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Yoga - Cosmic Evolution

( Originally Published 1906 )



We have now reached a most interesting point in this course of lessons, and a period of fascinating study lies before us from now until the close of the course. We have acquainted ourselves with the fundamental principles, and will now proceed to witness these principles in active operation. We have studied the Yogi Teachings concerning the Truth underlying all things, and shall now pass on to a consideration of the process of Cosmic Evolution ; the Cyclic Laws ; the Law of Spiritual Evolution, or Reincarnation ; the Law of Spiritual Cause and Effect, or Karma; etc. In this lesson we begin the story of the upward progress of the Universe, and its forms, shapes, and forces, from the point of the "moment's pause" following the ceasing of the process of Involution—the point at which Cosmic Evolution begins. Our progress is now steadily upward, so far as the evolution of Individual Centres is concerned. We shall see the principles re-turning to the Principle—the centres returning to the great Centre from which they emanated during the process of Involution. We shall study the long; gradual, but steady ascent of Man, in his journey toward god-hood. We shall see the Building of an Universe, and the Growth of the Soul.

In our last lesson we have seen that at the dawn of a Brahmic Day, the Absolute begins the creation of a new Universe. The Teachings inform us that in the beginning, the Absolute forms a Mental Image, or Thought-Form of an Universal Mind Principle, or Universal Mind-Stuff, as some of the teachers express it. Then this Universal Mind Principle creates with-in itself the Universal Energy Principle. Then this Universal Energy Principle creates within itself the Universal Matter Principle. Thus, Energy is a product of Mind; and Matter a product of Energy.

The Teachings then further inform us that from the rare, tenuous, subtle form of Matter in which the Universal Matter Principle first appeared, there was produced forms of Matter less rare ; and so by easy stages, and degrees, there appeared grosser and still grosser forms of matter, until finally there could be no further involution into grosser forms, and the Involutionary Process ceased. Then ensued the "moment's pause" of which the Yogi teachers tell us. At that point Matter existed as much grosser that the grossest form of Matter now known to us, as the latter is when compared to the most subtle vapors known to science. It is impossible to describe these lower forms of matter, for they have ages since disappeared from view, and we would have no words with which to describe them. We can understand the situation only by comparisons similar to the above.

Succeeding the moment's pause, there began the Evolutionary Process, or Cosmic Evolution, which has gone on ever since, and which will go on for ages to come. From the grossest forms of Matter there evolved forms a little more refined, and so on and on. From the simple elementary forms, evolved more complex and intricate forms. And from these forms combinations began to be formed. And the urge was ever upward.

But remember this, that all of this Evolutionary Process is but a Returning Home. It is the Ascent after the Descent. It is not a Creation but an Unfoldment. The Descent was made by principles as principles—the Ascent is being made by Individualized Centres evolved from the principles. Matter manifests finer and finer forms, and exhibits a greater and greater subservience to Energy or Force. And Energy or Force shows a greater and greater degree of "mind" in it. But, remember this, that there is Mind in even the grossest form of Matter. This must be so, for what springs from a thing must contain the elements of its cause.

And the Cosmic Evolution continues, and must continue for aeons of time. Higher and higher forms of Mind are being manifested, and still higher and higher forms will appear in the scale, as the process continues. The evolution is not only along material lines, but has passed on to the mental planes, and is now operating along the spiritual lines as well. And the end, and aim seems to be that each Ego, after the experiences of many lives, may unfold and develop to a point where it may become conscious of its Real Self, and realize its identity with the One Life, and the Spirit.

At this point we may be confronted with the objection of the student of material science, who will ask why we begin our consideration of Cosmic Evolution at a point in which matter has reached the limit of its lowest vibrations, manifesting in the grossest possible form of matter. These students may point to the fact that Science begins its consideration of evolution with the nebulae, or faint cloudlike, vaporous matter, from which the planets were formed. But there is only an apparent contradiction here. The nebulae were part of the Process of Involution, and Science is right when it holds that the gross forms were produced from the finer. But the process of change from finer to grosser was Involution, not Evolution. Do you see the difference? Evolution begins at the point when the stage of Unfoldment commenced. When the gross forms begin to yield to the new upward urge, and unfold into finer forms—then begins Evolution.

