Dr. Singh: When scientists speak of evolution they mean that life has evolved from matter. I have heard you speak of evolution with quite a different concept. You say that everything is evolving from consciousness.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Yes, consciousness comes first and then matter. The basis of all things material is consciousness, which is spiritual. Consciousness can contact consciousness directly. When consciousness comes into the stage of matter, material conception, we experience a kind of vague consciousness; first there is hazy consciousness and then material consciousness. But everything has its spiritual side. And as eternal souls; our direct connection is really only with the conscious aspect of existence. For example, the Earth is conceived of as a woman. According to the Vedas, the presiding deity of the Earth is a woman. And the sun is conceived of as a devata, a male god. The soul, coming into material consciousness, must come through some hazy reflection of consciousness, cidabhasa. Only then can the soul experience material consciousness. Before pure consciousness evolves to material consciousness, it will pass through a hazy stage of consciousness or cidabhasa. So in the background of every material thing, there is a spiritual conception. This cannot but be true.
Dr. Singh: What is cidabhasa?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Something like mind. Suppose consciousness comes to feel matter. When consciousness is coming to the material world to know the material world, it has to first pass through material consciousness, and then it can feel what is matter. According to Darwin’s theory, matter gradually produces consciousness, but before producing consciousness it must produce some hazy consciousness, then mind, and then the soul. But in reality, it is just the opposite. So subjective evolution parallels objective or material evolution. But in the evolution of consciousness, the supersubject is first, then the individual soul or jiva-subject is next. Then, from the subjective consciousness of the jivas, matter is produced. But consciousness must penetrate hazy consciousness to perceive matter.I say that the process of evolution moves from the top downward. The Absolute Reality – if we at all assert that there is anything which is the absolute reality – must possess two qualifications. What is that? First, in the words of Hegel, he must be by himself: He is his own cause. Second – and more important to us, he is for himself: He exists to fulfill his own purpose. He is not subservient to any other entity, for then his position would be secondary.
Reality the Absolute is full in himself. All other things are coming from him. The perfect substance already exists. What appears to us as imperfect comes down according to our own defective senses.The imperfect must be dependent upon the perfect, the ultimate reality. And the imperfect may be so arranged by him in order to prove his perfection. To prove the perfection of the Absolute, there is conditioned and unconditioned, finite and infinite reality. The defective world therefore has an indirect relation to the truth.However, consciousness cannot jump at once into the conception of matter; it must pass through a process to come to material consciousness. From the marginal position, from the verge of the higher eternal potency’ evolution and dissolution of this material world begins. This takes place only on the outskirts of svarupa-sakti, which is the system responsible for the evolution of the spiritual plane, and is an eternally evolving dynamic whole. It is not that nondifferentiation is the origin of differentiation. An eternally differentiated substance exists. That plane is filled with lila, dynamic pastimes. If a static thing can be conceived of as eternal, then why can’t a dynamic thing be conceived of as eternal? That plane of svarupa-sakti is fully evolved within. It is eternal. Evolution and dissolution concern only the degradation of the subtle spirit to the gross material platform and his evolution towards perfection. Here there is evolution and dissolution, but these things do not exist in the eternal abode of svarupa-sakti.
[Excerpted from the Chapter One: “Fossilism, Hypnotism, & the Cosmos” of “Subjective Evolution (The Play of the Sweet Absolute).” From Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaja’s Folio]