Loretta reads Savitri:Three.IV "The Vision and the Boon" part 1
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Three: The Book of the Divine Mother
Canto IV: The Vision and the Boon
Part 1 of 2, pages 334-341
So, our faithful traveller King Aswapati, longing for the Divine Mother, finally will have a chance to speak with her. She comes to speak with him on the subject that has brought him all this way. He's travelled through all the worlds of his being to find her. He wants her to change our earth; he wants her to change our life. He wants her to change our very beings. He wants her to change us to be the conscious, incarnate vessels of the eternal, omnipotent, omniscient truth of God.
As we've been travelling together with the king, we did reach the highest consciousness of God's state ‒ the state which Sri Aurobindo calls the supramental consciousness. We had Sri Aurobindo's experience, and his description of the supramental consciousness and the supramental world, in the second part of Canto III.
- (But there's something to tell you about that recording ‒ it's a technical thing. We re-recorded this particular broadcast of the second part of Canto III, because here in South India it's the monsoon season. And the radio recording of that second part ‒ the one that is all about the Supermind ‒ was done during the pouring rain. After it was uploaded onto the Radio website, we found that the rainfall had spoiled the recording; the sound was completely compromised. So it's been re-recorded in clear weather, to give the correct sound. If anyone who listened to that recording and wants to hear it in a better quality, they can re-load it onto their computer. And it's very simple ‒ it's not very technical. This is what you have to do: you click on the same place you found it before, on the screen. And then, you have to re-load it, because otherwise your computer will go on playing what it had on it before (it keeps that memory). So you just right-click on your mouse cursor, and click on ‘Re-load’. Automatically the computer will load the new recording. If you haven't listened to it yet, all you need to do is play it in the usual way, because now the better recording is in that place.)
So now we are again with the king. And we have met him as he sees himself. Last time we saw that once he had attained the supramental consciousness, he saw his own being as two beings. One being, which was with (or in) the new highest consciousness, was wide and free, high above. And the other part of his being ‒ which is his physical body, his material being ‒ still has a relatively undeveloped consciousness, bound, suffering, here on earth. Physical substance is like that ‒ it is the last to change.
So even the king's very body had asked for the Divine Mother, and had asked for her a lot, and wanted her for a long time. But it still couldn't keep asking; when the king's higher consciousness was in the supramental consciousness, the body went into a state of sleep.
So the king's physical consciousness was “dumb in centred sleep” (p.332); it was accepting the grief and error of the world, and consenting to the delay. Only the king's heart ‒ his longing, offered, sacrificed heart ‒ remained conscious in the body. It longed and called for the Divine Mother to come. It sent its prayer for the Divine Mother to come.
Now, one could ask: why is the king calling for someone called the Divine Mother to come? Or more accurately, one could ask: why does Sri Aurobindo tell us all along through Savitri that there is someone called the Divine Mother, and that the Divine Mother can actually change us and our world?
Sri Aurobindo write about the Divine Mother in his little book which is called “The Mother”. This is the first book ever to be published by the Ashram Press. It was published in 1928. And in the last part of Chapter VI, Sri Aurobindo says (among other things) that the Mother is the Mahashakti, the great power of our world. And as the Mahashakti, she stands in an intermediate plane between our world and the supramental creation, the supramental Light, the Truth life that has to be brought down here.
And this is what Mother and Sri Aurobindo came here to work for and to do. It is the Divine Mother‒ the creative consciousness of the Supreme, the conscious creative consciousness of the Supreme ‒ who determines what will be in the universe. She makes it happen, and she is, herself, all that she determines.
And in “The Mother”, Sri Aurobindo tells us that one of the things that the Divine Mother does is to prepare and shape minds and bodies to be emanations of herself. She does this so that she can be in the physical world ‒ she may manifest her consciousness in the physical itself, and work from there, instead of working from this higher place.
When she puts on a human consciousness, she can bring some ray of her power and the quality of her presence into material matter. Now, we know that the Mother in the Ashram had this consciousness; this is who she was, this is what she came for. And Sri Aurobindo says, personally, she has stooped to descend here into the darkness, to lead it to the light. She has come into the falsehood and error to convert it to the truth. And she has come into this death ‒ our life which is a death, in comparison with the higher life that they know ‒ she has come into this death to turn it into a godlike life.
She has come into the world-pain and suffering, the world's sorrow, “that she may end it in the transforming ecstasy of her sublime Ananda” ‒ her bliss.