We shall pass over the period of Evolution in which Matter was evolving into finer and still finer forms, until at last it reached a degree of vibration capable of supporting that which we call "life." Of course there is "life" in all matter—even in the atom, as we have shown in previous lessons. But when we speak of "life," as we now do, we mean what are generally called "living forms." The Yogi Teachings inform us that the lowest forms of what we call "life" were evolved from forms of high crystal life, which indeed they very much resemble. We have spoken of this re-semblance, in the previous lessons of this series. And, so we shall begin at the point where "living forms" began.

Speaking now of our own planet, the Earth, we find matter emerging from the molten state in which it manifested for ages. Gradually cooling and stratifying, the Earth contained none of those forms that we call living forms. The temperature of the Earth in that period is estimated at about 15,000 times hotter than boiling water, which would, of course, render impossible the existence of any of the present known forms of life. But the Yogi Teachings inform us that even in the molten mass there were elementary forms that were to become the ancestral forms of the later living forms. These elementary forms were composed. of a vaporous, peculiar form of matter, of minute size, -little more than the atoms, in fact, and yet, just a little more advanced. From these elementary forms, there gradually evolved, as the Earth cooled and solidified, other forms, and so on until at last the first "living form" manifested.

As the globe cooled at the poles, there was gradually created a tropical climate, in which the temperature was sufficiently cool to support certain rudimentary forms of life. In the rocks in the far northern lattudes, there are found abundant traces of fossils, which goes to prove the correctness of the Yogi Teachings of the origin of life at the north pole, from which the living forms gradually spread south toward the equator, as the Earth's surface cooled.

The elementary evolving life forms were of a very simple structure, and were but a degree above the crystals. They were composed of identically the same substance as the crystals, the only difference being that they displayed a greater degree of mind. For that matter, even the highest physical form known to us today is composed of simple chemical materials. And these chemical materials are obtained, either directly or indirectly, from the air, water, or earth. The principal materials composing the physical bodies of plants, animals, and man, are oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, with a still smaller proportion of sulphur and phosphorus, and traces of a few other elements. The material part of all living things is alike—the difference lies in the degree of Mind controlling the matter in which it is embodied.

Of these physical materials, carbon is the most important to the living forms. It seems to possess properties capable of drawing to it the other elements, and forcing them into service. From carbon proceeds what is called "protoplasm," the material of which the cells of animal and vegetable life is composed. From protoplasm the almost infinite varieties of living forms have been built up by the process of Evolution, working gradually and by easy stages. Every living form is made up, or composed, of a multitude of single cells, and their combinations. And every form originates in a single cell which rapidly multiplies and reproduces itself until the form of the amoeba ; the plant ; the animal; the man, is completed. All living forms are but a single cell multiplied. And every cell is composed of protoplasm. Therefore we must look for the beginning of life in the grade of matter called protoplasm. In this both modern Science and the Yogi Teachings agree fully.

In investigating protoplasm we are made to realize the wonderful qualities of its principal constituent—Carbon. Carbon is the wonder worker of the elements. Manifesting in various forms, as the diamond, graphite, coal, protoplasm—is it not entitled to respect ? The Yogi Teachings inform us that in Carbon we have that form of matter which was evolved as the physical basis of life. If any of you doubt that inorganic matter may be transformed into living forms, let us refer you to the plant life, in which you may see the plants building up cells every day from the inorganic, chemical or mineral substances, in the earth, air, and water. Nature performs every day the miracle of transforming chemicals and minerals into living plant cells. And when animal or man eats these plant cells, so produced, they become transformed into animal cells of which the body is built up. What it took Nature ages to do in the beginning, is now performed in a few hours, or minutes.

