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The Western Theory of Evolution is Unsound

by Swami Sivananda

Thus evolution and involution can be, strictly speaking, postulated only of the thinker. While so, some of the Western philosophers propound a theory that there is gradual progress from the mineral condition to the vegetable, from the vegetable to the animal, and from the animal to the human, and call it the theory of evolution. In the first place no religion of the world supports such a theory, and, as Benjamin Kidd in his Social Evolution says: "The tendency of the doctrine of evolution has been generally considered to be on the whole anti-religious." They say that evolution is going on in the universe; but what it is that is evolving they have nothing to say about. They observe different natures, bodies and objects in the universe occupying different positions in some respects and seeing that one is more 'advanced' than another, they make regular scales noting the different degrees of advancement. But they do not say that what is now found in the more advanced state of being must, in its essence, have been in existence formerly and must have been then in a less advanced condition. In other words, they do not say that the underlying entity which bears a more advanced form or exhibits a higher state or condition today is the same that formerly appeared in a coarser garb or functioned in a lower kind of existence. In fact, they have in general ignored the necessity, nay, even the possibility, of the continuing presence of the subsisting reality and have only directed attention to some stations on the road of evolution without caring to know whether there is anyone journeying along the road, and if so, who he is and how he is going on.

In fact no evolution is possible from the stage of the mineral to that of the vegetable, for there is nothing in the mineral that can evolve. Dr. Bose's discoveries of the modern day can have reference only to the Isvaric life, not the life of any Jiva in the mineral. The whole mineral kingdom has emerged out of the Tamasic aspect of Maya and it forms the material which goes to make the bodies of the Jivas and their means and places of support; mineral matter not composing the body of any Jiva is called 'inanimate' or 'inorganic', not because there is no life at all in it-for it has its very existence in the life of Isvara-but because there is no separate co-ordinating life-principle connecting together the several atoms in harmonious co-operation for serving some common end. It is the presence or the absence of such a separate connecting life that makes, in fact, all the difference between the organic and the inorganic sides of Nature. The view that is now and then expressed from the modern Theosophical platform: 'every grain of sand has its Jivatma' is clearly wrong and opposed to the clear statement in the holy books that the Jivas are to be found only in four classes of bodies, viz., Jarayuja (mammals), Andaja (egg-born), Svedaja (sweat-born) and Udbhijja (earth-born).

Again, as regards the alleged evolution from the vegetable to animal and from the animal to the human, the Western evolutionists do not actually trace the passage of any entity from a lower to a higher state of being. They are only able to see that one being is more 'advanced' than another and that this universe is inhabited by beings of manifold gradation of advancement, physical and mental. They mentally arrange the beings under different groups and these groups as well as the beings placed in each of these groups are then arranged according to a regular and graduated scale of advancement. They then perceive that the ladder of advancement created by them in their imagination presents a really beautiful appearance and they infer that Nature, beautiful as She is, must have brought about the advancement of beings only in the order in which the rungs of the ladder appear. A big library may contain a large number of books of different gradations of thought or size. They may be arranged in some regular order. Will it be proper to infer that a book written by an advanced author has 'evolved' out of a book written by an ordinary man, or that a big volume has come out of a small booklet? The present-day theory of evolution has no strong foundation.


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