Loretta reads Savitri:Two.VIII "The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness" part 3
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto VIII: The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness
Part 3 of 3, pages 229-232
The traveler is reaching the end of his deep and painful journey. He is going down to the very bottom of our inconscient Matter. This is the part in us, and in the world, which – by the density and heaviness of its nature of darkness and ignorance – obstructs the manifestation of whatever is higher and more luminous than itself. The king is traveling because he wants to solve the mystery of the earth's problems, and man's inability to progress quickly.
Sri Aurobindo has taught us that the darkness of Inconscience, and the void of Non-being, came about because the Supreme – who is Satchitananda: pure Existence, Consciousness and Bliss – has denied his own Self. Therefore, the spirit of the Void who denies God and soul, can only be got denying his own existence. And the king must find a reason for the Inconscient, and the truth of God's existence there for us, so man can overcome the darkness in himself.
The king is now going through the 'dark night of the soul', the darkness which is the darkest before dawn: the experience that comes to seekers of Light. His long, long journey will not end when he comes to the end of this darkness. He has a long way to go to accomplish his goal, because he really really wants to help. He wants to help earth, and he wants to help all of mankind.
So far, to learn life's secret in the Inconscient, he has only followed Life's road back to when she first emerged in the unconscious dead universe where she started her climb. But once he's realized what there is to know there, once he has felt the sealed sense of the insensible world, a great change will come upon the yogi king. And we will see what happens to him.
Elsewhere, Sri Aurobindo has written that “God’s long nights are justified by dawn” (p.601). And the long nights of the king are no exception to this. And certainly he's earned it. We can see what he's gone through, when we look back starting from the time he first descended into Night (at the beginning of Canto VII). As he descended, he turned his gaze away from the surface of life:
- He saw the fount of the world’s lasting pain
- And the mouth of the black pit of Ignorance;
- The evil guarded at the roots of life
- Raised up its head and looked into his eyes. (p.202)
He saw “The soul’s native will for truth and joy and light” become “overcast with error, grief and pain” (p.203). And he had to go further to learn why.
- Him the heights missioned, him the Abyss desired:
- None stood across his way, no voice forbade.
- For swift and easy is the downward path,
- And now towards the Night was turned his face. (p.211)
- A lone discoverer in these menacing realms
- Passing from dusk to deeper dangerous dusk,
- He wrestled with powers that snatched from mind its light
- And smote from him their clinging influences. (p.216)
“Driven by a strange will down ever down” (p.217), to realms of worse and worse emptiness, and worse and worse calamity, and evil, and terrible things – worse darkness, worse cruelty, worse hate:
- He strove to shield his spirit from despair,
- But felt the horror of the growing Night (p.217)
- His being from its own vision disappeared
- Drawn towards depths that hungered for its fall.
- A formless void oppressed his struggling brain,
- A darkness grim and cold benumbed his flesh (p.218)
His very life itself was clinging to a place in him, gasping for breath. Hope perished in his empty soul. “A nameless and unutterable fear” (p.218) crawled through every nerve.
- A lifeless vacancy was now his breast (p.218)
- But he endured, stilled the vain terror, bore
- The smothering coils of agony and affright (p.218)
- Mighty and mute the Godhead in him woke
- And faced the pain and danger of the world.
- He mastered the tides of Nature with a look:
- He met with his bare spirit naked Hell. (p.219)
With all these terrible things that we have been reading and learning about the traveler, we have to remember that he wants to do this because he's hunting for a solution to life's problems. And that really he's only in the primal ignorance of Matter so far, where Life can not yet manifest the spirit in the flesh. The king wants to discover why she appears to have failed.
Because the king has conquered fear, in the World of Falsehood he could “see the hidden heart of Night” (p.220), and the result of its unconscious labor. He could see unreality made real, and he could see conscious Night.
- He entered into dumb despairing Night
- Challenging the darkness with his luminous soul. (p.227)
And he probed ever deeper into that kingdom of pain, where even death did not give the soul release, or respite, or rest.
- Around him grew the terror of a world
- Of agony followed by worse agony (p.227)
- An evil environment worsened evil souls:
- All things were conscious there and all perverse. (p.229)
So with this, today we come to the last part of Canto VIII, where the king – the great king who is suffering so much for us – learns the true reason for Life's apparent metamorphosis into Death.
At the beginning of the canto he could “see the hidden heart of Night” (p.220); then he entered into Night. Now coming to the end, he plunges into Night to know her dreadful heart. He goes straight, straight to the center. “In Hell he sought the root and cause of Hell” (p.230).
