Loretta reads Savitri:Two.VI "The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life" part 2
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto VI: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life
Part 2 of 5, pages 179-184
This is part 2 of 5, pages 179-184. And all editions of Savitri have the same pages. They're very careful in the Ashram and in the Press to do that; so the top line of each page – the top sentence of each page – is the same in all the books of Savitri that are published here.
So here, in this part of the canto, Sri Aurobindo's going to tell us of the divine Creatrix as the force that creates, and builds, and moves, and inspires, the greater life that we're learning about. At the end of the part that we read last time, he speaks of this greater life: he says that it is “enamoured of the Unseen”, and “It calls to some highest Light beyond its reach” (p.179). And then he says, “Its greatness is to seek and to create” (p.179).
Now, he's going to talk again about greatness, but he's going to say, 'Greatness' as a being – not just a quality, a being. And he shows us the difference between the greatness of the greater life that he was talking about, and the Greatness that is the life that builds this life, by simply putting a capital letter 'G' on the word 'greatness'. He doesn't use a small letter 'g', and so 'Greatness' becomes a title, a describing of what the whole being is. And so this way we know that he's calling something a real Greatness – not just that it has the quality of being great.
And we also see this because this Greatness that he's now talking about is a woman – a female entity. Up till now, he's spoken of the greater life as 'it', as a thing. Now the Greatness with a capital 'G' is 'her', no longer 'it'. We know this because he speaks of 'her works', 'her deeds', 'her journey', 'her lost eternity'.
We also know, because Sri Aurobindo starts speaking about this Greatness' relationship with her eternal Lover: the Supreme, the Master of existence, who is behind and in all that she is and does.
It's very subtle ways of letting us know that he is again showing us the Life that King Aswapati is following – the Life that King Aswapati is trying to understand – so that he can find out why things are so difficult here for people to progress, and why things are so difficult in the world.
The way this canto is separated into parts has turned into 5 parts, not 4. The reason we do read it in parts is to make sure that each reading is not too long. Everything that Sri Aurobindo writes is so high; it is so deep, and so complex, that we can't keep attention focused on it for a very long time. Sometimes he writes a sentence which seems to express the whole universe. And sometimes one sentence can be enough to read, and then it's done so much we can't go on reading.
When I first tried to read Savitri in the 1970s, half a page would put me right out. I would go to sleep instantly. I wouldn't even know it, and then I would wake up later and realize I had gone to sleep. It's really strong for us, because it speaks to many levels of our consciousness. And Mother says that the higher levels of our consciousness are not accessible to our present consciousness, and that when we do experience them often we don't remember it – because they're not yet really available to us. So if he takes us up to those higher levels, we don't even know it. And sometimes we like really, really blank out.
So instead of 4 parts to this canto, like I said last time, we'll do it in 5 parts, so that it can be more accessible to us.
And again in this canto Sri Aurobindo writes particularly about the relationship of the supreme Master and the supreme Mother as a love affair. A beautiful love affair. I mean how nice if the lovers of the world could have this kind of love affair.
Now the beings of this world of greater life live not by the body, or in outward things. “The body’s actions are a minor script, // The surface [expression] of a life within” (p.183). But he's talking now about 'body', so we see he's now speaking about physical beings. We see that he is now telling us about those physical beings who have risen to a greater life. These “All feel the cosmic movement in their acts” (p.183). And they are “instruments of her cosmic might” (p.183).
But, even here, many still remain in some narrowness, and use this greater life to satisfy their life-motives and their life-wants. However, this is a transition, a starting point,
- A first immigration into heavenliness,
- For [those] who cross into that brilliant sphere (p.184)
- This region borders on our mortal state. (p.184)
And the beings there are “kinsmen of our earthly race” (p.184).
So now we're in Book Two, Canto VI, following the king in the kingdoms and godheads of the greater life. And Sri Aurobindo starts right away with the Life that is the Divine Mother: 'Greatness' with a capital 'G'.
