The Future Evolution of Man


Sri Aurobindo

Preface & Summary by P.B. Saint-Hilaire

Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Spring of 1996


Man today is becoming poignantly aware of his power to influence for good or evil his own destiny. At this critical moment when he questions his future, we believe it important to present to the public the most significant passages from those books of Sri Aurobindo which deal with this problem, the future evolution of humanity.

The quotations contained in this small volume are taken from the three following works:

At the end of the volume are given a few notes explaining the terms used by Sri Aurobindo and a bibliography.

Our aim will be accomplished if the reader is induced to turn to the original works.


Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Pondicherry, India
August 15, 1962


Chapter (1): The Human Aspiration

Chapter (2): The Place of Man in Evolution

Chapter (3): The Present Evolutionary Crisis

Chapter (4): Standards of Conduct and Spiritual Freedom

Chapter (5): The Development of the Spiritual Man

Chapter (6): The Triple Transformation

Chapter (7): The Ascent Towards Supermind

It is difficult to conceive intellectually what the Supermind is; and to describe it, another language would be needed than the poor abstract counters of the mind.

The transition from mind to Supermind is a passage from Nature into Supernature. For that every reason it cannot be achieved by a mere effort of our mind or our unaided aspiration. Overmind and Supermind are involved and hidden in the earth-nature; but, in order that they may emerge in us, there is needed a pressure of the same powers already formulated in their full natural force on their own superconscient planes. The powers of the Superconscience must descend into us and uplift us and transform our being.

What should be the preparation for the supramental transformation? First, an increasing control of the individual over his own nature and a more and more conscious participation in the action of the Supernature. A second condition consists in a conscious obedience, a surrender of our whole being, to the light, the truth and force from above.

A third condition is the unification of the whole being around the true self and the opening of the individual to the cosmic consciousness.

Four steps of ascent lead from the human intelligence to the Supermind; these are:

Chapter (8): The Gnostic Being

The difficulty in understanding and describing the supramental nature comes from the fact that in its very essence, it is consciousness and power of the Infinite. One can, however, describe in a general way the passage from the Overmind to the Supermind and form an idea of the supramental existence in its initial step.

The supramental or gnostic being will be the perfect consummation of the spiritual man. The law of the Supermind is unity fulfilled in diversity; unity does not imply uniformity. The supramental being will realize the harmony of his individual self with the cosmic Self, of his individual will and action with the cosmic Will and Action.

The transcendence aspect of the spiritual life is indispensable for the freedom of the Spirit; but it will harmonize with the manifested existence and give it an unshakable foundation. For the gnostic being, to act in the world does not signify a lapse from unity.

The gnostic consciousness will proceed towards an integral knowledge. And that will not be a revelation or a delivery of light out of darkness, but of light out of light.

The joy of an intimate self-revealing diversity of the One, the multitudinous union and happy interaction within the One, will give a fully perfected sense to the gnostic life.

Matter will reveal itself as an instrument of the manifestation of Spirit; a new liberated and sovereign acceptance of material Nature will then be possible.

The body will become a faithful and capable instrument, perfectly responsive to the Spirit.

Health, strength, duration, bodily happiness and ease, liberation from suffering, are a part of the physical perfection which the gnostic evolution is called upon to realize.

A vast calm and a deep delight of the gnostic existence rise together in a growing intensity and culminate in an eternal ecstasy. In the universal phenomenon is revealed the eternal Bliss, Ananda.

Two questions remain to be examind, which are important for the human conception of life.

The gnostic life will reconcile freedom and order. There will be an entire accord between the free expression of the individual and his obedience to the inherent law of the supreme and universal Truth of things.

All mental standards would disappear because their necessity would cease; the authentic law of identity with the Divine Self would have replaced them.

Chapter (9): The Divine Life Upon Earth

To be wholly and integrally conscious of oneself and of all the truth of one's being is what is implied by the perfect emergence of the indivudal conscoiusness, and it is that towards which evolution tends. All being is one, and to be fully conscious means to be integrated with the consciousness of all, with the universal self and force and action.

The plenitude of this consciousness can only be attained by realizing the identity of the individual self with the transcendent Self, the supreme Reality. This realization demands a turning of the consciousness inward. The ordinary human consciousness is turned outward and sees the surface of things only. It recoils from entering the inner depths which appear dark and where it is afraid of losing itself. Yet the entry into this obscurity, this void, this silence is only the passage to a greater existence.

Indeed, this inward-turning movement is not an imprisonment in the personal self; it is the first step towards a true universality. The law of the divine life is universality in action, organized by an all-seeing Will, with the sense of the true oneness of all.

New powers of consciousness and new faculties will develop in the gnostic being who will use them in a natural, normal and spontaneous way both for knowledge and for action. The life of gnostic beings might fitly be characterized as a superhuman or divine life. But it must not be confused with past and present ideas of supermanhood.

It would be a misconception to think that a life in the full light of Knowledge would lose its charm and become an insipid monotony. The gnostic manifestation of life would be more full and fruitful and its interest more vivid than the creative interest offered to us by the world of Ignorance.

The Future Evolution of Man - Sri Aurobindo
Conclusion of Preface & Summary
by P.B. Saint-Hilaire
August 1962

The Future Evolution of Man


Sri Aurobindo

Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Spring of 1996