Eschatological Dimension of Communion of the Cosmos and the Humanity

February 24, 2018 Author: Dr. Bosco Correya OCD 0 Comments


Quo Vadis? (Where are you going?). This is the baffling question human being has been asking ever since he began to think. What is the ultimate state of human being? What is the ultimate meaning of life? What is the ultimate nature of every reality that exists? These are the puzzling questions which every religion, philosophy and theology has tried to answer. And all of us are still seeking an answer to them.

In this paper we make an attempt to present two profound thinkers and mystics of 20th century  – two renowned personalities of evolutionary visions – one from the east and the other from the west – Sri Aurobindo Ghose and Pierre Teilhard De Chardin. We live in an evolving world and we are at a crucial point of evolutionary progress. What is the ultimate goal of the evolutionary process? Two towering contemporary thinkers with regard to their evolutionary intentions are being compared in this paper. Both struggle confronting the reality of evolutionary progress. The similarities and the sense of openness we find in both are striking.

 1. Aurobindo’s[1] Concept of Evolution

Like the Advaita-Vedanta metaphysicians, Aurobindo was interested in the problem of the one and the many, being and becoming, unity and plurality of beings. The main problem for Aurobindo was to find a reconciliation between the two important Scriptural statements, namely the Absolute is “One only, without a second”[2], and that “everything here is Brahman.”[3] The nature of the Absolute is such that these two contradictory propositions will have to be found reconciled.

Aurobindo was not satisfied with the explanations given by the modern interpreters of the Vedanta, namely Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva. They interpreted the Absolute Reality as a Static Being. The original contribution of Aurobindo was that he brought out the dynamic aspect of the Supreme Reality. He tried to solve the problem by introducing the idea that Brahman is Being-Becoming. The plurality of beings are nothing other than the Supreme Being eternally becoming different forms and movements. Thus the becoming of the eternal Spirit into different forms was so real to Aurobindo that it was really the core of his whole philosophy.

The main difference between Aurobindo and the modern interpreters of the Vedanta was that while the Vedantins were very particular not to introduce in the very essence of Brahman the element of change or becoming, Aurobindo did it freely. He observed the world which was really existing and was continuously becoming. Having deduced so much from experience he attributed these aspects of being and becoming seen in the universe to Brahman.

1.1 The Involution of the Supreme Being.

According to Aurobindo the finite beings of this universe are the expressions of the infinite essence of Brahman. Brahman is involved in finite things. But this affirmation brought Aurobindo to greater difficulties. The greatest problem was this: how can Brahman, the One, become many? On the one hand, we have the unity of the Absolute and on the other, the diversity and the multiplicity of the phenomenal world. They are related; the multiple finite things depend upon the One for their existence. But the question is: how could the infinite become limited and finite? Aurobindo found  a clue to the solution in an intermediate link which he believed to be existing between the finite and the infinite.

The Intermediate link is Supermind. It is this Supermind which produces multiplicity. According to Aurobindo the Absolute is a simultaneous unity of the static and dynamic aspects of being. It is not mere Being, neither is it mere becoming. It is Being – Becoming. Considered in its static aspect, it is Saccidananda, considered in its dynamic aspect, it is the Supermind.

For Aurobindo creation is not the production of something different from the creator but a movement within the creater. It is the self-projection, which draws out of the One its hidden multitudes without losing its transcendency or incurring a real bondage. Brahman cannot incur any bondage, it is transcendent and immutable. As we see in the Isa Upanishad: “That is full; this is full. The full comes out of the full. Taking the full from the full, the full itself remains.”[4]

The above verse from Isa Upanishad expresses in a marvelous way the mystery of creation. The world comes forth from God and exists in the fullness of being, and yet the world takes nothing from God and adds nothing to him. God remains the same. This is the mystery of creation, and it is well to emphasize that it is and remains mystery like God himself. It is only when we recognize that we are dealing with a mystery which transcends the understanding that we can begin to make sense of creation. All merely rational explanations of the universe are inadequate; at best they can point towards a reality which they cannot explain.

For Aurobindo creation is a movement of the Absolute in its dynamic aspect by self-effectuation. So the efficient cause as well as the material cause of this process of production of the universe is the very Supermind, the very Brahman, the Supreme Being. Aurobindo calls this self-effectuation of Brahman, involution. In this process Brahman gets itself involved in the universe. Involution is not a sudden leap. It is a gradual involutionary  process and its stops with matter. So the Supreme Being is said to have gradually descended, step by step, into material nature. Hence Matter and the Absolute are said to be two poles of the same reality. This gradual descent is said to be concealment or a putting of veil upon veil on the Infinite. Aurobindo describes creation as the plunge of the Spirit into ignorance. Ignorance – according to Aurobindo, is the power of divine consciousness to withhold itself partially. It is not a negation of divine consciousness. It is a veiling of divine consciousness. Thus having established the existence of Being-Becoming, the Absolute that got involved in the universe, Aurobindo has prepared the theoretical background for his theory of evolution. It is because what is involved has to evolve slowly. Hence the truth of the Becoming, the world of multiplicity and manyness is the truth of Being, the Absolute. The One manifests in the Many. Aurobindo says, “the infinite multiplicity of the One and the eternal unity of the many are the two realities or aspects of the One reality on which the manifestation is found.”[5] To know the eternal aspects of the involved Absolute Being in its dynamic sense is to know the truth of the cosmos. The Supreme Being is the supra-cosmic reality and also the truth underlying the entire manifestations. The Absolute for Aurobindo is both transcendent and immanent Reality. In its immanent aspect, the Absolute Reality is Supermind. Everything  that exists in the cosmos, the phenomenal world is the involved form of the creative, immanent and manifest aspect of the Absolute. Hence evolution is inevitable because what is involved must evolve gradually.