The Yogi Teachings, again on all-fours with modern Science, inform us that living forms had their beginning in water. In the slimy bed of the polar seas the simple cell-forms appeared, having their origin in the transitional stages before mentioned. The first living forms were a lowly form of plant life, consisting of a single cell. From these forms were evolved forms composed of groups of cells, and so proceeded the work of evolution, from the lower form to the higher, ever in an upward path.

As we have said, the single cell is the physical cellparent, of every living form. It contains what is known as the nucleus, or kernel, which seems to be more highly organized than the rest of the material of the cell—it may be considered as the "brain" of the cell, if you wish to use your imagination a little. The single cell reproduces itself by growth and division, or separation.. Each cell manifests the functions of life, whether it be a single-celled creature. or a cell which with billions of others, goes to make-up a higher form. It feels, feeds, grows, and reproduces itself-In the single-celled creature, the one cell performs all o the functions, of course. But as the forms become more complex, the many cells composing a form per-form certain functions which are allotted to it, the division of labor resulting in a higher manifestation. This is true not only in the case of animal forms, but also in the case of plant forms. The cells in the bone, muscle, nerve-tissue and blood of the animal differ ac cording to their offices; and the same is true in the cells in the sap, stem, root, leaf, seed and flower of the plant.

As we have said, the cells multiply by division, after a-period of growth. The cell grows by material taken into its substance, as food. When sufficient food has been partaken, and enough new material accumulated to cause the cell to attain a certain size, then it divides, or separates into two cells, the division being equal, and the point of cleavage being at the kernel or nucleus. As the two parts separate, the protoplasm of each groups itself around its _nucleus, and two living forms exist where there was but one a moment before. And then each of the two cells proceed to grow rapidly, and then separate, and so on to the end, each cell multiplying into millions, as time passes.

Ascending in the scale, we next find the living forms composed of cell-groups. These cell-groups are formed, by single cells dividing, and then subdividing, but instead of passing, on their way they group them-selves in clusters, or masses. There are millions of forms of these cell-group creatures, among which we find the sponges, polyps, etc,

In the early forms of life it is difficult to distinguish between the animal and the plant forms,-in fact the early forms, partake of the qualities of both. But as we advance in the scale a little there is seen a decided "branching out," and one large branch is formed of the evolving plant forms, and the other of the evolving animal forms. The plant-branch begins with the sea-weeds, and passes on to the fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, pines and palm-ferns, grasses, etc., then to the trees, shrubs and herbs The animal-branch begins with the monera, or single-cell forms, which are little more than a drop of sticky, glue-like protoplasm. Then it _passes on to the amoebae, which begins to show a slight difference in its parts. Then' on the foraminifera, which secretes a shell of lime from the-water. Then on-a step higher to the poiycystina, which secretes a shell, or skeleton of flint-like material from the water. Then come the sponges. Then the coral anima!s, anemones and jelly-fish. Then come the sea-lilies, star-fish, etc. Then the various families of worms. Then the crabs, spiders, centipedes, insects. Then come the mollusca, which include the oysters, clams and other shell-fish ; snails, cuttle-fish, sea-squirts, etc. All of the above families of animal-forms are what are known as "invertebrates," that is, with-out a backbone.

Then we come to the "vertebrates," or animals having a backbone. First we see the fish family with its thousands of forms. Then come the amphibia, which include the toads, frogs, etc. Then come the reptiles, which include the serpents, lizards, crocodiles, turtles, etc. Then come the great family of birds, with its wonderful variety of forms, sizes, and characteristics. Then come the mammals, the name of which comes from the Latin word meaning "the breast," the characteristic of which group comes from the fact that they nourish their young by milk, or similar fluid, secreted by the mother. The mammals are the highest form of the vertebrates.

First among the mammals we find the aplacentals, or those which bring forth immature young, which are grouped into two divisions, i. e., (1) the monotremes, or one-vented animals, in which group belong the duck-bills, spiny ant-eaters, etc.; and (2) the marsupials, or pouched animals, in which group belong the kangaroo, opossum, etc.