The Mother has consented to pass through the birth that is a death, and to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of darkness and falsehood ‒ so that she could take upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of all the creation, in order to transform it. It certainly sounds terrible (!). But if we look to other things that they've said, we find that whatever is darkness and falsehood now, was perfectly acceptable at some point in the creation. In some point in past time. And now it no longer has a place.
So why does it sound so terrible? This is a time of great change. Of swift change, of strong change. Because the new consciousness is pressing to manifest. So these things rise up; and Mother has said that before dying, if we're doing some kind of yoga we can see it rising in our own consciousness. It's time for it. And so the Divine Mother has come to help things along ‒ because she's changing everything.
But when we hear what she has to go through, we can ask ourselves: is Aswapati thinking that the Divine Mother will be forced to do all this? Does he have any idea of what's going to happen to her, when he asks her to come to fix the world and to fix people? It certainly seems like a lot to ask someone else to do (!). Could we ask someone else to do that ‒ to go through all that? There must be a very great longing in the king, a very great yearning, a very great need to help the world. And he is a great yogi; perhaps he does know this. And perhaps he also knows that this creation that the Divine Mother descends into is only her own creation. And he knows that she is being called by a being that she has created. A being of her own creation who calls her to come and help the rest of creation to progress.
Mother certainly did this work with Sri Aurobindo in the Ashram; this is why she created the Ashram, and why she created Auroville.
When we leave Book Three, and go on to Book Four ‒ as we are now going to do ‒ we will have the Mother's answer. And it is the story ‒ the unfolding story ‒ of the response, the real response to Aswapati's request. Not just the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Now, we're still in Book Three, [in] “The Vision and the Boon”. And this part of the canto that we have, is more the vision. The next part that we'll have is the boon.
And being with Aswapati now, we experience what happens to him when she comes. She comes to hear what he has to say, and to give her answer. He feels a touch; his longing heart in yearning, and he feels a boundless heart near to his longing heart. And his whole being goes into incredible ecstasy (which Sri Aurobindo gives to us so beautifully).
And as we read, we see that Aswapati doesn't have to ask her anything at all. She already knows what he wants; and she replies to his request before he can ask her.
The Divine Mother also knows very well what is the condition of the beings that she's been asked to help; and she describes it in great detail to the king in the first half of the canto. And because of what she's describing, she says that it's not good for her to come right away. She says, “Truth born too soon might break the imperfect earth” (p.335). So in most of this part of the canto with her answer, it seems pretty negative. But in his description of man's difficulties and limitations, it's a great teaching. Each sentence, in itself, is a very great teaching.
The Divine Mother tells Aswapati that he is the first to attain this consciousness. She says mankind in general is still too weak. And she asks him to stay on; she asks him not to merge with the Supreme, but to stay here and work for the truth. And we know this is one of the goals of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga.
Then, after she has spoken for a long time about man's limitations and difficulties, she finally says that “A Light there is that leads, a Power that aids” (p.339). And this power sees and acts in man, whether he knows it or not. Man's true fate is immortality and perfection and bliss.
Finally, she tells the king to work to raise mankind, but to leave the result to the will of the Divine. And she promises him that “All things shall change in God’s transfiguring hour” (p.341).
So next time we'll hear the king's reply to what she says. And we will feel his call to her. And then we will have her wonderful answer to his call.
Right now, we are here with the only conscious part of the king's being here on earth: the king's sacrificed, offered, yearning heart, praying and longing, waiting for the great word of the Supreme.
The Book of the Divine Mother, Canto IV: “The Vision and the Boon”...
