Loretta reads Savitri:Two.II "The Kingdom of Subtle Matter" part 1
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto II: The Kingdom of Subtle Matter
Part 1 of 3, pages 103-107
King Aswapati, the traveller of the worlds, is climbing Nature's giant stair. And the very first of her worlds that he encounters is the region of the creation which is closest to our material physical existence in our own physical bodies. The king is moving from the gross to the subtle worlds inside himself, and also these are the same ones that are in the creation. So whatever is inside us, is the same map of the creation itself.
Mother and Sri Aurobindo called this world the “subtle physical”. And it seems like this canto in Savitri is the most complete description of the subtle physical. Sri Aurobindo didn't seem to write anything about it in his books. And it looks as though people didn't ask him questions about the subtle physical, because there's very little about it in the Letters on Yoga. Usually the subtle physical is listed along with the other planes, and it doesn't even get a sentence to itself.
Richard did manage to find for us one full paragraph on the subtle physical, and we're going to see that this world, which is closest to our world, is most interesting. There's a lot that goes on there. In fact whatever goes on there has a very strong effect on us.
So this is what Sri Aurobindo says:
- “No doubt, the subtle physical is closest to the physical, and most like it. But yet the conditions are different and the thing too different. For instance, the subtle physical has a freedom, plasticity, intensity, power, colour, wide and manifold play (there are thousands of things there that are not here) of which as yet we have no possibility on earth. And yet there is something here, a potentiality of the Divine which the other in spite of its greater liberties has not, something which makes creation more difficult, but in the last result justifies the labour.”
In this canto, Sri Aurobindo tells us that the subtle physical is the dwelling place of the origin of earth-nature. The subtle physical is its source and its beginning. Its inner sight sustains our outer [scene]. Its inner sight keeps our outer [scene] going. It is “a passage for the Powers that move our days” (p.104). Whatever we thing we conceive and create, actually comes from there. And the reason it does is because it is already there, in perfect form, until it comes to manifest in the material life. And when it manifests, it loses some of its perfection because it's come into the material.
The subtle physical is “the subtle ground of Matter’s worlds” (p.106). Sri Aurobindo says that the spirit's leap down from its resting place between death and birth lands here first, in the subtle physical world. It is not yet in its earthly form. Here it takes up again the “heavier dress” (p.106) of earth.
And when it leaves the body, as Sri Aurobindo says, “after the falling of mortality’s cloak” (p.105), the spirit drops its dress of earthly stuff and cancels the grip of earth's downward pull. And rises up again, “from world to higher world” (p.105), until nothing is left but the spirit. Which, Sri Aurobindo calls here, “the eternal being’s first transparent robe” (p.106).
So the subtle physical is the ground of Matter's worlds. So as Sri Aurobindo writes, it “authorises our mortality”. And although it is immortal, “it weaves for us death’s sombre robe” (p.106). It is a medium for the acting of a greater consciousness.
Mother refers to the kingdoms of subtle matter – the subtle physical – in her talks with Satprem. She refers to it constantly. Mother says it is a place that is totally familiar to her. And in this place, the action is going on simultaneously with our material life here. As Sri Aurobindo wrote in that letter, it is the world that is closest to our world, in which we live in our ordinary everyday consciousness. He says our denser Matter came from the consciousness of the subtle physical when it fell into inconscient Matter.
On May 17th, of 1969, Satprem asked Mother about Sri Aurobindo's passing. And at that time, Mother told him that she found Sri Aurobindo everywhere, all the way up, absolutely one with the supreme consciousness. She found him spread about in many places, to see many people and do a lot of work, and at the same time, she found him in a precise form, in the likeness of how he was in the Ashram, in the subtle physical. She said that Sri Aurobindo had a dwelling in the subtle physical, where he is settled, and stays permanently, and is working. And she sees him there almost every night. She speaks of it very often and she tells what she does there.
On July 19th, 1969, Mother tells Satprem about a place in the subtle physical where people with a body, and people without a body – who have died – are mingling together without any difference. And she mentions the names of people that she saw: those who have left their body, and those who haven't left their body, but who travel to the subtle physical planes at night. Several times Mother tells Satprem that she sees him there.
And on July 23rd, 1969, Mother tells Satprem that she was again in the place in the subtle physical, and there she was receiving well-known people from India, who had come to see her. Obviously for them, it was in sleep, and from what we know about Mother and Sri Aurobindo's teachings about sleep, they may or may not have been conscious of the parts of their beings that went to see the Mother.