The next highest form among the mammals are known as the placentals, or those which bring forth mature young. In this class are found the ant-eaters, sloth, manatee, the whale and porpoise, the horse, cow, sheep, and other hoofed animals ; the elephant, seal, the dog, wolf, lion, tiger, and all flesh eating animals ; the hares, rats, mice, and all other gnawing animals ; the bats, moles, and other insect-feeders; then come the great family of apes, from the small monkeys up to the orang-outang, chimpanzee, and other forms nearly approaching man. And then comes the highest, Man, from the Kaffir, Bush-man, Cave-man, and Digger Indian, up through the many stages until the highest forms of our own race are reached.

From the Monera to Man is a long path, containing many stages, but it is a path including all the intermediate forms. The Yogi Teachings hold to the theory of evolution, as maintained by modern Science, but it goes still further, for it holds not only that the physical forms are subject to the evolutionary process, but that also the "souls" embodied in these forms are subject to the evolutionary process. In other words, the Yogi Teachings hold that there is a twin-process of evolution under way, the main object of which is to develop "souls," but which also finds it necessary to evolve higher and higher forms of physical bodies for these constantly advancing souls to occupy.

Let us take a hasty glance at the ascending forms of animal life, as they rise in the evolutionary scale. By so doing we can witness the growth of the soul, within them, as manifested by the higher and higher physical forms which are used as channels of expression by the souls within. Let us first study soul-evolution from- the outer viewpoint, before we proceed to ex-amine it from the inner. By so doing we will have a fuller idea of the process than if we ignored the outer and proceed at once to the inner. Despise not the outer form, for it has always been, and is now, the Temple of the Soul, which the latter is remodelling and rebuilding in order to accommodate its constantly increasing needs and demands.

Let us begin with the Protozoa, or one-celled forms —the lowest form of animal life. The lowest form of this lowest class is that remarkable creature that we have mentioned in previous lessons-the Moneron. This creature lives in water, the natural element in which organic life is believed to have had its beginning. It is a very tiny, shapeless, colorless, slimy, sticky mass—something like a tiny drop of glue-alike all over and in its mass, and without organs or parts of any kind. Some have claimed that below the field of the microscope there may he something like elementary organs in the Moneron, but so far as the human eye may discover there is no evidence of any-thing of the kind. It has no organs or parts with which to perform particular functions, as is the case with the higher forms of life. These functions, as you know, may be classed into three groups, i, e., nutrition, reproduction, and relation—that is, the function of feeding, the function of reproducing its kind, and the function of receiving and responding to the impressions of the outside world. All of these three classes of functions the Moneron performs—but with any part of its body, or with all of it.

Every part, or the whole, of the Moneron absorbs food and oxygen—it is all mouth and lungs. Ever part, or the whole, digests the food—it is all stomach. Every part, or the whole, performs the reproductive function—it is all reproductive organism. Every part of it senses the impressions from outside and responds to it—it is all organs of sense, and organs of motion. It envelops its prey as a drop of glue surrounds a particle of sand, and then absorbs the substance of the prey into its own substance. It moves by prolonging any part of itself outward in a sort of tail-like appendage, which it uses as a "foot," or "finger" with which to propel itself ; draw itself to, or push itself away from an object. This prolongation is called a pseudopod, or "false-foot." When it gets through using the "false-foot" for the particular purpose, it simply draws back into itself that portion which had been protruded for the purpose.