Canto Four The Vision and the Boon Then suddenly there rose a sacred stir. Amid the lifeless silence of the Void In a solitude and an immensity A sound came quivering like a loved footfall Heard in the listening spaces of the soul; A touch perturbed his fibres with delight. An Influence had approached the mortal range, A boundless Heart was near his longing heart, A mystic Form enveloped his earthly shape. All at her contact broke from silence’ seal; Spirit and body thrilled identified, Linked in the grasp of an unspoken joy; Mind, members, life were merged in ecstasy. Intoxicated as with nectarous rain His nature’s passioning stretches flowed to her, Flashing with lightnings, mad with luminous wine. All was a limitless sea that heaved to the moon. A divinising stream possessed his veins, His body’s cells awoke to spirit sense, Each nerve became a burning thread of joy: Tissue and flesh partook beatitude. Alight, the dun unplumbed subconscient caves Thrilled with the prescience of her longed-for tread And filled with flickering crests and praying tongues. Even lost in slumber, mute, inanimate His very body answered to her power. The One he worshipped was within him now: Flame-pure, ethereal-tressed, a mighty Face Appeared and lips moved by immortal words; Lids, Wisdom’s leaves, drooped over rapture’s orbs. A marble monument of ponderings, shone A forehead, sight’s crypt, and large like ocean’s gaze p.335 Towards Heaven, two tranquil eyes of boundless thought Looked into man’s and saw the god to come. A Shape was seen on threshold Mind, a Voice Absolute and wise in the heart’s chambers spoke: “O Son of Strength who climbst creation’s peaks, No soul is thy companion in the light; Alone thou standest at the eternal doors. What thou hast won is thine, but ask no more. O Spirit aspiring in an ignorant frame, O Voice arisen from the Inconscient’s world, How shalt thou speak for men whose hearts are dumb, Make purblind earth the soul’s seer-vision’s home Or lighten the burden of the senseless globe? I am the Mystery beyond reach of mind, I am the goal of the travail of the suns; My fire and sweetness are the cause of life. But too immense my danger and my joy. Awake not the immeasurable descent, Speak not my secret name to hostile Time; Man is too weak to bear the Infinite’s weight. Truth born too soon might break the imperfect earth. Leave the all-seeing Power to hew its way: In thy single vast achievement reign apart Helping the world with thy great lonely days. I ask thee not to merge thy heart of flame In the Immobile’s wide uncaring bliss, Turned from the fruitless motion of the years, Deserting the fierce labour of the worlds, Aloof from beings, lost in the Alone. How shall thy mighty spirit brook repose While Death is still unconquered on the earth And Time a field of suffering and pain? Thy soul was born to share the laden Force; Obey thy nature and fulfil thy fate: Accept the difficulty and godlike toil, For the slow-paced omniscient purpose live. p.336 The Enigma’s knot is tied in humankind. A lightning from the heights that think and plan, Ploughing the air of life with vanishing trails, Man, sole awake in an unconscious world, Aspires in vain to change the cosmic dream. Arrived from some half-luminous Beyond He is a stranger in the mindless vasts; A traveller in his oft-shifting home Amid the tread of many infinities, He has pitched a tent of life in desert Space. Heaven’s fixed regard beholds him from above, In the house of Nature a perturbing guest, A voyager twixt Thought’s inconstant shores, A hunter of unknown and beautiful Powers, A nomad of the far mysterious Light, In the wide ways a little spark of God. Against his spirit all is in dire league, A Titan influence stops his Godward gaze. Around him hungers the unpitying Void, The eternal Darkness seeks him with her hands, Inscrutable Energies drive him and deceive, Immense implacable deities oppose. An inert Soul and a somnambulist Force Have made a world estranged from life and thought; The Dragon of the dark foundations keeps Unalterable the law of Chance and Death; On his long way through Time and Circumstance The grey-hued riddling nether shadow-Sphinx, Her dreadful paws upon the swallowing sands, Awaits him armed with the soul-slaying word: Across his path sits the dim camp of Night. His day is a moment in perpetual Time; He is the prey of the minutes and the hours. Assailed on earth and unassured of heaven, Descended here unhappy and sublime, A link between the demigod and the beast, p.337 He knows not his own greatness nor his aim; He has forgotten why he has come and whence. His spirit and his members are at war; His heights break off too low to reach the skies, His mass is buried in the animal mire. A strange antinomy is his nature’s rule. A riddle of opposites is made his field: Freedom he asks but needs to live in bonds, He has need of darkness to perceive some light And need of grief to feel a little bliss; He has need of death to find a greater life. All sides he sees and turns to every call; He has no certain light by which to walk; His life is a blind-man’s-buff, a hide-and-seek; He seeks himself and from himself he runs; Meeting himself, he thinks it other than he. Always he builds, but finds no constant ground, Always he journeys, but nowhere arrives; He would guide the world, himself he cannot guide; He would save his soul, his life he cannot save. The light his soul had brought his mind has lost; All he has learned is soon again in doubt; A sun to him seems the shadow of his thoughts, Then all is shadow again and nothing true: Unknowing what he does or whither he tends