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Namah Journal


Evolution Next — IV

Dr. Alok Pandey


Evolution is mostly an unconscious process though it can be a conscious one. There are many forces in the field that are working, — forces that have helped evolution in the past and forces that are drawing the evolutionary curve towards the Future. This is a truth if we accept the Indian idea that evolution is essentially a progressive manifestation of the Divine in Matter. Behind all these forces at play there is the mysterious action of what can best be termed as Grace. In this piece we focus a little more on the action of Grace in the evolutionary process.

If we admit the possibility of conscious evolution in human beings as opposed to an unconscious evolution in animals then it may be worthwhile contemplating what these processes may be. Of course we need to avoid a common mistake when we use the word ‘unconscious’. Thus when it is said that evolution is an unconscious process in the animal, it simply means that the animal is generally not conscious that an evolutionary process is active in him. He is not a conscious collaborator in the process. It is led by a series of seeming accidents and even catastrophes; it is guided by the twists and turns of a seeming random chance. Seeming, because very often we use the words chance and accidents as a mask to hide our ignorance of the deeper and subtler forces that may be at play. There is something at work which we do not know. There are energies and forces and powers concealed behind the surface play of a seeming mechanical Nature that push the evolutionary process from behind, switch on and switch off the vast and complex machinery of Nature, set into motion different loops of Time, arrange events and circumstances on the stage of cosmic Space so that the cosmos moves as a whole towards a far-off destined Event of which our present experience of life and things are a mere shadow. The Power that presides over these multitudinous energies, beings and forces at various levels is the mysterious element in creation called Grace. It usually works from behind, pushing things through a web of cause and effect which we weave in our freedom but which is modified at each moment so that the results, whatever they be, whether to our liking or not, whether pleasant or painful, lead eventually towards the emergence of the Divinity concealed within the heart of creation.

But sometimes this mysterious fiat of Grace that leans over Creation and works from behind the veil of forces steps to the forefront and intervenes in a way that is almost dramatic and miraculous. Events and circumstances take a sudden unexpected turn, situations change fast and we find ourselves as if carried on some strong wings of Love with faith as our compass and surrender as the sole effort. It is only when this intervention is over and we have landed at another shore, that we realise the full import of that moment of Grace. Or perhaps only after we have settled in the new condition for a while that we understand and begin to see that how that moment of crisis was actually a boon to spur us towards where we stand today. It was in fact an evolutionary wicket gate, a narrow and sometimes stifling portal, to squeeze us forcibly out of an impasse in which we were caught like a bird in a cage. And like the bird too, we had begun to feel the cage as our comfort-zone and not a jail which limits us. We had begun to love our limitations. We were hypnotised by circumstances as it were and believed that we are too weak and powerless to change anything. We thought then that our ego-self is all and to live and die for the ego and its extensions and expansions is our sole purpose and Nature’s goal. Later we realise, when the seal of Ignorance is broken, that this was but a jaundiced view of life seen through bandaged eyes and what we felt was our freedom to choose and act was in fact our greatest slavery and servitude.

Grace unseen

But generally the Grace works only from behind the scenes. Even when it works in the forefront it does so by pushing the forces and instruments in such a way that someone not trained to notice may well feel it was the situations that suddenly changed but will hardly feel the Grace that intervened. Grace is not like magic. It has its own logic even when its action seems magical. It does not cancel the web of forces through which creation moves since that would be creating a huge disturbance in the links that bind us all together in a single thread. It simply realigns the forces, readjusts the balance of energies, much like the re-start button of a computer so that blockages to evolution are cleared suddenly and the road for a smooth progress opened up again. Sometimes its action is felt as if the train of life we were travelling in has been changed over and instead of the slow coal or steam engine we have been put into a bullet train and on some fast-track rails. It is indeed ‘Jump-Time’ and an evolutionary fast forward. It can be disorienting and dizzying, even sometimes disturbing and dangerous if we cannot hold on with faith. But for those who have been blessed with the eye to acknowledge or simply have the required openness and humility to admit, the journey and all its dangerous and unexpectedness becomes a delightful tonic for the soul, a journey that takes us to a wall-less zero-gravity space. But it is a Space that, unlike physical space, is teeming with the powerful vibration of Love, a silence that is filled with a luminous Delight.

Science does not acknowledge Grace even though a number of scientists individually do. That in itself may not matter as far as Grace is concerned. Since the Power that works towards evolutionary ends pushes all things from within and behind. It does not discriminate or differentiate between the believer and non-believer. And yet there is a difference when we look at it from the human standpoint. It is this, when we acknowledge Grace and its working in our life that opens our being and makes us receptive to the working. This makes the work go much faster because there is support at the other end where the actual evolutionary process is going on through real time. But when we do not so acknowledge, when instead of accepting that there is a Power that assists us from beyond our usual reach, then this attitude works as a sort of refusal that closes our doors to the Grace. We turn away from It as it were. This movement greatly hinders and hampers the process. That is why it has been said, for our advantage, that attitudes such as trust, gratitude, aspiration, etc. help us. The Divine Grace does not need them (an often mistaken view). It is we who need these attitudes to open an inner psychological door or cut out a window in the mud-walls of our body for the action of Grace. In fact this is a key process for conscious evolution, a process wherein science and spirituality meet and blend so well.

(To be continued)

Dr. Alok Pandey, an editor of NAMAH and member of SAIIIHR, is a doctor practising at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

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