It performs the functions of digestion, assimilation, elimination etc., perfectly just as the higher forms of life—but it has no organs for the functions, and per-forms them severally, and collectively with any, or all parts of its body. What the higher animals per-form with intricate organs and parts—heart, stomach, lungs, liver., kidneys, etc., etc.—this tiny creature per-forms without organs and with its entire body, or any part thereof. The function of reproduction is startlingly simple in the case of the Moneron. It simply divides itself in two parts, and that is all there is to it. There is no male or female sex in its case—it combines both within itself. The reproductive process is even far more simple than the "budding" of plants. You may turn one of these wonderful creatures in-side out, and still it goes on the even tenor of its way, in no manner disturbed or affected. It is simply a "living drop of glue," which eats, digests, receives impressions and responds thereto, and reproduces itself. This tiny glue-drop performs virtually the same life functions as do the higher complex forms of living things. Which is the greater "miracle"—the Moneron or Man?

A slight step upward from the Moneron brings us to the Amoeba. The name of this new creature is derived from the Greek word meaning "change," and has been bestowed because the creature is constantly changing its shape. This continual change of shape is caused by a continuous prolongation and drawing-in of its pseudopods, or "false-feet," which also gives the creature the appearance of a "many-fingered" organism. This creature shows the first step toward "parts," for it has something like a membrane or "skin" at its surface, and a "nucleus" at its centre, and also an expanding and contracting cavity within its substance, which it uses for holding, digesting and distributing its food, and also for storing and distributing its oxygen—an elementary combination of stomach and lungs ! So you see that the amoeba has taken a step upward from the moneron, and is beginning to appreciate the convenience of parts and organs. It is interesting to note, in this connection, that while the ordinary cells of the higher animal body resemble the monera in many ways, still the white corpuscles in the blood of man and the animals bear a startling resemblance to the amoebae so far as regards size, general structure, and movements, and are in fact known to Science as "amoeboids." The white corpuscles change their shape, take in food in an intelligent manner, and live a comparatively independent life, their movements showing independent "thought" and "will."

Some of the amoebae (the diatoms, for instance) secrete solid matter from the water, and build there-from shells or houses, which serve to protect them from their enemies. These shells are full of tiny holes, through which the pseudopods are extended in their search for food, and for purposes of, movement. Some of these shells are composed of secreted lime, and others of a flinty substance, the "selection" of these substances from the other mineral particles in the water, evidencing a degree of "thought," and mind, even in these lowly creatures. The skeletons of these tiny creatures form vast deposits of chalk and similar substances.

Next higher in the scale are the Infusoria. These creatures differ from the amoebae inasmuch as in-stead of pseudopods, they have developed tiny vibrating filaments, or thread-like appendages, which are used for drawing in their prey and for moving about. These filaments are permanent, and are not temporary like the pseudopods of the monera or amoebae—they are the first signs of permanent hands and feet. These creatures have also discovered the possibilities of organs and parts, to a still greater 'degree than have their cousins the amoebae, and' have evolved something like a mouth-opening (very rudimentary) and also a short gullet through which they pass their food. and oxygen —they have developed the first signs of a throat, wind-pipe and food-passage.

Next come the family of Sponges, the soft skeletons of which form the useful article of everyday use. There are many forms who weave a home of far more delicacy and beauty than their more familiar and homely brothers. The sponge creature itself is a slimy, soft creature, which fills in the spaces in its spongy skeleton. It is fastened to one spot, and gathers in its food from the water around it (and oxygen as well), by means of numerous whip-like filaments called cilia, which flash through the water driving in the food and oxygen to the inner positions of its body. The water thus drawn in, as well as the refuse from the food, is then driven out in the same manner. It is interesting to note that in the organisms of the higher animals, including man, there are numerous cilia performing offices in connection with nutrition, etc. When Nature perfects an instrument, it is very apt to retain it, even in the higher forms, although in the latter its importance may be dwarfed by higher ones.

