Loretta reads Savitri:One.IV "The Secret Knowledge" part 4
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book One: The Book of Beginnings
Canto IV: The Secret Knowledge
Part 4 of 5, pages 60-66
We've learned a lot of secret knowledge already. And now we come to the heart of the secret knowledge that gives King Aswapati his tremendous yogic developments.
- There are Two who are One and play in many worlds (p.61)
- This whole wide world is only he and she. (p.63)
These are two of the really beautiful lines from this next part of Canto IV. Sri Aurobindo teaches about the omnipotent, omniscient, eternal Unmanifest; and the whole manifestation. And the relationship between these two consciousnesses. This makes up everything: manifest and unmanifest. “This whole wide world is only he and she.”
Throughout the ages this relationship, and these two different-and-yet-one consciousnesses, has been spoken of as a male principle and a female principle. The male principle is the unmanifest, and the female principle is the manifestation.
In the Indian shastra – the complete organized body of Indian spiritual writings – this has been expressed probably hundreds of times, in hundreds of different ways, down through the ages. The male principle and the female principle; the Unmanifest and his Power of manifestation which is the manifestation itself.
Here in Savitri, Sri Aurobindo tries to make it something really living for us. And he gives it very deep and very detailed expression and meaning. He has so many wonderful descriptions about this eternal relationship. And each one that he speaks of is an experience of a relationship between two people, which is easy for us to identify with, because they're things that we have done, or know about, or want to do, even. And at the same time, we get the experience of them – of them – as the working out of the relationship between the Unmanifest and the Manifestation. If we really get it, it's a really deep and powerful realization about how everything is; the heart of the secret knowledge.
Sri Aurobindo presents the two-in-one in an endless love affair. We're going to hear so many ways of involvement, and attachment, and giving, and merging of man and woman. He speaks a lot about how the male principle, the absolute unmanifest, relates to the female principle, who is his power of manifestation that he has put out from himself. But Sri Aurobindo also describes the work of his force: the female principle, the Power of manifestation who manifests him in the world and manifests him as the world.
We know that everything Sri Aurobindo wrote in Savitri was a personal experience, a realization of his own. And here too, and most especially, he's speaking about himself and Mother. He told people that Mother was his equal partner, that she had his equal realization, and that the yoga would not be possible without her. He says that she is the incarnation of the Divine Mother at this time. And he says that her presence made it possible for the new force to manifest, and also for the coming transformation.
There are a few letters in the very olden days which show that a few people in the Ashram had at least some experience of this aspect of the Mother in the Ashram. And each time it is Sri Aurobindo confirming what they felt, and teaching them a little more about who the Mother really is.
Sri Aurobindo has given a pretty simple explanation about the three aspects of the Divine Mother: the transcendent, the universal, and the individual. It's good if we know this as we receive the secret knowledge.
The transcendent Mother, this part of her consciousness, stands at the border between the uncreated and the Creation itself. She stands above all the worlds of the creation, and she carries the Supreme Divine in her consciousness. She calls the force of the Supreme unmanifest into manifestation. And now, today, in this world, and the reason that Mother and Sri Aurobindo were here, the calling of the force means the calling of the new consciousness that is dawning for us.
Sri Aurobindo embodied the incarnation of the supreme divine Unmanifest, and through him, Mother calls the new – the new for all of us.
The universal aspect of the Divine Mother works out in the creation what her transcendent consciousness receives from the Supreme. And as the universal Mother, she enters into the worlds she made, and supports them with the divine spirit.
The individual aspect of the Divine Mother, when she is embodied in a body here on earth, carries the consciousness both of her transcendent and universal aspects, to do a specific work here on earth. And this is what Mother did. This is the work she did when she was in the Ashram.
Because this is a totally new consciousness coming into the manifestation, directly from the source of creation, beings with the living consciousness of their source were needed to be the first to bring it and to embody it. And, as I said, this is what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother came for, and this is how they brought it to us.