He is holding nothing back; and the anguished gulfs of hell opened in his own breast. He moves through “vague tremendous passages of Doom” (p.230). He fights shadowy combats, and he endures assaults of Hell. And he bears “the fierce inner wounds that are slow to heal” (p.230). Captured in Falsehood's evil net, he drinks all of Falsehood's poison draughts till none is left. He suffers the reign of absolute evil. And still he keeps his spirit's truth intact, gaoled in the blank denial of Matter, where he is “Pinned to the black inertia of our base” (p.230); and between his hands he treasures his flickering soul.
- Thought ceased, sense failed, his soul still saw and knew. (p.230)
Can we even imagine what courage and wisdom it takes for a person to do this? How could he face all that, how could he see all that and know all that? And go through it?
In a letter about himself and Mother, which Sri Aurobindo wrote in 1932, he said:
- “We know well what is the difference between a subjective experience and a dynamic outward-going and realising Force. […] we do not found ourselves on faith alone but on a great ground of knowledge which we have been developing and testing all our lives. I think I can say that I have been testing day and night for years upon years more scrupulously than any scientist his theory or his method on the physical plane. That is why I am not alarmed by the aspect of the world around me or disconcerted by the often successful fury of the adverse Forces who increase in their rage as the Light comes nearer and nearer down to the field of earth and Matter.”
He used to write letters to the ashramites telling them that he and Mother had tried every possible thing, and that was how they were able to advise and help the ashramites. Now – as the king – he describes his realizations on the last locked floor of the subconscient. He is where Being sleeps unconscious of its thoughts; and sleeping, builds the world, not knowing what it builds.
Finally he came into the abysmal secrecy. And then “He saw the secret key of Nature’s change” (p.231). An invisible hand was laid upon the error and the pain, and it turned to ecstasy. He saw that Night was only the Eternal's shadowy veil. And he knew death was a cellar in the house of life. He saw how destruction was really only creation going very quickly. And he saw that hell was “a short cut to heaven’s gates” (p.231).
Mother taught that when one has made some progress in one's consciousness, one's ideas and thoughts change a lot. Then we notice certain ways that we were used to thinking about things. And we wonder 'how could we have thought that way?' And now, for the traveler king, Sri Aurobindo says:
- […] in the Inconscient’s magic printing-house
- Torn were the formats of the primal Night
- And shattered the stereotypes of Ignorance. (p.231)
Now no longer will the king be expressing these primal forms of things. No longer is he automatically ruled by and using these commonly-used stereotypes from the Inconscient. These are the things which still move us; but he's free from them. Now, Nature breathes “a deep spiritual breath” (p.231), and expunges her stiff mechanical code. And she expunges the articles of the contract which bound the king's soul to this ignorance. Sri Aurobindo writes this most beautiful line:
- Falsehood gave back to Truth her tortured shape. (p.232)
And he tells us “the tables of the law of Pain” (p.232) that had governed the body were annulled. And it looks like the yogi king Aswapati's cells are being reprogrammed for something beyond the law of Pain. The word 'tables' here are used in the idea of the ancient tablets of the Law: the tablets where the Law is graved in stone, and was absolutely immortal and inflexible, and was always followed. Now these are gone.
And Sri Aurobindo says that when these tables, these writings were annulled, “in their place grew luminous characters” (p.232).
Prophetically for the whole world, he says, “Earth’s forms were made [the] divine documents” (p.232), written on by the supreme Penman.
- Transfigured were the fixed schemes of reasoning Thought. (p.232)
Finally, finally, life could beat pure in the corporeal frame – in the bodily frame of Matter. The result of this change, even in the consciousness of the cells, is that ignorance, falsehood, and inconscience are nullified. Hell split apart; “Night opened and vanished like a gulf of dream” (p.232).
- Healed were all things that Time’s torn heart had made
- And sorrow could live no more in Nature’s breast:
- Division ceased to be, for God was there. (p.232)
This is a healing transformation for the great king. He is the “lone forerunner of the Godward earth” (p.80). And what has happened to Sri Aurobindo – in the way he writes it here, to show what happened to the king – is what will happen to all humanity in the future.
And finally, we see here the fulfilment of Life's original purpose in making her plunge into the depths of Matter to bring the spirit. This canto ends with these lines:
- The soul lit the conscious body with its ray,
- Matter and spirit mingled and were one. (p.232)
This program today begins and ends with the mantra which Sunil chose for Mother's reading of these lines. It's from the Rig Veda, and it was translated by Sri Aurobindo. Here it is:
- “O Fire, bring to us a light full of energy, O unseizable Ray;
for us by thy opulence pervading on every side cut out in
our front a path to the plenitude.”
- “O Fire, O Wonderful, come to us with thy will and the
growth of the judgment; in thee the sacrificial Friend,
achiever of the work, can climb to almightiness.”
