Loretta reads Savitri:Two.IV "The Kingdoms of the Little Life" part 4
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto IV: The Kingdoms of the Little Life
Part 4 of 4, pages 146-150
In his travels to find the source of what is holding back man's progress, the great yogi king is nearing the last stage of the evolution of life, in the kingdoms of the little life. The mind is beginning to develop in these early beings; their small existence resembles our human days. But they were fixed to eternity as a changeless type. And Sri Aurobindo says that this aspect of evolution, while it's the creation of a moment, it will stay that way through time.
The words which begin this part of the canto are: “A third creation now revealed its face” (p.146). And we've seen that the first creation was “a quivering trepidant uncertain world” (p.132). It was born of the dolorous meeting of Life with Matter, and her plunge into the Inconscient.
He says that this world appeared in the spaces where her feet had trod. And Life was mired in Matter's inconscience, hardly awakened from the Inconscient's sleep. But she gave the law of craving to Matter, so that Matter would seek, and aspire, and crave. And as she began to crawl out of the Inconscient's sleep, we saw that she was really fallen, and degraded, in her most unconscious state, in the mud.
Sri Aurobindo said that where Life and Matter met, “it was a vain unnecessary world” (p.137), where the will to be brought sad results. But, it was the disguise of a heavenly process, which worked to release the glory of God in Nature's mud.
The second creation comes from a “fier[y] breath of waking Life” (p.141). And there come the rise of “strange creations of a thinking sense” (p.142). The “Force that work[ed] by the light of Ignorance” (p.142) began her animal experiment here. “Instinct was formed” (p.145). There were beings who wore a human form, but who didn't know who they were or why they lived. They identified themselves as a body. And they worked for outward things; they worked to survive, and to enjoy, and that was all. Life “turned in grooves of animal desire” (p.144). “The world’s values hung upon [the] little self” (p.144). Mind is not at all developed at this point.
Now, as we see today, in this third creation in the little life, “a mould of body’s early mind was made” (p.146). And “a small thinking being watched the works of Time” (p.146).
This all happens because the evolution below calls an intervention from above. And Sri Aurobindo gives us a really clear, graphic description of a dim, obscure mind power moving in a completely disorganized way without any aim – until the pressure of a seeing Power “imposed its sight” (p.148). And:
- It fashioned the life-mind of bird and beast,
- The answer of the reptile and the fish,
- The primitive pattern of the thoughts of man. (p.148)
“A thinking entity appeared in Space” (p.148). And Sri Aurobindo describes what this little being is and does in its little world with only this much mental development. It's still focused on the body's needs and pangs and joys. It still does not know the soul within. “It ha[s] no greater deeper cause to live” (p.149). It knows itself a creature of the mud, and it turns around the same unchanging points of interest and desire.
The king watched as the Mind grew to a clear-cut clarity. But Life remained the same. And Sri Aurobindo tells us that “this petty state resembled our human days” (p.150). But unlike the more evolved mental beings of today, it was “fixed to eternity of changeless type” (p.150). And he says that this movement also lasts through time. Again he's describing something that could be in us today, existing along with the parts of us that have developed since the age he's describing here in Canto IV.
Last week we saw where the life-force was going in the future. In three of Sri Aurobindo's entries in his diary, we saw that he had reached the point in his own yoga of supramental transformation where he was expecting the supramental life-force to emerge from his chakras, where it had now become firmly established. So this is in the space between December 1926 and January 1927; and during these possible parts of these two months – there's no dates for the different entries, they're just divided by lines in between. (Which he doesn't do anywhere else in the Record of Yoga.) So we're not quite sure of the time these things are taking.
But he wrote that this supramental life-force, which seems to already be in his chakras at this point, has to emerge, and has to take possession of the physical body. And he wrote a long list, starting with the cells of the body and ending with hair! And hair something we usually think of as absolutely inert.
So on page 1246, we're going to hear more about what's going on with life-force in the future. He goes on to write in another entry:
- “There is nothing complete yet done in the material physical Nature, and yet till that is done, there will be nothing complete in finality anywhere. Many things are established, but even the most advanced need the last touches or even many last touches.”
In the next entry, not dated, he writes:
- “There is still the problem of the physical material, the flesh and the organs. These have to become unassailable and invulnerable; that to be settled in its self-maintenance independently of food by one means or another.”
And then there's a next entry, still undated, where he writes:
- “Today, one at least of these problems ought to be settled in effective physical principle. There can be no sense of security till that is done.”
So things are definitely moving. Then we have a brief entry, which gives some sense of the time this could be taking, because it does name a day. It starts with two words: “Monday next”. This could me something will happen next Monday. He's writing – or, possibly, he's writing on the next Monday. Here it is:
- “Monday next. An ascending scale till then. The ascent today. No more for the present.”
Mother and Sri Aurobindo always said that they came here to show the way. In some of Sri Aurobindo's letters to the early ashramites, he says that both he and Mother tried everything first. And that whatever the sadhaks were going through, and crying and suffering about, that they went through everything first themselves – and that is how they are able to help people to do the Yoga. Here we're seeing that he's doing just that for those of us who will try to follow him. And it's because of his and Mother's yoga practice that this all exists now in the subtle planes. It's a template that we can receive, or a footprint we can follow.
They are accessible in the ranges of human consciousness, just like the achievements in human evolution which he writes about in Book Two, Canto IV, which also exist today on the physical plane. And are just as accessible.
