Loretta reads Savitri:Seven.V "The Finding of the Soul" part 1
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Seven: The Book of Yoga
Canto V: The Finding of the Soul
Part 1 of 2, pages 522-526
Savitri is getting closer to her soul. On her upward route, through her own inner space, she has already met the triple soul-forces, three portions of her soul put forth from her to do her work in the world. She promised each of them that she would return and bring them the aspect of God that would make their divine work completely successful in the world.
Sri Aurobindo and Mother often repeated to the seekers, both inside and outside of the Ashram, that there were two significant stages to be reached in the practice of Sri Aurobindo's yoga. The first one is to find your soul. And this is Savitri's yoga. Sometimes Mother and Sri Aurobindo said that it was to find your psychic being. So, what's the difference?
The Mother gave a clear definition of what our soul is, and of what our psychic being is. In one of her classes in the Playground, one of the children asked her 'what the soul or psychic being is'. And this is what she answered:
- “The soul and the psychic being are not exactly the same thing, although their essence is the same.
- The soul is the divine spark that dwells at the centre of each being; it is identical with its Divine Origin; it is the divine in man.
- The psychic being is formed progressively around this divine centre, the soul, in the course of its innumerable lives in the [earthly] evolution, until the time comes when the psychic being, fully formed and wholly awakened, becomes the conscious sheath of the soul around which it is formed.”
Savitri was guided to the road that led to her soul by a messenger from her soul, who told her to follow that road, and that she would “see the Fire burning on the bare stone // And the deep cavern of [her] secret soul” (p.501). Now, she will come to the doorway of “the mystic cavern in the sacred hill” (p.523) and go in, but when she comes to the door, she will know that it is the dwelling of her secret soul. And when she goes in, she will see the fire burning on the bare stone.
Throughout Savitri, Sri Aurobindo repeats that the soul is in the cave of the heart. Here, everything he describes in this cave has a meaning for spiritual seekers. A couple of examples are that he says that two serpents are on the entrance of the cave. In his Letters on Yoga, where he explains the symbols seen in dreams, he says that serpents represent energy, and can represent “luminous divine energy”He says that the serpent is especially a symbol of the Kundalini Shakti, which rises in the spine up to the higher consciousness above.
There is an eagle covering the door with its wings. In the Letters on Yoga, Sri Aurobindo says birds are symbols of the soul, or symbols of a power of the soul.
Sri Aurobindo describes the entrance to the dwelling-place of Savitri's soul as “Carved in the [rock] of Matter’s trance” (p.524). And as Savitri goes through the cavern, all is made of stone – carved in the rock of Matter's trance. But, it is all completely alive. And Savitri sees and knows everything, “Not by some thought of mind but by the self” (p.525). Because “the spirit’s vision is wholly true” (p.525).
Sri Aurobindo has written in his letters that Savitri is the Divine Mother: the power, and the force, and the substance of the Supreme in the creation. And now that she is so very close to her own soul, “A sealed identity within her woke”, and she knew that she was “the Beloved of the Supreme”, that the gods and goddesses which she saw living in stone were only he and she. And that she was the world-power on the lap of Shiva, and they were Master and Mother of all lives, “Watching the worlds their twin regard had made” (p.525).
Canto V, the first part: “The Finding of the Soul”.
