Loretta reads Savitri:One.V "The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Spirit's Freedom and Greatness" part 1
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book One: The Book of Beginnings
Canto V: The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Spirit's Freedom and Greatness
Part 1 of 3, pages 74-80
In one of his letters, Sri Aurobindo wrote that the third and the fifth cantos in Book One are both given the title “The Yoga of the King”. He said this was to emphasize that this part of Aswapati's spiritual development consisted of two yogic movements. The first one he called a psycho-spiritual transformation, and he wrote that in Canto III. This is when the king was changed by many divine powers.
We all know that King Aswapati was at the forefront of his race as a highly developed being, and we know that his aspiration called high destiny down, but we don't really know what he did, what his actual yogic work was, inside himself. And Sri Aurobindo himself says that, in the letter: that he does not give any description of Aswapati's actual yoga practice.
What he does is he gives us a description of what can come from the higher powers to change a person. So what you have in Canto III, first of all:
- The cosmic Worker set his secret hand
- To turn this frail mud-engine to heaven-use. (p.25)
A great Presence worked, and “The Craftsman of the magic stuff of self... Modelled in inward Time his rhythmic parts” (p.25).
The formless Power, the Self of eternal Light, worked in his darker parts. And then other celestial forces, and the “intense creatrix” (p.38) – which is of course the Mother creating the whole universe, where she's working in this particular area – they were all seen working when Aswapati achieved his own stillness, by chipping off his own “dark envelope” (p.36).
The inspiring goddess then “entered [his] breast” (p.41), and there she brought the ability of divining thoughts and prophetic speech. She entered his mind, and “All was made wide above, all lit below” (p.41).
And then at the end Sri Aurobindo wrote:
- Thus came his soul’s release from Ignorance,
- His mind and body’s first spiritual change. (p.44)
Then – as Sri Aurobindo wrote in his letters – in between, he put Canto IV, which was “The Secret Knowledge”. And the secret knowledge is what finally results in what we're going to read about in Canto V. Again, as Sri Aurobindo also wrote in a letter, there is no description of how this knowledge came; but we are given the secret knowledge that changes Aswapati. And it's the knowledge of the creation, the mystic play of the two-who-are-one, the Master of existence who lurks in us and plays at hide-and-seek with his own Force – and that Force is the Mother of creation, who is herself the creation and the creator.
And Mother and Sri Aurobindo always said that they were one: they had one consciousness. And there's a very beautiful writing that Mother wrote for someone; she says:
- “When in your heart and thought you will make no difference between Sri Aurobindo and me, when to think of Sri Aurobindo will be to think of me and to think of me will mean to think of Sri Aurobindo inevitably, when to see one will mean inevitably to see the other, like one and the same Person, — then you will know that you begin to be open to the supramental force and consciousness.”
So of course here we see again that Sri Aurobindo is writing his own experience when he gives us the secret knowledge.
So now we're going to go forward into what Sri Aurobindo calls the king's “greater spiritual transformation”, “an ascent to a supreme power”. It is the final description of Aswapati's own spiritual self-fulfilment, and it makes him ready to take the great inner journey which he takes to bring the Divine Mother here. We'll come to that when we come to Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds.
So, in this first part of Canto V, Aswapati frees himself from the “cord of mind that ties the earth-heart”. And he “cast[s] away the yoke of Matter’s law”. The rules of the body no longer bind the powers of the spirit. Now he “dared to live when breath and thought were still” (p.74). He went into the hidden chambers where he could learn the truth behind everything. And he was seized by a great will and a hope for progress and to unity and realization.
- “A conscious soul [must] live in a conscious world.” (p.77)
His soul retired from all he had done, and he followed the call that was on him from the great heights. He felt the golden descent, and he turned to his immense spiritual fate.
So now we start “The Yoga of the Spirit's Freedom and Greatness.”