The next step in the ascending scale of life-forms is occupied by the polyps, which are found in water, fastened to floating matter. The polyps fasten themselves to this floating matter,. with their mouths: downward, from the latter dangling certain tentacles, or thin, long arms. These tentacles contain small thread-like coils in contact with a poisonous fluid, and enclosed in a cell. When the tentacles come. in contact with the prey of ,the creature, or with anything that is sensed as ;a possible energy, they contract around the object and the a little cells burst and the tiny thread-like coils are released and twist -themselves like a loop around the object, poisoning it with the secreted fluid. Some. of the polyps secrete flint like tubes, which they in habit, and from the ends of which they emerge dike,, flowers. From these parent polyps emerge clusters of young, resembling buds. These bud-like young after-wards become what are known as jelly-fishes, etc., which in . turn reproduce themselves-but here is a wonder the jelly-fish lay eggs, which when hatched produce stationary polyps .like their grandparent, and not moving creatures like their parents The jelly-fishes have a comparatively complex organism. They have an intricate system of canal-like passages with which to convey their food and oxygen to the various parts. They also have something like muscles, which contract and enable the creature to "swim." They also possess a "nervous system," and, most wonderful of all, they have rudimentary eyes and, ears. Their tentacles, like those of the parent, polyp, secrete the poisonous fluid ,which is discharged into prey or enemy.

Akin to the polyps are the sea-anemones, with their beautiful colors, and still more complex structure and organism, the tentacles of which resemble the petals of a flower. Varying slightly from these are the coral-creatures, which form in colonies and the skeletons of which form the coral trees and branches, and other forms, with which we are familiar.

Passing on to the next highest family of life-forms, we see the spiny-bodied sea-creatures, such as the sea-urchin, star-fish, etc., which possess a thick, hard skin, covered by spines or prickly projections. These creatures abound in numerous species. The star-fish has rays projecting from a common centre, which gives it its name, while the sea-urchin resembles a ball. The sea-lilies, with their stems and flowers (so-called) belong to this family, as do also the sea-cucumbers, whose name is obtained from their shape and general appearance, but which are animals possessing a comparatively complex organism, one of the features of which is a stomach which may be discarded at will and replaced by a new one. These creatures have a well defined nervous system, and have eyes, and some of them even rudimentary eye-lids.

Ascending the scale of life-forms, we next observe the great family of the Annulosa, or jointed creatures, which comprises the various families of the worm, the crab, the spider, the ant, etc. In this great family are grouped nearly four-fifths of the known life-forms. Their bodies are well formed and they have nervous systems running along the body and consisting of two thin threads, knotted at different points into ganglia or masses of nerve cells similar to those possessed by the higher animals. They possess eyes and other sense organs, in some cases highly developed. They possess organs, corresponding to the heart, and have a well-developed digestive apparatus. Note this advance in the nutritive organism : the moneron takes its food at any point of its body; the amoeba takes its food by means of its "false-feet," and drives it through its body by a rhythmic movement of its substance; the polyp distributes its food to its various parts by means of the water which it absorbs with the food ; the sea-urchin and starfish distribute their food by canals in their bodies which open directly into the water ; in the higher forms of the annulosa, the food is distributed by a fluid resembling blood, which carries the nourishment to every part and organ, and which carries away the waste matter, the blood being propelled through the body by a rudimentary heart. The oxygen is distributed by each of these forms in a corresponding way, the higher forms having rudimentary lungs and respiratory organs. Step by step the life-forms are perfected, and the organs necessary to perform certain definite functions are evolved from rudimentary to perfected forms.

The families of worms are the humblest members of the great family of the Annulosa. Next come the creatures called Rotifers, which are very minute. Then come the Crustacea, so called from their crust-like shell. This group includes the crabs, lobsters, etc., and closely resembles the insects. In fact, some of the best authorities believe that the insects and the crustacea spring from the same parent form, and some of the yogi authorities hold to this belief, while others do not attempt to pass upon it, deeming it immaterial, inasmuch as all life-forms have a common origin. The western scientists pay great attention to outward details, while the Oriental mind is apt to pass over these details as of slight importance, preferring to seek the cause back of the outward form. On one point both the Yogi teachers and the scientists absolutely agree, and that is that the family of insect life had its origin in some aquatic creature. Both hold that the wings of the insect have been evolved from organs primarily used for breathing purposes by the ancestor when it took short aerial flights, the need for means of flight afterwards acting to develop these rudimentary organs into perfected wings. There need be no more wonder expressed at this change than in the case of the transformation of the insect from grub to chrysalis, and then to insect. In fact this- process is a reproduction of the stages through which the life-form passed during the long ages between sea-creature and land-insect.

