Loretta reads Savitri:Three.IV "The Vision and the Boon" part 2
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Three: The Book of the Divine Mother
Canto IV: The Vision and the Boon
Part 2 of 2, pages 341-348
The great yogi traveller, King Aswapati, has reached the end of his long, adventurous inner journey. Now, finally, the Divine Mother will confer upon him the boon that he has so ardently sought throughout his long travels. A ‘boon’ means a benefit, a blessing, a favor given in response to a request. Aswapati asks a great boon. He asks the transformation of the earth's darkness and falsehood into light and truth-consciousness.
Last time, we read what Sri Aurobindo wrote about the Divine Mother taking on a body and human consciousness here. And we're going to see that Aswapati particularly asks the Divine Mother to incarnate in a human body on earth. He wants her to take birth and do this in a human body ‒ to have this great transformation. “Incarnate the white passion of thy force”, he entreats her. “Mission to earth some living form of thee” (p.345), he pleads.
- Immortal, treading the earth with mortal feet
- All heaven’s beauty crowd in earthly limbs! (p.345)
Mother spoke about contacting the Divine Mother. She said:
- “if you enter into a certain state of consciousness, you can at any moment be in contact with the transcendent Shakti, and you can also, with another movement, be in contact with the universal Shakti, and be in contact with the individual Shakti, and all this simultaneously”
The transcendent Mother is above the creation, at the origin of creation. Sri Aurobindo says that she stands between the transcendent and the earth. The universal Mother ‒ another aspect ‒ is the creation itself. And the individual aspect of the Mother is her incarnation here in a human body. Here, she also has the consciousness of her transcendent and universal aspects. This is what Mother was in the Ashram. She came, standing between the transcendent and us, to bring from the transcendent the new consciousness.
Mother says that you can contact them all simultaneously. And she said that words cannot really express this experience. It may be lived, but it cannot be described. And this experience is so true, that when one lives this, it may be expressed (as much as it can be expressed with words) with almost the same truth in religious language, mystical language, philosophic language, and materialistic language.
Sri Aurobindo brings it to us in the language of mystic poetry. This gives us a living experience. It's probably better ‒ and more real, and more alive ‒ than any other way of using words to say this.
When we left the king last time, he had attained the certain state of consciousness that Mother speaks of. He had attained the consciousness where one can contact the Divine Mother in all her aspects at one time.
And looking back at the things that happened to the king, we can see that it depended a lot on being in the heart.
Our own progress also depends on being in our heart. In our soul, which resides in our heart. Because there are the two places that you have to go. Up ‒ in the mind and above the head ‒ and deep in the heart, to have the soul forward.
The first time Aswapati saw the Divine Mother, he had stopped climbing up through the mental planes. He had left the mind, and he had gone down, down, down, to the profound depths of the world's heart. He went into his heart, and his soul came forward to travel in the soul of the world.
In order for us to recognize things of the soul, both the human soul and the transcendent soul ‒ the soul that is the all, the soul that we are a part of ‒ our own soul has to be forward in our consciousness. Soul can see soul.
The Divine Mother first showed herself to Aswapati when he was awake and conscious as an individual soul in the world-soul. Then after he had attained to the highest height of God-consciousness, the supramental consciousness, it was Aswapati's heart who turned to her, and yearned for her, and called her and called her. And when she came, Aswapati felt “A boundless Heart [...] near his longing heart” (p.334). When she finally spoke to him, “A Shape was seen on threshold Mind” (p.335), but it was in the chambers of his heart that her voice spoke.
Last time, the Divine Mother told the king that no soul is his companion in the light; alone he stands at the golden doors. He is the first, the forerunner. He is the first. But mankind is still too weak ‒ “too weak to bear the Infinite’s weight”. The truth is too strong for man to live it. “Truth born too soon might break the imperfect earth” (p.335).
And we see here, as many are aware of a constant increase in consciousness, that often there's a tremendous pressure. And sometimes there is an increase in consciousness and it is too strong ‒ it's hard to bear. As much as one wants to be more conscious, this increased consciousness has something about it that is hard to bear. So it comes slowly.
The Divine Mother also pointed out (in a lot of detail) man's difficulties and confusions, and the problems that man makes for himself. She says the spirit “sleeps within its seed” (p.339) ‒ its seed, man is the seed, the soul is the seed in man. Spirit is still too entangled in the forms that it has made here on earth. So, she cannot grant his boon. Aswapati must remain and do his Yoga; and he must work for the Divine. She assures him that there is a divine plan. The Divine will do its work. The immutable power that made this world will eventually succeed. And the last thing we heard her say was, “All things shall change in God’s transfiguring hour” (p.341).