Satprem finally gets to the subtle physical, after Mother has told him several times that he's there. And he tells Mother about some of his experience he's had. And he also says that he found it all really familiar there. And Mother said that she could tell from what he said that he did indeed go to the subtle physical world.
In more than one of the Agenda recordings, Mother says that she sees people both living and gone in the subtle physical, and they are working with her, or working with Sri Aurobindo, for the manifestation of the new world.
On January 1st of 1969, a new consciousness manifests, which Mother identifies as the consciousness of the Superman, the intermediary being which will evolve until the supramental being takes up the evolution. As time passes, this new consciousness comes to Mother, and he teaches her different things about leaving her body. Different methods for leaving the body. From time to time in the Agenda she tells Satprem about some of these things, but she never says that she's going to follow any of them at all. She only tells that she's learning the methods, and she tells a little bit about them.
On March 19th, 1969, Mother tells Satprem that the new consciousness gave her 'a way' – it showed her the possibility was there that before dying, she could prepare within herself a body with all the transformed, illumined, conscious cells. And when the work was over, her full consciousness could enter into it, and the other body could dissolve. She said it was done with an intervention in the subtle physical. And that this was new, because it could be done with an intervention in the physical material – that had been done before. But this was in the subtle physical only.
So now we know that the subtle physical is the world where things form first before manifesting physically here on the material plane; and on March 24th, 1972, Mother has an experience where she sees that she has a new body. She simply looks down at her own body, and sees her body, from the chest to the waist. And when she describes it to Satprem, he asks her if it is already in the subtle physical. And she says “yes”, that her new body “must be already in the subtle physical like that”. Here's a part of the conversation in the Agenda – this took place in 1972, and on March 25th of 1972, she says to Satprem:
- “Yes, I WAS like that. It was me; I didn't look at myself in a mirror, I saw myself like this (Mother bends her head to look at her body), I was ... I just was like that.
- That's the first time. It was around four in the morning, I think. And perfectly natural – I mean, I didn't look in a mirror, it felt perfectly natural. I only remember what I saw (gesture from the chest to the waist). I was covered only with veils, so I only saw.... What was very different was the torso, from the chest to the waist: it was neither male nor female.
- But it was lovely, my form was extremely svelte and slim - slim but not thin. And the skin was very white, just like my skin. A lovely form. And no sex – you couldn't tell: neither male nor female. The sex had disappeared.
- The same here (Mother points to her chest), all that was flat. I don't know how to explain it. There was an outline reminiscent of what is now, but with no forms (Mother touches her chest), not even as much as a man's. A very white skin, very smooth. Practically no abdomen to speak of. And no stomach. All that was slim.
- I didn't pay any special attention, you see, because I was that: it felt perfectly natural to me. That's the first time it happened, it was the night before last; but last night I didn't see anything. That was the first and the last time so far.”
And then Satprem asks, “But this form is in the subtle physical, isn't it?” And Mother says, “It must be already like that in the subtle physical.” And Satprem asks, “But how will it pass into the physical?” And Mother says:
- “That's the question I don't know.... I don't know.
- I don't know.”
There is more discussion on this subject – Mother does more descriptions, but no further reference to the subtle physical, so we'll stop here. If anyone wants to know the whole conversation, it's in Mother's Agenda on the dates of March 24th and March 25th of 1972.
So now we're going to start Canto II of Book Two in Savitri: “The Kingdom of Subtle Matter”, the subtle physical.
