February 16, 2006

Swami Vivekananda spoke of 'Involution'

Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow
The idea of divinising human nature may sound like an unheard-of contradiction of both materialistic common-sense and the wisdom of the ages, which holds that divinity is not to be found on earth but only in heavens beyond. Yet such an audacious conception is a logical consequence of the synthesis of ancient and modern knowledge that leads us to see evolution as a gradual unfolding of the Spirit involved in matter. In Sri Aurobindo’s view, the total movement of India’s many-sided spiritual culture has always been directed towards this evolutionary goal...
Whereas the theories of Darwin and Einstein almost immediately revolutionised Western science and strongly affected European thought in general, India has paid hardly more than lip-service to the no less revolutionary work of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. Religion and spirituality in India, where the grand Upanishadic synthesis of revealed knowledge became fragmented long ago into a myriad sects and schools, have continued largely in the grooves established during a period of contraction of the collective life.
The argument that evolution implies involution was
made by Swami Vivekananda with compelling logic:
  • No rational man can possibly quarrel with these evolutionists. But we have to learn one thing more. We have to go one step further, and what is that? That every evolution is preceded by an involution.... In the end we find the perfect man, so in the beginning it must have been the same. Therefore, the protoplasm was the involution of the highest intelligence. You may not see it but that involved intelligence is what is uncoiling itself until it becomes manifested in the most perfect man.... If it was not present in the protoplasm, it must have come all of a sudden, something coming out of nothing, which is absurd.

The Darwinian theory, which appeared to leave no alternative to a stark materialism, was thus transmuted into a vision of the progressive manifestation of God on earth. This interpretation of evolution was later elaborated by Sri Aurobindo. It has the potential to satisfy both the progressive impulse of the modern mind and the perennial aspiration of the human soul. It does not require any denial of scientifically demonstrable truth with regard to the role of natural selection in bringing about the development of physical organisms.

1 comment:

  1. Vivekananda’s doctored picture of Ramakrishna, January 13, 2013
    Vivekananda uses the word involution exactly how it appears in Theosophy, February 13, 2013