- “Increase for us, O Fire, the acquisition and the growth of
these who are men that are illuminates and by their laudings
of thee have attained to the plenitudes of the riches, —”
- “These are those flaming rays of thine, O Fire, and they go
blazing and violent, like lightnings that run over all quarters,
like the voice of a chariot seeking the plenitude.”
- “Soon, O Fire, may alike those of us who are opposed and obstructed
attain to protection and the giving of the riches and
our illuminates break through all directions and beyond.”
Here we are – last part of Canto VIII: “The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness”. The traveler is nearing his goal...
… In this infernal realm he dared to press Even into its deepest pit and darkest core, Perturbed its tenebrous base, dared to contest p.230 Its ancient privileged right and absolute force: In Night he plunged to know her dreadful heart, In Hell he sought the root and cause of Hell. Its anguished gulfs opened in his own breast; He listened to clamours of its crowded pain, The heart-beats of its fatal loneliness. Above was a chill deaf eternity. In vague tremendous passages of Doom He heard the goblin Voice that guides to slay, And faced the enchantments of the demon Sign, And traversed the ambush of the opponent Snake. In menacing tracts, in tortured solitudes Companionless he roamed through desolate ways Where the red Wolf waits by the fordless stream And Death’s black eagles scream to the precipice, And met the hounds of bale who hunt men’s hearts Baying across the veldts of Destiny, In footless battlefields of the Abyss Fought shadowy combats in mute eyeless depths, Assaults of Hell endured and Titan strokes And bore the fierce inner wounds that are slow to heal. A prisoner of a hooded magic Force, Captured and trailed in Falsehood’s lethal net And often strangled in the noose of grief, Or cast in the grim morass of swallowing doubt, Or shut into pits of error and despair, He drank her poison draughts till none was left. In a world where neither hope nor joy could come The ordeal he suffered of evil’s absolute reign, Yet kept intact his spirit’s radiant truth. Incapable of motion or of force, In Matter’s blank denial gaoled and blind, Pinned to the black inertia of our base He treasured between his hands his flickering soul. His being ventured into mindless Void, Intolerant gulfs that knew not thought nor sense; Thought ceased, sense failed, his soul still saw and knew. p.231 In atomic parcellings of the Infinite Near to the dumb beginnings of lost Self, He felt the curious small futility Of the creation of material things. Or, stifled in the Inconscient’s hollow dusk, He sounded the mystery dark and bottomless Of the enormous and unmeaning deeps Whence struggling life in a dead universe rose. There in the stark identity lost by mind He felt the sealed sense of the insensible world And a mute wisdom in the unknowing Night. Into the abysmal secrecy he came Where darkness peers from her mattress, grey and nude, And stood on the last locked subconscient’s floor Where Being slept unconscious of its thoughts And built the world not knowing what it built. There waiting its hour the future lay unknown, There is the record of the vanished stars. There in the slumber of the cosmic Will He saw the secret key of Nature’s change. A light was with him, an invisible hand Was laid upon the error and the pain Till it became a quivering ecstasy, The shock of sweetness of an arm’s embrace. He saw in Night the Eternal’s shadowy veil, Knew death for a cellar of the house of life, In destruction felt creation’s hasty pace, Knew loss as the price of a celestial gain And hell as a short cut to heaven’s gates. Then in Illusion’s occult factory And in the Inconscient’s magic printing-house Torn were the formats of the primal Night And shattered the stereotypes of Ignorance. Alive, breathing a deep spiritual breath, Nature expunged her stiff mechanical code And the articles of the bound soul’s contract, Falsehood gave back to Truth her tortured shape. p.232 Annulled were the tables of the law of Pain, And in their place grew luminous characters. The skilful Penman’s unseen finger wrote His swift intuitive calligraphy; Earth’s forms were made his divine documents, The wisdom embodied mind could not reveal, Inconscience chased from the world’s voiceless breast; Transfigured were the fixed schemes of reasoning Thought. Arousing consciousness in things inert, He imposed upon dark atom and dumb mass The diamond script of the Imperishable, Inscribed on the dim heart of fallen things A paean-song of the free Infinite And the Name, foundation of eternity, And traced on the awake exultant cells In the ideographs of the Ineffable The lyric of the love that waits through Time And the mystic volume of the Book of Bliss And the message of the superconscient Fire. Then life beat pure in the corporeal frame; The infernal Gleam died and could slay no more. Hell split across its huge abrupt façade As if a magic building were undone, Night opened and vanished like a gulf of dream. Into being’s gap scooped out as empty Space In which she had filled the place of absent God, There poured a wide intimate and blissful Dawn; Healed were all things that Time’s torn heart had made And sorrow could live no more in Nature’s breast: Division ceased to be, for God was there. The soul lit the conscious body with its ray, Matter and spirit mingled and were one. END OF CANTO EIGHT