The Concept of Evolution in Hinduism
Swami Navananma Jnana Tapaswi
The riddle behind the origin of universe, its sustenance and transformation has always vexed human intelligence and imagination. Nevertheless, the vigor of man’s search to discover the unknown has never weakened. That there is an Invisible Idea behind Creation is fundamental in spirituality. This fundamental plan or idea is behind the origin of life-energy (soul or jeeva), its manifestation and transformation through a physical medium. Indian spiritual thought is related to this perception regarding the successive evolvement of soul and body.
The soul in its infinitesimal form should evolve to its Absolute nature, which necessitates an evolutionary scheme. Nature has an inherent character to evolve the jeeva to its Absolute status through a series of evolutionary incarnations. There is the process of molding the physical setting according to the nature and quality of evolution presupposing an inter-relationship between spirit’s evolutionary status and physical attributes. There exists, also a divine intervention that creates or directs this rhythmic evolution.
The uniqueness of Indian spirituality is this idea of a divine Intervention in the form of a spiritual embodiment, i.e. Guru Incarnation in the evolutionary process of soul and body. In the practical plane, this concept existed in India in the form of Guru-Disciple spirituality in the scheme of Sanatana Dharma. Since the evolutionary process is successive, the manifestation of Guru is also successive in terms of humanity’s spiritual progression. This process has been ordained in a manner of karma and dharma according to the age, which is termed as Yuga Dharma.
Yuga Dharma is the dharmic orientation of life in accordance with the evolving cycles of time for the soul and body to evolve from its imperfect state to its Absolute status or from the state of nescience to absolute enlightenment. Indian spirituality considers the relationship between an enlightened Guru - who is the embodiment of absolute realization- and the souls who are struggling to attain freedom from the chains of imperfection as the fundamental dharma for the evolvement and fulfillment of all living beings.
There is a revelatory knowledge, which gives the information about such Guru Incarnations who help the imperfect souls to reach the path of perfection. We were not able to comprehend the history of revelations about such great souls and about the prophesies made by them about the incarnations that are to come in succession. We should realize that beyond the miraculous feats and occult performances, there is this path of spiritual evolvement for the soul and body in accordance with a perennial law in nature. There should be a correction to our ignorance on this subject, as it is not good to wait yet.
There is a spiritual order in the universe, which is uniform and binding to all peoples in the world. The seers had discovered this truth, but the institutions built up in their names have been spiritually incapable to perceive this universal truth, dogma and superstitions blocking their real progress. For the devotees of God, a rational understanding of spirituality is essential for evolving higher.