Evolution of life on earth in Hinduism is based on the concept that all that is animate and inanimate evolved from the Supreme Truth called Brahman. Hindu religion believes that intelligence always exist, it is neither created nor destroyed. The evolutionary theory of the modern world states that unintelligent beings slowly evolve into animals, and then into intelligent human beings. Dr. Narayana P. Bhat, secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama in
, writes on the subject in al.com. United States
In the article titled Evolution, from Hinduism's point of view: LifePoints he writes
Hinduism talks about the mental and spiritual evolution of the beings from ignorance to wisdom through progressive and successive intermediate states of partial ignorance and partial intelligence while modern science speaks of physical evolution starting with simple form of life which evolves to more complex systems of which man is the ultimate product.
Hindu philosophy maintains that intelligence is the first in the order of creation, and that out of intelligence came gross matter.
Modern philosophers say that intelligence comes last. They say that unintelligent beings slowly evolve into animals, and then into men. Both the religious and the scientific statements, though seemingly opposed to each other, are true. It depends on the way we look at it.
Intelligence undergoes modification and becomes the gross matter, this again merges into intelligence, and thus the process goes on.
According to modern biology, biodiversity is due to a genetic variation caused by the process of occasional chance mutation. However, according to Vedanta (modern Vedic philosophy), the law of karma and the three traits of material nature - sattva (righteous and peaceful ), rajas (excitable and passionate ) and tamas ( irresponsible and malicious) - are responsible for biodiversity and diversity in levels of intelligence, degree of development of mind and consciousness of the being within the same species.
There is a gradual evolution of consciousness through various species of life according to the subtle laws of karma. The soul continually transmigrates from one life form to the next until it reaches the human form where consciousness is fully developed and has a chance to reestablish its pure divinity of existence.
Jagadishchandra Bose reported that plants have consciousness too. Similarly other living entities, such as worms, insects and animals are in "shrunken consciousness."
Therefore, Vedanta emphasizes the importance of the human form of life. The human race has an obligation to protect and guide not only mankind but also all lower forms of life. Some well-known evolutionists believe that natural selection and random mutation are not the causes of biodiversity. Vedanta supports that biological forms are already within the cosmic plan.
Suppose that human knowledge has advanced enough as to eliminate competition. According to the moderns, human progress will stop and the race will die.
But the ancient evolutionist, Patanjali, declares that the true secret of evolution is the manifestation of the perfection which is already in every being. The struggles and competitions are but the results of our ignorance.
Even when all competition has ceased this perfect nature behind will make us go forward until everyone has become perfect. Therefore no competition is necessary to progress.
Thus, it is the consciousness that evolves and not the bodies, in the Vedantic tradition unlike the Darwinian evolutionary theory.