So Aswapati heard what the Divine Mother told him, just as we heard it; and now, as we are again with Aswapati, it is again Aswapati's heart which speaks its greatest wish. Despite what she has just said, he has to call her. He cannot stop; his whole being is passionate in his call. He entreats her to come. He has to call her to ask her to change the fate of earth and man. And he's very persuasive, because as we will see, she grants his heart's wish.
Aswapati tells the Divine Mother that he knows that her creation cannot fail. And then he tells her of his vision of the wonderful new beings that he saw coming into the creation. This is a particularly well-known part of Savitri. People will recognize it. It starts with the words, “I saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers ... Come crowding down the amber stairs of birth” (p.343). And then it goes on to describe them in some detail, and to tell some of what they will do.
Finally, after hearing the great traveller's passionate plea, the Divine Mother consents to give him his boon. She says:
- One shall descend and break the iron Law,
- Change Nature’s doom by the lone spirit’s power.
Then she describes how Savitri will be. Savitri will take birth as Aswapati's daughter. (She doesn't say that now, but that becomes clear as we go forward in the book.) Savitri will be the human incarnation that the Divine Mother will now take to transform earth and men, to conquer Death. Finally, the Divine Mother says:
- Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will.
Now Aswapati's divine work is done. He must leave the inner worlds; he has to return to his work on our material plane. As we leave Aswapati at the end of this canto, we're basically saying goodbye to our friend the traveller king. We will meet him only briefly one more time, a little farther on. No more will the king take us into the different inner levels of our own beings. No more will we adventure with the king into the inner heights and the depths of the creation. Of course he will continue his Yoga; but we will no longer experience it with him.
King Aswapati is now going to emerge into outer life, when the Divine Mother so beautifully grants his wish, and withdraws herself from his consciousness. Sri Aurobindo writes, “Vanished the splendour and was stilled the word” (p.346). In a few words, with his indescribably evocative mystic poetry, he brings us the experience of her leaving Aswapati's inner fields; and then we are there in the bareness of the emptiness that she leaves behind her. A wave of terrestrial life brings the breath of mortal air ‒ and his inner journey is no more.
As he returns to earth, out of his deep trance he can no longer hear the music of the delight of the Divine Mother's presence. The heavens he was in were in a trance ‒ he was in a trance of bliss, of ecstasy and beauty and delight. The heavens he was in, the heavens of trance, collapse down and become the experience of his mind waking to outer life. His soul is now compelled to draw back into the business of created things, and fill its human house in time. Once again, he will be a man among men on earth; but he will still be visited by different... times of consciousness, that will come to him from the higher planes.
The great wanderer from the occult invisible suns comes back to establish “the empire of the soul / On Matter and its bounded universe / As on a solid rock in infinite seas” (p.348).
This broadcast begins and ends with a mantra from the Rig Veda. It was translated by Sri Aurobindo. It was used for Mother's recording of some lines from Canto IV, in Sunil's Savitri music. The mantra asks for consciousness. It calls for the divine creatrix of all: the Divine Mother. And it calls to her in the form of the fire of creation ‒ the first supreme creative force that manifests here. The great Rishis call it, for [the sake of] their progress in sadhana. For us, reading Savitri as we are, it also opens up for us the next book, “The Book of Birth and Quest”, and the first canto, which Sri Aurobindo calls “The Birth and Growth of the Flame”.
The flame that is the most powerful, most basic all-containing power of the Supreme, is coming to us as Savitri. She will do all the things that Aswapati asks for in the world, and more.
This flame kindles to flame the soul hidden within our hearts. And here it is:
“The Fire with his high flaming up-pillared, sublime, the firmament and became the highest of the luminous kingdoms, when for the flame-seers life, that grows in the mother, kindled all around the carrier of the offerings who was hidden in the Secrecy.”
“O Fire, achieve at my call the Revealing Speech, the many-actioned, the lasting conquest of the Light. May there be for us a Son of our begetting pervading in his birth; O Fire, may there be created in us that true thinking of thine.”
Canto IV: “The Vision and the Boon”. The Divine Mother has told Aswapati to wait: “All things shall change in God’s transfiguring hour” (p.341). Then...