Canto Five The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Spirit’s Freedom and Greatness This knowledge first he had of time-born men. Admitted through a curtain of bright mind That hangs between our thoughts and absolute sight, He found the occult cave, the mystic door Near to the well of vision in the soul, And entered where the Wings of Glory brood In the silent space where all is for ever known. Indifferent to doubt and to belief, Avid of the naked real’s single shock He shore the cord of mind that ties the earth-heart And cast away the yoke of Matter’s law. The body’s rules bound not the spirit’s powers: When life had stopped its beats, death broke not in; He dared to live when breath and thought were still. Thus could he step into that magic place Which few can even glimpse with hurried glance Lifted for a moment from mind’s laboured works And the poverty of Nature’s earthly sight. All that the Gods have learned is there self-known. There in a hidden chamber closed and mute Are kept the record graphs of the cosmic scribe, And there the tables of the sacred Law, There is the Book of Being’s index page; The text and glossary of the Vedic truth Are there; the rhythms and metres of the stars Significant of the movements of our fate: The symbol powers of number and of form, And the secret code of the history of the world And Nature’s correspondence with the soul Are written in the mystic heart of Life. In the glow of the spirit’s room of memories p.75 He could recover the luminous marginal notes Dotting with light the crabbed ambiguous scroll, Rescue the preamble and the saving clause Of the dark Agreement by which all is ruled That rises from material Nature’s sleep To clothe the Everlasting in new shapes. He could re-read now and interpret new Its strange symbol letters, scattered abstruse signs, Resolve its oracle and its paradox, Its riddling phrases and its blindfold terms, The deep oxymoron of its truth’s repliques, And recognise as a just necessity Its hard conditions for the mighty work,— Nature’s impossible Herculean toil Only her warlock-wisecraft could enforce, Its law of the opposition of the gods, Its list of inseparable contraries. The dumb great Mother in her cosmic trance Exploiting for creation’s joy and pain Infinity’s sanction to the birth of form, Accepts indomitably to execute The will to know in an inconscient world, The will to live under a reign of death, The thirst for rapture in a heart of flesh, And works out through the appearance of a soul By a miraculous birth in plasm and gas The mystery of God’s covenant with the Night. Once more was heard in the still cosmic Mind The Eternal’s promise to his labouring Force Inducing the world-passion to begin, The cry of birth into mortality And the opening verse of the tragedy of Time. Out of the depths the world’s buried secret rose; He read the original ukase kept back In the locked archives of the spirit’s crypt, And saw the signature and fiery seal p.76 Of Wisdom on the dim Power’s hooded work Who builds in Ignorance the steps of Light. A sleeping deity opened deathless eyes: He saw the unshaped thought in soulless forms, Knew Matter pregnant with spiritual sense, Mind dare the study of the Unknowable, Life its gestation of the Golden Child. In the light flooding thought’s blank vacancy, Interpreting the universe by soul signs He read from within the text of the without: The riddle grew plain and lost its catch obscure. A larger lustre lit the mighty page. A purpose mingled with the whims of Time, A meaning met the stumbling pace of Chance And Fate revealed a chain of seeing Will; A conscious wideness filled the old dumb Space. In the Void he saw throned the Omniscience supreme. A Will, a hope immense now seized his heart, And to discern the superhuman’s form He raised his eyes to unseen spiritual heights, Aspiring to bring down a greater world. The glory he had glimpsed must be his home. A brighter heavenlier sun must soon illume This dusk room with its dark internal stair, The infant soul in its small nursery school Mid objects meant for a lesson hardly learned Outgrow its early grammar of intellect And its imitation of Earth-Nature’s art, Its earthly dialect to God-language change, In living symbols study Reality And learn the logic of the Infinite. The Ideal must be Nature’s common truth, The body illumined with the indwelling God, The heart and mind feel one with all that is, A conscious soul live in a conscious world. p.77 As through a mist a sovereign peak is seen, The greatness of the eternal Spirit appeared, Exiled in a fragmented universe Amid half-semblances of diviner things. These now could serve no more his regal turn; The Immortal’s pride refused the doom to live A miser of the scanty bargain made Between our littleness and bounded hopes And the compassionate Infinitudes. His height repelled the lowness of earth’s state: A wideness discontented with its frame Resiled from poor assent to Nature’s terms, The harsh contract spurned and the diminished lease. Only beginnings are accomplished here; Our base’s Matter