Loretta reads Savitri:Three.III "The House of the Spirit and the New Creation" part 3
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Three: The Book of the Divine Mother
Canto III: The House of the Spirit and the New Creation
Part 3 of 3, pages 329-333
The great traveller king has now been in the plane of the Supermind. He has finally experienced the highest consciousness. Sri Aurobindo writes that the king is in the “highest kingdom of God-state” (p.326). Starting with “The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Mind” ‒ that's Canto XI ‒ the mental planes that the king has travelled through, and has done his sadhana in, were changing his being. And this will happen to everyone who reaches these planes ‒ who can develop that far.
So this week, this last part of the canto which is on a different subject than the first two parts, is a little shorter ‒ we have a little extra time. And we're going to take the time to look back on the progression the king has gone through. We know that it is really Sri Aurobindo's own development that he's written about; and it is the development of everyone. And sometimes it's hard to follow, and hard to remember the names and the labels he's put on things; so we're going to try to coordinate his other writings with what he's said in Savitri.
And for this, we owe a great debt of thanks to Richard Hartz of the Ashram Archives. Because he wrote a book where he researched and compared Savitri and Sri Aurobindo's other writings like The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga, and Sri Aurobindo's diary, the Record of Yoga. So we have the benefit of a huge research project that we can use facts from.
We're going to take Richard's research, and we're going to apply it to a simple outline of what the king's development was once he left the planes of mind that most people are in. This is the practical reason that we look at this ‒ because it is going to happen to everyone as evolution continues.
All through “The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind”, we learned that our mind receives its information from our senses; therefore our thoughts and our ideas are limited only by the limitations of our senses. And we're limited to what comes in from the outside world. On top of that, our mind can't take in too much at a time; it can only work on a certain amount. So it cuts everything into manageable pieces. And when it works on one piece, it thinks that that's everything there is. And then the next time it works on something else, it thinks that is everything there is.
In Canto XI of Savitri, “The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Mind”, Sri Aurobindo describes what he calls ‘higher mind’ in The Life Divine. When our mind is quiet, when we've managed to get beyond the little mind, we can receive spiritual thoughts from higher levels of the creation. And then we have what Sri Aurobindo calls “spirit-born conceptual knowledge”. He says that the Self ‒ the self of all ‒ governs the destiny of its creation, and “the diversity of its creation”. It governs it “by its unity on all the planes from the Higher Mind upwards”. As one goes up, the vision that we have of the One, everything, gets wider and wider; and we have a greater usage of Force and power. And he describes the greater mind ‒ more higher mind ‒ as “A triple realm of ordered thought” (p.264). When we went through it with the king, we saw what happened to him; and so when we can think this way, the first level of our thinking is receiving a transmission of truths from the original identity of things ‒ and then transmitting it ourselves, because we are receiving and transmitting instruments. So the information coming to our higher mind is no longer distorted by our senses.
Then the second level of our ordered thinking is that we can conceive of ‒ we can see, we can accept, we can understand ‒ the multiplicity of all the possible ramifications of these real truths. So now, in the greater mind, our mind no longer takes its little limited piece that it's working with, and thinks that it's everything there is. We see the multitude of cosmic forces. We see everything that's possible.
And then the third level that we achieve, is that our mind can effectively formulate these conceptions, and we can really realize them. This is already a much clearer and more powerful way to think than we've ever had before.
Sri Aurobindo describes those who have attained this ‒ who have gotten up to this level of mind ‒ as “The Masters of things actual” (p.266), who can give a mold or a form to all that the spirit conceives. So then, we are automatically serving higher forces as we live our daily lives.
And he's written that having this spiritual higher mind conscious and working in us makes a first change in us. With this change, we can go up into still higher levels of consciousness; and then there comes down into us a more powerful descent of higher consciousness. And the practical result of all this is that we become more integrated beings, with a greater force of consciousness and knowledge; and all this acts in us and through us on the world around us.