1.2 The Evolution of the involved Absolute

Evolution is a process of the expression and manifestation of  the Divine. The descend of the Supermind in lower grades of realities takes place in creation of the cosmos. The involved Brahman in the cosmos starts the process of evolution from the state of matter which is the last stage to the higher, spiritual and divine realities. It there is no evolution to the divine realities from the last sate of matter, it would have been the greatest of all tragedies of the Absolute. By becoming the creative aspect of the Saccidanada, the Supermind is involved in the cosmos, down to the lowest matter. In creation there is the involution of the Supermind in matter. What is involved must evolve. In evolution the Divine Spirit is gradually revealed, manifest and unfolded. Evolution is the process of the spiritual manifestation in the cosmos.

Aurobindo believes that there is no fundamental opposition between Spirit and matter. If we take the intermediary realities between Spirit and matter, the gulf between them disappears. Involution (creation) is the descend of the Saccidanada, through the Supermind, into mind, life and matter. Between Matter and Spirit there is a series of realities which gradually emerge in cosmic evolution. Evolution is effected by getting back into a subtler, deeper, profounder expression of consiousness. In other words by proceeding to higher and higher levels of consciousness or by progressing from knowledge to greater knowledge, from consciousness to deeper forms of consciousness, from being to greater being. The Absolute is infinite consciousness and this consciousness is involved in matter by a gradual descent, by putting veil upon itself and thus becoming ignorant in the matter. So for the evolution the reverse process must take place.

Hence one of the principles Aurobindo uses to eradicate the fundamental opposition between Spirit and matter is a series of inetermediaries.  Sri Aurobindo states thus: “The Divine descends from pure existence through the play of consciousness-force and bliss and the creative medium of Supermind into cosmic being; we ascend from matter through a developing life, soul and mind and the illuminating medium of Supermind towards the divine being.”[6] Evolution brings transformation of the lower realities by the force of the higher principle. Therefore evolution is a double process of ascent and descent. When life dawns in matter, the latter is transformed and becomes more complex. When consciousness descends in body and life, both of them get integrated and transformed and becomes more refined and developed. The emergence of the higher principle means the descent of the higher into the lower ones. When the individual becomes more open, sensitive, receptive, sublime and pure, the spiritual consciousness emerges in him.

There are two phases of evolution, one of the spiritual order and the material order. They are mutually related and they depend on one another. The viatal part of the evolution is the spiritual one, the evolution of the Spirit, because the Spirit is the beginning of the Evolution and the same Spirit is the inherent principle that is slowly evolving. The physical evolution is only a condition for the spiritual one. Hence Aurobindo’s theory of evolution is out and out spiritualistic. It is a process of manifestation of the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo writes:

“At the outset, we can easily see that, since this is an evolution out of a material Inconscience into spiritual consciousness, an evolutionary self-building of Spirit on a base of Matter, there must be in the process a development of a triple character. An evolution of forms of Matter more and more subtly and intricately organized so as to admit the action of a growing , a more and more complex and subtle and capable organization of consciousness is the indispensable physical foundation. An upward evolutionary progress of the consciousness itself from grade to higher grade, an ascent, is the evident spiral line or emerging curve that, on this foundation, the evolution must describe. A taking up of what has already been evoked into each higher grade as it is reached and a transformation more or less complete so as to admit of a total changed working of the whole being and nature, an integration, must be also part of the process, if the evolution is to be effective.”[7]

The process of evolution from lower principle to the divine realities has triple character:

  1. Widening – simple forms of matter take an increasingly complex character so as to admit the concentration of a complex and subtle form of consciousness.
  2. Ascent – From lower to higher grade of being.
  3. Integration – As soon as the evolution reaches a higher grade, it integrates the lower grades and transforms them.

Integration and transformation are the essential features  in evolution. When the higher principle descends in the lower ones, there takes place transformation in them. Matter becomes transformed when it is integrated with life, and is further transformed when consciousness gets associated with it.

By postulating an integration of the higher principle with the lower principle, Aurobindo goes against the traditional Indian concept which consider the body, the physical element as something bad from which one should get liberated. This pessimistic approach to body is absent in the thought of Aurobindo. It is not by casting away the body the evolution progresses and one reaches the goal of the evolution. But it is by integrating and transforming and spiritualizing the body that one reaches the final end. The aim of evolution is the spiritualization and the divinization of the individual and the cosmos.

1.3 The Stages of the Cosmic Evolution and Escathology

The whole cosmos and the individual human being are rushing towards its union with Saccidanada. We have seen that the creation according to Aurobindo is an involution and evolution of the Absolute. Absolute descended into matter and from matter it ascends to the original state. The veiled Brahman inherent in matter begins to unveil itself and slowly attains its original perfection. Aurobindo distinguishes four principle stages in the process of evolution. They are matter, life, mind and Supermind.

