Loretta reads Savitri:Two.II "The Kingdom of Subtle Matter" part 3

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Transcript of:
Savitri: Book Two, Canto II, part 3 of 3
by Loretta, 2016 (23:12)
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Savitri Book 2 Canto II icon.jpg  Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto II: The Kingdom of Subtle Matter
Part 3 of 3, pages 111-115
Loretta Savitri single icon.png

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So the great king has been moving through the subtle physical plane. This is what Sri Aurobindo is calling “a divine, yet kindred world” (p.114). And he describes it as the home of a faultless beauty that comes by Nature's grace. The king is enjoying the fine material paradise. But its limitations can't hold him long. Because “our spirit tires of being’s surfaces” (p.115). And “his destiny lay beyond in larger Space.” (p.115). He has to reach the centre; he has to reach the centre of all consciousness to find the Divine Mother. So from this very first step on the World-Stair, he's going to move on.

But now he's here; he's in the kingdom of subtle matter. And Sri Aurobindo tells us that the subtle physical plane and its own powers are affecting us, and how we're able to respond from time to time, even though we can't keep receiving these forces into our denser matter and our denser consciousness.

Then, at the end of the reading, he goes on to give the limitations of all these perfections and pleasures that are found in the subtle physical plane. And this shows us actually why that king has not reached his goal. This is really the first step, the first world on the World-Stair.

However, it's a very important place. And we've seen a few of Mother's references to her experiences in the subtle physical plane. She's been telling Satprem that she goes there at night, and telling him of the people that she meets, the things that she sees. And she's also told him that Sri Aurobindo now has a permanent home there.

So what does Sri Aurobindo say about his experiences in the subtle physical plane? For that we have to go to Sri Aurobindo's diary, his entries in the Record of Yoga. And he is referring to things coming from the world of subtle matter. But he's not talking about travelling in this plane; he's not talking about going there to see things as Mother does: he talks about his own subtle physical body, and the experiences that he has as part of the progress of the Yoga.

It's sure that he was also moving on this plane, because we have King Aswapati moving on this plane, and we know that it's Sri Aurobindo's experiences.

But I asked Richard Hartz in the Ashram Archives if he could find something in the Record of Yoga. And Richard is the person who went through all of Sri Aurobindo's writings, and was able to read what he wrote, to create the Record of Yoga. So he was the editor. So he knows it really well. And he said that there are references to the subtle physical all over the Record of Yoga – but it's not always obvious.

So the dairy entries he sent us all deal with Sri Aurobindo's experiences in his own consciousness and his own body. They show results of inner work of someone who is working with the subtle physical plane for his own personal progress, and trying to bring something of the subtle physical into his physical. And of course Sri Aurobindo is going to tell us that that's what the subtle physical also tries to do, and we just can't hold it.

So, the first thing that Richard sent is not from the Record of Yoga, but from The Synthesis of Yoga. It's a writing where Sri Aurobindo is talking about all the different yogas, and what they do, and how they lead further. And this particular writing gives us a small list of things that people can achieve when our gross material body becomes more like our subtle body. And we can receive more things from the subtle physical plane, and embody more of the powers and capacities that are already functioning on this world that is right next to our world.

So in this Synthesis of Yoga paragraph, Sri Aurobindo is speaking about physical yoga – Hatha Yoga asanas – but he is not achieving what he is achieving with Hatha Yoga. He's doing it using his yoga techniques. And of course, by telling us all these things, he's showing us that we can also achieve these things.

So the first category is a subject that's called in Sanskrit 'utthāpana', and it means 'not being subject to the forces of gravity'. And this is a quality of the subtle body. And so Sri Aurobindo writes (and he's talking about Hatha Yoga):

“This variety [of Hatha Yoga asanas]… serves also to alter the relation of the physical energy in the body to the earth energy with which it is related. The lightening of the heavy hold of the latter, of which the overcoming of fatigue is the first sign and the phenomenon of not being subject to the forces of gravity or partial levitation the last, is one result. The gross body begins to acquire something of the nature of the subtle body and to possess something of its relations with the life-energy; that becomes a greater force more powerfully felt and yet capable of a lighter and freer and more resolvable physical action, powers which culminate in the Hathayogic powers or extraordinary powers of – ”

And here's a small list:

“...the power of increasing the size and weight of the body, strength which is not muscular coming from unhampered mental or physical forces in the body, freedom from limits of materiality in the body and lightness in the body.”[1]

