AGNI YOGA WEB TV
„INTRODUCTION TO AGNI YOGA“
The Law of Evolution
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you to Broadcasting 4 of our Series "Introduction to Agni Yoga".
Today we will be talking about one of the fundamental laws of the cosmic order: The law of evolution.
Without the knowledge of this law, there is no orientation and no progress.
1. The Significance of the Law of Evolution
Why is it so important for you to know the law of evolution?
Evolution - is the plan of God for humanity, for the earth, for the solar system and for the whole universe. The evolution prescribes the direction that the further development will take.
You and I and humanity as a whole can only proceed successfully if we subject ourselves to this higher plan. He who goes in the wrong direction, who tries to swim against the current of evolution, is bound to fail. He who does not adapt himself falls back and loses the connection with progress. He will eventually, like the dinosaurs, be thrown out as unfit for the further development.
It is sad to see how many enormous, well-intentioned efforts remain fruitless, because they do not correspond to the higher order.
2. No Standstill
Life is movement. The symbol of life is the river.
Everything flows. Everything, including man, is in perpetual motion and in constant transformation.
He who just does not do anything, he who does not move, he who does not strive forward but comes to a standstill, will fall behind automatically because of the general progress around him.
In a universe that is characterized by eternity, there is no perfection, only unlimited development. What is apparently finished - is in reality dead.
Evolution is the incessant creation of ever new, ever higher forms. The idea that a certain state of affairs could be preserved for ever, is contrary to nature. Nowhere there is a standstill. Everything moves forward continually. There are no limits to the upward development.
3. Body, Soul, Spirit
The driving force of evolution is the spirit. To understand this, we first need to expand our view of ourselves.
We had already explained in detail in our Series "Experiment Immortality": Man, besides his physical, mortal body, has an immortal part: the soul. This is our true, imperishable self, our eternal individuality.
Today, we go a step further and add a third part to the human construction: the spirit.
The spiritual grain, the monad is the highest level of the pyramid "man": A spark of the divine spirit or fire which animates matter. A particle of God dwells in each of us. You, too, are a "pharaoh" - a "house of God".
The monad is not individual. It does not develop. It remains unchanged. Our individuality is formed from the accumulations that we build up around the spiritual grain over the eons of our eternal life.
4. Spirit in all Matter
This divine spark is incorporated in all other matter as well: In minerals, plants and animals, in planets, suns and universes.
Nothing in cosmos, from the tiniest atom over the most insignificant pebble stone up to the biggest stars, is without spirit. The divine spirit reveals itself in all creation. Without it, there is no life. The whole creation is "animalis": animated. "Inanimate" nature does not exist.
This is the basis for the correct feeling of your affinity with every stone, every tree and every star: These are all, like you, revelations of the one God.
The only difference is that the divine spirit is able to express itself relatively more perfectly in matter of a higher level than in matter of a lower level.
5. Spirit forms Matter
No one with a healthy heart can seriously believe that finest organs such as the eye, highly complex, meaningful structures such as plants and animals, or even a creation like man have evolved "by chance" by Darwinian processes alone. This is a miserable idea.
He who does not close his spiritual senses willingly, must recognize that a spirit prevails that creates all these material forms and keeps them alive.
Nothing evolves randomly. Everything takes place according to necessity. Everything forms itself outwardly to something that it already is on the spiritual plane, according to its innermost, highest nature.
Our fingernails grow, as distorted and crooked we may have cut them, again and again to a particular form – according to a picture that is predetermined by the spirit.
6. Spiritualization of Matter
The spirit seeks to perfect, to lead up higher and higher, to deify the substance in which it is enclosed – human beings as well as all the other matter.
If we consider the course of evolution, we see that the trend is towards ever greater spirituality and refinement. The higher levels are more subtle, more spiritual beings.
In the evolutionary development, the plant stands higher than the stone, the animal higher than the plant and man higher than the animal, because in each of the following steps the inner, divine nature is able to express itself more perfectly in matter.
