Evolution and Religion

Dev Dharma makes to modern man is that it offers him evolutionary vision in religious life. We owe this evolutionary vision to the patient and imaginative labors of thousands of physicists, chemists, biologists, psychologists, archeologists and historians.

Julian Huxley thus describes this evolutionary vision: “Let me try to outline this new vision, as briefly, as possible. On the basis of our present understanding, all reality is in a perfectly valid sense one universal process of evolution. The single process occurs in three phases – first, the inorganic or cosmic, operating by physical and to a limited extent chemical interaction, and leading to the production of such organizations of matter as nebulae, starts and solar system ; in our galaxy this phase has been going on for at least six billion years.

“In the rare places where matter has become self reproducing, the inorganic has been succeeded by the organic or biological phase; this operates primarily by the ordering agency we call natural selection, and leads to the production of increasingly varied and increasingly higher organisations of matter, such as flowers, insects, cattle-fish vertebrates, and to the emergence of mind and increasingly higher organization of awareness. On our planet this has been operating for rather under three billion years.

“Finally, in what must be of the extremely rare places (we only know for certain of one) where, to put it epigrammatically, mind has become self – reproducing through man’s capacity to transmit experience and its products cumulatively, we have the human or psychological phase. This operates by the self – perpetuating but self – varying and self – correcting process of cumulatively learning and cumulative transmission, and leads to the evolution of increasingly varied and increasingly higher psychological products, such as religions, scientific concepts, labour – saving machinery, legal system, and works of art.

“Our pre-human ancestors arrived at the threshold of the critical step to this phase around a million years ago ; but they became fully human and psychological evolution began to work really effectively, only within the last few tens of thousands of years. During that short span of evolutionary time, man has not changed genetically in any significant way, and his evolution has been predominantly cultural, manifested in the evolution of his social system, his ideas, and his technological and artistic creation.

“The new framework of ideas on which any new dominant religion will be based is at once evolutionary and humanist. For evolutionary humanism, gods are creations of man, not vice – versa. Gods begin as hypothesis serving to account for certain phenomena of outer nature and inner experience; They developed into more unified theories, which purport to explain the phenomena and make them comprehensible : and they end up being hypostatized as supernatural personal beings capable of influencing the phenomena. As theology develops, the range of phenomena accounted for by the god-hypothesis is extended to cover the entire universe, and the gods become merged in God.

However, with the development of human science and learning, this universal or absolute God becomes removed further and further back from phenomena and any control of them.”

Dev Dharma is evolutionary in its  vision. It looks on human soul as product of evolution. It awakens man to the consciousness that he is inseparable from the physical and biological conditions of life. It makes him feel one with th ephysical and biological aspects of the universe, in which it has its origin and continued existence. He is an “ansh” of all the four kingdoms: the physical, the vegetable, the animal and the human. He is to seek his harmony with them through service of the four kingdoms.

Dev Dharma awakens man to the truth that his fulfillment and highest evolution is in the service of the four kingdoms. This religious perspective can be possible to an evolutionary religion, because an evolutionary religion can alone give this paramount importance importance and respect to the physical, biological and social environments of man.

Evolutionary religious gives as much importance to the relation of man to his physical , biological & social environments, as the theist gives to the relation of man to God. For the theist , God is the source of man’s life, his continued existence & his destiny. For evolutionary religion Nature is the source of man’s life, his continued existence & his destiny. Evolutionary religion replaces God by Nature’s evolutionary process and thus substitutes solid facts to build the spiritual life of man.

This evolutionary aspect of Dev Dharma can be best illustrated by quotation from the autobiography of the founder of Dev Dharma. He writes , “I who was Brahmvadi , now became  Vishawvadi. During the days of my God-beliefs, I did believe Nature to be a reality but i believed it as a creation of God; & deemed God to be the most essential Being, considering Him my one & only supreme relation & my all in all. I did see Nature then but not as it really is. Nature which i had erroneously believed to be my secondary relation , now became, in the light of truth , my primary relation. I saw the immense grandeur of Nature. It had never before discovered that close relationship with it which i felt now . I realized  that betterment or degrading of life rested primarily on the nature of one’s feelings or heart attractions for the various related existences in Nature.

1. Nature is one & all its departments or kingdoms are closely bound up to one another.
“All the three living kingdoms – i.e., vegetable, animal & human -owe their origin & existence to the inanimate world. All these kingdoms form so many inter – related organs of this vast machinery of the universe. Their mutual relation is extremely intimate & inseparable.

2. ” Man is part of Nature.”

3. “All the various existences in Nature became better or worse according to the kind of relationship with other parts of Nature. The supreme ideal of life of man consists in establishing higher harmonious relation with Nature by means of Devatma or forces of higher life.”

4. ” Moksha of man consists in getting freedom fro the slavery to all dissolutionary courses of life in relation to the various kingdoms of Nature. The supreme goal of life consists in gradually getting such moksha & evolving higher forces of soul-life……. establishing thereby the evolutionary harmonious relation with all the kingdoms.”

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