Now here are a few of the things that Sri Aurobindo is working on – and the first one is on the 6th of January, 1913, and the subject is 'rupadrishti', which means 'subtle vision'. So, subtle vision – he says:

“There is a tendency in the nonmaterial form (the subtle body) to develop groups and paintings with their colours, but the obstruction in the ether maintains itself & prevents the efflorescence of the subtle vision which is waiting, perfect and richly-equipped, in the {[#tip-text:subtle ether|sukshma akasha}} for its hour of manifestation.”[2]

And then the second one, comes under the heading of 'samadhi', and Sri Aurobindo's definition is 'trance', which is 'placing the consciousness in conditions which give freedom to access larger fields of experience'. And this is his entry on the 4th of February, 1913:

“Communication with the mental world in the waking consciousness is now occurring; formerly there was subtle sight only of the vital world and the subtle Earth.”[3]

And the next one is in the same year; it's on the 7th of July, 1913. And it's related to 'saundarya', which means 'physical beauty as part of the perfection of the body'. And Sri Aurobindo writes:

Physical beauty as part of the perfection of the body generally is forcefully obstructed & makes no progress; but in one detail there has been unexpected and rapid progress, a rounding off of the sharp angles of those fingers which were formerly square. This was noticed two or three days ago, but farther progress was sensible even in the course of a single day. In only two or three of the fingers are there still traces of the old sharp angles. This isolated rapidity is a strong contrast to the occasional slow & slight progress covering many months & the usual failure of all success in other attempts of the psychic body to alter by mental force the physical sheath into its own image.”[4]

And as we now know from Canto II, the true form is coming from the subtle physical plane.

So then, in 1919, six years later, we have an entry for July 8th of 1919, under the heading of 'arogya'. And arogya means 'freedom from disease' (or 'health', or 'good health'). And this is what he writes:

“There is some constant insistence now on the mastery of good health, but chiefly in the subtle physicality; the old fragmentarised bodily disorders touch, but can almost immediately be quelled by the concentration of the power of consciousness.”[5]

And then going about a year forward in time, on the 19th of June, 1920, he talks about ananda – and he defines it as 'delight' or 'bliss' or 'ecstasy'. So he says:

“An Ananda of a much greater potentiality of continuity, pervasion, largeness and intensity felt on the summit of the identity consciousness which sees things in their essence, totality and aspects and descending into the subtle body”[6]

So now we can hear how Sri Aurobindo describes in Savitri the things coming from this embodiment of the high creative Power in what he calls the divinity earth. And it's clear from his own diary that he was working with these things. So we can be pretty sure that he's giving us his own experiences all the way through this canto.

And he starts by speaking of a power greater than the subtle physical, which works on all planes, but very quickly he's going to get – or bring us, let's say – to the subtle physical.

So he starts:

