Loretta reads Savitri:Two.VIII "The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness" part 1
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto VIII: The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness
Part 1 of 3, pages 220-225
By the last part of Canto VII, the traveler found himself alone, driven by a strange will down, ever down, until:
- Nothing was left, not even an evil face. (p.217)
- Hope [...] perished in his empty soul (p.218)
And an eternity of inhuman and intolerable pain approached him, which he would have to bear forever.
But he endured. He “stilled the vain terror” (p.218) and bore the agony and affright – and 'affright' doesn't mean 'fear'; the definition is, “a word which mean sudden and great fear”. So he bore the agony and affright. And the Godhead in him, that part of all of us which is unchanging, undying and unborn – our psychic being, our individual soul – awoke, “And faced the pain and danger of the world” (p.219). Our yogi king:
- [...] mastered the tides of Nature with a look:
- He met with his bare spirit naked Hell. (p.219)
Now that the king has mastered this aspect of Nature in his own being, he can “see the hidden heart of Night” (p.220). This mastery over fear is absolutely necessary to succeed in the Yoga practice. These kinds of fears and things have been known for centuries in convents and in monasteries. But it is also just as necessary in life, even if we do not practice Yoga. Mother always said that one must not have any fear, because it affects everything. And it undermines everything. And people do have this experience.
And now, through their teachings, and through experience, we know that we are open to so many energies and vital influences which come into us from everywhere – obviously including fear. So most of the time, if not all the time, the fear isn't even ours in the first place. And Mother also says that there is a fearful trembling in the very physical cells of our body. It's just in there. And so that has to be dealt with also.
The traveler has accomplished a great progress so far; a mastery like this is a great progress. But he's going to have to go through more, and do more, before he finally learns everything in this world, and masters it, and comes successfully through it.
Now, his eyes identify their sight with the “blind stare” (p.220) of the gloom. And he can see what is there, in this part of the Inconscient, where he's moving down.
'Inconscience' means 'unconsciousness'. But everything here has a consciousness of some sort. It does things; it does what to us are terrible things. Sri Aurobindo speaks about demoniac powers, workings of evil, workings of pain. And these are conscious things. So why are they so terrible for us? After all, here they are – they're part of the creation. And what are they 'unconscious' of, if this is unconsciousness?
They're unconscious of Truth, and Light, and Love, and all the new things, all the good things, that are now coming into the creation to replace all the old things. And these are what we call the Divine. And these are in our soul; and these are what our soul naturally evolves us towards. And it's just evolving us out of the Inconscience that's part of Nature, and that's part of the past.
And Sri Aurobindo says this is the Abyss. The definition of an 'abyss' is 'a bottomless gulf or pit'. It's also defined as something 'immeasurably hopeless', or 'wretched', or 'a place of endless chaos'. And Sri Aurobindo has already told us that Life plunged into the depths of the inconscient abyss of Matter, and became deformed.
Back in the story of “The Glory and the Fall of Life” (Book Two, Canto III), the evil mystery of life's doom was “To feed death with her works” (p.131), not life. And her immortality (she has immortality obviously, or he wouldn't say that) – her immortality seemed an eternal death. Because:
- The secret Will that robes itself with Night
- And offers to spirit the ordeal of the flesh,
- Imposed a mystic mask of death and pain. (p.130)
So now this is life at this level.
And we're going to read about the 'hegemony' of death and falsehood, and grief, that is pressed on the earth. And 'hegemony' means 'influence', or 'authority'. So it's not only down there; it's also here.
In Canto V, “The Godheads of the Little Life”, Sri Aurobindo said that when our greater self comes down into us, we will be “Released from the black magic of the Night” (p.171), and renounce our “servitude to the dim Abyss” (p.171). So, we are also serving this – unconsciously of course, because if we were conscious of it, we wouldn't want to do it and we wouldn't do it.
And we have this in all of us, because our spirit chose the “ordeal of the flesh” (p.130). And now life in our inconscient physical matter is struggling through that abyss and darkness, just as the king is.
In Book VII, the book of Savitri's yoga, Sri Aurobindo speaks about the fact that we all have in us dreadful powers that are held down in our depths. And they can rise; and they can “call the inhabitants of the abyss” (p.481). (And we're going to hear a lot about the abyss today!) Then our nature's dangerous forces can arise. Man's lower nature hides these awful guests.