  • Matter

Creation for Aurobindo means the involution of the Absolute Spirit in Matter. The Spirit assumes the form of Matter which appears to be almost negation of consciousness. Since the Spirit is involved in the matter, the consciousness is implicit and unmanifest in Matter. There is rudimentary life and consciousness in Matter. So this Matter which is a veiled and unmanifest form of Brahman must evolve. The evolution is being effected by an increase of knowledge. By the gradual increase of knowledge the characteristics of Matter such as ignorance, bondage etc., gradually disappear and qualities of the spirit gradually appears.

  • Life

In essence matter is a form of veiled life. When the matter is sufficiently organized and transformed for the manifestation of the indwelling life, the veil is removed and life emerges out of the very matter. Life that is rudimentary in minerals manifests itself well in the vegetable kingdom where it becomes apparent for the first time. In animals it becomes more apparent.

  • Mind

Life is a force that evolves from matter and culminates in the mind. Mind which is the third stage emerges when life is sufficiently organized to admit a developed vibration of consciousness. It appears for the first time in the animal kingdom. Mind in its essence is a consciousness but is limited. The cosmic evolution has reached at the stage of mind. We have scientific invention, intellectual discoveries, intellectual culture and art and individualistic ethics. Still Aurobindo says the mind is capable of acquiring knowledge which is limited. He puts ignorance as the nature of the mind. It does not catch the ‘Integral whole’ as does the Supermind. Hence the mind must evolve to Supermind. Mind is a passage not as culmination. It is only middle term in the process of evolution.

Mind has to ascend to Divine Consciousness by surrendering to Supramental domain. “The possession of the Infinite cannot come except by ascent to those supramental planes, nor the knowledge of it except by an inert submission of mind to the descending messages of the Truth-conscious Reality”.[8]

  • Supermind

The process of evolution has to go ahead by the increasing of knowledge till it ends in the emergence of supermind, the being without ignorance. Supermind is the connecting link between the infinite and finite. It is the very Absolute in its dynamic aspect. It was involved in matter in the beginning. What is involved has to emerge. It is a twofold process that leads to the manifestation of the Supermind – a descend from above and an ascend form below – a self-revelation of the Spirit and an evolution in nature – a push form behind and a pull from above. The descent helps the individual preparation of the mind to evolve into supermind. 

1.4  Supermind and Gnostic Being (Superman): The Ultimate Destination and Cosmic Salvation

Aurobindo mentions different grades in the ascent from to Supermind as the higher mind, the illumined mind, intuitive mind and the over mind. The evolving mind thus passing through these strata reaches the Supermind. Such a mind is the most perfect attainable, which Aurobindo calls the ‘Gnostic Being’. One who possesses the Supermind is called by Aurobindo, Superman. The whole system of his philosophy and integral Yoga was meant to accelerate the advent of this superman on earth.

‘Gnostic Being’ is the culmination of the cosmic evolution. It is the apex of cosmic consciousness which was evolving from the lowest grade of existence, namely matter. It is a transition into supernature.  The ultimate destiny of human person is to become Superman or a Divine Being. He/she attains his/her consummation and perfection. The ancient Indian philosophy considered the ultimate salvation as an escape from the bondage of nature. The soul that is locked up the prison – cell (Prakrti) attains freedom in liberation. For Aurobindo salvation is the divine transformation of the body-mind-soul complex. He speaks of integral salvation. It is a perfectly transformed stage in which the body becomes luminous, the mind omniscient, the life immortal and the soul in union with the Supermind which is the dynamic aspect of the Saccidananta.

The emergence of the Superman is a god on earth who possesses divine consciousness. The divine life on earth is the ideal that is placed before humanity. The supramental transformation is the ascent of the embodied soul towards Godhead and the descent of the Godhead into the embodies nature. Supramental nature sees everything from the standpoint of oneness and regards all things, even the greatest multiplicity and diversity in the light of that oneness.[9] The phenomenal world with its plurality is seen in union with the Supermind from its transcendental unity which is non-different

(Advaita) from Saccidanata.

By the birth of the Superman on earth the cosmic evolution and salvation attain a definite stage. Once the Superman is born the transformation and ascent of humanity and the whole cosmos take place in speed. The Gnostic beings will be on the increase and they in turn enhance and enrich the peace of cosmic transformation. Sri Aurobindo says all humanity can attain Supermanhood. Once all are divinized the total cosmic salvation emerges and nothing remains imperfect.

