Loretta reads Savitri:Two.VI "The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life" part 3
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto VI: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life
Part 3 of 5, pages 184-189
Here, Sri Aurobindo speaks in some detail about the people who live in the kingdom of the greater life. In the part we read last week, he says that the godheads of the greater life are Beauty and Good and Truth; and the people “are the kinsmen of our earthly race” (p.184). He says “This region borders on our [earthly] state” (p.184). It's an important sentence, because he's not saying 'this world borders on our earthly world' – it's not a physical world that's different from earth. Webster's English dictionary defines 'region' as 'a sphere of activity or interest'. Or, also, as 'a division or major sub-division of an area'. So a region is not a physical thing. And the dictionary defines 'state' as 'a mode or condition of being'. Or 'a condition of mind or temperament'. So it's not our physical world, but our condition.
So the kingdoms of the greater life are something that's close to us, but not physical. If 'state' was written with a capital 'S', it would be a physical place – like 'Tamil Nadu State', or 'Andhra Pradesh State'. But this is a state or stage of human spiritual development. So he's showing us what could be our next step. Because he says the creatures of this wider world – there he uses the word 'world' – the creatures of this wider world:
- Complete the types we only initiate
- And are securely what we strive to be. (p.184)
So perhaps there are people here – people today – who are living in this state of greater life. He says these beings are “not pulled as we by contrary tides” (p.184) as we are, in our life.
- Their lives obey the inner nature’s law. (p.184)
- They follow the unseen leader in the heart (p.184)
But this greater life is not yet a stage of being where the soul – the psychic being – has developed to the point where it is fully active. And all these people do not live only in the higher qualities that characterize the psychic or soul consciousness. Here, the people choose what they will follow. They will follow either the Truth of Light, or the deformed Falsehood of what he calls “the truth of Darkness” (p.185).
Sri Aurobindo says:
- They choose their side, they see the god they adore. (p.184)
He says wherever Knowledge is the twin of Ignorance – and therefore duality is that world, or in that world – both Evil and Good have equal places, equal rights to be and to work. “[E]qual tenure” (p.185).
The dual energy is proven to have a reason to exist, because of the choice of these people to do the one or the other. Which means – 'it's proven to exists' means 'there it is', we see it, because this is in fact what happens.
Sri Aurobindo says there, Matter is the result of the soul, not the cause of the soul. And that this is the contrasting opposite to “earth’s truth of things” (p.186). Here, matter is the cause of the soul.
But these beings can communicate clearly by thought, and they can communicate with emotion, but they don't need speech. Their hearts can draw close even though they are a distance apart. Being feels being, even though they are far away from each other.
He gives us a different description here of a unity consciousness. Because this is – according to Sri Aurobindo – an aspect of achieving a unity consciousness. There's a letter of his that he wrote, and in the letter he cautioned someone – someone who was doing the Yoga, and was having these experiences, but wasn't far enough along. And this is what he says:
- “When there is the development of the Self-realisation or of the cosmic consciousness or if there is the emptiness which is the preliminary condition for these things, there comes an automatic tendency for a unity with all — their affections, mental, vital, physical may easily touch. One has to keep oneself free.”
And then we also have, in a book by Pavitra – who came to the Ashram in 1926 – a book called Conversations with Sri Aurobindo, because he got to go to Sri Aurobindo and talk about his sadhana... they talk about this, and they also talk about being separate from the world. And Sri Aurobindo says that the reason they started the Ashram, and the reason they have the Ashram, is so people going through this state aren't going to be affected so much by people in the rest of the world – whose condition affects them so strongly when they are like this.
And Sri Aurobindo brings in this condition of being conscious of what is going on in others in a lot of descriptions in Savitri. They're always descriptions of some kind of advanced state of consciousness, maybe something the king achieves or something Savitri achieves, or something that man can achieve.