God - or logos - sends out particles (spiritual grains) of himself. They collect matter around themselves. This matter evolves in the course of an infinite development towards ever higher creatures and will one day itself become a god. Thus, God reproduces himself!
7. Spirit as the driving Force of Evolution
All this is not theory: Each of you feels the third element of human nature as a permanent driving force: The spirit in us pushes us constantly, so that we relentlessly continue to develop.
We are satisfied with nothing that we have achieved. We constantly put new challenges in front of us. We always want to move higher and higher.
A Wimbledon champion like Boris Becker, of whom one should think that he has achieved long ago everything worth being desired, tries himself in ever new projects (and sometimes offers a pitiful picture, because there he is only a beginner).
The great cellist Pablo Casals was asked shortly before his death, why he still continued to do exercises on his instrument. He replied: Because he believed that he could still make progress.
It is the divine spirit within you that gives you no rest. It is God’s image within you that drives you on. It puts before your eyes the distant ideal of a higher being, which you can be – which you should be. You feel that it is your destiny to mould yourself according to this image, and to develop and realize more and more the huge potential that lies within you.
8. Man as Transition to the next Stage of Evolution
With today’s humanity, the end of the development is far from being achieved: We express the divine spirit still very imperfectly. The potential of our possibilities is far from being exhausted. We still carry many animal qualities within us that need to be overcome in the course of further evolution.
Modern man is nothing more than a transitional stage on the way to the higher steps of evolution which will come after us. Let us listen to the classical words of Friedrich Nietzsche:
I teach you the Superman. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?
What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.
Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of the apes.
The Superman is the meaning of the earth.
Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a down-going.
I love those that know not how to live except as down-goers, for they are the over-goers.
I love him who liveth in order to know, and seeketh to know in order that the Superman may hereafter live.” (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
The next stage will be a species of a new kind, much greater than modern man; just as we are greater than our ape-like ancestors.
The deplorable condition of the earth is due to the fact that nobody wants to know anything about elevation. "We do not see anything today that wants to become greater" complains again Nietzsche (On the Genealogy of Morals).
The fundamental impulse which has brought the human species out of the minerals must not weaken on the level we have reached today. It must take us even higher up!
Let us strive forward to the next higher level, to the God-Man – to a creature that reveals the divine within us even more perfectly than modern man.
9. Development of Spirituality
You understand evolution wrongly if you foresee the future of humanity with ever new technical facilities. Development takes place when man himself is transforming himself. Evolution is not synonymous with the advancement of technology, with the perfection of our external tools. Rather it means a transformation and elevation of our own being. Evolution will create a higher species out of today’s man.
You yourselves have to become greater, not your house, your car, your bank account, your library, your equipment, aircrafts or weapons.
In which direction will this transformation proceed? Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will not hunt through space, brandishing weapons like cowboys. Such ideas only extend without imagination today's conditions into the future.
A higher being will be a more spiritual being. In order to grow, we need to grow spiritually.
The possibilities of our body are largely exhausted. Whether we can run the 100 meters a few milliseconds faster, is irrelevant. But the potential of our eternal, spiritual individuality is still almost completely left unexploited. Here slumber treasures for a development without limits!
The skills that are reachable through the potential of our spirit include, for example: mind reading, telepathy, levitation, telekinesis, psychic healing and other spiritual powers more. One day we will even learn to fly! Then we will no longer need mobile phones, television sets or aircrafts: Then we will replace these devices by our own organism!
All this is far in the future. We are just beginning to develop the power of our spirit. The first exercises can be found at Agni Yoga Web TV in our Series "Experiment Immortality ".
10. Cycles of Involution and Evolution
We have spoken so far about “evolution” only. However, necessary for an understanding of the whole development is also the term “involution”.
