Loretta reads Savitri:Four.III "The Call to the Quest"
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Four: The Book of Birth and Quest
Canto III: The Call to the Quest
Savitri's father, King Aswapati, who is none other than our friend with whom we travelled the inner worlds, is sending his beloved daughter out into the world to seek her own mate. Indian girls were always carefully guarded in the family; in those ancient times, marriages were arranged often when the girl and boy were still very young children. They would not even meet for years to come. Today in India there are many love-marriages; but the custom of arranged marriage is still important and still goes on today.
But King Aswapati, the father of this beautiful daughter, is a great yogi. He has done deep and sincere yoga – worked hard to make his being a conscious servant of the Divine. To be able to hear when the Divine speaks, and to obey. And when the Divine guides him to go against all caution, all custom – not to go around in the same track, but to act outside all established tradition – his whole being is ready to respond. And here, Sri Aurobindo exhorts us all to move beyond our old, worn ways of being; because we can become greater beings if we can be more sensitive, more conscious. More alive; more really in the moment.
And it's not just that Aswapati hears a divine voice saying ‘do this’ or ‘do that’, and then he acts automatically and it gets done and he doesn't think about it. He is moved in different ways; and his body responds – different aspects of his being change. There comes a gift of a revealing hour. He knows what he has to do; his inner sight awakens. “He saw through depths that reinterpret all” (p.372) – he was open and ready to move on.
His body's senses renounced their earthly look. Instead of only going outside for information – as we know the symbol mind, the rudimentary mind, is just guided by the senses which take information from outside – he goes within. And he looks from inside, from his inner being. And he looks at the inner being. So now, when he looked at Savitri:
- He saw through the familiar cherished limbs
- The great and unknown spirit born his child. (p.373)
Even before this happens, we are told how the king has developed beyond ordinary man. One beautiful morning, “An ancient longing struck again new roots” (p.369), and King Aswapati listened through the ray to other sounds than meet the sense-formed ear. And again, the mighty yearning that asks for a perfect life on earth, raised its flame – its fire of aspiration for human progress. And Savitri's father, King Aswapati, has this flame. This flame led him on his inner journey. Long ago, the traveller of the worlds started his inner journey because that flame burned in him. And he had to learn why that perfect life was not coming. He went to find the Divine Mother and ask her to help, to bring this better life for man.
And the result of his sadhana was very clear: the Divine Mother took birth as his own daughter, Savitri. Now she stands before him – young, beautiful, radiant, wise, deep. And thoughts rose in him that did not know their own scope. And as he looked at his dauther, the transient values of mind were annulled.
- The body’s sense renounced its earthly look;
- Immortal met immortal in their gaze. (p.373)
Sri Aurobindo tells us that they saw from their soul. So they saw truth – living truth.
And without a single thought to convention, Aswapati the father sends his beautiful, precious daughter, princess Savitri, all alone out to search through the world – to find her mate. This wise, realized father tells his daughter to be guided by her soul; that's all we need.
If we look at some lines, from all the lines on the page, we see that he says:
- Perhaps the heavens guard thee for some great soul,
- Thy fate, thy work are kept somewhere afar.
- Thy spirit came not down a star alone.
- Depart where love and destiny call your charm.
- Venture through the deep world to find thy mate.
- For somewhere on the longing breast of earth,
- Thy unknown lover waits for thee the unknown.
- There shall draw near to meet thy approaching steps
- The second self for whom thy nature asks
- Thy soul has strength and needs no other guide
- Than One who burns within thy bosom’s powers. (p.374)
Now Savitri will travel through the world's ways to find her soul-mate: the eternal partner of her soul. The partner she has been with life after life. They have both taken this incarnation, to meet and to do a particular work together. And we will see in detail how that goes on, by the end of the whole story.
This reference to soul-mates is also the description of Sri Aurobindo and Mother's relationship. They are eternal soul-mates – two halves of one single whole.
Mother often spoke of this relationship they had with each other. And here Sri Aurobindo tells us in beautiful detail. And we have learned that when King Aswapati is searching to find the Divine Mother, he doesn't see her until he finally goes into the world's deep heart. And there, in the soul of the world, he sees her first when she is standing behind “the deathless Two-in-One / A single being in two bodies clasped, / A diarchy of two united souls” (p.317) – living embodiments of the principle of the whole creation, the soul-mates that are the supreme Master and the Divine Mother.