In Savitri, Sri Aurobindo gives us really beautiful mystic poetic descriptions. They evoke the feeling of their actions together as “he and she”. So, here is the heart of the secret knowledge.
… All here where each thing seems its lonely self Are figures of the sole transcendent One: Only by him they are, his breath is their life; An unseen Presence moulds the oblivious clay. A playmate in the mighty Mother’s game, One came upon the dubious whirling globe To hide from her pursuit in force and form. A secret spirit in the Inconscient’s sleep, A shapeless Energy, a voiceless Word, He was here before the elements could emerge, Before there was light of mind or life could breathe. Accomplice of her cosmic huge pretence, His semblances he turns to real shapes p.61 And makes the symbol equal with the truth: He gives to his timeless thoughts a form in Time. He is the substance, he the self of things; She has forged from him her works of skill and might: She wraps him in the magic of her moods And makes of his myriad truths her countless dreams. The Master of being has come down to her, An immortal child born in the fugitive years. In objects wrought, in the persons she conceives, Dreaming she chases her idea of him, And catches here a look and there a gest: Ever he repeats in them his ceaseless births. He is the Maker and the world he made, He is the vision and he is the Seer; He is himself the actor and the act, He is himself the knower and the known, He is himself the dreamer and the dream. There are Two who are One and play in many worlds; In Knowledge and Ignorance they have spoken and met And light and darkness are their eyes’ interchange; Our pleasure and pain are their wrestle and embrace, Our deeds, our hopes are intimate to their tale; They are married secretly in our thought and life. The universe is an endless masquerade: For nothing here is utterly what it seems; It is a dream-fact vision of a truth Which but for the dream would not be wholly true, A phenomenon stands out significant Against dim backgrounds of eternity; We accept its face and pass by all it means; A part is seen, we take it for the whole. Thus have they made their play with us for roles: Author and actor with himself as scene, He moves there as the Soul, as Nature she. Here on the earth where we must fill our parts, We know not how shall run the drama’s course; p.62 Our uttered sentences veil in their thought. Her mighty plan she holds back from our sight: She has concealed her glory and her bliss And disguised the Love and Wisdom in her heart; Of all the marvel and beauty that are hers, Only a darkened little we can feel. He too wears a diminished godhead here; He has forsaken his omnipotence, His calm he has foregone and infinity. He knows her only, he has forgotten himself; To her he abandons all to make her great. He hopes in her to find himself anew, Incarnate, wedding his infinity’s peace To her creative passion’s ecstasy. Although possessor of the earth and heavens, He leaves to her the cosmic management And watches all, the Witness of her scene. A supernumerary on her stage, He speaks no words or hides behind the wings. He takes birth in her world, waits on her will, Divines her enigmatic gesture’s sense, The fluctuating chance turns of her mood, Works out her meanings she seems not to know And serves her secret purpose in long Time. As one too great for him he worships her; He adores her as his regent of desire, He yields to her as the mover of his will, He burns the incense of his nights and days Offering his life, a splendour of sacrifice. A rapt solicitor for her love and grace, His bliss in her to him is his whole world: He grows through her in all his being’s powers; He reads by her God’s hidden aim in things. Or, a courtier in her countless retinue, Content to be with her and feel her near He makes the most of the little that she gives p.63 And all she does drapes with his own delight. A glance can make his whole day wonderful, A word from her lips with happiness wings the hours. He leans on her for all he does and is: He builds on her largesses his proud fortunate days And trails his peacock-plumaged joy of life And suns in the glory of her passing smile. In a thousand ways he serves her royal needs; He makes the hours pivot around her will, Makes all reflect her whims; all is their play: This whole wide world is only he and she. This is the knot that ties together the stars: The Two who are one are the secret of all power, The Two who are one are the might and right in things. His soul, silent, supports the world and her, His acts are her commandment’s registers. Happy, inert, he lies beneath her feet: His breast he offers for her cosmic dance Of which our lives are the quivering theatre, And none could bear but for his strength within, Yet none would