Evolutionary Rebirth and the Meaning of Life

Sri Aurobindo’s guiding principle in his review of rebirth is to ensure that he answers the major issues and questions that revolve around both the process and the significance. This implies that we recognize the reality and purpose of the material universe and not simply try to dismiss it as an illusion or something that must be escaped from.

One of the greatest obstacles to finding a suitable solution is our tendency to remain fixated on the world as we see it today and to extrapolate both backwards and forwards in a static, rather than a dynamic, manner. Thus, we believe the current status of life and conscious awareness will continue as it is into the future and we have a hard time recognizing or visualizing a future that is greater than and significantly different than what we see as our opportunities and limits today.

Sri Aurobindo’s vision moves us out of these restrictions: “But what if rebirth were in truth no long dragging chain, but rather at first a ladder of the soul’s ascension and at last a succession of mighty spiritual opportunities? It will be so if the infinite existence is not what it seems to the logical intellect, an abstract entity, but what it is to intuition and in deeper soul experience, a conscious spiritual Reality, and that Reality as real here as in any far off absolute Superconscience. For then universal Nature would be no longer a mechanism with no secret but its own inconscient mechanics and no intention but the mere recurrent working; it would be the conscient energy of the universal Spirit hidden in the greatness of its processes, mahimanam asya.” And the soul ascending from the sleep of matter through plant and animal life to the human degree of the power of life and there battling with ignorance and limit to take possession of its royal and infinite kingdom would be the mediator appointed to unfold in Nature the spirit who is hidden in her subtleties and her vastnesses. That is the significance of life and the world which the idea of evolutionary rebirth opens to us; life becomes at once a progressive ascending series for the unfolding of the Spirit. It acquires a supreme significance: the way of the Spirit in its power is justified, no longer a foolish and empty dream, an eternal delirium, great mechanical toil or termless futility, but the sum of works of a large spiritual Will and Wisdom: the human soul and the cosmic spirit look into each other’s eyes with a noble and divine meaning.”

Sri Aurobindo,

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