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Kalpaa vast period of time, consisting of ten pratikalpas of a hundred caturyugas each[1]

“Whichever theory we take, the laws of the material world are not affected. From aeon to aeon, from kalpa to kalpa Narayan manifests himself in an ever-evolving humanity which grows in experience by a series of expansions and contractions towards its destined self-realisation in God.”[2]

“The theory of materialistic evolution led naturally to the idea of a slow and gradual progression in a straight line. It admits reversions, atavisms, loops and zigzags of reaction deflecting the straight line, but these must necessarily be subordinate, hardly visible if we calculate by ages rather than by shorter periods of time. Here too, fuller knowledge disturbs the received notions. In the history of man everything seems now to point to alternations of a serious character, ages of progression, ages of recoil, the whole constituting an evolution that is cyclic rather than in one straight line. A theory of cycles of human civilisation has been advanced, we may yet arrive at the theory of cycles of human evolution, the Kalpa and Manwantaras of the Hindu theory. If its affirmation of cycles of world-existence is farther off from affirmation, it is because they must be so vast in their periods as to escape not only all our means of observation, but all our means of deduction or definite inference.”[3]

“The evolution of man has been upwards from the body to the spirit, and there are three stages in his progress. He bases himself upon body, rises through soul and culminates in spirit. And to each stage of his evolution belong certain kinds of sadhana, a particular type of Yoga, a characteristic fulfilment. There was no aeon in man’s history, no kalpa, to use the Indian term, in which the Yoga was withheld from man or fulfilment denied to him. But the fulfilment corresponded to his stage of progress, and the Yoga corresponded to the fulfilment. In his earlier development he was realising himself in the body and the divinity of the body was his fulfilment. He is now realising himself in the heart and mind, and the divinity of the heart and mind will be his culmination. Eventually he will realise himself in the spirit and the divinity of his true spiritual self will round off his history.”[4]

  1. Glossary to the Record of Yoga
  2. Essays in Philosophy and Yoga, p.19, “Yoga and Human Evolution”
  3. Ibid., p.173, “Evolution”
  4. Early Cultural Writings, p.503, “Hathayoga”

See also