When we gaze backwards into the past steps of evolution on earth, we see a process that has taken many millions (if not billions) of years. If we try to extrapolate developments from this review, we look at endless ages to accomplish the next development of consciousness in the manifestation. Sri Aurobindo, however, points out that the past is not necessarily prologue to the future process, as we have reached a transitional stage in the development that, for the first time, allows a self-aware, conscious participation in the process. The ability of the mind to actively focus the energy of the being in the direction of growth of consciousness and widening of the being is a key differential that can provide the key to a faster evolutionary action.
The ancient sages had a proverb about the development of consciousness, “from darkness to light, and from light to greater light”. Heretofore, evolution has clearly been a process based in darkness and striving, however slowly and with difficulty, into the light. Sri Aurobindo notes that at a certain stage, as we move beyond the limitations of the mental-vital-physical complex, we can shift to a transformation that goes from “light to greater light” and this will obviously allow a much swifter and more direct development.
The ability of the supramental consciousness to see both the greater whole, and the individual role of the parts that participate in that whole, provides a much greater power of action and realisation than anything we have seen in the earthly evolution.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “Evolution, as we see it in this world, is a slow and difficult process and, indeed, needs usually ages to reach abiding results; but this is because it is in its nature an emergence from inconscient beginnings, a start from nescience and a working in the ignorance of natural beings by what seems to be an unconscious force. There can be, on the contrary, an evolution in the light and no longer in the darkness, in which the evolving being is a conscious participant and cooperator, and this is precisely what must take place here. Even in the effort and progress from the Ignorance to Knowledge this must be in part if not wholly the endeavour to be made on the heights of the nature, and it must be wholly that in the final movement towards the spiritual change, realisation, transformation. It must be still more so when there is a transition across the dividing line between the Ignorance and the Knowledge and the evolution is from knowledge to greater knowledge, from consciousness to greater consciousness, from being to greater being. There is then no longer any necessity for the slow pace of the ordinary evolution; there can be rapid conversion, quick transformation after transformation, what would seem to our normal present mind a succession of miracles. An evolution on the supramental levels could well be of that nature; it could be equally, if the being so chose, a more leisurely passage of one supramental state or condition of things to something beyond but still supramental, from level to divine level, a building up of divine gradations, a free growth to the supreme Supermind or beyond it to yet undreamed levels of being, consciousness and Ananda.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, Supermind and the Life Divine, pg. 66