And here Sri Aurobindo says that “This evil Nature...” – and it's a capital 'N', so it's a title of a being or a thing – “This evil Nature housed in human hearts” (p.482) can dislodge the soul and possess the body. And here he will actually describe the death of a soul for us. And the things that he tells us are warnings, so that we can see how that could happen, what can trick us; and we can watch out for them.
In the canto of “The House of the Spirit and the New Creation”, after the traveler has gone very, very far – and he's really close to receiving and realizing the Divine Mother – he has to do another mighty task. And Sri Aurobindo says 'mighty' task.
- In the texture of our bound humanity
- He felt the stark resistance huge and dumb
- Of our inconscient and unseeing base,
- The stubborn mute rejection in life’s depths,
- The ignorant No in the origin of things. (p.317)
“A veiled collaboration with the Night // Even in himself” (p.317) – even after coming this far – still survived, and hid from his own view. And the king has to search his own being, to discover and get rid of all of it. Finally, Sri Aurobindo says – and we know that it's Sri Aurobindo who's done this – the king:
- [...] tore desire up from its bleeding roots
- And offered to the gods the vacant place. (p.318)
So now, in Canto VIII, Sri Aurobindo is describing inconscient Nature and what it does. The king sees vast beings of darkness, who are minds and lives with no spirit inside. He sees “conscious Night”, and “An immense negation of spiritual things” (p.221), where the things of light, in the sphere of the spirit, turned into their own dark contraries. “Heaven’s face became a mask and snare of Hell” (p.222).
And he speaks of the mother of Evil – but he doesn't call her 'the mother of Evil', he doesn't give her that name. In the next part of this canto, he names the “giant sons of Darkness” (p.226) – that's what he calls them. But here he doesn't. He speaks of the birth of the “dire antagonist Energy...” – and that's capital 'E', so it's a living thing – “...Energy // Who mimes the eternal Mother’s mighty shape” (p.223), and who oppresses “the God-spark within the soul” and “forces back to the beast the human fall” (p.224). And he makes many allusions to the dark workings of a feminine darkness, a power of Night.
And one of the things that he particularly describes is this 'anti' darkness, this other female force – the dark force – prowling around to make sure that the spirit does not grow in us. And using her darkness to do everything to kill a soul. (And he describes that in quite a bit of detail.)
The first part of the canto is all descriptions. Fabulous poetry for a terrible subject (!). Beautiful poetic ways of saying all these terrible things. But it does bring it home to us in a way that somehow we can vibrate with.
And the second part today is about what happened when Matter was without soul, and “Life first touched the insensible Abyss”. Life “strove to find a way for spirit to be. // But from the Night another answer came” (p.222). A seed of monstrous birth was cast. And something with a huge body of Doom sprang from the Inconscient.
- Life grew into a huge and hungry death,
- The Spirit’s bliss was changed to cosmic pain. (p.223)
And a dire antagonist Energy – capital 'E', this being – “forced on life a slow and faltering pace” (p.223). And she tries her best to slay the soul.
All of this has to come up in us, so we can be free of it. It's all part of becoming fully conscious. And part of our soul – our divine part, the divine consciousness in us – coming forward, mastering our nature, taking over our nature, so that we can live in a much better consciousness.
But everyone goes through it. They go through it much more slowly than you do if you're doing Yoga. As the new force comes more and more into our manifested universe, our universal Inconscient rises up; even if people aren't working on it – don't want to see it – it's automatic. And the whole world is affected.
Sri Aurobindo's knowledge of the workings of the world energy, which prepared him for the worst, is seen as early as 1909. That year, he published an essay called “The Process of Evolution”. And he wrote:
- “The end of a stage of evolution is usually marked by a powerful recrudescence of all that has to go out of the evolution.”
So he was already seeing that these unconscious powers – or inconscient powers – would be active. In 1918, he said that often the change is “preceded by an apparent emphasising and raising to their extreme of things which seem the very denial, the most uncompromising opposite of the new principle and the new creation” That was after one world war; and then earth had another world war. And both of these world wars certainly expressed the wish to destroy: to destroy people, and things, and to destroy freedom, and right, and truth.