… On every plane, this Greatness must create. On earth, in heaven, in hell she is the same; Of every fate she takes her mighty part. A guardian of the fire that lights the suns, She triumphs in her glory and her might: Opposed, oppressed she bears God’s urge to be born: The spirit survives upon non-being’s ground, World-force outlasts world-disillusion’s shock: Dumb, she is still the Word, inert the Power. Here fallen, a slave of death and ignorance, To things deathless she is driven to aspire And moved to know even the Unknowable. Even nescient, null, her sleep creates a world. When most unseen, most mightily she works; p.180 Housed in the atom, buried in the clod, Her quick creative passion cannot cease. Inconscience is her long gigantic pause, Her cosmic swoon is a stupendous phase: Time-born, she hides her immortality; In death, her bed, she waits the hour to rise. Even with the Light denied that sent her forth And the hope dead she needed for her task, Even when her brightest stars are quenched in Night, Nourished by hardship and calamity And with pain for her body’s handmaid, masseuse, nurse, Her tortured invisible spirit continues still To toil though in darkness, to create though with pangs; She carries crucified God upon her breast. In chill insentient depths where joy is none, Immured, oppressed by the resisting Void Where nothing moves and nothing can become, Still she remembers, still invokes the skill The Wonder-worker gave her at her birth, Imparts to drowsy formlessness a shape, Reveals a world where nothing was before. In realms confined to a prone circle of death, To a dark eternity of Ignorance, A quiver in an inert inconscient mass, Or imprisoned in immobilised whorls of Force, By Matter’s blind compulsion deaf and mute She refuses motionless in the dust to sleep. Then, for her rebel waking’s punishment Given only hard mechanic Circumstance As the enginery of her magic craft, She fashions godlike marvels out of mud; In the plasm she sets her dumb immortal urge, Helps the live tissue to think, the closed sense to feel, Flashes through the frail nerves poignant messages, In a heart of flesh miraculously loves, To brute bodies gives a soul, a will, a voice. p.181 Ever she summons as by a sorcerer’s wand Beings and shapes and scenes innumerable, Torch-bearers of her pomps through Time and Space. This world is her long journey through the night, The suns and planets lamps to light her road, Our reason is the confidante of her thoughts, Our senses are her vibrant witnesses. There drawing her signs from things half true, half false, She labours to replace by realised dreams The memory of her lost eternity. These are her deeds in this huge world-ignorance: Till the veil is lifted, till the night is dead, In light or dark she keeps her tireless search; Time is her road of endless pilgrimage. One mighty passion motives all her works. Her eternal Lover is her action’s cause; For him she leaped forth from the unseen Vasts To move here in a stark unconscious world. Its acts are her commerce with her hidden Guest, His moods she takes for her heart’s passionate moulds; In beauty she treasures the sunlight of his smile. Ashamed of her rich cosmic poverty, She cajoles with her small gifts his mightiness, Holds with her scenes his look’s fidelity And woos his large-eyed wandering thoughts to dwell In figures of her million-impulsed Force. Only to attract her veiled companion And keep him close to her breast in her world-cloak Lest from her arms he turn to his formless peace, Is her heart’s business and her clinging care. Yet when he is most near, she feels him far. For contradiction is her nature’s law. Although she is ever in him and he in her, As if unaware of the eternal tie, Her will is to shut God into her works And keep him as her cherished prisoner p.182 That never they may part again in Time. A sumptuous chamber of the spirit’s sleep At first she made, a deep interior room, Where he slumbers as if a forgotten guest. But now she turns to break the oblivious spell, Awakes the sleeper on the sculptured couch; She finds again the Presence in the form And in the light that wakes with him recovers A meaning in the hurry and trudge of Time, And through this mind that once obscured the soul Passes a glint of unseen deity. Across a luminous dream of spirit-space She builds creation like a rainbow bridge Between the original Silence and the Void. A net is made of the mobile universe; She weaves a snare for the conscious Infinite. A knowledge is with her that conceals its steps And seems a mute omnipotent Ignorance. A might is with her that makes wonders true; The incredible is her stuff of common fact. Her purposes, her workings riddles prove; Examined, they grow other than they were, Explained, they seem yet more inexplicable. Even in our world a mystery has reigned Earth’s cunning screen of trivial plainness hides; Her larger levels are of sorceries made. There the enigma shows its splendid prism, There is no deep disguise of commonness; Occult, profound comes all experience, Marvel is ever new, miracle divine. There is a screened burden, a mysterious touch, There is a secrecy of hidden sense. Although no earthen mask weighs on her face, Into herself she flees from her own sight. All forms are tokens of some veiled idea Whose covert purpose lurks from mind’s pursuit, p.183 Yet is a womb of sovereign consequence. There every thought and feeling is an act, And every act a symbol and a sign, And every symbol hides a living power. A universe she builds from truths and myths, But what she needed most she cannot build; All shown is a figure or copy of the Truth, But the Real veils from her its mystic face. All else she finds, there lacks eternity; All is sought out, but missed the Infinite. A consciousness lit by a Truth above Was felt; it saw the light but not the Truth: It caught the Idea and built from it a world; It made an Image there and called it God. Yet something true and inward harboured there. The beings of that world of greater life, Tenants of a larger air and freer space, Live not by the body or in outward things: A deeper living was their seat of self. In that intense domain of intimacy Objects dwell as companions of the soul; The body’s actions are a minor script, The surface rendering of a life within. All forces are Life’s retinue in that world And thought and body as her handmaids move. The universal widenesses give her room: All feel the cosmic movement in their acts And are the instruments of her cosmic might. Or their own self they make their universe. In all who have risen to a greater Life, A voice of unborn things whispers to the ear, To their eyes visited by some high sunlight Aspiration shows the image of a crown: To work out a seed that she has thrown within, To achieve her power in them her creatures live. p.184 Each is a greatness growing towards the heights Or from his inner centre oceans out; In circling ripples of concentric power They swallow, glutted, their environment. Even of that largeness many a cabin make; In narrower breadths and briefer vistas pent They live content with some small greatness won. To rule the little empire of themselves, To be a figure in their private world And make the milieu’s joys and griefs their own And satisfy their life-motives and life-wants Is charge enough and office for this strength, A steward of the Person and his fate. This was transition-line and starting-point, A first immigration into heavenliness, For all who cross into that brilliant sphere: These are the kinsmen of our earthly race; This region borders on our mortal state. ...