically manifest those forms needed to hold and support the current and the immediate next gradations of consciousness. While this process is supported and in fact based in the pressure of the spiritual evolution, this pressure remains for the most part secret, unseen and subliminal. We therefore view an evolution of outer forms for which we have no real reference nor can see any real significance.

Once the evolution reaches the stage of human consciousness, however, we begin to see what Sri Aurobindo terms a “reversal” where the process begins to become conscious and thereby can be aided by the action of the human consciousness turning itself back upon and working upon the material forms and the life energy.

We can see the efforts being made by the application of human intelligence on changing the nature of Matter and through selective breeding and cross-breeding, changing the capacity both of Matter and of Life to meet the perceived needs of the human development. This conscious effort represents the first time that a species in this evolutionary cycle has been able to add its own conscious awareness and focus to the process that otherwise takes place slowly through the working of Nature.

Just as man is already impacting the development of material forms and life forces, it is also possible for man to aid in the development of spiritual consciousness. “The urge to it is already there and partly effective, though still incompletely understood and accepted by the surface mentality; but one day it may understand, go deeper within itself and discover the means, the secret energy, the intended operation of the Consciousness-Force within which is the hidden reality of what we call Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 23, “Man and the Evolution”

Conscious Evolution Becomes Possible With Human Consciousness

What we see of the evolutionary process in Matter, as well as the plant and animal kingdoms appears to be totally driven by a secret Intelligence operating without the conscious participation in the development of the forms that are being developed and evolved. The development happens to these forms, rather than their consciously choosing and developing on their own a new line of development. This all begins to change with the appearance of humanity and our ability to consciously reflect on the development of life, to educate ourselves, to express ourselves in new ways, and to develop new powers and types of intelligent action through our own conscious participation in the process.

“It must be observed that the appearance of human mind and body on the earth marks a crucial step, a decisive change in the course and process of the evolution; it is not merely a continuation of the old lines. Up till this advent of a developed thinking mind in Matter evolution had been effected, not by the self-aware aspiration, intention, will or seeking of the living being, but subconsciously or subliminally by the automatic operation of Nature.”

“But in man the necessary change has been made,–the being has become awake and aware of himself; there has been made manifest in Mind its will to develop, to grow in knowledge, to deepen the inner and widen the outer existence, to increase the capacities of the nature. Man has seen that there can be a higher status of consciousness than his own; the evolutionary oestrus is there in his parts of mind and life, the aspiration to exceed himself is delivered and articulate within him: he has become conscious of a soul, discovered the Self and Spirit. In him, then, the substitution of a conscious for a subconscious evolution has become conceivable and practicable, and it may well be concluded that the aspiration, the urge, the persistent endeavor in him is a sure sign of Nature’s will for a higher way to fulfilment, the emergence of a greater status.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 23, “Man and the Evolution”