Theory of Spiritual Evolution

Birthday of Charles Darwin

Born on 12th February 1809 in England, Charles Darwin was an English naturalist whose scientific theory of evolution by natural selection became the foundation of modern evolutionary studies. An affable gentleman, Darwin at first, shocked religious Victorian society by suggesting that animals and humans shared a common ancestry. However, his nonreligious biology appealed to the rising class of professional scientists, and by the time of his death evolutionary imagery had spread through all of science, literature, and politics. Darwin, himself an agnostic, was accorded the ultimate British accolade of burial in Westminster Abbey, London.

Darwin formulated his bold theory in private in 1837–39, after returning from a voyage around the world aboard HMS Beagle, but it was not until two decades later that he finally gave it full public expression in On the Origin of Species (1859), a book that has deeply influenced modern Western society and thought. Talking about his publications, On the Origin of Species dominates perceptions of his work, The Descent of Man and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals had considerable impact, and his books on plants including The Power of Movement in Plants were innovative studies of great importance, as was his final work on The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms.

Osho talks about Charles Darwin and evolution, and says, Evolution is not something discovered by Charles Darwin. Evolution is an Eastern concept discovered by the mystics — and in the East they have really gone deeper. Charles Darwin is only superficial; he thought that man has come from the monkeys, and he was laughed at all over the world. The idea looks strange… but the mystic’s idea does not look strange. He does not say that man has come from the monkeys; he says that the essence of consciousness has passed through many forms, and it has passed through the forms of monkeys too. According to me, not every man has come to be a man from being a monkey; different people have travelled different lines of evolution. All are coming from different animals, and that is one of the reasons why they are so unequal. A man who is coming from monkeys is bound to carry some traits, some characteristics, of the monkeys. Another man coming from horses will have different characteristics. There are millions of animals in the world, and every person has moved through different forms. It is not a highway, with the whole of humanity coming from the same source. If that were the case, all people would have been equal. Somebody is a genius, somebody is a born idiot — certainly they are coming from different sources.”

Osho says…..



Milarepa, it is not a question suitable to you, but I will answer anyway. The mystic rose is an ancient symbol of tremendous importance.

Charles Darwin propounded a theory of evolution. Most of it is relevant, but he has missed something very basic. He only thought of the evolution of the human skeleton.

He was continually comparing the skeletons of other animals with human skeletons. The ape, the chimpanzee, certain species of monkeys, have almost a similar skeleton; that’s why he finally concluded that man has come either from apes or from chimpanzees or from monkeys.

Of course he was laughed at all over the world, particularly by the Christians, because Christianity has a very stubborn, fanatic attitude which was never so clear before Charles Darwin’s proposing the theory of evolution. Even today, most people are not clear what the problem is, why Christians are so much against Charles Darwin. Christians believe that God created the world in its completion in six days. Obviously, when God creates something it is bound to be complete and perfect; hence the question of evolution does not arise. Evolution means things are evolving, becoming better, more perfect, reaching to higher levels. This was against the idea of a fixed creation; hence Charles Darwin was criticized, condemned.

I remember… There was a small school and the teacher was explaining to the students how God created the world. One small boy, whose father was a scientist and had been teaching him about the theory of evolution, stood up and said, “But my father says something else. He says we are born out of the monkeys.”

And the Christian teacher said, “As far as your family is concerned, he may be right. We are not discussing your family here. You can see me later after the class.”

But that was the attitude all over the world — not only of Christians but of Hindus and of Mohammedans. They thought that Charles Darwin had taken away their dignity as the greatest and the most superior creation of God. He has destroyed their ego trip, that God created man in his own image. Now this fellow is saying God that created man in the image of a monkey. Nobody was ready to accept it. I am also not ready to accept it, but my grounds are different. It is not a question of comparing skeletons; the evolution is in the consciousness, not in the body. Man has a body, monkeys have their own bodies, chimpanzees have their own bodies. Even Charles Darwin was very much puzzled: How can a monkey suddenly become a man? As far as we know, at least since ten thousand years, there has not been a single case when suddenly a monkey jumped out of a tree and became a man. If it has not happened in ten thousand years, it is inconceivable that it could ever have happened.