On every plane the hieratic Power,
Initiate of unspoken verities,
Dreams to transcribe and make a part of life
In its own native style and living tongue
Some trait of the perfection of the Unborn,
Some vision seen in the omniscient Light,
Some far tone of the immortal rhapsodist Voice,
Some rapture of the all-creating Bliss,
Some form and plan of the Beauty unutterable.
Worlds are there nearer to those absolute realms,
Where the response to Truth is swift and sure
And spirit is not hampered by its frame
And hearts by sharp division seized and rent
And delight and beauty are inhabitants
And love and sweetness are the law of life.
A finer substance in a subtler mould
Embodies the divinity earth but dreams;
Its strength can overtake joy’s running feet;
Overleaping the fixed hurdles set by Time, p.112
The rapid net of an intuitive clasp
Captures the fugitive happiness we desire.
A Nature lifted by a larger breath,
Plastic and passive to the all-shaping Fire,
Answers the flaming Godhead’s casual touch:
Immune from our inertia of response
It hears the word to which our hearts are deaf,
Adopts the seeing of immortal eyes
And, traveller on the roads of line and hue,
Pursues the spirit of beauty to its home.
Thus we draw near to the All-Wonderful
Following his rapture in things as sign and guide;
Beauty is his footprint showing us where he has passed,
Love is his heart-beats’ rhythm in mortal breasts,
Happiness the smile on his adorable face.
A communion of spiritual entities,
A genius of creative Immanence,
Makes all creation deeply intimate:
A fourth dimension of aesthetic sense
Where all is in ourselves, ourselves in all,
To the cosmic wideness re-aligns our souls.
A kindling rapture joins the seer and seen;
The craftsman and the craft grown inly one
Achieve perfection by the magic throb
And passion of their close identity.
All that we slowly piece from gathered parts,
Or by long labour stumblingly evolve,
Is there self-born by its eternal right.
In us too the intuitive Fire can burn;
An agent Light, it is coiled in our folded hearts,
On the celestial levels is its home:
Descending, it can bring those heavens here.
But rarely burns the flame nor burns for long;
The joy it calls from those diviner heights
Brings brief magnificent reminiscences
And high splendid glimpses of interpreting thought, p.113
But not the utter vision and delight.
A veil is kept, something is still held back,
Lest, captives of the beauty and the joy,
Our souls forget to the Highest to aspire.
      In that fair subtle realm behind our own
The form is all, and physical gods are kings.
The inspiring Light plays in fine boundaries;
A faultless beauty comes by Nature’s grace;
There liberty is perfection’s guarantee:
Although the absolute Image lacks, the Word
Incarnate, the sheer spiritual ecstasy,
All is a miracle of symmetric charm,
A fantasy of perfect line and rule.
There all feel satisfied in themselves and whole,
A rich completeness is by limit made,
Marvel in an utter littleness abounds,
An intricate rapture riots in a small space:
Each rhythm is kin to its environment,
Each line is perfect and inevitable,
Each object faultlessly built for charm and use.
All is enamoured of its own delight.
Intact it lives of its perfection sure
In a heaven-pleased self-glad immunity;
Content to be, it has need of nothing more.
Here was not futile effort’s broken heart:
Exempt from the ordeal and the test,
Empty of opposition and of pain,
It was a world that could not fear nor grieve.
It had no grace of error or defeat,
It had no room for fault, no power to fail.
Out of some packed self-bliss it drew at once
Its form-discoveries of the mute Idea
And the miracle of its rhythmic thoughts and acts,
Its clear technique of firm and rounded lives,
Its gracious people of inanimate shapes p.114
And glory of breathing bodies like our own.
Amazed, his senses ravished with delight,
He moved in a divine, yet kindred world
Admiring marvellous forms so near to ours
Yet perfect like the playthings of a god,
Deathless in the aspect of mortality.
In their narrow and exclusive absolutes
The finite’s ranked supremacies throned abide;
It dreams not ever of what might have been;
Only in boundaries can this absolute live.
In a supremeness bound to its own plan
Where all was finished and no widths were left,
No space for shadows of the immeasurable,
No room for the incalculable’s surprise,
A captive of its own beauty and ecstasy,
In a magic circle wrought the enchanted Might.
The spirit stood back effaced behind its frame.
Admired for the bright finality of its lines
A blue horizon limited the soul;
Thought moved in luminous facilities,
The outer ideal’s shallows its swim-range:
Life in its boundaries lingered satisfied
With the small happiness of the body’s acts.
Assigned as Force to a bound corner-Mind,
Attached to the safe paucity of her room,
She did her little works and played and slept
And thought not of a greater work undone.
Forgetful of her violent vast desires,
Forgetful of the heights to which she rose,
Her walk was fixed within a radiant groove.
The beautiful body of a soul at ease,
Like one who laughs in sweet and sunlit groves,
Childlike she swung in her gold cradle of joy.
The spaces’ call reached not her charmed abode,
She had no wings for wide and dangerous flight,
She faced no peril of sky or of abyss, p.115
She knew no vistas and no mighty dreams,
No yearning for her lost infinitudes.
A perfect picture in a perfect frame,
This faery artistry could not keep his will:
Only a moment’s fine release it gave;
A careless hour was spent in a slight bliss.
Our spirit tires of being’s surfaces,
Transcended is the splendour of the form;
It turns to hidden powers and deeper states.
So now he looked beyond for greater light.
His soul’s peak-climb abandoning in its rear
This brilliant courtyard of the House of Days,
He left that fine material Paradise.
His destiny lay beyond in larger Space.

  1. The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo (CWSA), Vols. 23-24: The Synthesis of Yoga, p.533
  2. CWSA, Vols. 10-11: Record of Yoga, p.183
  3. Ibid., p.234
  4. Ibid., p.282
  5. Ibid., p.1114
  6. Ibid., p.1235