So here we are; we're going all the way back to not-yet-humans but something like human life. “The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds”, Canto IV: “The Kingdoms of the Little Life”, part 4. And it starts...
… A third creation now revealed its face. A mould of body’s early mind was made. A glint of light kindled the obscure World-Force; It dowered a driven world with the seeing Idea And armed the act with thought’s dynamic point: A small thinking being watched the works of Time. A difficult evolution from below Called a masked intervention from above; p.147 Else this great, blind inconscient universe Could never have disclosed its hidden mind, Or even in blinkers worked in beast and man The Intelligence that devised the cosmic scheme. At first he saw a dim obscure mind-power Moving concealed by Matter and dumb life. A current thin, it streamed in life’s vast flow Tossing and drifting under a drifting sky Amid the surge and glimmering tremulous wash, Released in splash of sense and feeling’s waves. In the deep midst of an insentient world Its huddled waves and foam of consciousness ran Pressing and eddying through a narrow strait, Carrying experience in its crowded pace. It flowed emerging into upper light From the deep pool of its subliminal birth To reach some high existence still unknown. There was no thinking self, aim there was none: All was unorganised stress and seekings vague. Only to the unstable surface rose Sensations, stabs and edges of desire And passion’s leaps and brief emotion’s cries, A casual colloquy of flesh with flesh, A murmur of heart to longing wordless heart, Glimmerings of knowledge with no shape of thought And jets of subconscious will or hunger’s pulls. All was dim sparkle on a foaming top: It whirled around a drifting shadow-self On an inconscient flood of Force in Time. Then came the pressure of a seeing Power That drew all into a dancing turbid mass Circling around a single luminous point, Centre of reference in a conscious field, Figure of a unitary Light within. It lit the impulse of the half-sentient flood, Even an illusion gave of fixity p.148 As if a sea could serve as a firm soil. That strange observing Power imposed its sight. It forced on flux a limit and a shape, It gave its stream a lower narrow bank, Drew lines to snare the spirit’s formlessness. It fashioned the life-mind of bird and beast, The answer of the reptile and the fish, The primitive pattern of the thoughts of man. A finite movement of the Infinite Came winging its way through a wide air of Time; A march of knowledge moved in Nescience And guarded in the form a separate soul. Its right to be immortal it reserved, But built a wall against the siege of death And threw a hook to clutch eternity. A thinking entity appeared in Space. A little ordered world broke into view Where being had prison-room for act and sight, A floor to walk, a clear but scanty range. An instrument-personality was born, And a restricted clamped intelligence Consented to confine in narrow bounds Its seeking; it tied the thought to visible things, Prohibiting the adventure of the Unseen And the soul’s tread through unknown infinities. A reflex reason, Nature-habit’s glass Illumined life to know and fix its field, Accept a dangerous ignorant brevity And the inconclusive purpose of its walk And profit by the hour’s precarious chance In the allotted boundaries of its fate. A little joy and knowledge satisfied This little being tied into a knot And hung on a bulge of its environment, A little curve cut off in measureless Space, A little span of life in all vast Time. p.149 A thought was there that planned, a will that strove, But for small aims within a narrow scope, Wasting unmeasured toil on transient things. It knew itself a creature of the mud; It asked no larger law, no loftier aim; It had no inward look, no upward gaze. A backward scholar on logic’s rickety bench Indoctrinated by the erring sense, It took appearance for the face of God, For casual lights the marching of the suns, For heaven a starry strip of doubtful blue; Aspects of being feigned to be the whole. There was a voice of busy interchange, A market-place of trivial thoughts and acts: A life soon spent, a mind the body’s slave Here seemed the brilliant crown of Nature’s work, And tiny egos took the world as means To sate awhile dwarf lusts and brief desires, In a death-closed passage saw life’s start and end As though a blind alley were creation’s sign, As if for this the soul had coveted birth In the wonderland of a self-creating world And the opportunities of cosmic Space. This creature passionate only to survive, Fettered to puny thoughts with no wide range And to the body’s needs and pangs and joys, This fire growing by its fuel’s death, Increased by what it seized and made its own: It gathered and grew and gave itself to none. Only it hoped for greatness in its den And pleasure and victory in small fields of power And conquest of life-room for self and kin, An animal limited by its feeding-space. It knew not the Immortal in its house; It had no greater deeper cause to live. In limits only it was powerful; p.150 Acute to capture truth for outward use, Its knowledge was the body’s instrument; Absorbed in the little works of its prison-house It turned around the same unchanging points In the same circle of interest and desire, But thought itself the master of its jail. Although for action, not for wisdom made, Thought was its apex—or its gutter’s rim: It saw an image of the external world And saw its surface self, but knew no more. Out of a slow confused embroiled self-search Mind grew to a clarity cut out, precise, A gleam enclosed in a stone ignorance. In this bound thinking’s narrow leadership Tied to the soil, inspired by common things, Attached to a confined familiar world, Amid the multitude of her motived plots, Her changing actors and her million masks, Life was a play monotonously the same. There were no vast perspectives of the spirit, No swift invasions of unknown delight, No golden distances of wide release. This petty state resembled our human days But fixed to eternity of changeless type, A moment’s movement doomed to last through Time. Existence bridge-like spanned the inconscient gulfs, A half-illumined building in a mist, Which from a void of Form arose to sight And jutted out into a void of Soul. A little light in a great darkness born, Life knew not where it went nor whence it came. Around all floated still the nescient haze. END OF CANTO FOUR
- Record of Yoga, p.1246