Loretta reads Savitri:One.III "The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Soul's Release" part 2

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AurovilleRadio-logo-pop.png Savitri: Book One, Canto III, part 2 of 4
by Loretta, 2015 (25:54)

Savitri Book 1 Canto III icon.jpg  Loretta reads Savitri
Book One: The Book of Beginnings
Canto III: The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Soul's Release
Part 2 of 4, pages 27-34
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Sri Aurobindo wrote that Canto 3 is the first of the three parts of King Aswapati's yoga. Here in Canto 3, he's achieving his own spiritual self-fulfilment as an individual. And Sri Aurobindo said that what happens in Canto 3 is a psycho-spiritual transformation.[1]

We've seen in the first part of this canto that “His was a spirit that stooped from larger spheres” (p.22). And that:

His human self like a translucent cloak
Covered the All-Wise who leads the unseeing world.
Although consenting to mortal ignorance,
His knowledge shared the Light ineffable. (p.22)

In him, the high transition – of feeling his own substance of undying self, and moving beyond mortality –laid its base. He broke into “the infinity of God” (p.24). The secret hand of the cosmic Worker, “the Craftsman of the magic stuff of self” (p.25), worked in him, and he grew into his larger self.

Now that we've seen that the king is changed, we're going to see the result. Sri Aurobindo contrasts these higher states which the king has attained, with some usual conditions of the world that no longer affect the king anymore. And he also gives us the most incredible descriptions of the marvellous things that the king has now experienced and that he's able to do.

Last week, we read that in Aswapati's body,

Tissue and nerve were turned to sensitive chords,
Records of lustre and ecstasy […] (p.27)

Now Sri Aurobindo is writing that Aswapati experiences “sudden ecstasies from a world of bliss” (p.31). Richard from the Archives has sent us Sri Aurobindo's notations in the Record of Yoga about his own experiences of increasing ecstasy.

On December 28, 1913, Sri Aurobindo wrote:

Sense and sensation filled with divine ecstasy without relation to outer stimulus or objects now manifests sufficient intensity & continuity when it enters the physical system in company with the other physical ecstasies. When it comes by itself, involving in itself the others, it tends, if the intensity is too gross or prolongs itself, to pass into the others, especially violent and intense. For the rest, this conjunction of all the ecstasies is intended as the normal state of ecstasy, except in its more particular movements of special ecstasies. An object of sensory or other experience is in its nature a mild ecstasy, the rest in their nature intense ecstasies; hence states of intensity tend naturally to pass out of sensory or other experience into its fiercer fellows. It is noticeable also that the other ecstasies obstructed or denied tend more & more, instead of at once extinguishing themselves in the Unmanifest, to pass into the violence. This circumstance throws a considerable light on the true nature of pain.” [2]

Sometime in 1912-1913, in an undated entry, Sri Aurobindo wrote:

“The ecstasy is to increase in force & frequency, while the subdued (not the obstructed) ecstasy becomes perpetual during waking hours & even in sleep the ecstasy gains ground. Then the subdued ecstasy will take its place while intense ecstasy becomes the occasional higher state. So it will proceed.”[3]

At one point, Sri Aurobindo says that for the king,

Hearing was a stream of magic audience,
A bed for occult sounds earth cannot hear. (p.29)

We have an entry in Sri Aurobindo's Record of Yoga, on January 3rd, 1914, where he says:

Subtle hearing of the divine horn, indicating victory, & subsequently of divine music, first heard (with long continuity) only in the left ear when closed by the hand to earthly sound, but afterwards when the hand was removed. The whole perception of supra-physical things is now extending its sense-perceptions to the mental & subtle energetic heavens as well as to the mental & subtle energetic sheaths of the material world. This movement initiates the completion of the vision of the three worlds first indicated in the Alipur jail. It marks also the growing emergence of the subtle hearing in the physical hearing.”[4]

And then eight days later, on January 11th, 1914, Sri Aurobindo wrote in his diary:

“The subtle sense perceptions are beginning slowly to regularise themselves. The one or two clear symbol sounds (watch, flute, horn etc) are now coming more often & quite unmistakably subtle.”[5]

So here we are in Book 1, Canto III – in the second part.