When King Aswapati leaves “The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Mind”, he rises higher into “The Heavens of the Ideal” (this is Canto XII). And this is the next plane above the higher mind, that Sri Aurobindo writes about in The Life Divine; he calls it “the Illumined Mind”. He says that this mind is no longer a mind of higher thought: it is a mind of spiritual light. “a play of lightnings of spiritual truth and power breaks from above into the consciousness”. And we can receive it. It can be a part of us and who we are.
He says that at this level of human mind, “the One and the Many meet and our being is freely open to the revealing light of the divine Truth and the inspiration of the divine Will and Knowledge”. And there is also more change and progress in our being when we are at this level of the mind; this brings a power which can make a stronger, more dynamic integration of our mental, our emotional, our vital, our sensational, and our physical natures. This does this much more than the higher mind could.
On a practical level, it means that in our heart, in our own feelings, we have direct inner vision, direct spiritual sight of the truth ‒ the real truth. We have direct inspiration. Our very life-forces, all our life-energies, receive a spiritual urge and a truth-inspiration. So with this illumined mind, even our vital being and our physical body can know, and see, and feel the Divine in everything. We have a real, living experience of the Divine in all things ‒ because we have now a direct and total power of spiritual sensation.
The result of all this affects our physical body as well. And our physical body is the very last thing that changes. It is the most dense and the least receptive; and with these things, already something is coming into the physical to change it.
There are three mental planes between our usual small mind and what Sri Aurobindo calls the ‘Overmind’. It's not a lot of words to remember ‒ sometimes it seems like there are whole lists of things to remember, but it's actually pretty simple.
There's the higher mind, which in Savitri is “The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Mind”; the ‘Illumined Mind’; and then, finally, the final mental plane is the plane of Intuition ‒ the plane of intuitive mind. It acts in a self-light of truth, completely beyond the sense-mind. It has swift revelations; things come in swiftly, cleanly, fully, purely. In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo describes our intuitive mind as “a sea or mass of ‘stable lightnings’”, because the plane of intuition is a sea of stable lightnings. He says that the plane of intuition is “a light from the supermind”. The intuitive mind is an immediate translation of truth into mental terms. And these things that are in our intuitive mind are half-transformed by a radiant supramental substance. So truth-intuitions visit us in brilliant lightnings. Suddenly, we have an intuition ‒ all our thought, all our influences, our feelings, all our vital and physical sensations, become more and more direct transmissions, straight from the spirit. Because our thought and our will etc. are receiving these lightning-flashes of truth from the true Truth.
So all those parts of us ‒ thought, will, feelings, etc., even physical sensations ‒ all these things, their nature is changed to something more pure and more powerful. Something untroubled and luminous. So it's clear that just as the higher mind and the illumined mind work in us to change, here too we change.
And also, when we are more in this intuitive mind consciousness, everything that still seems to come into us from outside ‒ in the old ways it did before ‒ all those things feel the change. They increasingly modify and transform themselves into the new substance and nature.
In Savitri, Sri Aurobindo does not have the king travelling through a world of intuitive mind. Instead, we have some examples of illuminating intuitions from this truth-consciousness, that come down to the king ‒ and they completely change what he has to do. The first time is when he's “In the Self of Mind”, and he thinks he has attained the Self. The ray of intuition shows him that nothing can be known by the mind; and Sri Aurobindo describes it as “a luminous finger” (p.284) falling, and pointing and showing him that the mind cannot know anything. And then he describes it as a “sceptic Ray” (p.284); suddenly, everything is thrown into doubt.
The king's second experience of intuitive truth-light comes when he's in “The World-Soul”. And he sees “The figure of the deathless Two-in-One” (p.295), and the veiled form of the Divine Mother standing behind them. This is a completely changing experience for the king. Sri Aurobindo said that “Ramakrishna spoke constantly from a swift and luminous spiritual intuition”. When Ramakrishna described one of his experiences of the Divine Mother, it was very similar to Aswapati's first experience of the Divine Mother in Savitri ‒ when he's in the world-soul. Aswapati was “Tossed towards the shores of her ocean-ecstasy” (p.296), and he couldn't handle it, and he fell down unconscious at her feet.