The development proceeds in cycles of involution and evolution, as illustrated by the following sketch (from Mahatma-Letters No. 14 of 09.07.1882):
At the beginning of a cycle, at the highest point of the circle (point N), the spirit sinks into matter. At the beginning, matter is still very similar to the spirit, that is, all fine and ethereal, mostly spiritual, hardly material.
During the involution of the spirit in the first, descending half of the cycle, matter becomes harder and harder; denser and denser bodies are developing. The initial spiritual knowledge gives way to intellectual development. Man forgets his divine origin and loses his higher, spiritual senses and skills.
At the lowest point of the circle (point S), the descent of spirit into matter, the involution, is completed. Material and intellectual development have reached their peak. The spirit has attained its lowest point. This means: The beings that stand here are intelligent, but with hardly any spirituality.
At this turning point, the ascending half of the round begins (evolution): The spirit slowly frees itself from matter by spiritualizing it. Thus, matter is becoming fine again. The spirituality increases, the materiality decreases. The spiritual knowledge grows and replaces the intellectual.
At the end of the cycle (point N), the spirit has arrived again at its highest point. The matter in which it is included, is again fine and ethereal. A new cycle can begin - but from a higher starting point.
11. Development in the Form of a Spiral
The whole evolution proceeds in the form of a spiral: unlimited and forever growing. A new cycle always starts one level higher than the starting point of the previous cycle.
It is important to recognize this principle: The development again and again touches the same points and passes through the same phases - but in each case in more depth, on a higher level than before.
Not only human beings, but also minerals, plants and animals go through this cyclical, spiral-like development. Even our planet, the earth, parallel to the human cycle, goes the same way from an ethereal beginning down to cooling off and hardening and back up again to spiritualization.
12. Corresponding Development of the Individual
Each of us undergoes a corresponding development: As a child, in the first seven years, we are very spiritual in the sense that the soul determines our life: We still have a connection to the Upper World, from which we just came. All material things are alien to us. We still live largely in the world of the soul - in the realm of our own fantasy. The soul needs a few years to completely take possession of the body and to enter the physical, earthly life.
Then comes the time of sexuality, the building up of a material existence, the foundation of a family, the forming of the earthly world. The concerns of the soul step into the background.
Towards the end of our life, the material things lose their importance. The longing to live the life of the soul increases. The earthly matters no longer satisfy us. We turn to spiritual tasks and pleasures. We are preparing for our return to the spiritual world.
So, the top half of the cycle of life, at the beginning and at the end of our lives, is ruled by spirit and spirituality, the lower half by matter and intellect. For a new life on earth, we start again from the top - but from a higher starting point, enriched by all the experiences, achievements and accumulations of the previous life.
13. Seven Cycles
Out of the unlimited evolution, at the present time, seven cycles are recognizable: The monad first runs through a mineral, then a plant, further an animal and today through the IV, the human-earthly cycle. A monad which begins this IV. Cycle, therefore, was previously embodied as a stone, as a plant and as an animal, and has successfully completed the development of these lower species.
To put it bluntly: You - your true self, your eternal individuality – were once, millions of years ago, a stone. You then developed yourself further into a plant and later into an animal, before you have finally advanced so far as to be able to appear in the body of a human being.
The above sketch shows these cycles I to VII. Only the IV., the human cycle takes place on earth, the other cycles are on other planets. Man comes from a lower planet. Once he has learned what he can learn on earth, he will continue his way in the V. cycle on a higher planet.
In the I. cycle, an ordinary pebble stone becomes a "more spiritual" mineral, for example a crystal, which is already growing and thus getting closer to the plant kingdom.
In the II., the vegetable cycle, grass develops into higher standing plants such as roses, orchids and trees, as well as to forms of life representing the transition to the next cycle, the animal world.
Simplest examples of the animal sphere, such as cockroaches, in the III. cycle become "more spiritual", higher animals such as dolphins, horses, dogs or apes. They thus approach the level of human beings and get ready for the IV. cycle.