We need not take up much of your time in speaking of the wonderful complex organism of some of the insect family, which are next on the scale above the crustacea. The wonders of spider-life—the al-most human life of the ants—the spirit of the beehive—and all the rest of the wonders of insect life are familiar to all of our readers. A study of some good book on the life of the higher forms of the insect family will prove of value to anyone, for it will open his or her eyes to the wonderful manifestation of life and mind among these creatures. Remember the remark of Darwin, that the brain of the ant, although not much larger than a pin point, "is one of the most marvelous atoms of matter in the world, perhaps more so than the brain of man."

Closely allied to the crustacea is the sub-family of the mollusca, which includes the oyster, clams, and similar creatures ; also the snails, cuttle-fish, slugs, nautilus, sea-squirts, etc., etc. Some are protected by a hard shell, while others have a gristly outer skin, serving as an armor, while others still are naked. Those having shells secrete the material for their construction from the water. Some of them are fixed to rocks, etc., while others roam at will. Strange as it may appear at first sight, some of the higher forms of the mollusca show signs of a rudimentary vertebra, and science has hazarded the opinion that the sea-squirts and similar creatures were descended from some ancestor from whom also descended the vertebrate animals, of which man is the highest form known today on this planet. We shall mention this connection in our next lesson, where we will take up the story of "The Ascent of Man" from the lowly vertebrate forms.

And now, in closing this lesson, we must remind the reader that we are not teaching Evolution as it is conceived by modern science. We are viewing it from the opposite viewpoint of the Yogi Teaching. Modern Science teaches that Mind is a by-product of the evolving material forms—while the Yogi Teachings hold that there was Mind involved in the lowest form, and that that Mind constantly pressing forward for unfoldment compelled the gradual evolution, or unfoldment of the slowly advancing degrees of organization and function. Science teaches that "function precedes organization," that is, that a form per-forms certain functions, imperfectly and crudely, be-fore it evolves the organs suitable for the functioning. For instance the lower forms digested food before they evolved stomachs—the latter coming to meet the need. But the Yogi Teachings go further and claim that "desire precedes function," that is, that the lowly life form "desires" to have digestive apparatus, in order to proceed in the evolutionary scale, before it begins the functioning that brings about the more complex organism. There is ever the "urge" of the Mind which craves unfoldment, and which the creatrue feels as a dim desire, which grows stronger and stronger as time goes on. Some yield more readily to the urge, and such become the parents of possible higher forms. "Many are called, but few are chosen," and so matters move along slowly from generation to generation, a few forms serving to carry on the evolutionary urge to their descendants. But is always the Evolutionary Urge of the imprisoned Mind striving to cast aside its sheaths and to have more perfect machinery with which, and through which, to manifest and express itself ? This is the difference between the "Evolution" of Modern Science and the "Unfoldment" of the Yogi Teachings. The one is all material, with mind as a mere by-product, while the other is all Mind, with matter as a tool and instrument of expression and manifestation.

As we have said in this lesson—and as we shall point out to you in detail in future lessons—accompanying this evolution of bodies there is an evolution of "souls" producing the former. This evolution of souls is a basic principle of the Yogi Teachings, but it is first necessary that you acquaint yourselves with the evolution of bodies and forms, before you may fully grasp the higher teachings.

Our next lesson will be entitled "The Ascent of Man," in which the rise of man—that is, his body—from the lowly forms of the vertebrates is shown. In the same lesson we shall begin our consideration of the "evolution of souls." We trust that the students are carefully studying the details of each lesson, for every lesson has its part in the grand whole of the Teachings.



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