And remember that the intuition plane is an ocean. It's a ‘sea of stable lightnings’. Ramakrishna said:
- “[S]uddenly the blessed Mother revealed Herself. The buildings... and everything else vanished from my sight... and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up! I was panting for breath. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious.”
Ramakrishna was the guru of Vivekananda. Sri Aurobindo said that when he was in the Alipore Jail, for many months Vivekananda came to give him teaching. And he gave Sri Aurobindo his first insight into the intuition plane, as the first opening to the Supermind.
So again, we have a practical application, of what can be looked at as just a mystical idea, or a philosophical reasoning, or something like that ‒ because it looks like these two well-known realized beings had attained the plane of intuitive mind.
Mother was asked if she knew of anyone who had attained to the Supermind. And she said she didn't believe so. She said that if there had been someone on earth, she would have known it. And that she never had that experience.
In Savitri, the king's upward journey through the mind was stopped in the self of mind by this ray of intuition. And so he had to go down ‒ down into the deep, deep heart of the world, to the soul of the world. And there in the soul of the world, the psychic reality, he had another intuition to be able to experience the Divine Mother. Sri Aurobindo said that the mind can open to higher reaches, but the supramental consciousness cannot find a sufficient base in spiritualized mind alone. The rest of the being has to be there somehow. And for this, our soul has to be part of the experience of the supramental consciousness. Because you cannot only have knowledge; you have to have power. And our psychic being opens the rest of our being to higher things.
So the king now sees the Divine Mother in the soul of the world. And then after being totally drowned in the ocean of lightnings, he goes on to the higher mind. And then the illumined mind. Let by these flashes of intuition from the mind just above that illumined mind.
And in this beautiful recounting of the journey, he only sees the Mother again in the supramental plane, when he has attained all the development: the soul-development, the mental development, everything that he needs.
So finally with the king, we arrived at the overmental plane. The king doesn't have intuitive flashes of truth now; the overmind sees calmly, steadily, globally, in great masses of space and time. So here in the Overmind ‒ in this union of the spirit that Sri Aurobindo says governs everything ‒ the king was one with the spirit's secret unity, and all his nature felt the single bliss. The king's “soul-nature and mind-sense / Included every soul and mind in his” (p.318).
- He stood fulfilled on the world’s highest line (p.319)
- His being, spread to embrace the universe (p.318)
And again Sri Aurobindo has written about how we change, because he says:
- ... even the life of flesh and nerve was changed
- And grew one flesh and nerve with all that lives (p.318)
So now the change is really in the material substance of the king's physical body. And then from the Overmind plane, the king moves on to the supramental consciousness.
When we move on with the king to the supramental plane, we see what happens to change us there. Sri Aurobindo says in The Life Divine that this consciousness on earth will shape a race of new beings. He calls these new beings “gnostic spiritual beings”. The new consciousness will do this by taking up into itself “all of earth-nature that is ready for this new transformation”. And Mother gives a piece of practical information about this: she's talking about the new Force, and the new force is the consciousness of the Divine Mother herself in its highest. But the Mother says that if anyone or anything on earth is ready for the force, the force will transform it automatically. There's no question of choice. It is just there, and it just happens.
So the life-energies and the life-consciousness of the new transformed being would be, for him, a sense of conscious being within, and finding its expression outside ‒ completely all-divine, conscious being in nature. He would feel the presence of the Divine in every center of his consciousness. He would feel it in every vibration of his life-force; in every cell of his body. He would be aware of the workings of the World-Mother in nature. He would feel all beings, to him, as his own selves. He would feel all powers and all ways of consciousness as the ways and powers of his own universality. He would feel all as himself, and all in himself.
Last time, we were in the true supramental plane with our traveller king. He has now attained to the highest consciousness in the creation; and with the king we have seen new worlds unfolding, in a new and marvellous creation.
- A living Oneness widened at its core
- And joined him to unnumbered multitudes. (p.322)
Existence found its truth in oneness. And each person there became the self and space of all.
