Loretta reads Savitri:Seven.IV "The Triple Soul-Forces" part 1
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Seven: The Book of Yoga
Canto IV: The Triple Soul-Forces
Part 1 of 3, pages 503-508
This is the first part, the first soul-force.
Sri Aurobindo has said that Savitri is the Divine Mother, the Power of the creation itself, who has taken birth to conquer death and save the soul of man.
Before, in Canto II, we saw that as part of her work for mankind, Savitri was told that she had to find her own soul. Her journey began with a dream that disclosed to her the mystic past, and showed her the emergence of consciousness out of infinite Nothingness.
She saw how people were when the lived their lives without the presence of their individual soul. And then, how our larger being can come forward, and people can stand new-born in the largeness of their soul.
After this, she came to the conclusion that the inferior natures took too large a place, and “must be pushed aside to find her soul” (p.487).
Then, a voice told her that she would find her heaven-born soul “in Matter's body” (p.488). On her inner journey, Savitri passed through the life-energies acting without the influence of the soul. She saw what it was life when Mind governed Life in the absence of the soul, and what the functioning of the intellect was like without the soul.
She refused to stay in the world of ideals. She told them she had to move on, because she was seeking her soul.
At the end of Canto III, Savitri was guided by a luminous being from her own soul. And she followed the road to where “it dwindled into a narrow path // Trod only by rare wounded pilgrim feet” (p.501). There, she could feel “the silent nearness of the soul” (p.502).
Now, in Canto IV, Savitri is going to meet the triple soul-forces. They are in the form of three women – although they are not really people, but immortal powers. Each one tells Savitri that she is Savitri's soul. We're going to hear that each one has her own particular divine complaint. Savitri has not yet realized her own soul. It's not really fully active in her. Therefore, these parts of her soul cannot perform their tasks successfully. And after each of the divine powers describes her work, and makes her divine complaint, the lower force acting in the world – which prevents the divine force from acting fully – also tells who he is.
Savitri meets the first of the triple soul-forces when she starts to climb the first ascent to her soul. Sri Aurobindo describes her as “A divine pity on the peaks of the world” (p.503). And she tells Savitri that she has come to share the suffering of all the world, and that she accepts the universe as her body of woe. But, although she brings divine compassion, she has no power to change things. She is patiently waiting for God's coming, because he will change the world full of pain and suffering.
After the Mother of divine compassion describes what she does and voices her divine complaint, Savitri hears the voice of the lower force from below, who describes who he is, and also complains. Sri Aurobindo call him “The beast [...] crouching [...] within man’s depths” (p.505). And in his speech, we can hear many attitudes which, if we have, make our life worse.
Sri Aurobindo writes that it is a “voice of a tortured Titan once a God” (p.505). It's good to know what a Titan is, because Sri Aurobindo talks about Titans a lot. In Book Six, “The Book of Fate”, Sri Aurobindo describes the Titan:
- Against the Law he pits his single will,
- Across its way he throws his pride of might.
- Heavenward he clambers on a stair of storms (p.451)
- He dominates the life of common men.
- His pain and others’ pain he makes his means:
- On death and suffering he builds his throne. (p.452)
- He feeds his strength with his own and others’ pain (p.452)
- He sees his little self as very God.
- His little ‘I’ has swallowed the whole world,
- His ego has stretched into infinity. (p.453)
Then, Sri Aurobindo says:
- Take not that stride, O growing soul of man;
- Cast not thy self into that night of God. (p.453)
You will hear that this tortured Titan expresses all the things that Sri Aurobindo has just described, as he relates them to man's daily life and thinking. To understand him better, it's good to know why he says, “I am Prometheus […] In the flame he kindled burning like a moth” (p.506). In classic Greek mythology, Prometheus is the Titan who created Man out of clay, and was also Man's greatest benefactor – because he stole fire from the gods for mankind. The gods punish him by tying him to a great rock, where every day a vulture comes and tears out his liver. But because he's immortal he can never die, and the liver regenerates each time. And Sri Aurobindo speaks of the vulture here in Savitri.
The other Titan, which this tortured Titan says that he wants to rise and bring him strength, is Enceladus, who is a giant imprisoned by the gods under Mount Etna, so he cannot do any more destruction.
Savitri hears what the Mother of grief divine has to say, and hears what the voice of the angry Beast says, and promises this portion of her soul that after she has realized her soul, she will return, bringing strength and the Eternal's force. And her divine work will be successful.
So, Canto IV, “The Triple Soul-Forces”.