leave because of his delight. His works, his thoughts have been devised by her, His being is a mirror vast of hers: Active, inspired by her he speaks and moves; His deeds obey her heart’s unspoken demands: Passive, he bears the impacts of the world As if her touches shaping his soul and life: His journey through the days is her sun-march; He runs upon her roads; hers is his course. A witness and student of her joy and dole, A partner in her evil and her good, He has consented to her passionate ways, He is driven by her sweet and dreadful force. His sanctioning name initials all her works; His silence is his signature to her deeds; p.64 In the execution of her drama’s scheme, In her fancies of the moment and its mood, In the march of this obvious ordinary world Where all is deep and strange to the eyes that see And Nature’s common forms are marvel-wefts, She through his witness sight and motion of might Unrolls the material of her cosmic Act, Her happenings that exalt and smite the soul, Her force that moves, her powers that save and slay, Her Word that in the silence speaks to our hearts, Her silence that transcends the summit Word, Her heights and depths to which our spirit moves, Her events that weave the texture of our lives And all by which we find or lose ourselves, Things sweet and bitter, magnificent and mean, Things terrible and beautiful and divine. Her empire in the cosmos she has built, He is governed by her subtle and mighty laws. His consciousness is a babe upon her knees, His being a field of her vast experiment, Her endless space is the playground of his thoughts; She binds to knowledge of the shapes of Time And the creative error of limiting mind And chance that wears the rigid face of fate And her sport of death and pain and Nescience, His changed and struggling immortality. His soul is a subtle atom in a mass, His substance a material for her works. His spirit survives amid the death of things, He climbs to eternity through being’s gaps, He is carried by her from Night to deathless Light. This grand surrender is his free-will’s gift, His pure transcendent force submits to hers. In the mystery of her cosmic ignorance, In the insoluble riddle of her play, A creature made of perishable stuff, p.65 In the pattern she has set for him he moves, He thinks with her thoughts, with her trouble his bosom heaves; He seems the thing that she would have him seem, He is whatever her artist will can make. Although she drives him on her fancy’s roads, At play with him as with her child or slave, To freedom and the Eternal’s mastery And immortality’s stand above the world, She moves her seeming puppet of an hour. Even in his mortal session in body’s house, An aimless traveller between birth and death, Ephemeral dreaming of immortality, To reign she spurs him. He takes up her powers; He has harnessed her to the yoke of her own law. His face of human thought puts on a crown. Held in her leash, bound to her veiled caprice, He studies her ways if so he may prevail Even for an hour and she work out his will; He makes of her his moment passion’s serf: To obey she feigns, she follows her creature’s lead: For him she was made, lives only for his use. But conquering her, then is he most her slave; He is her dependent, all his means are hers; Nothing without her he can, she rules him still. At last he wakes to a memory of Self: He sees within the face of deity, The Godhead breaks out through the human mould: Her highest heights she unmasks and is his mate. Till then he is a plaything in her game; Her seeming regent, yet her fancy’s toy, A living robot moved by her energy’s springs, He acts as in the movements of a dream, An automaton stepping in the grooves of Fate, He stumbles on driven by her whip of Force: His thought labours, a bullock in Time’s fields; His will he thinks his own, is shaped in her forge. p.66 Obedient to World-Nature’s dumb control, Driven by his own formidable Power, His chosen partner in a titan game, Her will he has made the master of his fate, Her whim the dispenser of his pleasure and pain; He has sold himself into her regal power For any blow or boon that she may choose: Even in what is suffering to our sense, He feels the sweetness of her mastering touch, In all experience meets her blissful hands; On his heart he bears the happiness of her tread And the surprise of her arrival’s joy In each event and every moment’s chance. All she can do is marvellous in his sight: He revels in her, a swimmer in her sea, A tireless amateur of her world-delight, He rejoices in her every thought and act And gives consent to all that she can wish; Whatever she desires he wills to be: The Spirit, the innumerable One, He has left behind his lone eternity, He is an endless birth in endless Time, Her finite’s multitude in an infinite Space. ...