In the dead wall closing us from wider self,
Into a secrecy of apparent sleep,
The mystic tract beyond our waking thoughts,
A door parted, built in by Matter’s force,
Releasing things unseized by earthly sense:
A world unseen, unknown by outward mind
Appeared in the silent spaces of the soul.
He sat in secret chambers looking out
Into the luminous countries of the unborn
Where all things dreamed by the mind are seen and true
And all that the life longs for is drawn close.
He saw the Perfect in their starry homes
Wearing the glory of a deathless form,
Lain in the arms of the Eternal’s peace, p.28
Rapt in the heart-beats of God-ecstasy.
He lived in the mystic space where thought is born
And will is nursed by an ethereal Power
And fed on the white milk of the Eternal’s strengths
Till it grows into the likeness of a god.
In the Witness’s occult rooms with mind-built walls
On hidden interiors, lurking passages
Opened the windows of the inner sight.
He owned the house of undivided Time.
Lifting the heavy curtain of the flesh
He stood upon a threshold serpent-watched,
And peered into gleaming endless corridors,
Silent and listening in the silent heart
For the coming of the new and the unknown.
He gazed across the empty stillnesses
And heard the footsteps of the undreamed Idea
In the far avenues of the Beyond.
He heard the secret Voice, the Word that knows,
And saw the secret face that is our own.
The inner planes uncovered their crystal doors;
Strange powers and influences touched his life.
A vision came of higher realms than ours,
A consciousness of brighter fields and skies,
Of beings less circumscribed than brief-lived men
And subtler bodies than these passing frames,
Objects too fine for our material grasp,
Acts vibrant with a superhuman light
And movements pushed by a superconscient force,
And joys that never flowed through mortal limbs,
And lovelier scenes than earth’s and happier lives.
A consciousness of beauty and of bliss,
A knowledge which became what it perceived,
Replaced the separated sense and heart
And drew all Nature into its embrace.
The mind leaned out to meet the hidden worlds:
Air glowed and teemed with marvellous shapes and hues, p.29
In the nostrils quivered celestial fragrances,
On the tongue lingered the honey of paradise.
A channel of universal harmony,
Hearing was a stream of magic audience,
A bed for occult sounds earth cannot hear.
Out of a covert tract of slumber self
The voice came of a truth submerged, unknown
That flows beneath the cosmic surfaces,
Only mid an omniscient silence heard,
Held by intuitive heart and secret sense.
It caught the burden of secrecies sealed and dumb,
It voiced the unfulfilled demand of earth
And the song of promise of unrealised heavens
And all that hides in an omnipotent Sleep.
In the unceasing drama carried by Time
On its long listening flood that bears the world’s
Insoluble doubt on a pilgrimage without goal,
A laughter of sleepless pleasure foamed and spumed
And murmurings of desire that cannot die:
A cry came of the world’s delight to be,
The grandeur and greatness of its will to live,
Recall of the soul’s adventure into space,
A traveller through the magic centuries
And being’s labour in Matter’s universe,
Its search for the mystic meaning of its birth
And joy of high spiritual response,
Its throb of satisfaction and content
In all the sweetness of the gifts of life,
Its large breath and pulse and thrill of hope and fear,
Its taste of pangs and tears and ecstasy,
Its rapture’s poignant beat of sudden bliss,
The sob of its passion and unending pain.
The murmur and whisper of the unheard sounds
Which crowd around our hearts but find no window
To enter, swelled into a canticle
Of all that suffers to be still unknown p.30
And all that labours vainly to be born
And all the sweetness none will ever taste
And all the beauty that will never be.
Inaudible to our deaf mortal ears
The wide world-rhythms wove their stupendous chant
To which life strives to fit our rhyme-beats here,
Melting our limits in the illimitable,
Tuning the finite to infinity.
A low muttering rose from the subconscient caves,
The stammer of the primal ignorance;
Answer to that inarticulate questioning,
There stooped with lightning neck and thunder’s wings
A radiant hymn to the Inexpressible
And the anthem of the superconscient light.
All was revealed there none can here express;
Vision and dream were fables spoken by truth
Or symbols more veridical than fact,
Or were truths enforced by supernatural seals.
Immortal eyes approached and looked in his,
And beings of many kingdoms neared and spoke:
The ever-living whom we name as dead
Could leave their glory beyond death and birth
To utter the wisdom which exceeds all phrase:
The kings of evil and the kings of good,
Appellants at the reason’s judgment seat,
Proclaimed the gospel of their opposites,
And all believed themselves spokesmen of God:
The gods of light and titans of the dark
Battled for his soul as for a costly prize.
In every hour loosed from the quiver of Time
There rose a song of new discovery,
A bow-twang’s hum of young experiment.
Each day was a spiritual romance,
As if he was born into a bright new world;
Adventure leaped an unexpected friend,