Canto Five The Finding of the Soul Onward she passed seeking the soul’s mystic cave. At first she stepped into a night of God. The light was quenched that helps the labouring world, The power that struggles and stumbles in our life; This inefficient mind gave up its thoughts, The striving heart its unavailing hopes. All knowledge failed and the Idea’s forms And Wisdom screened in awe her lowly head Feeling a Truth too great for thought or speech, Formless, ineffable, for ever the same. An innocent and holy Ignorance Adored like one who worships formless God The unseen Light she could not claim nor own. In a simple purity of emptiness Her mind knelt down before the unknowable. All was abolished save her naked self And the prostrate yearning of her surrendered heart: There was no strength in her, no pride of force; The lofty burning of desire had sunk Ashamed, a vanity of separate self, The hope of spiritual greatness fled, Salvation she asked not nor a heavenly crown: Humility seemed now too proud a state. Her self was nothing, God alone was all, Yet God she knew not but only knew he was. A sacred darkness brooded now within, The world was a deep darkness great and nude. This void held more than all the teeming worlds, This blank felt more than all that Time has borne, This dark knew dumbly, immensely the Unknown. But all was formless, voiceless, infinite. As might a shadow walk in a shadowy scene, p.523 A small nought passing through a mightier Nought, A night of person in a bare outline Crossing a fathomless impersonal Night, Silent she moved, empty and absolute. In endless Time her soul reached a wide end, The spaceless Vast became her spirit’s place. At last a change approached, the emptiness broke; A wave rippled within, the world had stirred; Once more her inner self became her space. There was felt a blissful nearness to the goal; Heaven leaned low to kiss the sacred hill, The air trembled with passion and delight. A rose of splendour on a tree of dreams, The face of Dawn out of mooned twilight grew. Day came, priest of a sacrifice of joy Into the worshipping silence of her world; He carried immortal lustre as his robe, Trailed heaven like a purple scarf and wore As his vermilion caste-mark a red sun. As if an old remembered dream come true, She recognised in her prophetic mind The imperishable lustre of that sky, The tremulous sweetness of that happy air And, covered from mind’s view and life’s approach, The mystic cavern in the sacred hill And knew the dwelling of her secret soul. As if in some Elysian occult depth, Truth’s last retreat from thought’s profaning touch, As if in a rock-temple’s solitude hid, God’s refuge from an ignorant worshipping world, It lay withdrawn even from life’s inner sense, Receding from the entangled heart’s desire. A marvellous brooding twilight met the eyes And a holy stillness held that voiceless space. An awful dimness wrapped the great rock-doors Carved in the massive stone of Matter’s trance. p.524 Two golden serpents round the lintel curled, Enveloping it with their pure and dreadful strength, Looked out with wisdom’s deep and luminous eyes. An eagle covered it with wide conquering wings: Flames of self-lost immobile reverie, Doves crowded the grey musing cornices Like sculptured postures of white-bosomed peace. Across the threshold’s sleep she entered in And found herself amid great figures of gods Conscious in stone and living without breath, Watching with fixed regard the soul of man, Executive figures of the cosmic self, World-symbols of immutable potency. On the walls covered with significant shapes Looked at her the life-scene of man and beast And the high meaning of the life of gods, The power and necessity of these numberless worlds, And faces of beings and stretches of world-space Spoke the succinct and inexhaustible Hieratic message of the climbing planes. In their immensitude signing infinity They were the extension of the self of God And housed, impassively receiving all, His figures and his small and mighty acts And his passion and his birth and life and death And his return to immortality. To the abiding and eternal is their climb, To the pure existence everywhere the same, To the sheer consciousness and the absolute force And the unimaginable and formless bliss, To the mirth in Time and the timeless mystery Of the triune being who is all and one And yet is no one but himself apart. There was no step of breathing men, no sound, Only the living nearness of the soul. Yet all the worlds and God himself were there, p.525 For every symbol was a reality And brought the presence which had given it life. All this she saw and inly felt and knew Not by some thought of mind but by the self. A light not born of sun or moon or fire, A light that dwelt within and saw within Shedding an intimate visibility Made secrecy more revealing than the word: Our sight and sense are a fallible gaze and touch And only the spirit’s vision is wholly true. As thus she passed in that mysterious place Through room and room, through door and rock-hewn door, She felt herself made one with all she saw. A sealed identity within her woke; She knew herself the Beloved of the Supreme: These Gods and Goddesses were he and she: The Mother was she of Beauty and Delight, The Word in Brahma’s vast creating clasp, The World-Puissance on almighty Shiva’s lap, — The Master and the Mother of all lives Watching the worlds their twin regard had made, And Krishna and Radha for ever entwined in bliss, The Adorer and Adored self-lost and one. In the last chamber on a golden seat One sat whose shape no vision could define; Only one felt the world’s unattainable fount, A Power of which she was a straying Force, An invisible Beauty, goal of the world’s desire, A Sun of which all knowledge is a beam, A Greatness without whom no life could be. Thence all departed into silent self, And all became formless and pure and bare. Then through a tunnel dug in the last rock She came out where there shone a deathless sun. A house was there all made of flame and light And crossing a wall of doorless living fire p.526 There suddenly she met her secret soul. ...