Here in Savitri, Sri Aurobindo describes them as “Seated absorbed in deep creative joy” (p.317). Their trance of bliss sustains our world. This is the love that makes creation move. The love of Ishwara, the supreme Master, and Ishwari, the Divine Mother – which is the supreme attraction in all, between all, for all. This very pattern repeats itself over and over in the creation. It is the creating form of a woman and man, and their true relationship with each other.
Each of us has a soul-mate. We may meet them in any particular lifetime, and we may not. It can also be in any different form of relationship. When two beings meet, who are developed enough to have realized something of their soul – their psychic being – the love between them is beyond compare. It is the love that poets and musicians and artists speak about, the love that lovers seek to express and to feel. And the expression of this love – living this love – brings us man's finest and highest expressions of love.
The love of soul-mates is the Divine's love between two people. This is the love that two soul-mates – two conscious soul-mates – experience from each other, and for each other. And this is the love that everybody searches for, that everybody seeks.
Aswapati knows what this is. He's telling his daughter to go out and find her soul-mate. Often people say they know they have a living soul-mate on earth, even before they meet in outer life. That's how deep and how conscious this contact is.
And perhaps this was true for Savitri also. Perhaps deep down, she knew that he was somewhere on the earth. Sri Aurobindo tells us that Aswapati's word was the “seed of all the thing to be” (p.375). He describes for us how this word is like a mantra – a living force in the form of words. It enters into our brain and into our cells, and “falling silent in [ourselves] to know”, we meet the deeper listening of our soul. The word repeats itself in rhythmic strains within us – “Thought, vision, feeling, sense, the body’s self / Are seized” (p.375) and we endure an ecstasy and an immortal change. And we experience the greatness of God – the greatness of God in all things; the greatness of God-things.
Now this happens with our Savitri:
- Accustomed scenes were now an ended play
- She turned to vastnesses not yet her own;
- Allured her heart throbbed to unknown sweetnesses;
- The secrets of an unseen world were close. (p.375)
The next day:
- The palace woke to its own emptiness;
- The sovereign of its daily joys was far;
- Her moonbeam feet tinged not the lucent floors:
- The beauty and divinity were gone.
- Delight had fled to search the spacious world. (p.376)
Savitri, The Book of Birth and Quest, “The Call to the Quest”...
Canto Three The Call to the Quest A morn that seemed a new creation’s front, Bringing a greater sunlight, happier skies, Came burdened with a beauty moved and strange Out of the changeless origin of things. An ancient longing struck again new roots: The air drank deep of unfulfilled desire; The high trees trembled with a wandering wind Like souls that quiver at the approach of joy, And in a bosom of green secrecy For ever of its one love-note untired A lyric co¨ıl cried among the leaves. Away from the terrestrial murmur turned Where transient calls and answers mix their flood, King Aswapati listened through the ray To other sounds than meet the sense-formed ear. On a subtle interspace which rings our life, Unlocked were the inner spirit’s trance-closed doors: The inaudible strain in Nature could be caught; Across this cyclic tramp of eager lives, Across the deep urgency of present cares, Earth’s wordless hymn to the Ineffable Arose from the silent heart of the cosmic Void; He heard the voice repressed of unborn Powers Murmuring behind the luminous bars of Time. Again the mighty yearning raised its flame That asks a perfect life on earth for men And prays for certainty in the uncertain mind And shadowless bliss for suffering human hearts And Truth embodied in an ignorant world And godhead divinising mortal forms. A word that leaped from some far sky of thought, Admitted by the cowled receiving scribe p.370 Traversed the echoing passages of his brain And left its stamp on the recording cells. “O Force-compelled, Fate-driven earth-born race, O petty adventurers in an infinite world And prisoners of a dwarf humanity, How long will you tread the circling tracks of mind Around your little self and petty things? But not for a changeless littleness were you meant, Not for vain repetition were you built; Out of the Immortal’s substance you were made; Your actions can be swift revealing steps, Your life a changeful mould for growing gods. A Seer, a strong Creator, is within, The immaculate Grandeur broods upon your days, Almighty