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Namah Journal


Evolution Next — XII

Dr. Alok Pandey


Evolution is often a challenging task. It carves its way through a conflict of forces, even a battle, that demolishes past forms that are not ready to change. It is also challenging since it means stepping out of our comfort-zones and entering the adventure of the New and the Unknown. Nevertheless evolution sometimes forces itself upon us whether we like it or not. It is only with passage of time that we begin to appreciate the changes in leading us through narrow gates and long stretches of desert lands us in the promised land of the future. Such an evolution seems to be happening today and we can have the privilege of participating in it and flowing with it.

Evolution, like change happens in spite of us. It will happen with or without us. Yet we can help or hinder, hasten or delay, make it smooth or complicate it endlessly. That is where our role lies. The logic behind this is very simple. If there is a Divine Wisdom at the root of the world, as the Vedas and the Gita assert, then however dark the appearances there may be, this Wisdom is bound to carry us forward and forward towards its far-intended purpose. On the other hand, if there is no such Wisdom, no such inbuilt tendency towards a harmonisation, then everything should be collapsing, in fact should have collapsed much earlier.

What we in fact actually see is that there is at any given point these two tendencies active upon every element on the universe, — a future-ward push towards the Unknown that ends up in new revelations, new creations, new and unexpected departures that radically uplift the individual and the species towards a new form of life, a new order, even a new functioning that is not only helpful for its survival but also its growth and joy. On the other hand, there is also a downward or backward pull with a tendency for everything to collapse back towards chaos, disintegrate into the primal soup so to say. But even this disintegration is not completely a disorderly process. There is a method in the madness as if here too a secret Wisdom is at work that uses both creation and destruction for its incalculable purposes. That is how death is conceived in ancient Indian thought, as simply a means for the soul’s evolutionary journey with matter as the basis, life as a field of experience and mind as the mentor. But since the mentor mind is itself blind or at least half-blind, life itself imperfect and the ship of matter fragile, the soul must break through the form and the personality it has put forth and create another for its experience and growth.

The same law holds true for society as well. When the moulds of society become too rigid, when its institutions become fossilised and over-crystallised, then it stifles growth and hence it is broken and cast aside by the Time-Spirit for a wider and more plastic mould to arise. It is this that we are witnessing today. On the one hand, a breaking-up of all that we valued and cherished in the past, and on the other hand an intense experimentation with new and unprecedented possibilities. Every field of life and activity of man is witnessing this change, this thrust and impulsion towards new things. But none knows for sure what this new thing is that is striving to be born. Perhaps, more than anything else, it is a New Consciousness that is animating humanity, causing at once confusion as well as a reorganisation. The confusion is because the old clings and tries to persist even as it is being broken down. But if we look carefully it is in fact a reorganisation, leading to a truer life.

There are a growing number of persons, individuals, who may best be termed as evolutionary misfits in the higher sense. They seem to have surged ahead of the general mass of mankind. In their thoughts and feelings, sometimes even in their acts and impulses they embody the spirit of a distant future so to say. But their ways are felt strange to the common man. In fact they themselves find the world strange, at least the way it is. Some of these individuals land up in the evolutionary transit-zones where the pathways of the past and the roads to the future criss-cross each other. Drawn towards the future, yet hesitant to leave behind the past, they are caught in the predicament of Trishanku who is discarded from Heaven since he is not prepared enough and is also unhappy to remain on earth. These individuals are often misunderstood by their parents, teachers and colleagues who try to somehow squeeze them into the fixed moulds of the past. This however only leads to an increasing unhappiness or a rebellion. Though not all rebellions are of this kind, yet there are a good number of them who are burdened by the spirit of the future striving to assume new forms and manifest new things. Yet unable to find the right way, they sometimes end up with a breaking-up of all doors of safety seeking their liberation.

Finding the future

What they do not understand is that breaking the doors of safety that limits us to the present is not the way to find the future. The way to find the future is rather to open an inner door that will give us not only a new life, a new way of being but also a new kind of safety. These are children of the future and need protection, not only from the rigid moulds of the past that stifle them but also from the darkness of the gulfs that wait unseen across the evolutionary path of man. These individuals need help. They also need new kinds of institutions, — educational and professional places of work that can accommodate and encourage, nurture and nourish their evolutionary potential. These will be the hopes of the future, the seeds of Light sown in the fast disintegrating and present fields of matter. They will take root and germinate when the right season arrives. But meanwhile they need to be watered by love, given enough space to grow and watched over carefully in the light of the New Consciousness growing within man.

This is no easy task. In fact it is exacting. First of all the care-takers and mentors have to be themselves attuned to the future, to be recipients and vehicles of the New Consciousness. It is only the like that can understand its like. Secondly we have to discover or else create new pathways, evolutionary tracks for the future. The old forms will not help anymore. If anything, they will only breed more and more rebellion and the new energies and tendencies will find a deviant course. That would be disastrous. But evolution is after all always a potentially hazardous process. When nature enters the evolutionary mood and, sanctions ‘random’ mutations, only a few carry over to the new species or sub-species that she has in ‘view’. The many fail and collapse. This means that there would possibly be a number of attempts and efforts, many approximations, quite a few transitional species that would be eventually wiped out before the New Man or the New Being appears. Perhaps many of us are simply beings of transition and many of today’s children may well be simply the evolutionary wash-out generation. This is not to dishearten ourselves but rather to have hope in the future. For even the wash-outs shall return and try again and again until the final crossing over takes place. It is not this that should dishearten but the lack of will and courage and faith to try the ‘seemingly impossible’. Better to fail and fall trying the impossible rather than follow the beaten track. Better still to rise again and again and prepare better and better for the intended leap than simply go back to the old and the accustomed ways of looking for safety. The fact is that in today’s world we cannot find safety anywhere. There are no final comfort-zones as nature has taken them away knowing fully well man’s tendency to sink into the inertia of comfort.

True, the comforts of the body have multiplied but the psychological comforts that one gets from treading the fixed tracks and staying within well-known limits have been removed. Old institutions such as joint family, marriage, lineage, caste and religious groupings of mankind, where we found comfort in our associating with our ‘type’, are fast becoming redundant. Even the nation unit, the one grouping that the Divine Intention seems to preserve as a base to drive us towards Internationalism, has grown very complex. Homogenous humanity is a thing of the past and those who are desperately trying to preserve it are foredoomed to failure and destruction. Basically, as of now, our humanity seems to be increasingly getting stratified into two main layers, — the relics of the past and the heralds of the future. The former lament and complain or else try to force their fixed views but only to fail and end up with cynicism or else a bleak view of the future. They see the surrounding darkness but not the Dawn that is to break through the Night. The latter are burdened with dreams not knowing where and how to execute them. Yet they carry hope and faith that the dawn will and must arrive.

The New Light

The dawn has indeed arrived and those who have climbed to the mountain-tops of nature can see it and rejoice. They bring the message of hope and the New Light that is dawning. They sing of the future and bid us all to prepare for it. Field after field of human life and activity is getting illumined and seeks our readiness to participate in the change. Psychology, Medicine, Sociology, Economics, Administration, Management, Art, Science and Polity, nothing is being left untouched. The cry for change is everywhere. We shall discuss in the next issue some of these changes taking place in a few fields by way of illustration.

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

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The New Light