The Evolutionary Process of Transformation of Life

The integral Yoga is not specifically fixated on the spiritual salvation of an individual, but on the evolutionary urge that is systematically transforming all life on earth, a process within which the individual can participate and obtain the result. It is helpful to view the evolutionary process through the lens of Time. When we look at the creation of the material world, it appeared to have no consciousness other than that of pure Matter. The forces at play were material energies, and it took endless millenia for Matter to be prepared to hold and manifest the next level of consciousness, that of the Life-Force. Once it took hold, this Life-Force was able to radically change the face of the planet, modifying the qualities of Matter along the way. The next phase brought about the development of the mental consciousness and once again, a radical transformation of both Matter and now the Life-Energy took place. The Spiritual Consciousness represents the next transformative phase of this evolution and will, as seen in prior stages, bring about radical transformative changes in Matter, Life and Mind.

The role of the seeker is to consciously align himself with this transformative process, open to the working of the Divine Force that is implementing these changes, and support the changes as they begin to take place. Sri Aurobindo describes this more fully: “All life must be taken up but all life must be transformed; all must become a part, a form, an adequate expression of a spiritual being in the supramental nature. This is the height and crowning movement of a spiritual evolution in the material world, and as the change from the vital animal to mental man made life another thing altogether in basic consciousness, scope, significance, so this change from the materialised mental being to the spiritual and supramental being using but not dominated by Matter must take up life and make it another thing altogether than the flawed, imperfect, limited human, quite other in its basic consciousness, scope, significance.”

“A divine Force is at work and will choose at each moment what has to be done or has not to be done, what has to be momentarily or permanently taken up, momentarily or permanently abandoned. For provided we do not substitute for that our desire or our ego, and to that end the soul must be always awake, always on guard, alive to the divine guidance, resistant to the undivine misleading from within or without us, that Force is sufficient and alone competent and she will lead us to the fulfilment along ways and by means too large, too inward, too complex for the mind to follow, much less to dictate. It is an arduous and difficult and dangerous way, but there is none other.”

We have seen the inability of the mental consciousness to solve any of the myriad issues or problems of life and harmony. We can recognize that the complexity of the world goes far beyond the realm of what can be grasped by Mind. Thus, Sri Aurobindo’s solution, the transformative effect of the spiritual consciousness descending into the world and addressing the issues in a comprehensive, global and integrated way, remains the only realistic solution we have found to achieve harmony, peace and balance in the manifested world within which we live and act.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 6, The Ascent of the Sacrifice-2, The Works of Love–The Works of Life, pp. 175-176

8 thoughts on “The Evolutionary Process of Transformation of Life

  1. In transforming human life what will the divine do with bad people? I doubt you’d say get rid of them or punish them. If you say transform them, those willing to undergo that, then would you personally allow the divine to do that if confronted with such a person, and I mean by that be kind to them, treat them as if they are also part of the plan? Would that be a transformation simply from bad to good, or would it be one that harmonizes what it can of the bad (throwing out what can’t be), a process that integrates rather than denies, one based on oneness and not morality?

    You speak in broad philosophical terms about the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, but you don’t show these things applied, brought down to earth in your own personal sadhana. You do, however, write very well, seem to know your material, have created a blog simple but possessing a sparse elegance, free of hokey religious sentimentality, and so you must be quite serious about your sadhana. We as sadhaks will always look to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as our teachers above all others, but at what point will the yoga not only be about them but also about their teachings applied, about the supramental transformation itself? Did they come to give a splendid name or to bring down supermind? That’s not an important question now, but I gather in time in the yoga it will be.

    • thanks for writing. the specific purpose of this blog is to systematically explore, page by page, the writings of Sri Aurobindo. the application of the principles and the teachings is of course for each individual to undertake. since we are studying this material systematically, the specifics of results and applications must be left to the right place and time in the texts where these issues are addressed, as well as to the insight and experience of those who are undertaking the sadhana over time. with respect to “bad people”, the process does not imply elimination of people. that is a mental concept. over time as circumstances change, and as the texture of consciousness on the planet undergoes a change, the responses of people to their environment naturally change, just as the development of the mental consciousness did not, in and of itself, do away with the forms and beings that represented the consciousness of the Life-Force or the world of Matter.