powers are shut in Nature’s cells. A greater destiny waits you in your front: This transient earthly being if he wills Can fit his acts to a transcendent scheme. He who now stares at the world with ignorant eyes Hardly from the Inconscient’s night aroused, That look at images and not at Truth, Can fill those orbs with an immortal’s sight. Yet shall the godhead grow within your hearts, You shall awake into the spirit’s air And feel the breaking walls of mortal mind And hear the message which left life’s heart dumb And look through Nature with sun-gazing lids And blow your conch-shells at the Eternal’s gate. Authors of earth’s high change, to you it is given To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul And touch the mighty Mother stark awake And meet the Omnipotent in this house of flesh And make of life the million-bodied One. The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven; The life you lead conceals the light you are. Immortal Powers sweep flaming past your doors; p.371 Far-off upon your tops the god-chant sounds While to exceed yourselves thought’s trumpets call, Heard by a few, but fewer dare aspire, The nympholepts of the ecstasy and the blaze. An epic of hope and failure breaks earth’s heart; Her force and will exceed her form and fate. A goddess in a net of transience caught, Self-bound in the pastures of death she dreams of life, Self-racked with the pains of hell aspires to joy, And builds to hope her altars of despair, Knows that one high step might enfranchise all And, suffering, looks for greatness in her sons. But dim in human hearts the ascending fire, The invisible Grandeur sits unworshipped there; Man sees the Highest in a limiting form Or looks upon a Person, hears a Name. He turns for little gains to ignorant Powers Or kindles his altar lights to a demon face. He loves the Ignorance fathering his pain. A spell is laid upon his glorious strengths; He has lost the inner Voice that led his thoughts, And masking the oracular tripod seat A specious Idol fills the marvel shrine. The great Illusion wraps him in its veils, The soul’s deep intimations come in vain, In vain is the unending line of seers, The sages ponder in unsubstantial light, The poets lend their voice to outward dreams, A homeless fire inspires the prophet tongues. Heaven’s flaming lights descend and back return, The luminous Eye approaches and retires; Eternity speaks, none understands its word; Fate is unwilling and the Abyss denies; The Inconscient’s mindless waters block all done. Only a little lifted is Mind’s screen; The Wise who know see but one half of Truth, p.372 The strong climb hardly to a low-peaked height, The hearts that yearn are given one hour to love. His tale half told, falters the secret Bard; The gods are still too few in mortal forms.” The Voice withdrew into its hidden skies. But like a shining answer from the gods Approached through sun-bright spaces Savitri. Advancing amid tall heaven-pillaring trees, Apparelled in her flickering-coloured robe She seemed, burning towards the eternal realms, A bright moved torch of incense and of flame That from the sky-roofed temple-soil of earth A pilgrim hand lifts in an invisible shrine. There came the gift of a revealing hour: He saw through depths that reinterpret all, Limited not now by the dull body’s eyes, New-found through an arch of clear discovery, This intimation of the world’s delight, This wonder of the divine Artist’s make Carved like a nectar-cup for thirsty gods, This breathing Scripture of the Eternal’s joy, This net of sweetness woven of aureate fire. Transformed the delicate image-face became A deeper Nature’s self-revealing sign, A gold-leaf palimpsest of sacred births, A grave world-symbol chiselled out of life. Her brow, a copy of clear unstained heavens, Was meditation’s pedestal and defence, The very room and smile of musing Space, Its brooding line infinity’s symbol curve. Amid her tresses’ cloudy multitude Her long eyes shadowed as by wings of Night Under that moon-gold forehead’s dreaming breadth Were seas of love and thought that held the world; Marvelling at life and earth they saw truths far. A deathless meaning filled her mortal limbs; p.373 As in a golden vase’s poignant line They seemed to carry the rhythmic sob of bliss Of earth’s mute adoration towards heaven Released in beauty’s cry of living form Towards the perfection of eternal things. Transparent grown the ephemeral living dress Bared the expressive deity to his view. Escaped from surface sight and mortal sense The seizing harmony of its shapes became The strange significant icon of a Power Renewing its inscrutable descent Into a human figure of its works That stood out in life’s bold abrupt relief On the soil of the evolving universe, A godhead