seems alone complete, An absolute machine without a soul. Or all seems a misfit of half ideas, Or we saddle with the vice of earthly form A hurried imperfect glimpse of heavenly things, Guesses and travesties of celestial types. Here chaos sorts itself into a world, A brief formation drifting in the void: Apings of knowledge, unfinished arcs of power, Flamings of beauty into earthly shapes, Love’s broken reflexes of unity Swim, fragment-mirrorings of a floating sun. A packed assemblage of crude tentative lives Are pieced into a tessellated whole. There is no perfect answer to our hopes; There are blind voiceless doors that have no key; Thought climbs in vain and brings a borrowed light, Cheated by counterfeits sold to us in life’s mart, Our hearts clutch at a forfeited heavenly bliss. There is provender for the mind’s satiety, There are thrills of the flesh, but not the soul’s desire. Here even the highest rapture Time can give p.78 Is a mimicry of ungrasped beatitudes, A mutilated statue of ecstasy, A wounded happiness that cannot live, A brief felicity of mind or sense Thrown by the World-Power to her body-slave, Or a simulacrum of enforced delight In the seraglios of Ignorance. For all we have acquired soon loses worth, An old disvalued credit in Time’s bank, Imperfection’s cheque drawn on the Inconscient. An inconsequence dogs every effort made, And chaos waits on every cosmos formed: In each success a seed of failure lurks. He saw the doubtfulness of all things here, The incertitude of man’s proud confident thought, The transience of the achievements of his force. A thinking being in an unthinking world, An island in the sea of the Unknown, He is a smallness trying to be great, An animal with some instincts of a god, His life a story too common to be told, His deeds a number summing up to nought, His consciousness a torch lit to be quenched, His hope a star above a cradle and grave. And yet a greater destiny may be his, For the eternal Spirit is his truth. He can re-create himself and all around And fashion new the world in which he lives: He, ignorant, is the Knower beyond Time, He is the Self above Nature, above Fate. His soul retired from all that he had done. Hushed was the futile din of human toil, Forsaken wheeled the circle of the days; In distance sank the crowded tramp of life. The Silence was his sole companion left. p.79 Impassive he lived immune from earthly hopes, A figure in the ineffable Witness’ shrine Pacing the vast cathedral of his thoughts Under its arches dim with infinity And heavenward brooding of invisible wings. A call was on him from intangible heights; Indifferent to the little outpost Mind, He dwelt in the wideness of the Eternal’s reign. His being now exceeded thinkable Space, His boundless thought was neighbour to cosmic sight: A universal light was in his eyes, A golden influx flowed through heart and brain; A Force came down into his mortal limbs, A current from eternal seas of Bliss; He felt the invasion and the nameless joy. Aware of his occult omnipotent Source, Allured by the omniscient Ecstasy, A living centre of the Illimitable Widened to equate with the world’s circumference, He turned to his immense spiritual fate. Abandoned on a canvas of torn air, A picture lost in far and fading streaks, The earth-nature’s summits sank below his feet: He climbed to meet the infinite more above. The Immobile’s ocean-silence saw him pass, An arrow leaping through eternity Suddenly shot from the tense bow of Time, A ray returning to its parent sun. Opponent of that glory of escape, The black Inconscient swung its dragon tail Lashing a slumbrous Infinite by its force Into the deep obscurities of form: Death lay beneath him like a gate of sleep. One-pointed to the immaculate Delight, Questing for God as for a splendid prey, He mounted burning like a cone of fire. p.80 To a few is given that godlike rare release. One among many thousands never touched, Engrossed in the external world’s design, Is chosen by a secret witness Eye And driven by a pointing hand of Light Across his soul’s unmapped immensitudes. A pilgrim of the everlasting Truth, Our measures cannot hold his measureless mind; He has turned from the voices of the narrow realm And left the little lane of human Time. In the hushed precincts of a vaster plan He treads the vestibules of the Unseen, Or listens following a bodiless Guide To a lonely cry in boundless vacancy. All the deep cosmic murmur falling still, He lives in the hush before the world was born, His soul left naked to the timeless One. Far from compulsion of created things Thought and its shadowy idols disappear, The moulds of form and person are undone: The ineffable Wideness knows him for its own. A lone forerunner of the Godward earth, Among the symbols of yet unshaped things Watched by closed eyes, mute faces of the Unborn, He journeys to meet the Incommunicable, Hearing the echo of his single steps In the eternal courts of Solitude. A nameless Marvel fills the motionless hours. His spirit mingles with eternity’s heart And bears the silence of the Infinite. …