The later V., VI., and VII. cycles offer opportunities for development beyond today's humanity – to creatures which will no longer be human beings, but "God-Men" or "Supermen".
The duration of a cycle is about 4.3 billion years.
14. Man is not descended from the Apes
Once you understand this system, you realize: Modern man does not originate from today’s apes:
The monads of today's apes are a whole cycle backwards compared to the monads of today’s man, namely in their III., the animal cycle. Today's earthly apes will become something like human beings only in their next, their IV. cycle on another planet. Then today’s mankind will already be higher beings in their V. cycle.
However, the bodies of modern man-monads were ape-like in their previous animal cycle on a lower planet.
15. Seven Rounds
Each of the seven cycles is divided into seven rounds. Within a cycle, the already described procedure is repeated: The cycle starts at the highest point with round 1 and ethereal, spiritual, almost immaterial beings. In rounds 2 and 3, the monad is getting more and more material, reaches in round 4 the lowest point of the circle, in order then to spiritualize itself again in rounds 5, 6 and 7.
Our current, earthly IV. cycle began with its 1. round about 1.9 billion years ago. The monads, which came from other planets to the (ethereal) earth, had, in their 1., 2. and 3. round, first to go again through the mineral, vegetable and animal development, this time under the particular conditions of the earth. That lasted about 300 million years, so that the actual, human development began about 1.6 billion years ago with the 4. round.
We are now at the bottom of the IV. cycle, in the 4. round. Here, the physical development of mankind (and of the earth) takes place. The creatures of the earlier rounds were essentially ethereal models, not physical men as we know them today.
16. Seven Races
Each of the seven rounds of a cycle is divided into seven races. Again, the development is analogous to that in the rounds and cycles: Involution beginning at the ethereal highest point down to the low point and the densest material stage, and from there evolution with increasing spiritualization.
Little is known of the first race. The second race were the Hyperboreans, the third race the Lemurians, the fourth race the Atlanteans, and today we are in the fifth race of the Aryans.
Each of these races occupied its own continent, which perished with the end of the race. For the upcoming sixth race, too, a new continent will emerge, and much of the existing surface of the earth will sink into the sea (which means that the importance of the much discussed climate change is relative).
Let us look now more closely at these races:
The fourth round of the IV. earthly cycle began about 300 million years ago with the first race. The first bodies were huge, bulky and made of very fine, ethereal matter.
The second race inhabited the Hyperborean continent that lay around the North Pole and is now drowned.
The first two races were "Gods" by their spirituality and purity, but had no intellect yet. They were immortal because they had no physical body. They were far superior to present humanity regarding spirituality.
The third race lived in Lemuria, a continent that was located on the site of the present Pacific Ocean between Madagascar and South America. It has now perished due to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - except for Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon and some other islands.
This race was initially sexless, then androgynous. In the middle of the third race, about 18 million years ago, the bodies separated into male and female, and humanity as we know it today begins.
The spiritual senses withered away more and more due to the increasing corporeality. The monads of this race were initially without intellect, led by instinct and the remains of spirituality. The intellect only began to form at the middle of the third race.
The bodies were gigantic, initially 18, later 6 meters tall. The famous statues on the Easter Islands, remnants of the continent of Lemuria, are evidence of these giants who had to grapple with the dinosaurs. Remains of the ancient Lemurians are today peoples such as the Ethiopians, the indigenous Australians (Aborigines) and the Bushmen.
The fourth race, which began 4-5 million years ago, lived in Atlantis. This continent was located on the site of the present Atlantic Ocean between West Africa and South America, stretching as far north as Iceland. It was destroyed about 850,000 years ago by a flood. There remained a few little islands, which perished through subsequent floods. The last of them, Poseidonia, mentioned by Platon, went down through the biblical flood of Noah some 9500 years ago
Very last remnants of Atlantis are the islands of the Canaries, Cape Verdes and the Azores. If you go there on holidays, you will feel that you tread on age-old soil.