Canto Four The Triple Soul-Forces Here from a low and prone and listless ground The passion of the first ascent began; A moon-bright face in a sombre cloud of hair, A Woman sat in a pale lustrous robe. A rugged and ragged soil was her bare seat, Beneath her feet a sharp and wounding stone. A divine pity on the peaks of the world, A spirit touched by the grief of all that lives, She looked out far and saw from inner mind This questionable world of outward things, Of false appearances and plausible shapes, This dubious cosmos stretched in the ignorant Void, The pangs of earth, the toil and speed of the stars And the difficult birth and dolorous end of life. Accepting the universe as her body of woe, The Mother of the seven sorrows bore The seven stabs that pierced her bleeding heart: The beauty of sadness lingered on her face, Her eyes were dim with the ancient stain of tears. Her heart was riven with the world’s agony And burdened with the sorrow and struggle in Time, An anguished music trailed in her rapt voice. Absorbed in a deep compassion’s ecstasy, Lifting the mild ray of her patient gaze, In soft sweet training words slowly she spoke: “O Savitri, I am thy secret soul. To share the suffering of the world I came, I draw my children’s pangs into my breast. I am the nurse of the dolour beneath the stars; I am the soul of all who wailing writhe Under the ruthless harrow of the Gods. I am woman, nurse and slave and beaten beast; p.504 I tend the hands that gave me cruel blows. The hearts that spurned my love and zeal I serve; I am the courted queen, the pampered doll, I am the giver of the bowl of rice, I am the worshipped Angel of the House. I am in all that suffers and that cries. Mine is the prayer that climbs in vain from earth, I am traversed by my creatures’ agonies, I am the spirit in a world of pain. The scream of tortured flesh and tortured hearts Fall’n back on heart and flesh unheard by Heaven Has rent with helpless grief and wrath my soul. I have seen the peasant burning in his hut, I have seen the slashed corpse of the slaughtered child, Heard woman’s cry ravished and stripped and haled Amid the bayings of the hell-hound mob, I have looked on, I had no power to save. I have brought no arm of strength to aid or slay; God gave me love, he gave me not his force. I have shared the toil of the yoked animal drudge Pushed by the goad, encouraged by the whip; I have shared the fear-filled life of bird and beast, Its long hunt for the day’s precarious food, Its covert slink and crouch and hungry prowl, Its pain and terror seized by beak and claw. I have shared the daily life of common men, Its petty pleasures and its petty cares, Its press of troubles and haggard horde of ills, Earth’s trail of sorrow hopeless of relief, The unwanted tedious labour without joy, And the burden of misery and the strokes of fate. I have been pity, leaning over pain And the tender smile that heals the wounded heart And sympathy making life less hard to bear. Man has felt near my unseen face and hands; I have become the sufferer and his moan, p.505 I have lain down with the mangled and the slain, I have lived with the prisoner in his dungeon cell. Heavy on my shoulders weighs the yoke of Time: Nothing refusing of creation’s load, I have borne all and know I still must bear: Perhaps when the world sinks into a last sleep, I too may sleep in dumb eternal peace. I have borne the calm indifference of Heaven, Watched Nature’s cruelty to suffering things While God passed silent by nor turned to help. Yet have I cried not out against his will, Yet have I not accused his cosmic Law. Only to change this great hard world of pain A patient prayer has risen from my breast; A pallid resignation lights my brow, Within me a blind faith and mercy dwell; I carry the fire that never can be quenched And the compassion that supports the suns. I am the hope that looks towards my God, My God who never came to me till now; His voice I hear that ever says ‘I come’: I know that one day he shall come at last.” She ceased, and like an echo from below Answering her pathos of divine complaint A voice of wrath took up the dire refrain, A growl of thunder or roar of angry beast, The beast that crouching growls within man’s depths,— Voice of a tortured Titan once a God. “I am the Man of Sorrows, I am he Who is nailed on the wide cross of the universe; To enjoy my agony God built the earth, My passion he has made his drama’s theme. He has sent me naked into his bitter world And beaten me with his rods of grief and pain That I might cry and grovel at his feet And offer him worship with my blood and tears. p.506 I am Prometheus under the vulture’s beak, Man the discoverer of the undying fire, In the flame he kindled burning like a moth; I am the seeker who can never find, I am the fighter who can never win, I am the runner who never touched his goal: Hell tortures me with the edges of my thought, Heaven tortures me with the splendour of my dreams. What profit have I of my animal birth; What profit have I of my human soul? I toil like the animal, like the animal die. I am man the rebel, man the helpless serf; Fate and my fellows cheat me of my wage. I loosen with my blood my servitude’s seal And shake from my aching neck the oppressor’s knees Only to seat new tyrants on my back: My teachers lesson me in slavery, I am shown God’s stamp and my own signature Upon the sorry contract of my fate. I have loved, but none has loved me since my birth; My fruit of works is given to other hands. All that is left me is my evil thoughts, My sordid quarrel against God and man, Envy of the riches that I cannot share, Hate of a happiness that is not mine. I know my fate will ever be the same, It is my nature’s work that cannot change: I have loved for mine, not for the beloved’s sake, I have lived for myself and not for others’ lives. Each in himself is sole by Nature’s law. So God has made his harsh and dreadful world, So has he built the petty heart of man. Only by force and ruse can man survive: For pity is a weakness in his breast, His goodness is a laxity in the nerves, His kindness an investment for return, p.507 His altruism is ego’s other face: He serves the world that him the world may serve. If once the Titan’s strength could wake in me, If Enceladus from Etna could arise, I then would reign the master of the world And like a god enjoy man’s bliss and pain. But God has taken from me the ancient Force. There is a dull consent in my sluggish heart, A fierce satisfaction with my special pangs As if they made me taller than my kind; Only by suffering can I excel. I am the victim of titanic ills, I am the doer of demoniac deeds; I was made for evil, evil is my lot; Evil I must be and by evil live; Nought other can I do but be myself; What Nature made me, that I must remain. I suffer and toil and weep; I moan and hate.” And Savitri heard the voice, the echo heard And turning to her being of pity spoke: “Madonna of suffering, Mother of grief divine, Thou art a portion of my soul put forth To bear the unbearable sorrow of the world. Because thou art, men yield not to their doom, But ask for happiness and strive with fate; Because thou art, the wretched still can hope. But thine is the power to solace, not to save. One day I will return, a bringer of strength, And make thee drink from the Eternal’s cup; His streams of force shall triumph in thy limbs And Wisdom’s calm control thy passionate heart. Thy love shall be the bond of humankind, Compassion the bright key of Nature’s acts: Misery shall pass abolished from the earth; The world shall be freed from the anger of the Beast, From the cruelty of the Titan and his pain. There shall be peace and joy for ever more.” p.508 …