He fabricates signs of the Real in Ignorance. He has hitched his mortal error to Truth’s star. Wisdom attracts him with her luminous masks, But never has he seen the face behind: A giant Ignorance surrounds his lore. Assigned to meet the cosmic mystery In the dumb figure of a material world, His passport of entry false and his personage, He is compelled to be what he is not; He obeys the Inconscience he had come to rule And sinks in Matter to fulfil his soul. p.338 Awakened from her lower driven forms The Earth-Mother gave her forces to his hands And painfully he guards the heavy trust; His mind is a lost torch-bearer on her roads. Illumining breath to think and plasm to feel, He labours with his slow and sceptic brain Helped by the reason’s vacillating fires, To make his thought and will a magic door For knowledge to enter the darkness of the world And love to rule a realm of strife and hate. A mind impotent to reconcile heaven and earth And tied to Matter with a thousand bonds, He lifts himself to be a conscious god. Even when a glory of wisdom crowns his brow, When mind and spirit shed a grandiose ray To exalt this product of the sperm and gene, This alchemist’s miracle from plasm and gas, And he who shared the animal’s run and crawl Lifts his thought-stature to the Immortal’s heights, His life still keeps the human middle way; His body he resigns to death and pain, Abandoning Matter, his too heavy charge. A thaumaturge sceptic of miracles, A spirit left sterile of its occult power By an unbelieving brain and credulous heart, He leaves the world to end where it began: His work unfinished he claims a heavenly prize. Thus has he missed creation’s absolute. Half-way he stops his star of destiny: A vast and vain long-tried experiment, An ill-served high conception doubtfully done, The world’s life falters on not seeing its goal,— A zigzag towards unknown dangerous ground Ever repeating its habitual walk, Ever retreating after marches long And hardiest victories without sure result, p.339 Drawn endlessly an inconclusive game. In an ill-fitting and voluminous robe A radiant purpose still conceals its face, A mighty blindness stumbles hoping on, Feeding its strength on gifts of luminous Chance. Because the human instrument has failed, The Godhead frustrate sleeps within its seed, A spirit entangled in the forms it made. His failure is not failure whom God leads; Through all the slow mysterious march goes on: An immutable Power has made this mutable world; A self-fulfilling transcendence treads man’s road; The driver of the soul upon its path, It knows its steps, its way is inevitable, And how shall the end be vain when God is guide? However man’s mind may tire or fail his flesh, A will prevails cancelling his conscious choice: The goal recedes, a bourneless vastness calls Retreating into an immense Unknown; There is no end to the world’s stupendous march, There is no rest for the embodied soul. It must live on, describe all Time’s huge curve. An Influx presses from the closed Beyond Forbidding to him rest and earthly ease, Till he has found himself he cannot pause. A Light there is that leads, a Power that aids; Unmarked, unfelt it sees in him and acts: Ignorant, he forms the All-Conscient in his depths, Human, looks up to superhuman peaks: A borrower of Supernature’s gold, He paves his road to Immortality. The high gods look on man and watch and choose Today’s impossibles for the future’s base. His transience trembles with the Eternal’s touch, His barriers cede beneath the Infinite’s tread; The Immortals have their entries in his life: p.340 The Ambassadors of the Unseen draw near. A splendour sullied by the mortal air, Love passes through his heart, a wandering guest. Beauty surrounds him for a magic hour, He has visits of a large revealing joy, Brief widenesses release him from himself, Enticing towards a glory ever in front Hopes of a deathless sweetness lure and leave. His mind is crossed by strange discovering fires, Rare intimations lift his stumbling speech To a moment’s kinship with the eternal Word; A masque of Wisdom circles through his brain Perturbing him with glimpses half divine. He lays his hands sometimes on the Unknown; He communes sometimes with Eternity. A strange and grandiose symbol was his birth And immortality and spirit-room And pure perfection and a shadowless bliss Are this afflicted creature’s mighty fate. In him the Earth-Mother sees draw near the change Foreshadowed in her dumb and fiery depths, A godhead drawn from her transmuted limbs, An alchemy of Heaven on Nature’s base. Adept of the self-born unfailing line, Leave not the light to die the ages bore, Help still humanity’s blind and suffering life: Obey thy spirit’s wide omnipotent urge. A witness to God’s parley with the Night, It leaned compassionate from immortal calm And housed desire, the troubled seed of things. Assent to thy high self, create, endure. Cease not from knowledge, let thy toil be vast. No more can earthly limits pen thy force; Equal thy work with long unending Time’s. Traveller upon the bare eternal heights, Tread still the difficult and dateless path p.341 Joining the cycles with its austere curve Measured for man by the initiate Gods. My light shall be in thee, my strength thy force. Let not the impatient Titan drive thy heart, Ask not the imperfect fruit, the partial prize. Only one boon, to greaten thy spirit, demand; Only one joy, to raise thy kind, desire. Above blind fate and the antagonist powers Moveless there stands a high unchanging Will; To its omnipotence leave thy work’s result. All things shall change in God’s transfiguring hour.” ...