Evolution of Spirit

mukundan P.R.'s picture

No votes yet

Gurucharanam Saranam

Evolution of Spirit

Swami Navananma Jnana Tapaswi
Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram

Indian spirituality explains that everything in the world has its own qualitative status. The evolutionary process of sentient and insentient beings is due to the movement of time and the interaction of nature. This also is the basis of ‘form’ (unique shape) and ‘quality’ in nature; to put in other words, how every living being differs from one another. The differences in the ‘form’ and ‘jeeva’ are due to variations in the quality and vice versa. This in-depth spiritual view of India considers that everything is in the track of evolution at its various levels.

As everything in the universe is the expression of spiritual evolution, it is concomitant with time too. This is a relative status of the ‘jeeva’ (spirit/self) concerned with ‘action’ (karma) and innate tendencies (vasana). The evolution of the ‘spirit’ from its lowest level to its perfect status is also a process correlated with time which means that the aspect of time extends from the minutest micro to the universal macro level. Indian spirituality explains the yuga cycles (kaala chakra) in between these two extremes.

Indian spirituality is a perfect universal science in which the concepts of creation (srishti), stasis (stithi), dissolution (samhaara) and merging with the Ultimate (ultimate release) are clearly defined. These are the four terms clearly defined by the sages in Indian spiritual tradition. This is not mere philosophy, but is the science of transformation of the body and spirit, starting from the very micro level to the omnipotent status.

This science of evolution and its practical hierarchy is explained in Sanatana Dharma, the very basic Indian philosophy through Upanishadic principle (i.e. guru-disciple dialogue). Guru-disciple spirituality is a life style. There is the famous aphorism ‘maata, pita, guru, daivam’, which means that the evolution of the spirit of a kid begins from (or through) the mother, the father and then the guru, who ultimately guides it to God.

There is an oft-repeated prayer in Indian tradition: ‘lokaah samasthaa sukhino bhavanthu’ – ‘may everything in the universe become peaceful’. The very basic concept of this philosophy was out of a noble thought and practice for providing freedom and guidance to each and every spirit in the universe so that it can attain its innate growth and fulfillment. The growth and development ends when it attains a level of perfection. The attainment of ultimate perfection through the relative truth (of time, form, and quality) is a divine pattern for the ultimate level of perfection. The words ‘dharma’ and ‘karma’ relate to this divine pattern. These two aspects are considered the basic concept behind form and quality or individuality. Thus the spiritual aim of every spirit is to attain the ultimate status of perfection transcending quality and form as implied in the prayer, ‘achintya avyakta ruupaaya, nirgunaaya gunaatmane, samastha jagataadhaara muurthaye Brahmane namah’- ‘salutations to Brahman, the formless, indefinable, and unthinkable…’! This is the perfect vision of Indian spirituality.

The way of ‘dvaita’ (the guru disciple duality) to attain the ‘advaita’ (the merger of disciple in guru-hood) was considered the way to ‘moksha’ (liberation). (Contrary to its popular meaning, the word ‘Dvaita’ is taken here as the ‘guru disciple duality’, to mean the imperfect mind of the seeker and the ‘Advaita’ to mean the perfect state of truth which Guru represents). This way of life is operated by a ‘brahma jnaani’ (the knower of Brahman, the Supreme Truth) who is the authoritative embodiment of Brahman for guiding the evolution of all spirits and their different levels of growth through the evolutionary cycles of yugas.