In a letter he dictated in 1948 – after World War II ended – he wrote:
- “Things are bad, are growing worse and may at any time grow worst or worse than worst if that is possible — and anything however paradoxical seems possible in the present perturbed world.”
But, he saw the situation as a passing phase. And he knew the purpose it served. He said:
- “The best thing [...] is to realise that all this was necessary because certain possibilities had to emerge and be got rid of if a new and better world was at all to come into being; it would not have done to postpone them for a later time. It is as in Yoga where things active or latent in the being have to be put into action in the light so that they may be grappled with and thrown out or to emerge from latency in the depths for the same purificatory purpose.”
And he said that night is darkest before dawn, and that “the coming of dawn is inevitable”.
He also said that to deal with the depression that tends to prevail during such periods, we should have:
- “Faith, more faith! Faith in your possibilities, faith in the Power that is at work behind the veil, faith in the work that is to be done”
So we're going to start in “The World of Falsehood, The Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness”: Canto VIII of Savitri.
Canto Eight The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness Then could he see the hidden heart of Night: The labour of its stark unconsciousness Revealed the endless terrible Inane. A spiritless blank Infinity was there; A Nature that denied the eternal Truth In the vain braggart freedom of its thought Hoped to abolish God and reign alone. There was no sovereign Guest, no witness Light; Unhelped it would create its own bleak world. Its large blind eyes looked out on demon acts, Its deaf ears heard the untruth its dumb lips spoke; Its huge misguided fancy took vast shapes, Its mindless sentience quivered with fierce conceits; Engendering a brute principle of life Evil and pain begot a monstrous soul. The Anarchs of the formless depths arose, Great Titan beings and demoniac powers, World-egos racked with lust and thought and will, Vast minds and lives without a spirit within: Impatient architects of error’s house, Leaders of the cosmic ignorance and unrest And sponsors of sorrow and mortality Embodied the dark Ideas of the Abyss. A shadow substance into emptiness came, Dim forms were born in the unthinking Void And eddies met and made an adverse Space In whose black folds Being imagined Hell. His eyes piercing the triple-plated gloom Identified their sight with its blind stare: Accustomed to the unnatural dark, they saw Unreality made real and conscious Night. p.221 A violent, fierce and formidable world, An ancient womb of huge calamitous dreams, Coiled like a larva in the obscurity That keeps it from the spear-points of Heaven’s stars. It was the gate of a false Infinite, An eternity of disastrous absolutes, An immense negation of spiritual things. All once self-luminous in the spirit’s sphere Turned now into their own dark contraries: Being collapsed into a pointless void That yet was a zero parent of the worlds; Inconscience swallowing up the cosmic Mind Produced a universe from its lethal sleep; Bliss into black coma fallen, insensible, Coiled back to itself and God’s eternal joy Through a false poignant figure of grief and pain Still dolorously nailed upon a cross Fixed in the soil of a dumb insentient world Where birth was a pang and death an agony, Lest all too soon should change again to bliss. Thought sat, a priestess of Perversity, On her black tripod of the triune Snake Reading by opposite signs the eternal script, A sorceress reversing life’s God-frame. In darkling aisles with evil eyes for lamps And fatal voices chanting from the apse, In strange infernal dim basilicas Intoning the magic of the unholy Word, The ominous profound Initiate Performed the ritual of her Mysteries. There suffering was Nature’s daily food Alluring to the anguished heart and flesh, And torture was the formula of delight, Pain mimicked the celestial ecstasy. There Good, a faithless gardener of God, p.222 Watered with virtue the world’s upas-tree And, careful of the outward word and act, Engrafted his hypocrite blooms on native ill. All high things served their nether opposite: The forms of Gods sustained a demon cult; Heaven’s face became a mask and snare of Hell. There in the heart of vain phenomenon, In an enormous action’s writhen core He saw a Shape illimitable and vague Sitting on Death who swallows all things born. A chill fixed face with dire and motionless eyes, Her dreadful trident in her shadowy hand Outstretched, she pierced all creatures with one fate. When nothing was save Matter without soul And a spiritless hollow