      • I looked for an About that would say that, but you don’t have one and understood “Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga” to be broad enough to include my criticism. Knowing that this blog is “to systematically explore, page by page, the writings of Sri Aurobindo”, my criticism wouldn’t apply. Maybe by reading more posts than what I read before I commented I might’ve gotten that on my own. I had a motto when I was younger that isn’t half bad: I can always do better and things can always be worse.

        Still, though, you haven’t answered a single question I asked, or only answered in broad philosophical terms, but maybe you don’t understand what I asked. For example, I don’t say people will be eliminated but say I didn’t think you’d believe they should, that you would believe they could be transformed, asking how you’d respond to a bad person undergoing such a transformation. with self-righteousness or sincerity, which is one of those questions that, in my experience, hits in the quick of things whether you get a true answer or not, morality being what most of us use as a measuring stick even if we think we use oneness. I then ask about the dynamics of how that transformation would look like in an individual’s life, not over the long haul of millennia, it’s characteristics features, another question that goes beyond the textbook and makes it personal.

        You can forget those questions, though, if you want. Just answer this one: at what point will the yoga not only be about them and what they wrote or said but also about their teachings applied, about the supramental transformation itself?

      • the systematic study allows each individual to gain new insight and opportunity to apply the teaching in a more and more comprehensive way in their own lives. the integral yoga does not have a fixed method that can be applied to all people; but rather, depends on the individual opening to the consciousness that is descending and applying the methodology of aspiration, rejection and surrender to the process that takes place internally. As that occurs, the individual begins to change in terms of the way he/she understands the life, the interactions of life and the world within which the life occurs, and subtle and even at times not so subtle changes begin to occur. The question of then applying this to society at large is more a question of the increasing pressure of this force on more and more individuals and the sum total of those changes. The yoga is not “theoretical’ but requires each individual to find the application within himself and carry it out sincerely. There are numerous posts over the last few years that look at the characteristics that the individual acquires or the “signs of the liberated man” for instance. We spent a lot of time on this in the study of the Essays on the Gita for instance, which preceded the review of the Synthesis of Yoga. Another text that has a lot of practical information is The Mother which was even earlier than the Essays on the Gita review. The point of the study is that the information has been systematically developed in detail, but most of us tend to either miss a lot of this information or are not really aware of what is contained in depth in these texts to help us implement the sadhana. So the idea of going page by page and highlighting the main points seemed to be a reasonable approach. What each individual actually does with this is of course, up to them. We find however that this type of systematic study and turning of the mind towards these subjects, and the aspiration that awakens as a result and gets fired up by continued focus, is itself a power of change for the individual.

  2. as an addendum to the above reply, this is not about “morality” or passing judgment on any individual. each soul needs to confront its issues in its own time and in its own way. the transformation which Sri Aurobindo writes about is not something that gets imposed on individuals from outside, but something that grows up from within through a culturing of consciousness, which develops as a combined action of the aspiration from within meeting the response from above. This is not a matter of some kind of moral law or rule, and comes as an inner awakening and awareness as time goes on. the NEXT chapter we are studying starting tomorrow is Standards of Conduct and Spiritual Freedom and it may be that in that chapter some of your questions will begin to be addressed.

    • I just heard in a film about the Welsh poet Dylan Tomas: “don’t open a book open a window.” That of course is only a partial truth, since the written word gives us so very much, especially when it’s the word itself, but it makes a valid point if that window is the inner consciousness. The Gita says, and pardon my paraphrase: “who needs a well in a flood.” Both the Mother and Sri Aurobindo place more value on personal inner experience than upon learning from books, even theirs, but of course at the same time they would have us follow their teachings. My questions have to do with where you are in that regard, someone however indirectly giving lessons on the integral yoga. You’ve answered that, and so I won’t continue with this line of questioning, but I will say that you’ve assumed a lot about me and haven’t even gone to the link I gave you (unless there’s something wrong with the stats on my blog). It’s not a blog specifically about the yoga though. I do have a blog ‘for the yoga’, and it might be a more apt blog to give you some indication of what I mean.

      • i have tried not to assume anything at all about you, but to respond from my perspective on what this current blog is about. i undertook this study so as to deepen my own insight and understanding and am not trying to teach anyone about anything. people have indicated they find benefit in following the page by page approach that i am pursuing and that is fine with me as it is not “about me” or “for me” in that sense. I agree fully with you that the inner experience is paramount. The turning of the mind in the right direction can assist in that process and certainly helps when it comes to the implementations that the mind needs to assist with. i have not had the opportunity to go to your link as of yet.

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