We observe the material world around us and as we study that world, we see the development of forms of ever-greater complexity and power of action and intelligence. Charles Darwin described the process of the evolution of forms in his book The Origin of Species. The cause and purpose, however, were never satisfactorily answered. This led to the debate between religion and science, with religion essentially holding that beings were created by God in their present forms and that the idea of evolution of forms was mistaken. Science meanwhile built a complex model showing how forms actually evolved and used skeletal history and carbon-dating as means to document their position. Each side of the debate, however, left out important aspects and thus, no conclusion could be reached.

Sri Aurobindo, taking up and expanding on the guidance provided in the Vedic and Upanishadic texts, described the evolution of forms as the result of the pressure of higher powers of consciousness to manifest in this world. These higher powers had their own native worlds or domains, vital domains, mental domains, spiritual domains, where they acted in their own direct manner. They created the material universe through a process of increasing density of the vibrations they produced until they took on a solid shape, and involved these powers into Matter, later to evolve out systematically while producing new forms capable of holding and expressing their force of consciousness and power of action effectively, thereby marrying the spiritual aspect with the material aspect in an expressive whole. Matter, therefore, is not the starting point, but is actually the result of the action of powers of consciousness acting on the causal plane.

As the higher powers begin to develop in the material forms, they initiate a vibratory pattern that attracts the action of the corresponding force of consciousness from its native domain. This process of ‘aspiration’ brings about the response and the support from these higher powers, and thus, makes the evolutionary process possible.

The world, in Sri Aurobindo’s view, is not a random occurrence developed solely from dead Matter through some unknown process of chemical interactions; rather, it is the expression of consciousness creating, and manifesting, the entire creation for its own purpose according to its own sense.

Sri Aurobindo writes in his epic poem, Savitri: a Legend and a Symbol: “Our earth is a fragment and a residue; Her power is packed with the stuff of greater worlds And steeped in their colour-lustres dimmed by her drowse, An atavism of higher births is hers, Her sleep is stirred by their buried memories Recalling the lost spheres from which they fell. Unsatisfied forces in her bosom move; They are partners of her greater growing fate And her return to immortality.” [Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book II, Canto 1]


“A difficult evolution from below Called a masked intervention from above; Else this great, blind inconscient universe Could never have disclosed its hidden mind, Or even in blinkers worked in beast and man The Intelligence that devised the cosmic scheme. [Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book II, Canto 4]

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch.6 Hidden Worlds and Evolutionary Forces, pg. 134

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast located at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky
He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
Video presentations, interviews and podcast episodes are all available on the YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/@santoshkrinsky871
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at www.aurobindo.net
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press www.lotuspress.com