His whole life he was looking for some missing links: the gap between the monkey and man seems to be too big. He wanted to find a few missing links so he could make smaller gaps: the monkey becomes something else, then something else becomes something else, and then finally a small difference… and the animal becomes man. But he could not find any missing link.

Because he was born in the West and had the attitude of a materialist, that caused the whole trouble. Otherwise he was saying something of immense importance. Evolution needs to be not of the body but of consciousness; then it becomes a spiritual progress. But Darwin had no idea of any spirit in man. To him, man was just the body and nothing more.

I propound a theory of spiritual evolution, and that has been the basic of all mysticism in the world. Man is born as a seed. To accept the seed as your life is the greatest mistake one can commit. Millions of people are born as seeds, fresh, young, with tremendous potential of growth. But because they accept the seed as their very life, they die as a rotten seed; nothing happens in their life. The symbol of the mystic rose is that if man takes care of the seed that he is born with, gives it the right soil, gives it the right atmosphere and the right vibrations, moves on a right path where the seed can start growing, then the ultimate growth is symbolized as the mystic rose — when your being blossoms and opens all its petals and releases the beautiful fragrance.

Unless you blossom into a mystic rose, your life is nothing but an exercise in utter futility. You are born unnecessarily, you are living unnecessarily, and you will die unnecessarily. Your whole biography can be reduced to a single word: unnecessary. But if you can blossom and release that which is hidden in you, you have fulfilled the longing of existence. You have given back to existence the fragrance that was hidden in your seed. You have come to fulfill your destiny.

The mystics have never accepted man as the ultimate product. Man is only a beginning and one should not die as a beginning; that is ugly, insulting, damaging to your dignity. Man should reach to the absolute fulfillment — not only for his own contentment, but for the contentment of the cosmos. That is the secret of the mystic rose.

Yes, in a few traditions the mystic rose is also called the magic rose. Both words are meaningful. It is certainly magic when you see within yourself the blossoming of the rose, the beauty of it, and the divinity of it, and the truth of it.

Satyam, shivam, sundram.

You cannot believe your own eyes. You have never dreamed that you contain so much, that your potential is so valuable, that your interiority is a treasure inexhaustible, that you need not be in debt to existence forever. You can return to existence a million fold what existence has given to you. That moment is of great joy, not only on your side but on the side of the whole cosmos. The experience is such a mystery that there is no way to demystify it. You can experience it but you cannot explain it — that is the meaning of the word `mystic’ — you can have it, but you become almost dumb.

You cannot utter a single word that may carry something of that rose, its beauty, its fragrance, its dance, its music — nothing can be carried through any word. The word `magic’ is also meaningful. Things like this only happen in magic. Unbelievable… you see with your own eyes things which should not be happening but they are happening…

Magic simply means something unbelievable, so absurd, so irrational that you cannot find a way to figure it out. That’s why both the words have been used, the mystic rose or the magic rose. But even the rope trick is nothing compared to your inner flowering. Because you don’t think you have anything inner, just hollowness… but in that hollowness is the possibility and the potentiality of a rose blossoming. And

this is no ordinary rose; it does not die. It is not that in the morning it blossoms, dances the whole day, sings songs, plays with the wind and the rain and with the sun, and by the evening all the petals are fallen to the ground and tomorrow you will not find even a trace of it. This inner rose is eternal. Once you have found it, it will be always within you.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: Satyam Shivam Sundram
Chapter #18
Chapter title: The mystic rose
15 November 1987 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium


Osho has spoken on scientists like Aristotle, Chamberlain, Copernicus, Darwin, Descartes, Eddington, Edison, Einstein, Euclid, Galileo, Leibnitz, Kepler, Newton, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, Ramanujan, Rutherford and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. What Is, Is, What Ain’t, Ain’t
  2. One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green
  3. Sufis: People on the Path Vol.1-2
  4. The Sun Rises in the Evening
  5. The Empty Boat
  6. Dang Dang Doko Dang
  7. Beyond Psychology
  8. Zarathustra, the laughing prophet
  9. From Personality to Individuality
  10. From Ignorance to Innocence
  11. Beyond Enlightenment
  12. The Golden Future
  13. Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1, 2
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