Where do life and mind come from in the material world? How does inanimate Matter become the basis out of which life evolves? Western science, at a loss as to this process, simply has speculated that given enough time, the chemical/electrical interaction of material forces will spawn life and eventually, through random chance, bring about the advancements of the mind and intellect that we observe in the world today. All of this, however, begs the question about the constitution of Matter itself, its internal mathematical precision and laws of functioning, and the intelligence that creates and organises it.

Sri Aurobindo’s solution was to point out that nothing can evolve that has not been already involved, and thus, the consciousness that creates Matter has also involved the principles of Life and Mind into the material substance so that eventually they could manifest, as the tree grows from the embedded principles packed into the genetic makeup in the seed. This presupposes that there is a mental world or plane, and a vital world or plane where the native action of those principles is functioning in its own right.

Research and experience by scientists, yogism mystics and researchers in the field of consciousness support these conclusions. Many have reported the experience of other realms or worlds that operate on principles other than the limitations imposed in the material world. Sometimes in dream there may come an experience of a vital world. Some scientists report going into a different space of consciousness, unlinked from their physical bodies, bringing back with them new insights that lead to progress in their field of advancement. C.G. Jung’s work studying the “collective unconscious” also indicates an independent repository of shared experience that obviously falls outside the realm of the individual expressions of life and mind that we ordinarily treat as our reality.

Scientific progress in the field of quantum physics yields results, such as what is called quantum entanglement, that defy the logic of the material world’s boundaries and take us into realms of consciousness operating independently of the physical substance of the material world.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “There is a vital plane (self-existent) above the material universe which we see; there is a mental plane (self-existent) above the vital and material. These three together, — mental, vital, physical, — are called the triple universe of the lower hemisphere. They have been established in the earth-consciousness by evolution — but they exist in themselves before the evolution, above the earth-consciousness and the material plane to which the earth belongs.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Planes of Consciousness and Parts of the Being, pp. 51-56

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying the writings of Sri Aurobindo since 1971 and writes a daily blog post at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com focused on this work. He is author of 16 books on the subject and is editor in chief at Lotus Press. He is president of the Institute for Wholistic Education, a non profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.