Canto Two The Kingdom of Subtle Matter In the impalpable field of secret self, This little outer being’s vast support Parted from vision by earth’s solid fence, He came into a magic crystal air And found a life that lived not by the flesh, A light that made visible immaterial things. A fine degree in wonder’s hierarchy, The kingdom of subtle Matter’s faery craft Outlined against a sky of vivid hues, Leaping out of a splendour-trance and haze, The wizard revelation of its front. A world of lovelier forms lies near to ours, Where, undisguised by earth’s deforming sight, All shapes are beautiful and all things true. In that lucent ambience mystically clear The eyes were doors to a celestial sense, Hearing was music and the touch a charm, And the heart drew a deeper breath of power. There dwell earth-nature’s shining origins: The perfect plans on which she moulds her works, The distant outcomes of her travailing force, Repose in a framework of established fate. Attempted vainly now or won in vain, Already were mapped and scheduled there the time And figure of her future sovereignties In the sumptuous lineaments traced by desire. The golden issue of mind’s labyrinth plots, The riches unfound or still uncaught by our lives, Unsullied by the attaint of mortal thought Abide in that pellucid atmosphere. Our vague beginnings are overtaken there, Our middle terms sketched out in prescient lines, p.104 Our finished ends anticipated live. This brilliant roof of our descending plane, Intercepting the free boon of heaven’s air, Admits small inrushes of a mighty breath Or fragrant circuits through gold lattices; It shields our ceiling of terrestrial mind From deathless suns and the streaming of God’s rain, Yet canalises a strange irised glow, And bright dews drip from the Immortal’s sky. A passage for the Powers that move our days, Occult behind this grosser Nature’s walls, A gossamer marriage-hall of Mind with Form Is hidden by a tapestry of dreams; Heaven’s meanings steal through it as through a veil, Its inner sight sustains this outer scene. A finer consciousness with happier lines, It has a tact our touch cannot attain, A purity of sense we never feel; Its intercession with the eternal Ray Inspires our transient earth’s brief-lived attempts At beauty and the perfect shape of things. In rooms of the young divinity of power And early play of the eternal Child The embodiments of his outwinging thoughts Laved in a bright everlasting wonder’s tints And lulled by whispers of that lucid air Take dream-hued rest like birds on timeless trees Before they dive to float on earth-time’s sea. All that here seems has lovelier semblance there. Whatever our hearts conceive, our heads create, Some high original beauty forfeiting, Thence exiled here consents to an earthly tinge. Whatever is here of visible charm and grace Finds there its faultless and immortal lines; All that is beautiful here is there divine. Figures are there undreamed by mortal mind: p.105 Bodies that have no earthly counterpart Traverse the inner eye’s illumined trance And ravish the heart with their celestial tread Persuading heaven to inhabit that wonder sphere. The future’s marvels wander in its gulfs; Things old and new are fashioned in those depths: A carnival of beauty crowds the heights In that magic kingdom of ideal sight. In its antechambers of splendid privacy Matter and soul in conscious union meet Like lovers in a lonely secret place: In the clasp of a passion not yet unfortunate They join their strength and sweetness and delight And mingling make the high and low worlds one. Intruder from the formless Infinite Daring to break into the Inconscient’s reign, The spirit’s leap towards body touches ground. As yet unwrapped in earthly lineaments, Already it wears outlasting death and birth, Convincing the abyss by heavenly form, A covering of its immortality Alive to the lustre of the wearer’s rank, Fit to endure the rub of Change and Time. A tissue mixed of the soul’s radiant light And Matter’s substance of sign-burdened Force,— Imagined vainly in our mind’s thin air An abstract phantasm mould of mental make,— It feels what earthly bodies cannot feel And is more real than this grosser frame. After the falling of mortality’s cloak Lightened is its weight to heighten its ascent; Refined to the touch of finer environments It drops old patterned palls of denser stuff, Cancels the grip of earth’s descending pull And bears the soul from world to higher world, Till in the naked ether of the peaks p.106 The spirit’s simplicity alone is left, The eternal being’s first transparent robe. But when it must come back to its mortal load And the hard ensemble of earth’s experience, Then its return resumes that heavier dress. For long before earth’s solid vest was forged By the technique of the atomic Void, A lucent envelope of self-disguise Was woven round the secret spirit in things. The subtle realms from those bright sheaths are made. This wonder-world with all its radiant boon Of vision and inviolate happiness, Only for expression cares and perfect form; Fair on its peaks, it has dangerous nether planes; Its light draws towards the verge of Nature’s lapse; It lends beauty to the terror of the gulfs And fascinating eyes to perilous Gods, Invests with grace the demon and the snake. Its trance imposes earth’s inconscience, Immortal it weaves for us death’s sombre robe And authorises our mortality. This medium serves a greater Consciousness: A vessel of its concealed autocracy, It is the subtle ground of Matter’s worlds, It is the immutable in their mutable forms, In the folds of its creative memory It guards the deathless type of perishing things: Its lowered potencies found our fallen strengths; Its thought invents our reasoned ignorance; Its sense fathers our body’s reflexes. Our secret breath of untried mightier force, The lurking sun of an instant’s inner sight, Its fine suggestions are a covert fount For our iridescent rich imaginings Touching things common with transfiguring hues Till even earth’s mud grows rich and warm with the skies p.107 And a glory gleams from the soul’s decadence. Its knowledge is our error’s starting-point; Its beauty dons our mud-mask ugliness, Its artist good begins our evil’s tale. A heaven of creative truths above, A cosmos of harmonious dreams between, A chaos of dissolving forms below, It plunges lost in our inconscient base. Out of its fall our denser Matter came. ...