Aurobindo speaks of this blissful eschatological state: “…The law of the Supermind is unity fulfilled in diversity, and therefore there would be an infinite diversity in the manifestation of the Gnostic consciousness although that consciousness would still be one in its basis, in its constitution, in its all-revealing and all-uniting order…The Gnostic individual would be the consummation of the spiritual man; his whole way of being, thinking, living, acting would be governed by the power of a vast universal spirituality…In this consciousness, he would live and act in an entire transcendent freedom, a complete joy of the Spirit, an entire identity with the cosmic self and a spontaneous sympathy with all in the universe.”[10]

Aurobindo also admit different grades of the Supermen. They are divine beings on earth. They are egoless, blissful, perfect beings possessing omniscience and omnipotence.  The evolutionary process of supramental beings continue till they become Saccidanata Itself.[11]

2.The Concept of Evolution and Eschatology according to Pierre Teilhard De Chardin [12]

Teilhard De Chardin is one of the unique personalities in the 20th century. The uniqueness consists in presenting a synthetic view of philosophy and theology in the light of an evolving universe by making use of science as the stepping stone. Most of the scientists view the world as a dynamic totality, a progressive cosmic evolution with a purpose. Teilhard de Chardin had an optimistic vision of this evolving universe. His ideas have become almost fundamental in the present thinking of the Church, as the documents of Vatican II, especially the opening chapters of “Church in the Modern World’ clearly reveal.

2.1 The Teilhardian idea of Evolution

Science was progressing by leaps and bounds in the 20th century. Many of the Christian beliefs were considered as myths and fables. The credibility and the authenticity of the Bible was challenged.  Teilhard was a man of profound, penetrating intellect, coupled with scientific instinct and deep faith. Teilhard the scientist is complemented with the Teilhard the believer in his evolutionary theory.

According to him everything that was to emerge in the world, was already there in a latent and dormant potentiality in the initial ‘stuff of the universe’. The primordial particles in the initial stage of the universe is the matrix out of which everything, including the humans, appeared. The whole universe was evolving out of relatively imperfect states into more perfect ones, towards ever-higher states of complexity.

Humans have been the result of a big bang and evolution. If our material origin is explained by big bang, our biotic life is understood by evolution. The upward movement of the evolution has a definite orientation. At present the evolutionary process has reached its culmination in human beings. The process moves from the sphere of non-living beings (lithosphere) to the living beings – to the vegetative and the animal kingdom (bio-sphere) and from this animal kingdom to human-kingdom, the sphere of consciousness (noosphere).

The evolutionary process once began, has not yet stopped. It still continues on. The evolution has a direction and goal. According to him all matter, living or not, has a ‘without’ (physical aspect) as well as ‘within’ (psychic aspect). This ‘psychic aspect’ Teilhard calls ‘consciousness’. The psychic aspect resides mostly in the brain and in the nervous system. In fact, he explains that “the living world consists intrinsically of ‘consciousness’ clothed in flesh…The axis on which evolution drives ahead is a spiritual, not of a material nature.”[13] Hence he tries to integrate matter and spirit; the ‘within’ and the ‘without’ of matter. He experienced the core of inner unity in the evolutionary movement. A sense of unity and totality is at the very heart of Teilhard’s teaching.

Teilhard’s integration of matter and spirit, evolution and faith, situated and synchronized at the very heart of human consciousness, and saturated by his faith experience. For Teilhard the centre and the controlling power of this unity is Christ, as it is for St. Paul. Pauline Christ is the center of Teilhard’s evolutionary goal. Teilhard’s transistion from lithosphere to the Christosphere (Christogenesis) which is the culmination of the evolutionary movement can be understood only in the light of spirituality and mysticism.

2.2 Evolution continues in Human

Human being occupies a unique position in the universe. Teilhard names his master product as The Phenomenon of Man. Human being is “the axis and leading shoot of evolution.”[14] “I have chosen man as the centre and around him I have tried to establish a coherent order between antecedents and consequences.”[15] In human being evolution takes a unique turn. “Man is nothing but evolution become conscious of itself.”[16]

The whole process of billions of years was geared to bring forth human being. For him evolution is all-permeating. Humans are endowed with the power of self-reflection. He/she is conscious of himself/herself. He/she knows that he/she knows. So far the products of evolution had no part in controlling evolution. They passively accepted the direction of evolution. They were subjected to the evolutionary process. In human evolution begins to rebound upon itself. Since human is gifted with the fantastic capacity of self-refection, he/she has taken the evolutionary process into his/her own hands and can control the direction of evolution.

With the advent of human who is so unique in the universe, a new sphere, the Noosphere, the thinking layer, came into existence. He not only occupies a central position in the universe, but he is also the logical outcome of the long evolutionary emergence of complexity consciousness. For Teilhard to be more in the first place is to know more. It is true that the modern man/woman knows much more than his/her predecessors, both in quantity and quality. It has changed the quality of life. In this high-tech millennium we live a global village. Development in all the strata of life is unimaginable. Hence psychically the evolution still continues.

2.3. Evolutionary Process: “Within” and the “Without.”

Everything has a “within” (internal aspect) and a “without” (external aspect). This dual notion is central to his doctrine. The “Without” is the material and measurable dimension of the reality. This outward aspect detectable by sense experience is called

as the ‘tangential energy’. The “within” is the immaterial, internal, conscious aspect of the reality. As the material aspect of the reality, the “without” gets organized into increasingly complex structure, the radical force or the internal dimension, namely the “within” begins to grow in intensity. So, as the universe continues to evolve outward to ever higher levels in complexity and integrated wholeness, the radical force, namely the consciousness or the spirit  is on the increase.

