The struggle and pain of Evolution is the parturition-pangs of the Spiritual deliverance from the womb of Matter. Like all birth it is attended by pain and suffering, but the end justifies it all. And as the human mother forgets her past suffering in the joy of witnessing the face, and form, and life, of her loved child, so will the soul forget the pain of the Spiritual birth by reason of the beauty and nobility of that which will be born to and from it.
Let us study well the story of Physical Evolution, but let us not lose ourselves in it, for it is but the preliminary to the story of the Unfoldment of the Soul.
Let us not despise the tale of the Body of Man—for it is the story of the Temple of the Spirit which has been built up from the most humble beginnings, until it has reached the present high stage. And yet even this is but the beginning, for the work will go on, and on, and on, in the spirit of those beautiful lines of Holmes:
“Build thee more
stately mansions, oh, my soul!
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at last art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea.”
As we have said in our last lesson, while the Yogi Teachings throw an important light upon the Western theory of Evolution, still there is a vital difference between the Western scientific teachings on the subject and the Eastern theories and teachings. The Western idea is that the process is a mechanical, material one, and that “mind” is a “by-product” of Matter in its evolution. But the Eastern Teachings hold that Mind is under, back of, and antecedent to all the work of Evolution, and that Matter is a “by-product” of Mind, rather than the reverse.
The Eastern Teachings hold that Evolution is caused by Mind striving, struggling, and pressing forward toward fuller and fuller expression, using Matter as a material, and yet always struggling to free itself from the confining and retarding influence of the latter. The struggle results in an Unfoldment, causing sheath after sheath of the confining material bonds to be thrown off and discarded, as the Spirit presses upon the Mind, and the Mind moulds and shapes the Matter. Evolution is but the process of birth of the Individualized Spirit, from the web of Matter in which it has been confined. And the pains and struggles are but incidents of the spiritual parturition.
In this and following lessons we shall consider the “Spiritual Evolution, of the race—that is the Unfoldment of Individualized Spirit—just as we did the subject Physical Evolution in the last two lessons.