sculptured on a wall of thought, Mirrored in the flowing hours and dimly shrined In Matter as in a cathedral cave. Annulled were the transient values of the mind, The body’s sense renounced its earthly look; Immortal met immortal in their gaze. Awaked from the close spell of daily use That hides soul-truth with the outward form’s disguise, He saw through the familiar cherished limbs The great and unknown spirit born his child. An impromptu from the deeper sight within, Thoughts rose in him that knew not their own scope. Then to those large and brooding depths whence Love Regarded him across the straits of mind, He spoke in sentences from the unseen Heights. For the hidden prompters of our speech sometimes Can use the formulas of a moment’s mood To weigh unconscious lips with words from Fate: A casual passing phrase can change our life. “O spirit, traveller of eternity, Who cam’st from the immortal spaces here Armed for the splendid hazard of thy life p.374 To set thy conquering foot on Chance and Time, The moon shut in her halo dreams like thee. A mighty Presence still defends thy frame. Perhaps the heavens guard thee for some great soul, Thy fate, thy work are kept somewhere afar. Thy spirit came not down a star alone. O living inscription of the beauty of love Missalled in aureate virginity, What message of heavenly strength and bliss in thee Is written with the Eternal’s sun-white script, One shall discover and greaten with it his life To whom thou loosenest thy heart’s jewelled strings. O rubies of silence, lips from which there stole Low laughter, music of tranquillity, Star-lustrous eyes awake in sweet large night And limbs like fine-linked poems made of gold Stanzaed to glimmering curves by artist gods, Depart where love and destiny call your charm. Venture through the deep world to find thy mate. For somewhere on the longing breast of earth, Thy unknown lover waits for thee the unknown. Thy soul has strength and needs no other guide Than One who burns within thy bosom’s powers. There shall draw near to meet thy approaching steps The second self for whom thy nature asks, He who shall walk until thy body’s end A close-bound traveller pacing with thy pace, The lyrist of thy soul’s most intimate chords Who shall give voice to what in thee is mute. Then shall you grow like vibrant kindred harps, One in the beats of difference and delight, Responsive in divine and equal strains, Discovering new notes of the eternal theme. One force shall be your mover and your guide, One light shall be around you and within; Hand in strong hand confront Heaven’s question, life: p.375 Challenge the ordeal of the immense disguise. Ascend from Nature to divinity’s heights; Face the high gods, crowned with felicity, Then meet a greater god, thy self beyond Time.” This word was seed of all the thing to be: A hand from some Greatness opened her heart’s locked doors And showed the work for which her strength was born. As when the mantra sinks in Yoga’s ear, Its message enters stirring the blind brain And keeps in the dim ignorant cells its sound; The hearer understands a form of words And, musing on the index thought it holds, He strives to read it with the labouring mind, But finds bright hints, not the embodied truth: Then, falling silent in himself to know He meets the deeper listening of his soul: The Word repeats itself in rhythmic strains: Thought, vision, feeling, sense, the body’s self Are seized unutterably and he endures An ecstasy and an immortal change; He feels a Wideness and becomes a Power, All knowledge rushes on him like a sea: Transmuted by the white spiritual ray He walks in naked heavens of joy and calm, Sees the God-face and hears transcendent speech: An equal greatness in her life was sown. Accustomed scenes were now an ended play: Moving in muse amid familiar powers, Touched by new magnitudes and fiery signs, She turned to vastnesses not yet her own; Allured her heart throbbed to unknown sweetnesses; The secrets of an unseen world were close. The morn went up into a smiling sky; Cast from its sapphire pinnacle of trance Day sank into the burning gold of eve; The moon floated, a luminous waif through heaven p.376 And sank below the oblivious edge of dream; Night lit the watch-fires of eternity. Then all went back into mind’s secret caves; A darkness stooping on the heaven-bird’s wings Sealed in her senses from external sight And opened the stupendous depths of sleep. When the pale dawn slipped through Night’s shadowy guard, Vainly the new-born light desired her face; The palace woke to its own emptiness; The sovereign of its daily joys was far; Her moonbeam feet tinged not the lucent floors: The beauty and divinity were gone. Delight had fled to search the spacious world. END OF CANTO THREE