In order to explain the relationship between the ‘within’ and the ‘without’, Teilhard postulated a basic law – ‘the law of Complexity Consciousness’[17]. The ‘within’ aspect is developed in its finest form in human beings because the matter, the ‘without’ is evolved to ever greater complexity and concentration in him/her. The ‘within’ is the ‘intelligible or spiritual aspect of the reality. The inner and intangible aspect is called as the ‘radical energy’. This is the spiritual kind of energy in the universe. The radical energy draws the element towards ever-greater complexity. It is the force behind the evolution and is the creative power of God.

The radical force for Teilhard is  spirit and he speaks of it as Christ-consciousness. As the universe matures the intensity of this radical force or Christ-consciousness increases exponentially, being continuously contributed to and reinforced by all the centuries of consciousness in the universe. Hence the universe taken as a whole, is not merely to be considered as physical and material whole.[18]

The point at which all matter and life and consciousness finds its ultimate meaning and purpose is called the “Omega point” (Christ-consciousness). He saw the whole universe converging on this ultimate point, where it is totally unified and centered. It is towards that supreme point of unity that the whole creation is moving.

2.4. The Destiny of Human being

We have already discussed the progress of consciousness in evolutionary movement towards ever higher levels of beings. The third stage to unfold is Noosphere (Human being). Life being an ascent of consciousness could not continue to advance indefinitely along its line without transforming itself in depth. Like the Lithosphere and the Biosphere, the Noosphere is also subject to an internal process of growth and development. Hence we must expect an increase in complexity and consciousness in the heart and centre of humanity itself.

Thoughts on the future of humans always fascinated Teilhard. What is the ultimate state of human being in this evolutionary process? Is there any fulfillment in human longing? What is the end of humanity? Books like The Future of Man, Towards the Future etc. Teilhard tried to answer these crucial questions. In fact he used to repeat time and again, “The world is interesting when one looks forward.”[19]He used to say ‘after man, comes the mankind’.[20]

Teilhard writes:

“Mankind offers us the unique spectacle of a ‘species’ capable of achieving something in which all previous species had failed. It has succeeded, not only in becoming cosmopolitan, but in stretching a single organized membrane over the earth without breaking it.”[21]

This means that humankind – as a species – is drawing together both internally and externally for an ever-increasing unification. In the Future of Man Teilhard writes, “the human world will henceforth only be able to continue to exist by organizing itself ever more tightly upon itself.”[22] The human person is a centre of consciousness which is capable of infinite extension and as it grows it becomes more and more integrated with the whole complex of persons who make up humanity. This integration takes in four steps.

2.4.1. Unification

In this first step the humankind as a species draws together and is more unified. Instead of divergence , which was the characteristic of all parts of evolution, man/woman is converging upon himself/herself. He/she is being brought together physically, mentally, and spiritually. Humanity is becoming one.[23] Teilhard always emphasized the principle that union differentiates. In this process of unification we do not cease to be persons but grow into a full personal being, which is always a form of relationship. “The unification of mankind is an essential prerequisite for mankind’s continued convergence in the future.”[24] Under the influence of computer revolution and modern communication media the whole human race seems to be evolving towards a unity which was never known before.

2.4.2. Socialization

Socialization is the second stage of our pilgrimage towards the future. It is a convergence at the external level. On the psychical level too an inevitable interpersonal relationship is fostered by coming together of mankind into more intimate and more compact groups in a society. Mankind has advanced technologically, intellectually and spiritually. By coming together more deeply into relationship with others in a compact society mankind testifies that he is unique in the spectrum of living species. It is expressed in interpersonal relationships which results in a shared maturity and deepening of consciousness. Human mind has a fantastic capacity to turn towards itself and to others. Humans have ability for self-reflection and authentic communication. It is expressed in meeting together, working together, sharing and giving rise to institutions, organizations and creative cultures.

2.4.3. Planetization

Planetization which is the third stage is the intermediate between Socialization and the ultimate unity-Omega. In this stage humans are engaged in organizing process to bring about global solidarity. Mankind has a cosmic agenda for solidarity and intimacy. Human consciousness is trying to reach this stage. This can personalize us and grow into full personal beings. We become more and more ourselves when we enter more deeply into relationship with others. And eventually it divinizes us through some supreme centre of universal convergence.[25]

This leads to a transformation in Noosphere and thus mankind as a whole is prepared to move towards another sphere of evolution called Christosphere. This sphere is formed by growing ‘Amorization’, ‘Hominization’, ‘Personalization’ and finally humans and everything in the universe converge into a Point called ‘Omega’.

2.4.4. Omegization

Omegization is the point of maximum personalization and unification. It is the culmination of the whole process of convergence. Omega is the point at which all matter and life and consciousness finds its ultimate meaning and purpose. The entire humankind and the whole cosmos are converging on this ultimate point, where it is totally unified and centered. It is towards that supreme point of unity that the whole creation is moving. As Job Kozhamthadam puts it, “it is the total and final convergence at the Supreme Centre, the Centre of centres.”[26]

The centre of convergence of this evolution of consciousness, the Omega, must be a person because persons cannot converge to impersonal centre. According to him love is the dynamic and creative force behind this process of convergence into this Omega point. It is the final unity of mankind in itself, it is the realization of unity, the completion of convergence.[27] Omega Point is both personal and divine, drawing always humans and the whole creation to Himself by radiating the internal love energy. He is in the beginning of this evolutionary movement as the prime mover of this process and who Himself is the ultimate goal.