... August and sweet sank hushed that mighty Voice. Nothing now moved in the vast brooding space: A stillness came upon the listening world, A mute immensity of the Eternal’s peace. But Aswapati’s heart replied to her, A cry amid the silence of the Vasts: “How shall I rest content with mortal days And the dull measure of terrestrial things, I who have seen behind the cosmic mask The glory and the beauty of thy face? Hard is the doom to which thou bindst thy sons! How long shall our spirits battle with the Night And bear defeat and the brute yoke of Death, We who are vessels of a deathless Force And builders of the godhead of the race? Or if it is thy work I do below Amid the error and waste of human life In the vague light of man’s half-conscious mind, Why breaks not in some distant gleam of thee? Ever the centuries and millenniums pass. Where in the greyness is thy coming’s ray? Where is the thunder of thy victory’s wings? Only we hear the feet of passing gods. A plan in the occult eternal Mind p.342 Mapped out to backward and prophetic sight, The aeons ever repeat their changeless round, The cycles all rebuild and ever aspire. All we have done is ever still to do. All breaks and all renews and is the same. Huge revolutions of life’s fruitless gyre, The new-born ages perish like the old, As if the sad Enigma kept its right Till all is done for which this scene was made. Too little the strength that now with us is born, Too faint the light that steals through Nature’s lids, Too scant the joy with which she buys our pain. In a brute world that knows not its own sense, Thought-racked upon the wheel of birth we live, The instruments of an impulse not our own Moved to achieve with our heart’s blood for price Half-knowledge, half-creations that soon tire. A foiled immortal soul in perishing limbs, Baffled and beaten back we labour still; Annulled, frustrated, spent, we still survive. In anguish we labour that from us may rise A larger-seeing man with nobler heart, A golden vessel of the incarnate Truth, The executor of the divine attempt Equipped to wear the earthly body of God, Communicant and prophet and lover and king. I know that thy creation cannot fail: For even through the mists of mortal thought Infallible are thy mysterious steps, And, though Necessity dons the garb of Chance, Hidden in the blind shifts of Fate she keeps The slow calm logic of Infinity’s pace And the inviolate sequence of its will. All life is fixed in an ascending scale And adamantine is the evolving Law; In the beginning is prepared the close. p.343 This strange irrational product of the mire, This compromise between the beast and god, Is not the crown of thy miraculous world. I know there shall inform the inconscient cells, At one with Nature and at height with heaven, A spirit vast as the containing sky And swept with ecstasy from invisible founts, A god come down and greater by the fall. A Power arose out of my slumber’s cell. Abandoning the tardy limp of the hours And the inconstant blink of mortal sight, There where the Thinker sleeps in too much light And intolerant flames the lone all-witnessing Eye Hearing the word of Fate from Silence’ heart In the endless moment of Eternity, It saw from timelessness the works of Time. Overpassed were the leaden formulas of the Mind, Overpowered the obstacle of mortal Space: The unfolding Image showed the things to come. A giant dance of Shiva tore the past; There was a thunder as of worlds that fall; Earth was o’errun with fire and the roar of Death Clamouring to slay a world his hunger had made; There was a clangour of Destruction’s wings: The Titan’s battle-cry was in my ears, Alarm and rumour shook the armoured Night. I saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers Over the heavenly verge which turns towards life Come crowding down the amber stairs of birth; Forerunners of a divine multitude, Out of the paths of the morning star they came Into the little room of mortal life. I saw them cross the twilight of an age, The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn, The great creators with wide brows of calm, The massive barrier-breakers of the world p.344 And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will, The labourers in the quarries of the gods, The messengers of the Incommunicable, The architects of immortality. Into the fallen human sphere they came, Faces that wore the Immortal’s glory still, Voices that communed still with the thoughts of God, Bodies made beautiful by the spirit’s light, Carrying the magic word, the mystic fire, Carrying the Dionysian cup of joy, Approaching eyes of a diviner man, Lips chanting an unknown anthem of the soul, Feet echoing in the corridors of Time. High priests of wisdom, sweetness, might and bliss, Discoverers of beauty’s sunlit ways And swimmers of Love’s laughing fiery floods And dancers within rapture’s golden doors, Their tread one day shall change the suffering earth And justify the light on Nature’s face. Although Fate lingers in the high Beyond And the work seems vain on which our heart’s force was spent, All shall be done for which our pain was borne. Even as of old man came behind the beast This high divine successor surely shall come Behind man’s inefficient mortal pace, Behind his vain labour, sweat and blood and tears: He shall know what mortal mind barely durst think, He shall do what the heart of the mortal could not dare. Inheritor of the toil of human time, He shall take