The Atlanteans had a high culture. They already used aircrafts that were operated with ether. The intellectual development of mankind reached its peak at that time. In its prime – about 1 million years ago, - the capital, the "City of The Golden Gates", had 2 million inhabitants, and the whole continent 2 billion. The Atlanteans, too, were initially giants with a size of almost 4 meters. Over time, their size decreased down to that of modern man.
The fifth race of the 4. round, the Aryans, which makes up the largest part of humanity today, originated about 1 million years ago in Asia.
20. Current Time: Lowest Point
We modern men belong predominantly to the fifth race of the 4. round of the IV. Cycle. That means, we have thus just passed the lowest turning point of the 7 cycles (point S).
Your straight-knowledge confirms this: Intellect, materialism, science and technology have already passed their peak before our time. They cannot show us the way any longer. The spirit has reached the low point. We are now in the very early stages of an awakening, itself slowly liberating spirituality. Therefore, the current times are hard for the few spiritually minded people.
Our further way on the ascending arc will be a path of inwardness, of the development of the spirit, of the augmentation of the powers of the immortal self: The Spiritual Path. The New Age is that of the evolution of the spirit from matter.
The next step of the evolution will be the sixth race of the 4. round. It is the very purpose of Agni Yoga to prepare humanity for this step.
21. Development up to the highest Levels
There are no limits to our further upward development. Each of you can reach the next level and become a Mahatma Gandhi, a Mozart, a Raphael, or a saint. They have worked their way up before times from lower levels, and since then proceed further to even higher steps.
Beyond them come even higher levels: “sons of God” like Jesus or Buddha, angels and archangels. By virtue of the indwelling divine fire, every man is a potential Christ!
All these higher levels have outgrown the lowlands of the normal material human life. They have worked their way up out of external circumstances that were no better than ours today. Their greater proximity to God is based on nothing else than a purer life and a higher striving, on a more successful development of their divine core.
How could it be otherwise? How else than by work can you reach such high levels? How could a being like Jesus understand and lead mankind, if He had not Himself met human labour and human suffering, and had not Himself risen above it?
It would be unscientific to believe that Jesus or the angels stand outside the law of evolution. There is nothing in the universe that is not subject to this law.
22. The Way to God
If we have come this far, we cannot stop before the top of the pyramid: It is one of the most terrible mistakes of mankind to imagine God as an unattainable creature outside of nature and evolution.
He, too, eons ago, has gone through the natural evolution from the lowest beginnings, and has reached the highest height through nothing but work. One of the central teachings of Agni Yoga says:
There is no God who has not been a human being before. All Gods have to go through the human evolution. (HR I / 3, 113)
We are called forth to follow the same path!
It is of the utmost importance that you recognize the evolutionary line that leads from the blade of grass via man to beings that stand far higher than we. Only thus you can make yourself a scientific picture of the higher spheres that does not contradict reason. Only thus you can gather courage for your own development. Only thus we can overcome the unfruitful abstraction of today's understanding of God.
Man is on the Path to God: This idea of our evolutionary path is neither new nor unworldly mysticism: Jesus himself has given this advice to us 2000 years ago, when he taught in the Sermon on the Mount:
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5, 48)
If you are really aware that you wear, with your higher nature, God’s image within yourself, you will endeavour to be as similar as possible to this inner model.
This is not a chimera, not an unreachable goal: We carry, with our higher self, the attributes of God already within us. It is now important to develop this potential in millions of years step by step up to its highest perfection.
To become like a god: Will that not be a proud, a dignified - will that not be the highest goal?
To conclude this Broadcasting, let us hear another paragraph from Agni Yoga:
The wayfarer affirms that he goes to the Lord Himself. It is true, people are amazed at such a resolution, but they respect such steadfastness. One must set before oneself the loftiest goal; only then does the road not appear forbidding. One must adjoin the highest quality throughout all existence. One must accept higher measures as alone worthy of the Highest Forces. (Fiery World 2, 370)