Love is the internal energy which attracts to the ultimate goal. The whole edifice of the magnificent personal universe will crumble to the ground if the force behind this ultimate convergence is anything other than love.[28]

The centre of convergence of this evolution of consciousness, namely the Omega, must be a person because persons cannot converge to impersonal center. According to him love is the dynamic and creative force behind this process of convergence into this Omega point. It is the final unity of mankind in itself, it is the realization of unity, the completion of convergence.[29] Omega Point is personal and divine, drawing always humans and the whole creation to Himself by radiating the internal love energy. He is in the beginning of this evolutionary movement as the prime mover of this process and who Himself is the ultimate goal.

Love is the internal energy which attracts to the ultimate goal. The whole edifice of the magnificent personal universe will crumble to the ground if the force behind this ultimate convergence is anything other than love.[30] Love alone can unite persons without enslaving. Hence Teilhard emphasizes that ‘union differentiates’. This means that the more we are united with others, the more we become ourselves. “Love personalizes by totalizing.”[31] Through this unique force of love mankind unites itself into a super-person who is fully human and fully alive. Mankind is more divinized and reaches the culmination of personalization and unification.

2.5. Christ – Omega

Through the historic incarnation of the ‘Word’ the transcendent became immanent in the cosmos. Teilhard considers the incarnation as the injection of the Divine into the cosmos. Whatever is injected into the human person has an intrinsic relation to him/her. It has an internal relation of inseparability which heals and leads to his/her health. God assumes human nature to take mankind and the whole cosmos to Himself. Like very human, the body of Jesus is made out of the very stuff of the earth form which the Lord God makes to grow every tree and plant. As Bede Griffiths says: “Christ assumed the body of fallen humanity and made it the body of God. Christ is therefore incarnate in every man, or rather he is incarnate in the whole universe.”[32] Incarnation implies God’s fundamental will to sanctify and  redeem human and the whole cosmos.

By the death and resurrection of Christ, the matter of this universe and the mankind are transformed. At the Ascension the matter of this universe is taken up into Godhead. It is amazing when we begin to grasp it, that the matter which exploded in the beginning, the so called Big Bang and through the evolutionary process which assumed biotic life and consciousness, at this divine mystery of Christ-event is finally transfigured. In fact the transfiguration has been going on all through history and we ourselves endowed with consciousness are evolved in this process of transformation of matter.

This transformation of the matter of the universe reached its climax in Christ-event and moves on towards its culmination in Christ, the Omegization. In the paschal mystery the matter of the universe is spiritualized and transformed and taken up to the Godhead. In every Eucharistic celebration the mankind and the whole cosmos have a foretaste of this redemption in Christ. As St. Paul says, “the entire creation and we ourselves groan inwardly and await for the fullness of sonship”(Rom.8.17f.). This groaning is part of the travail of all cosmos, which waits for redemption. “For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible …all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”(Col. 1.16-17). Pauline Christ is the centre of Teilhard’s intuition of Cosmic Christ and Christ-the Omega.

Christ-the Omega is the person who personalizes the universe and the universe comes to a head as it were, in him. In this way the whole of humanity is seen as growing, as St. Paul says to mature manhood, to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”(Eph. 4.13). The whole cosmos and the humanity are growing to the full stature of Christ, who is Omega who was in the beginning of the creation and who has been revealed as the Lord, uniting everything with God.[33] This is the Pauline vision and of the New Testament as a whole. Basing on these Biblical perspective that Teilhard the theology of evolution and its culmination and fulfillment in Christ-Omega.

This is the ultimate goal of the entire universe and humanity. This is the meaning of the vision of St. John “I saw a new heaven and new earth” (Rev. 21.1). The Bible begins with the story of creation in the book of Genesis – “God created heaven and earth”. And ends with the story of the mystical intuition of new heaven and earth in the book of Revelation. Once the whole universe is transformed and the human body shares in the Resurrection, the matter of the universe which is conditioned here, transcends space and time.[34] Everything has been wholly penetrated by the divine Spirit and entered into the eternal order of being, transcending this worldly conditioning.

Every human person and everything in the universe is reintegrated into the One (Christ-Omega) in total unity of love transcending our present understanding of time and space. It is an eternal and infinite reality and all of us even now are interwoven and interpenetrating in that One reality. The final goal of all creation and evolution is that each unique , individual being and everything in the universe should participate in its own way in the Divine Being, should realize its eternal ‘idea’ in God, should become one with Christ-Omega by participation, God expressing Himself through that unique Being.[35]

“Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end”. These words of St. Paul accord well with Teilhard’s theology. Christ is the attractive and magnetic force of cosmic evolution and towards him everything converges. He is the cosmic Christ and everything has been created by him, in him and through him. The world is ‘the divine Milieu’ (title of one of Teilhard’s book). The whole creation will be restored, reintegrated and transformed in Chrit-Omega. The entire universe and the humanity return to the Divine unity. All the diversities of this world are seen in their essential unity. All the differences and diversities in creation are not dissolved into the Oneness of the Divine mystery, like a drop of water into the ocean as is sometime said. The distinction and difference remain when everything participates in the ultimate unity. Thus  Teilhard stresses ‘union differentiates’. It is the total interrelationship of unity, in other words, total non-duality (Advaita) yet with profound difference and distinction – One in the many and many in One.[36]