was the heart of Time, Then Life first touched the insensible Abyss; Awaking the stark Void to hope and grief Her pallid beam smote the unfathomed Night In which God hid himself from his own view. In all things she sought their slumbering mystic truth, The unspoken Word that inspires unconscious forms; She groped in his deeps for an invisible Law, Fumbled in the dim subconscient for his mind And strove to find a way for spirit to be. But from the Night another answer came. A seed was in that nether matrix cast, A dumb unprobed husk of perverted truth, A cell of an insentient infinite. A monstrous birth prepared its cosmic form In Nature’s titan embryo, Ignorance. Then in a fatal and stupendous hour Something that sprang from the stark Inconscient’s sleep Unwillingly begotten by the mute Void, Lifted its ominous head against the stars; Overshadowing earth with its huge body of Doom It chilled the heavens with the menace of a face. p.223 A nameless Power, a shadowy Will arose Immense and alien to our universe. In the inconceivable Purpose none can gauge A vast Non-Being robed itself with shape, The boundless Nescience of the unconscious depths Covered eternity with nothingness. A seeking Mind replaced the seeing Soul: Life grew into a huge and hungry death, The Spirit’s bliss was changed to cosmic pain. Assuring God’s self-cowled neutrality A mighty opposition conquered Space. A sovereign ruling falsehood, death and grief, It pressed its fierce hegemony on the earth; Disharmonising the original style Of the architecture of her fate’s design, It falsified the primal cosmic Will And bound to struggle and dread vicissitudes The long slow process of the patient Power. Implanting error in the stuff of things It made an Ignorance of the all-wise Law; It baffled the sure touch of life’s hid sense, Kept dumb the intuitive guide in Matter’s sleep, Deformed the insect’s instinct and the brute’s, Disfigured man’s thought-born humanity. A shadow fell across the simple Ray: Obscured was the Truth-light in the cavern heart That burns unwitnessed in the altar crypt Behind the still velamen’s secrecy Companioning the Godhead of the shrine. Thus was the dire antagonist Energy born Who mimes the eternal Mother’s mighty shape And mocks her luminous infinity With a grey distorted silhouette in the Night. Arresting the passion of the climbing soul, She forced on life a slow and faltering pace; Her hand’s deflecting and retarding weight p.224 Is laid on the mystic evolution’s curve: The tortuous line of her deceiving mind The Gods see not and man is impotent; Oppressing the God-spark within the soul She forces back to the beast the human fall. Yet in her formidable instinctive mind She feels the One grow in the heart of Time And sees the Immortal shine through the human mould. Alarmed for her rule and full of fear and rage She prowls around each light that gleams through the dark Casting its ray from the spirit’s lonely tent, Hoping to enter with fierce stealthy tread And in the cradle slay the divine Child. Incalculable are her strength and ruse; Her touch is a fascination and a death; She kills her victim with his own delight; Even Good she makes a hook to drag to Hell. For her the world runs to its agony. Often the pilgrim on the Eternal’s road Ill-lit from clouds by the pale moon of Mind, Or in devious byways wandering alone, Or lost in deserts where no path is seen, Falls overpowered by her lion leap, A conquered captive under her dreadful paws. Intoxicated by a burning breath And amorous grown of a destroying mouth, Once a companion of the sacred Fire, The mortal perishes to God and Light, An Adversary governs heart and brain, A Nature hostile to the Mother-Force. The self of life yields up its instruments To Titan and demoniac agencies That aggrandise earth-nature and disframe: A cowled fifth-columnist is now thought’s guide; His subtle defeatist murmur slays the faith And, lodged in the breast or whispering from outside, p.225 A lying inspiration fell and dark A new order substitutes for the divine. A silence falls upon the spirit’s heights, From the veiled sanctuary the God retires, Empty and cold is the chamber of the Bride; The golden Nimbus now is seen no more, No longer burns the white spiritual ray And hushed for ever is the secret Voice. Then by the Angel of the Vigil Tower A name is struck from the recording book; A flame that sang in Heaven sinks quenched and mute; In ruin ends the epic of a soul. This is the tragedy of the inner death When forfeited is the divine element And only a mind and body live to die. ...
- Essays in Philosophy and Yoga, p.33
- The Human Cycle, p.183, “The Infrarational Age of the Cycle”
- Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest, p.498
- Letters on Yoga – IV, p.701