- None was apart, none lived for himself alone,
- Each lived for God in him and God in all (p.324)
This canto is filled with many different ways the king experiences the oneness. And Sri Aurobindo writes about this, using other words, in The Life Divine. Mother spoke about having this kind of awareness during the last few years of the Agenda; from time to time in different contexts, she would say that she felt herself in others, or that she felt herself as others.
So the traveller of the worlds has now successfully reached the highest goal of the creation: the Supermind. But, he has not yet attained his personal goal, of speaking personally with the Divine Mother, and telling her what he wants.
Here, as we begin the last part of Canto III, we find the traveller king very far from our world. But he is called back ‒ or that is to say, there is part of him that hasn't left yet ‒ and with all this, he must finish his task. The king knows himself as divided; he knew that he was two beings: “one wide and free above”, and the other being ‒ the part of his wide and free being that was still bound by the inconscience of physical matter ‒ was here on earth. It could not be forgotten or left behind; “A tie between them still could bridge two worlds” (p.331).
In the beginning of this part of the canto, Sri Aurobindo describes for us our world as it is; and he says that the great yogi traveller, after his spiritual journey, up there in supramental consciousness, “saw a world that is” (our world) “from a world to be” (p.330). And he knew that a new creation will arise from the old creation ‒ because he has just experienced it. He's wanted it all along; and now he wants it even more.
Although all of his being that is bound here in the body also knows... something, and has aspired all this time ‒ still, it's asleep now. The only thing that's awake in the king now, the only thing on the earth that is not ‘patiently waiting for it to happen when it's going to happen’, is the heart of the king. With all the fire of his heart, in all the passion of that dream that he's had for so long, he yearns for the Divine Mother. He wants her to make the changes that will bring the new creation. This conscious heart, the only thing left in his lower being, is there “like a lamp in night” (p.331). It turns to the Mother; it turns to her “for whom it willed to be” (p.332). And in its yearning and in its prayer, it waits for the fiat of the word that comes from the Supreme.
The music for this program is a Sanskrit mantra. We begin and end with this same mantra; it calls for peace, over and over. It calls for peace for our perfect journey. It calls for peace and grace so that we may have the right impulsions, and drink of the perfect delight.
- “May days be peace to us
- May the nights be peace and upbear us
- May Indra and Agni with their protection be peace to us.
- May Indra and Varuna pour their ablutions and give peace to us.
- May Indra and Pushan who conquered the plenitudes be peace to us.
- May Indra and Soma be peace to us for our perfect journey.
- May peace and power be there for us.
- May the goddesses, the waters, bring to us the peace and the grace, so that we may have the right impulsions and drink of the perfect delight.
- May peace and power flow towards us in a stream.
- Peace be to the heavens
- Peace the mid-region
- Peace the earth
- Peace the waters
- May the healing plants be peace, the great trees be peace.
- May all the gods be peace.
- May Brahma the supreme be peace.
- May all be peace.
- May peace be peace.
- May that peace come to us.”
So in “The House of the Spirit and the New Creation”, we are with the king in the supramental consciousness. And Sri Aurobindo writes...