3. The Encounter Between East and West in Escathology

It is really surprising and significantly interesting that both in Aurobindo and Teilhard  there is a genuine meeting of East and West. Aurobindo by proposing integral non-dualism he goes against all traditional Indian view. He integrates and synthesizes both matter and spirit. If matter is to ascend to the spirit, there must be a corresponding decent of the spirit in the matter. It is the involution of the Absolute spirit in matter that makes this spiritual evolution inevitable.

According to Aurobindo even in the lowest form of matter, the Absolute is present as an indwelling principle, pushing it continually forward. The Absolute is found everywhere, it has to be seen and found everywhere. He writes, ‘every finite is an infinite and has to be known and sensed in its intrinsic infiniteness as well as in its surface finite appearance.’[37] The omnipresent spirit of Aurobindo and the ‘divine milieu’ of Teilhard seem to be very similar and very rich insight.

The evolutionary journey goes ahead as matter becomes more organized into greater complexity. It evolves into life in plant and animal and it evolves further into consciousness in humanity. In all these process it is the Absolute Spirit which is gradually manifesting its hidden power. In the view of Aurobindo,  from the present state of rational consciousness, humanity  will evolve into “supermental consciousness (Supermind) which corresponds with what Teilhard calls  the “Omega point”.

The Supermind of Aurobindo is the very Absolute in its dynamic aspect. The final goal of evolution is the divinization of the human and the universe. The emergent mysticism of Aurobindo emphasizes unity in diversity. His integral non-dualism is intelligible only in the context of his understanding of Reality as One in many and many in One. In the final state all the differences and distinctions which exists here on earth are not simply dissolved but are transcended. Both Aurobindo and Teilhard emphasize that the Divine consciousness penetrates the whole creation and humanity and integrates the whole in the ultimate state of transcendence. Hence there is an authentic encounter of East and West in Aurobindo and Teilhard.



Biblical eschatology affirms  fundamentally that God is the ultimate destiny or goal of  humanity as well as the whole cosmos. If hope is intrinsic to the human persons no one can be indifferent to eschatology. Since eschatology deals with the “last things”, the most momentous aspects of human life and things of this universe, in recent times this theme has become a field of study within physics and cosmology.[38] Although scientific eschatology does not contribute directly to biblical eschatology, indirectly it throws light for our theologizing. Each can learn from each and enrich and interact with the other by offering new scope and insight.

We have seen that Teilhard the scientist, is complemented by Teilhard the believer and theologian. He shows how far the science can lead us. With the background of the scientific contribution and scope, Teilhard the believer develops his eschatology. He speaks of the ultimate fulfillment of human beings and cosmos in Christ – Omega. Christ and resurrection affirms eschatological fulfillment of human beings and the universe.

One of the criticism that is leveled against Teilhard and Aurobindo is that they are over – optimistic in their evolutionary mysticism. Their eschatology is considered to be an over – simplification. In their evolutionary view they speak of the emergence of supermen endowed with supermental consciousness which is entirely different from the present state of dualistic rational consciousness. They are fully human and fully alive, more divinized and more spiritualised .  Are they over – simplifying the evolutionary mysticism? We simply cannot be blind to such a venture. It is possible that new forms of life may emerge in the future. I was really amazed to read in one of the recent books of Dr. Kuruvilla about the scientist who made the study of the brain.[39] The study was done on the brains of people aged 75 and above who had died. They studied the various cells in the brains and they came to a very startling conclusion that of the billions of cells in the brain only 1/10 were utilized by the people in their entire life even in our hi-tech revolution. We have already seen that for Teilhard the evolution continues in human beings psychically. Hence there is possibility in the future that hidden potentiality of the brain may fully evolve and can give rise to supermen with supermental consciousness who are fully human and fully alive.

We can only imagine such a scenario. Our descendents will be more advanced and divinized than us. It is really challenging both scientifically and religiously. The evolutionary journey which goes ahead calls us to be humble and open. It may sound as a strange utopia. But in fact we are in need of such utopias to keep us going ahead optimistically. As Johnson says “when the humans, at any period of history, stopped dreaming of uptopia, they stopped ‘living’ as humans.”[40]Evolutionary mystics like Teilhard and Aurobindo are dreaming hope-filled utopia. Indeed it is very smoothening to our hearts. Christian faith encourages us to be alive in our hearts. The French philosopher Pascal is right when he said, ‘the heart has its reason, which reason does not understand’.[41] The words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery is worth quoting –‘ it is only with the heart that one sees rightly.’[42]

St. Irenaeus insists that the glory of God is a person who is fully alive[43].Once the latent possibility and potentiality of the brain is fully evolved, humans are fully alive, more divinized and grow into full personal beings and the glory of God is more manifested. For Teilhard ‘the axis on which evolution drives ahead is of a spiritual, not of

a material nature.’[44] The whole process of evolution, for him, is a process of unification, amorization,  and personalization, culminating and converging the whole universe and humanity into ‘Omega Point’. This is essentially a mystery of love. Omega Point des not mean the fusion of persons but their communion in the unity of love. Evolution for Teilhard is a ‘school of hope’. Teilhard was a person who had witnessed the miseries of the two world wars. In spite of these historical tragedies he envisaged a evolutionary mystical eschatology which is out and out optimistic. His scientific and evolutionary mysticism can inspire theologians to create a more open and assimilative theology.