In Book Seven, “The Book of Yoga”, he tells the story of Savitri's yoga. And there are letters where he says that he has the experience of cosmic consciousness and he describes it, and this description he just puts almost word-for-word in Savitri as Savitri's experience of cosmic consciousness. And this is what he says:
- The thoughts of others were her intimates,
- Their feelings close to her universal heart,
- Their bodies her many bodies kin to her (p.556)
He also says:
- She was the single self of all these selves,
- She was in them and they were all in her. (p.557)
In Book One, Canto III, “The Yoga of the Soul's Release” - in the king's yoga, where Sri Aurobindo is describing his own yoga – the king has this experience; Sri Aurobindo writes:
- He felt the beating life in other men
- Invade him with their happiness and their grief;
- Their love, their anger, their unspoken hopes
- Entered in currents or in pouring waves
- Into the immobile ocean of his calm. (p.27)
So in this state of consciousness, we have a stage along the way of the Yoga – and also part of the goal. Because it works both ways. The developed being has thoughts and feelings which live in us and lift us, to better thoughts and feelings.
In Book Two, Canto [X]III: “The House of the Spirit and the New Creation”, Sri Aurobindo describes his own experience as the king's experience, when the king finally gets near to seeing the Divine Mother. And for that experience he writes:
- A universal vision that unites,
- A sympathy of nerve replying to nerve,
- Hearing that listens to thought’s inner sound
- And follows the rhythmic meanings of the heart,
- A touch that needs not hands to feel, to clasp,
- Were there the native means of consciousness
- And heightened the intimacy of soul with soul. (p.325)
But in this case, where the king has been able to observe life in the kingdom of greater life – which has created a spiritual development of consciousness – the real spiritual development still has far to go. So we see, with all this greater development, even if one has crossed the spiritual border into this neighboring region, we have a long way to go for a higher consciousness (a really high consciousness).
And Sri Aurobindo tells us, here “All was imperfect still, half-known, half-done” (p.187). Although Inconscience was now overpassed, the Superconscient was not yet known or felt. So the great yogi king does not find the answer to his seeking here.
We saw him briefly when he escaped the gray anarchy of the little life. He was traveling through the gloom; and his only sunlight was his spirit's flame. Now we have followed him into the first pale dreams of a greater life, through “An infant glow [...] near to morn” (p.174). Then we saw the dawning of a “throb of promise of a wider Life” (p.175). And life “made of self a world”, where “something seemed to be achieved at last” (p.175).
But now, as the king moves in this ether of ambiguous life – a life with two opposite possibilities – he becomes a riddle, a puzzling question to his own self. And we're going to see what the king sees as he follows in life's “fine and mighty trails”,
- Pursuing her sealed formidable delight
- In a perilous adventure without close. (p.188).
So, here in Canto VI, Sri Aurobindo starts...
… This wider world our greater movements gives, Its strong formations build our growing selves; Its creatures are our brighter replicas, Complete the types we only initiate And are securely what we strive to be. As if thought-out eternal characters, Entire, not pulled as we by contrary tides, They follow the unseen leader in the heart, Their lives obey the inner nature’s law. There is kept grandeur’s store, the hero’s mould; The soul is the watchful builder of its fate; None is a spirit indifferent and inert; They choose their side, they see the god they adore. A battle is joined between the true and false, A pilgrimage sets out to the divine Light. For even Ignorance there aspires to know And shines with the lustre of a distant star; There is a knowledge in the heart of sleep p.185 And Nature comes to them as a conscious force. An ideal is their leader and their king: Aspiring to the monarchy of the sun They call in Truth for their high government, Hold her incarnate in their daily acts And fill their thoughts with her inspired voice And shape their lives into her breathing form, Till in her sun-gold godhead they too share. Or to the truth of Darkness they subscribe; Whether for Heaven or Hell they must wage war: Warriors of Good, they serve a shining cause Or are Evil’s soldiers in the pay of Sin. For evil and good an equal tenure keep Wherever Knowledge is Ignorance’s twin. All powers of Life towards their godhead tend In the wideness and the daring of that air, Each builds its temple and expands its cult, And Sin too there is a divinity. Affirming the beauty and splendour of her law She claims life as her natural domain, Assumes the world’s throne or dons the papal robe: Her worshippers proclaim her sacred right. A red-tiaraed Falsehood they revere, Worship the shadow of a crooked God, Admit the black Idea that twists the brain Or lie with the harlot Power that slays the soul. A mastering virtue statuesques the pose, Or a Titan passion goads