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True Evolution

by Swami Sivananda

What then is true evolution? It is, as once before stated, the progress of the thinker in man from his present condition of limitedness to the state of the unlimited Self. Progress of the thinker means improvement and growth of mind through which he thinks. In the physical plane, all vegetable and animal bodies develop out of the life-germ, the unit cell. The embryonic cell sometimes divides itself into two or more cells and sometimes, as in the case of the lower forms of life, becomes associated with new cells drawn from outside. In any case, development of the embryo implies multiplication of the cells. Mere multiplication of the cells again cannot make a living body. Along with it, there is also the widening or expansion of the life within so as to control all the cells together. Similarly, a man's mind is said to grow or expand when his thoughts extend beyond his physical body and beyond his limited personality. As the original unit cell is the earliest and lowest state of the physical body, thoughts of one's own interests alone belong to the lowest stage of the mind. The mind grows when the interests of others are also considered, as the physical body grows up packing together more cells. As there is connecting life for all the cells together, selfless thoughts or thoughts of others' interests should be bound up together by a connecting and unifying knowledge that all are only the Self. The end of the evolution of the thinker is reached when the evolving mental life becomes, by expansion, identical with the all-including life, the universal Self. If, however, his thoughts and actions are directed exclusively towards personal and selfish ends, his mind contracts more and more and recedes still further from the path of evolution. He should therefore think only such thoughts and do only such actions as may widen his mind and raise him up in evolution. The mind has to expand and expand until the limiting mind-covering, becoming very thin, is torn asunder when, the limitations of the thinker ceasing to exist any longer, his inner Self shines in his infinitude of existence, consciousness and bliss, for it was only he, the only one and the real Self that was appearing till then as enclosed in a covering made of mindstuff.


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