And danger brought a keen sweet tang of joy; p.31
Each happening was a deep experience.
There were high encounters, epic colloquies,
And counsels came couched in celestial speech,
And honeyed pleadings breathed from occult lips
To help the heart to yield to rapture’s call,
And sweet temptations stole from beauty’s realms
And sudden ecstasies from a world of bliss.
It was a region of wonder and delight.
All now his bright clairaudience could receive;
A contact thrilled of mighty unknown things.
Awakened to new unearthly closenesses,
The touch replied to subtle infinities,
And with a silver cry of opening gates
Sight’s lightnings leaped into the invisible.
Ever his consciousness and vision grew;
They took an ampler sweep, a loftier flight;
He passed the border marked for Matter’s rule
And passed the zone where thought replaces life.
Out of this world of signs suddenly he came
Into a silent self where world was not
And looked beyond into a nameless vast.
These symbol figures lost their right to live,
All tokens dropped our sense can recognise;
There the heart beat no more at body’s touch,
There the eyes gazed no more on beauty’s shape.
In rare and lucent intervals of hush
Into a signless region he could soar
Packed with the deep contents of formlessness
Where world was into a single being rapt
And all was known by the light of identity
And Spirit was its own self-evidence.
The Supreme’s gaze looked out through human eyes
And saw all things and creatures as itself
And knew all thought and word as its own voice.
There unity is too close for search and clasp
And love is a yearning of the One for the One, p.32
And beauty is a sweet difference of the Same
And oneness is the soul of multitude.
There all the truths unite in a single Truth,
And all ideas rejoin Reality.
There knowing herself by her own termless self,
Wisdom supernal, wordless, absolute
Sat uncompanioned in the eternal Calm,
All-seeing, motionless, sovereign and alone.
There knowledge needs not words to embody Idea;
Idea, seeking a house in boundlessness,
Weary of its homeless immortality,
Asks not in thought’s carved brilliant cell to rest
Whose single window’s clipped outlook on things
Sees only a little arc of God’s vast sky.
The boundless with the boundless there consorts;
While there, one can be wider than the world;
While there, one is one’s own infinity.
His centre was no more in earthly mind;
A power of seeing silence filled his limbs:
Caught by a voiceless white epiphany
Into a vision that surpasses forms,
Into a living that surpasses life,
He neared the still consciousness sustaining all.
The voice that only by speech can move the mind
Became a silent knowledge in the soul;
The strength that only in action feels its truth
Was lodged now in a mute omnipotent peace.
A leisure in the labour of the worlds,
A pause in the joy and anguish of the search
Restored the stress of Nature to God’s calm.
A vast unanimity ended life’s debate.
The war of thoughts that fathers the universe,
The clash of forces struggling to prevail
In the tremendous shock that lights a star
As in the building of a grain of dust,
The grooves that turn their dumb ellipse in space p.33
Ploughed by the seeking of the world’s desire,
The long regurgitations of Time’s flood,
The torment edging the dire force of lust
That wakes kinetic in earth’s dullard slime
And carves a personality out of mud,
The sorrow by which Nature’s hunger is fed,
The oestrus which creates with fire of pain,
The fate that punishes virtue with defeat,
The tragedy that destroys long happiness,
The weeping of Love, the quarrel of the Gods,
Ceased in a truth which lives in its own light.
His soul stood free, a witness and a king.
Absorbed no more in the moment-ridden flux
Where mind incessantly drifts as on a raft
Hurried from phenomenon to phenomenon,
He abode at rest in indivisible Time.
As if a story long written but acted now,
In his present he held his future and his past,
Felt in the seconds the uncounted years
And saw the hours like dots upon a page.
An aspect of the unknown Reality
Altered the meaning of the cosmic scene.
This huge material universe became
A small result of a stupendous force:
Overtaking the moment the eternal Ray
Illumined That which never yet was made.
Thought lay down in a mighty voicelessness;
The toiling Thinker widened and grew still,
Wisdom transcendent touched his quivering heart:
His soul could sail beyond thought’s luminous bar;
Mind screened no more the shoreless infinite.
Across a void retreating sky he glimpsed
Through a last glimmer and drift of vanishing stars
The superconscient realms of motionless Peace
Where judgment ceases and the word is mute
And the Unconceived lies pathless and alone. p.34
There came not form or any mounting voice;
There only were Silence and the Absolute.
Out of that stillness mind new-born arose
And woke to truths once inexpressible,
And forms appeared, dumbly significant,
A seeing thought, a self-revealing voice.
He knew the source from which his spirit came:
Movement was married to the immobile Vast;
He plunged his roots into the Infinite,
He based his life upon eternity.

  1. Letters on Poetry and Art, p.329
  2. Record of Yoga, p.265
  3. Ibid., p.1305
  4. Ibid., p.374
  5. Ibid., p.379