NAMAH Journal
Moving Forward
New Issue
About us
Contact us
Publication Ethics
Other Publications

Namah Journal


Evolution Next — VIII

Dr. Alok Pandey


Evolution is the most happening event in the world. It is the oldest script of life as well as the most recent. But with the coming of the human being, evolution has taken a different sense. It is possible now to evolve consciously, to do our acts more purposefully and live meaningfully. These are some of the issues being touched as we move through the winding pathways of the human evolutionary journey.

Evolution is full of the unexpected. It may be happening now even as I write this piece and even as someone is reading it. It happens not only during activity but also during the pauses in-between. It is during the pauses of the brain and body that the pure sap of existence flows into our being. Activity often interferes with the free flow or else dilutes and mixes it with other stuff, some of which is not good for our system. For example, when we divert the energy given to us for evolutionary purposes towards the fulfilment of desires or the petty pleasures that momentarily satisfy us then a heady cocktail is created within our system which often manifests as disease. Then the energies of progress get redirected towards repair of the damage. Nevertheless, it is perfectly possible to use activity itself to upgrade our human system and help it evolve if we are keen and ready to undertake the process. In fact as we have discussed earlier action is indispensable if we have to evolve not only the subjective side but also the instrumental parts of nature.

This evolution through action, takes place even when we are not conscious of the process. Difficult moments, problematic events, crises of circumstances, intrusions of the unexpected in our life are all doorways to evolution if we take the opportunity. It is like a play full of unexpected turns which becomes enjoyable regardless of success and defeat, provided we play our part well. But most of us look at the play of life with grim and serious eyes, fill our heads with the burden of responsibilities, get anxious and agitated over the possible outcome, try to control the unexpected and hence suffer in the process. But there is another way. It is to play the game, to play it as perfectly as possible, to improve our playing skills, then learn the rules of the game and practise it often, to understand the game better and inculcate the right attitude and all that would help us improve. Then life will gradually become a joy even in the midst of the battle and death itself become merely an opponent from another team who is playing with us to see how well we can play and whether we can beat it at its own game or not. And the fear and the terror, the anxiety and the pain will be washed away from us. These are unnecessary burdens that we carry simply because we do not know what this game of life is.

One thing is certain. Cursing, complaining, frustration, whether directed towards ourselves or others, towards God or Nature or fate does not help in the least. It only takes us farther and farther from the goal, cuts us off from the delight that supports the play and, at the end, we end up being pitied upon or pitying ourselves, until another wave of time arrives and takes us to another field of action and another level of the game. Then, like children, we forget the previous day’s tears and sorrows and start afresh a new series of games.

What we need to know however is how to play well, the goal and the purpose of this play and above all the rules of the game, if any. Since we see everywhere in creation order running hand in hand with chaos, the game of life must also have been devised along similar principles. There is of course the element of chaos and the unexpected which adds to the evolutionary joy and opens new possibilities right in the middle of the play.


Let’s look at chaos itself. Most of us instinctively want our life to follow a certain predictable course. That is why we plan things and are unhappy when things do not go as per our plan. We wonder then at the hand of destiny and let clouds of disbelief and doubts fill our eyes. This makes it worse since we lose one important power in the play. But what we need to understand is that planning and order are a multi-layered process. What is perfect at one level may not be so at another level of our being. The child’s idea of a perfect life may be being surrounded with toys and chocolates, to have his parents near him at his service and beck and call, and so on and so forth. But the idea of parents may be otherwise. A school may not figure in the child’s scheme of things but it does in the adult world-view. A first experience of the school may be world-shattering to the little child but to the adult parents it is yet another step towards a greater perfection.

So too, what we call chaos is nothing else but a step towards a higher order of being. Chaos is not something to be afraid of. It is something to be understood and directed rightly. Chaos shakes and dismantles our fixed ways of being; it threatens and challenges us; it coaxes and goads us and, if we refuse to give up, it opens the doors to a novel solution. In a certain sense, chaos is an excess of misdirected creative energy, an outburst of force that is too much for the system to handle. Yet in its passing, it clears the ground for new things to emerge. We see this happening partially each day when we go to sleep. During the initial and dream phases of our body’s sleep, the mind and body enter a chaotic state. The very functioning of our life-mechanism, breathing and heart-beats, our eye-ball movements enter a temporary state of disorder akin to a mechanic running the car-engine randomly to check its problems. But thereafter, the system slips into a calmer mode and we glide into a wonderland whose rejuvenating streams give us new strength to be, new hope and will to act. We wake up with all the various toxins extracted from within, ready to be thrown out, making us feel fresh and ready for the new dawn.

Something similar happens during ageing and death. The normal rhythm of life that has hardened into a law and habit, is disturbed as we seem to transit towards a second childhood. Even our body’s posture in old age, begins to imitate the conditions of infancy and we are slowly led into a state of utter helplessness, a state of being new-born with the mind and its complications stripped bare and a sort of return to childlike innocence. It is as if, step by step, the huge building of life we had constructed with so much effort and pain is being dismantled by some unseen labourer hidden in the dark folds of approaching death. Our normal rhythm of life gone, we become increasingly disconnected with the rhythms of life around us, leading sometimes to much confusion, dissatisfaction and unhappiness since things are no more what they used to be. Yet even while our old patterns are being broken and cast aside, the world around us is already riding on the crest of new patterns. We are unable to keep pace and await our moment of deliverance. Yet this deliverance that eventually comes through death is only the restarting of the great game of life, now seen through another form, from a new angle, with a new and different perspective. The problems that vexed and tormented us, the challenges thrown at us which we could not negotiate, revisit us but we are armed and ready to explore new and more creative solutions. We begin to see the problems afresh. Having learnt from our past failures, we are prepared to forge ahead with renewed hope. In her mercy, the dark mother removes from our new-born consciousness all those memories of failures and lost hopes and keeps only the essence of it stored in some secret recesses of our inmost being. Once again we are ready to take on the great challenge of life and approach the same old problems from a new angle.

After all, evolution is not a meaningless process with just survival and adaptation as the goal. If that was so then there was no need to grow beyond the bacteria and first unicellular organisms. Nor is evolution merely a chance and accidental process with things happening somehow. There is a method in the madness, a deep purpose in the random game, a wisdom operating even in the casual steps of life that seem to us as whims and fancies of an arbitrary power. Even when it dismantles once wonderful structures, reduces to mere rubble huge buildings that housed greatnesses of yore, demolishes a fixed order and casts functioning forms into the primal womb of chaos, it acts with a prescience that is baffling since it seems to be seeing things through long spaces of Time, adapting means to the end and adjusting situations and circumstances to bring out the best out of the worst. A conscious Will seems to act even through the randomness using Chance and Necessity as sovereign instruments of a Higher Will that holds within its unfelt heart the secret purpose and uses even error and falls as a means to greater rise.

(To be continued)

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

Share with us (Comments,contributions,opinions)

When reproducing this feature, please credit NAMAH,and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.