to a proud unrest: At Wisdom’s altar they are kings and priests Or their life a sacrifice to an idol of Power. Or Beauty shines on them like a wandering star; Too far to reach, passionate they follow her light; In Art and life they catch the All-Beautiful’s ray And make the world their radiant treasure house: Even common figures are with marvel robed; A charm and greatness locked in every hour p.186 Awakes the joy which sleeps in all things made. A mighty victory or a mighty fall, A throne in heaven or a pit in hell, The dual Energy they have justified And marked their souls with her tremendous seal: Whatever Fate may do to them they have earned; Something they have done, something they have been, they live. There Matter is soul’s result and not its cause. In a contrary balance to earth’s truth of things The gross weighs less, the subtle counts for more; On inner values hangs the outer plan. As quivers with the thought the expressive word, As yearns the act with the passion of the soul This world’s apparent sensible design Looks vibrant back to some interior might. A Mind not limited by external sense Gave figures to the spirit’s imponderables, The world’s impacts without channels registered And turned into the body’s concrete thrill The vivid workings of a bodiless Force; Powers here subliminal that act unseen Or in ambush crouch waiting behind the wall Came out in front uncovering their face. The occult grew there overt, the obvious kept A covert turn and shouldered the unknown; The unseen was felt and jostled visible shapes. In the communion of two meeting minds Thought looked at thought and had no need of speech; Emotion clasped emotion in two hearts, They felt each other’s thrill in the flesh and nerves Or melted each in each and grew immense As when two houses burn and fire joins fire: Hate grappled hate and love broke in on love, Will wrestled with will on mind’s invisible ground; Others’ sensations passing through like waves Left quivering the subtle body’s frame, p.187 Their anger rushed galloping in brute attack, A charge of trampling hooves on shaken soil; One felt another’s grief invade the breast, Another’s joy exulting ran through the blood: Hearts could draw close through distance, voices near That spoke upon the shore of alien seas. There beat a throb of living interchange: Being felt being even when afar And consciousness replied to consciousness. And yet the ultimate oneness was not there. There was a separateness of soul from soul: An inner wall of silence could be built, An armour of conscious might protect and shield; The being could be closed in and solitary; One could remain apart in self, alone. Identity was not yet nor union’s peace. All was imperfect still, half-known, half-done: The miracle of Inconscience overpassed, The miracle of the Superconscient still, Unknown, self-wrapped, unfelt, unknowable, Looked down on them, origin of all they were. As forms they came of the formless Infinite, As names lived of a nameless Eternity. The beginning and the end were there occult; A middle term worked unexplained, abrupt: They were words that spoke to a vast wordless Truth, They were figures crowding an unfinished sum. None truly knew himself or knew the world Or the Reality living there enshrined: Only they knew what Mind could take and build Out of the secret Supermind’s huge store. A darkness under them, a bright Void above, Uncertain they lived in a great climbing Space; By mysteries they explained a Mystery, A riddling answer met the riddle of things. As he moved in this ether of ambiguous life, p.188 Himself was soon a riddle to himself; As symbols he saw all and sought their sense. Across the leaping springs of death and birth And over shifting borders of soul-change, A hunter on the spirit’s creative track, He followed in life’s fine and mighty trails Pursuing her sealed formidable delight In a perilous adventure without close. At first no aim appeared in those large steps: Only the wide source he saw of all things here Looking towards a wider source beyond. For as she drew away from earthly lines, A tenser drag was felt from the Unknown, A higher context of delivering thought Drove her towards marvel and discovery; There came a high release from pettier cares, A mightier image of desire and hope, A vaster formula, a greater scene. Ever she circled towards some far-off Light: Her signs still covered more than they revealed; But tied to some immediate sight and will They lost their purport in the joy of use, Till stripped of their infinite meaning they became A cipher gleaming with unreal sense. Armed with a magical and haunted bow She aimed at a target kept invisible And ever deemed remote though always near. As one who spells illumined characters, The key-book of a crabbed magician text, He scanned her subtle tangled weird designs And the screened difficult theorem of her clues, Traced in the monstrous sands of desert Time The thread beginnings of her titan works, Watched her charade of action for some hint, Read the Nō-gestures of her silhouettes, p.189 And strove to capture in their burdened drift The dance-fantasia of her sequences Escaping into rhythmic mystery, A glimmer of fugitive feet on fleeing soil. ...
- Letters on Yoga – III, p.279