on him the burden of the gods; All heavenly light shall visit the earth’s thoughts, The might of heaven shall fortify earthly hearts; Earth’s deeds shall touch the superhuman’s height, Earth’s seeing widen into the infinite. Heavy unchanged weighs still the imperfect world; The splendid youth of Time has passed and failed; p.345 Heavy and long are the years our labour counts And still the seals are firm upon man’s soul And weary is the ancient Mother’s heart. O Truth defended in thy secret sun, Voice of her mighty musings in shut heavens On things withdrawn within her luminous depths, O Wisdom-Splendour, Mother of the universe, Creatrix, the Eternal’s artist Bride, Linger not long with thy transmuting hand Pressed vainly on one golden bar of Time, As if Time dare not open its heart to God. O radiant fountain of the world’s delight World-free and unattainable above, O Bliss who ever dwellst deep-hid within While men seek thee outside and never find, Mystery and Muse with hieratic tongue, Incarnate the white passion of thy force, Mission to earth some living form of thee. One moment fill with thy eternity, Let thy infinity in one body live, All-Knowledge wrap one mind in seas of light, All-Love throb single in one human heart. Immortal, treading the earth with mortal feet All heaven’s beauty crowd in earthly limbs! Omnipotence, girdle with the power of God Movements and moments of a mortal will, Pack with the eternal might one human hour And with one gesture change all future time. Let a great word be spoken from the heights And one great act unlock the doors of Fate.” His prayer sank down in the resisting Night Oppressed by the thousand forces that deny, As if too weak to climb to the Supreme. But there arose a wide consenting Voice; The spirit of beauty was revealed in sound: p.346 Light floated round the marvellous Vision’s brow And on her lips the Immortal’s joy took shape. “O strong forerunner, I have heard thy cry. One shall descend and break the iron Law, Change Nature’s doom by the lone spirit’s power. A limitless Mind that can contain the world, A sweet and violent heart of ardent calms Moved by the passions of the gods shall come. All mights and greatnesses shall join in her; Beauty shall walk celestial on the earth, Delight shall sleep in the cloud-net of her hair, And in her body as on his homing tree Immortal Love shall beat his glorious wings. A music of griefless things shall weave her charm; The harps of the Perfect shall attune her voice, The streams of Heaven shall murmur in her laugh, Her lips shall be the honeycombs of God, Her limbs his golden jars of ecstasy, Her breasts the rapture-flowers of Paradise. She shall bear Wisdom in her voiceless bosom, Strength shall be with her like a conqueror’s sword And from her eyes the Eternal’s bliss shall gaze. A seed shall be sown in Death’s tremendous hour, A branch of heaven transplant to human soil; Nature shall overleap her mortal step; Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will.” As a flame disappears in endless Light Immortally extinguished in its source, Vanished the splendour and was stilled the word. An echo of delight that once was close, The harmony journeyed towards some distant hush, A music failing in the ear of trance, A cadence called by distant cadences, A voice that trembled into strains withdrawn. Her form retreated from the longing earth p.347 Forsaking nearness to the abandoned sense, Ascending to her unattainable home. Lone, brilliant, vacant lay the inner fields; All was unfilled inordinate spirit space, Indifferent, waste, a desert of bright peace. Then a line moved on the far edge of calm: The warm-lipped sentient soft terrestrial wave, A quick and many-murmured moan and laugh, Came gliding in upon white feet of sound. Unlocked was the deep glory of Silence’ heart; The absolute unmoving stillnesses Surrendered to the breath of mortal air, Dissolving boundlessly the heavens of trance Collapsed to waking mind. Eternity Cast down its incommunicable lids Over its solitudes remote from ken Behind the voiceless mystery of sleep. The grandiose respite failed, the wide release. Across the light of fast-receding planes That fled from him as from a falling star, Compelled to fill its human house in Time His soul drew back into the speed and noise Of the vast business of created things. A chariot of the marvels of the heavens Broad-based to bear the gods on fiery wheels, Flaming he swept through the spiritual gates. The mortal stir received him in its midst. Once more he moved amid material scenes, Lifted by intimations from the heights And in the pauses of the building brain Touched by the thoughts that skim the fathomless surge Of Nature and wing back to hidden shores. The eternal seeker in the aeonic field Besieged by the intolerant press of hours Again was strong for great swift-footed deeds. Awake beneath the ignorant vault of Night, p.348 He saw the unnumbered people of the stars And heard the questioning of the unsatisfied flood And toiled with the form-maker, measuring Mind. A wanderer from the occult invisible suns Accomplishing the fate of transient things, A god in the figure of the arisen beast, He raised his brow of conquest to the heavens Establishing the empire of the soul On Matter and its bounded universe As on a solid rock in infinite seas. The Lord of Life resumed his mighty rounds In the scant field of the ambiguous globe. END OF BOOK THREE, CANTO FOUR END OF PART ONE