End Note

[1] Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), philosopher and mystic was one of the most outstanding Indian thinkers of the twentieth century. His father, Dr. Krishnadhan Ghose was a medical practioner, educated abroad. Hence his son was sent to England for studies when he was just seven and he returned after fourteen years. For some time he worked in a college in Baroda, and then moved to Bengal to be more actively involved in the freedom struggle. In 1903 he was arrested for indulging in the freedom struggle and spent a year in jail. It was during his life in prison that he first had spiritual experiences. When he was released from the prison he abandoned his political activities and turned wholly towards the practice of Yoga, which over years led him to even deeper religious experiences. In 1910 he moved to Pondicherry, where he lived till his death on December 5, 1950.

[2] Ch.U., VI,ii, I

[3] Ma. U., II

[4] Isa, Up. Invocation.

[5] Sri Aurobindo Ghose, The Life Divine, (Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram,) p. 588

[6] Ibid., p.264

[7] Ibid., p. 702-703

[8] Ibid., p. 151.

[9] Ibid., p. 965.

[10] Ibid., p. 971-972

[11] Rama Shanker Srivastava, Contemporary Indian Philosophy, (Munshiram Manohartal Pub. Ranchi, 1965) p. 139.

[12] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born in Sarcenat, France, on 1st May, 1881. At eighteen he entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained a priest in 1911. He was a man endowed with a deep, penetrating intellect, coupled with child-like simplicity. In 1919 he was appointed professor of geology at the Institute Catholique in Paris. His name came to the notice of the scientific world in 1928 when the fossil bones of Sinanthropus Pekinensis (the Peking Man) were discovered by a team trained by him. He toured all the four corners of the world collecting data, conducting researches and giving lectures. In 1950 the French Academie des Sciences elected him as a member. He was a voluminous writer. His key book, “The Phenomenon of Man” has been acclaimed by many as “the book of the century”. He passed away suddenly of a heart attack on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955.

[13] J.V. Kopp, Teilhard de Chardin Explained, The Mercier Press, 4 Bridge Street, Cork, 1967, p. 36.

[14] Teilhard de Chardin,  Phenomenon of Man, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1959, p. 36.

[15] Ibid., p. 29

[16] Ibid., p. 220.

[17] D. Gareth Jones, Teilhard de Chardin: An Analysis and Assessment (Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1971), p 20.

[18] Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, p. 65.

[19] Job Kozhamthadem S.J. Philosophico-Scientific Reflections on the Cosmos, (Pune, 1975), p.185.

[20] Chardin, Man’s Place in the Nature, p. 102.

[21] Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, p. 241.

[22] Chardin,  The Future of Man, (Collins, St. Jame’s Place, London, 1964), p. 249

[23] Jones, Teilhard de Chardin, p. 43.

[24] Ibid., p. 44

[25] Ibid., p. 46.

[26] Job, Philosophico-Scientific Reflections of the Cosmos, p. 173.

[27] Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, pp, 259-260

[28] Job, Philosophico-Scientific Cosmos, p. 176.

[29] Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, pp, 259-260

[30] Job, Philosophico-Scientific Cosmos, p. 176.

[31] Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, p. 265

[32] Bede Griffiths, Return to the Centre, (London, Harper Collins, Pub. 1971), p.31

[33] Bede Griffiths, A New Vision of Reality (Harper Collins, Pub. India, 1992) p. 112.

[34] Ibid., p. 226.

[35] Bede Griffiths, Return to the Centre, 42.

[36] Bede Griffiths, A New Vision of Reality, p. 174.

[37] Aurobindo, Synthesis of Yoga, (Centenary Edition Vol. XX, Pondicherry, 1972), p. 375

[38]  Kuruvilla Pandikattu, S.J., Meaning through Science and Religion, (Jnana Deepa Vidya peeth, Pune, 1999), p.99.

[39]  Kuruvilla, The bliss of Being Human: Science and Religion for Self-Realisation., (Jnanam, Pune 2004,) p. 66.

[40] Johnson Puthenpurackal, Philosophizing in Asia: Future Perspectives and Paradigm Shift, Vijnanadipti (Jnanapet, June, 2004), Vol. 6, No.2. p.217.

[41] It is the celebrated dictum of Pascal Blaise (1623-1662), known for his brilliance as a mathematician, physicist, inventor, theologian, polemicist, and French prose stalist.

[42] It is his famous quotation in his masterpiece, The Little Prince.

[43] Dr. Kuruvilla, The Bliss of being Human, p.67.

[44] J.V. Kopp, Teilhard Explained, The Mercier Press, 4, Bridge Street, Cork 1968), p. 36.

Author: Dr. Bosco Correya OCD