... Against this glory of spiritual states, Their parallels and yet their opposites, Floated and swayed, eclipsed and shadowlike As if a doubt made substance, flickering, pale, This other scheme two vast negations found. A world that knows not its inhabiting Self Labours to find its cause and need to be; A spirit ignorant of the world it made, Obscured by Matter, travestied by Life, Struggles to emerge, to be free, to know and reign; These were close-tied in one disharmony, Yet the divergent lines met not at all. Three Powers governed its irrational course, In the beginning an unknowing Force, p.330 In the middle an embodied striving soul, In its end a silent spirit denying life. A dull and infelicitous interlude Unrolls its dubious truth to a questioning Mind Compelled by the ignorant Power to play its part And to record her inconclusive tale, The mystery of her inconscient plan And the riddle of a being born from Night By a marriage of Necessity with Chance. This darkness hides our nobler destiny. A chrysalis of a great and glorious truth, It stifles the winged marvel in its sheath Lest from the prison of Matter it escape And, wasting its beauty on the formless Vast, Merged into the Unknowable’s mystery, Leave unfulfilled the world’s miraculous fate. As yet thought only some high spirit’s dream Or a vexed illusion in man’s toiling mind, A new creation from the old shall rise, A Knowledge inarticulate find speech, Beauty suppressed burst into paradise bloom, Pleasure and pain dive into absolute bliss. A tongueless oracle shall speak at last, The Superconscient conscious grow on earth, The Eternal’s wonders join the dance of Time. But now all seemed a vainly teeming vast Upheld by a deluded Energy To a spectator self-absorbed and mute, Careless of the unmeaning show he watched, Regarding the bizarre procession pass Like one who waits for an expected end. He saw a world that is from a world to be. There he divined rather than saw or felt, Far off upon the rim of consciousness, Transient and frail this little whirling globe And on it left like a lost dream’s vain mould, p.331 A fragile copy of the spirit’s shell, His body gathered into mystic sleep. A foreign shape it seemed, a mythic shade. Alien now seemed that dim far universe, Self and eternity alone were true. Then memory climbed to him from the striving planes Bringing a cry from once-loved cherished things, And to the cry as to its own lost call A ray replied from the occult Supreme. For even there the boundless Oneness dwells. To its own sight unrecognisable, It lived still sunk in its own tenebrous seas, Upholding the world’s inconscient unity Hidden in Matter’s insentient multitude. This seed-self sown in the Indeterminate Forfeits its glory of divinity, Concealing the omnipotence of its Force, Concealing the omniscience of its Soul; An agent of its own transcendent Will, It merges knowledge in the inconscient deep; Accepting error, sorrow, death and pain, It pays the ransom of the ignorant Night, Redeeming by its substance Nature’s fall. Himself he knew and why his soul had gone Into earth’s passionate obscurity To share the labour of an errant Power Which by division hopes to find the One. Two beings he was, one wide and free above, One struggling, bound, intense, its portion here. A tie between them still could bridge two worlds; There was a dim response, a distant breath; All had not ceased in the unbounded hush. His heart lay somewhere conscious and alone Far down below him like a lamp in night; Abandoned it lay, alone, imperishable, p.332 Immobile with excess of passionate will, His living, sacrificed and offered heart Absorbed in adoration mystical, Turned to its far-off fount of light and love. In the luminous stillness of its mute appeal It looked up to the heights it could not see; It yearned from the longing depths it could not leave. In the centre of his vast and fateful trance Half-way between his free and fallen selves, Interceding twixt God’s day and the mortal’s night, Accepting worship as its single law, Accepting bliss as the sole cause of things, Refusing the austere joy which none can share, Refusing the calm that lives for calm alone, To her it turned for whom it willed to be. In the passion of its solitary dream It lay like a closed soundless oratory Where sleeps a consecrated argent floor Lit by a single and untrembling ray And an invisible Presence kneels in prayer. On some deep breast of liberating peace All else was satisfied with quietude; This only knew there was a truth beyond. All other parts were dumb in centred sleep Consenting to the slow deliberate Power Which tolerates the world’s error and its grief, Consenting to the cosmic long delay, Timelessly waiting through the patient years Her coming they had asked for earth and men; This was the fiery point that called her now. Extinction could not quench that lonely fire; Its seeing filled the blank of mind and will; Thought dead, its changeless force abode and grew. Armed with the intuition of a bliss To which some moved tranquillity was the key, It persevered through life’s huge emptiness p.333 Amid the blank denials of the world. It sent its voiceless prayer to the Unknown; It listened for the footsteps of its hopes Returning through the void immensities, It waited for the fiat of the Word That comes through the still self from the Supreme. END OF CANTO THREE
- The Life Divine, p.974, “The Ascent towards Supermind”
- Letters on Yoga - III, p.404
- The Life Divine, p.978, “The Ascent towards Supermind”
- Ibid., p.979
- The Synthesis of Yoga, p.417, “The Cosmic Consciousness”
- The Life Divine, p.983, “The Ascent towards Supermind”
- The Synthesis of Yoga, p.809, “The Intuitive Mind”
- Letters on Yoga - I, p.499
- The Life Divine, p.1002, “The Gnostic Being”