Loretta reads Savitri:Two.V "The Godheads of the Little Life" part 2
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto V: The Godheads of the Little Life
Part 2 of 4, pages 154-160
This broadcast starts and ends each time with Sunil's Savitri music. In order to help one of the lady ashramites with her progress, Mother taught her to paint, and gave her lines from Savitri to illustrate. The lady's name was Huta. And now many people have seen Huta's work, all given to her and suggested by the Mother. Mother gave her the lines to paint, and she drew a sketch for Huta to follow. And we still have those sketches.
Huta asked Mother to record these sentences from Savitri which she read, and Sunil composed music for Mother's readings.
Today, the broadcast begins with a Sanskrit mantra from the Katha Upanishad. This mantra is in the music for the lines that Mother read which are part of the part of Canto V that we're reading today. Sri Aurobindo translated the mantra into English – so we also have the meaning. This mantra speaks of the underlying idea behind this part of Canto V. And that is: the presence of the Supreme in everything, but, unknown. And Sri Aurobindo starts this part of the canto by telling us that in this world, God sits everywhere, impassive, and as if unknown to himself. And unseen by us. But that all here is his action and his will.
Toward the end of this part of the canto, he says, “man was moulded from the original brute” (p.158). And then after some he says:
- A spirit that perished not with the body and breath
- Was there like a shadow of the Unmanifest
- And stood behind the little personal form
- But claimed not yet this earthly embodiment.
- Assenting to Nature’s long slow-moving toil,
- Watching the works of his own Ignorance,
- Unknown, unfelt the mighty Witness lives
- And nothing shows the Glory that is here. (p.159)
So, with some of these particular words that Mother read, the English translation goes like this:
- “That Wise One is not born, neither does he die; he came not from anywhere, neither is he anyone; he is unborn, he is everlasting, he is ancient and sempiternal, he is not slain in the slaying of the body.”
- “Finer than the fine, huger than the huge the Self hides in the secret heart of the creature: when a man strips himself of will and is weaned from sorrow, then he beholds Him, purified from the mental elements he sees the greatness of the Self-being.”
Back in Canto IV, Sri Aurobindo told us in detail about the beginning of Mind's evolution in Matter. It was one of the many, many stories of the evolution of this universe that Sri Aurobindo tells us throughout Savitri. Each time he does, he approaches a subject of evolution from a different view, and he describes another aspect of creation for us. Even at the very beginning of Savitri, in Book One, Canto I, Sri Aurobindo described a beginning of the evolution of consciousness in man. And he calls it “The Symbol Dawn”.
He writes on so many levels. And each time one reads any part of Savitri over again, it tells us something new, or something more. One of the things in his description of the symbol dawn is a movement in the darkness, that teases the Inconscient to awaken Ignorance. And “an unshaped consciousness desired light” (p.2). One of the meanings one can see here is that he goes on to describe the sunrise as a spiritual opening, and an awakening ray. The lights and colors of dawn “wrote the lines of a significant myth” (p.4), using the sky for a page. And “telling of a greatness of spiritual dawns” (p.4).
Now, here again, in Book Two, Canto V, Sri Aurobindo's telling us how Life evolved in Matter. In Canto IV he told us how life evolved out of the mud of the Inconscient. This was after Life had plunged into Matter to answer the call of the spirit in Matter itself. But now, he's going to speak about how all is the action and will of God, and how the Spirit first became Matter, and afterwards Life was born in Matter.
In this place he starts from the very beginning. He speaks of “a mass phenomenon of visible shapes” (p.154) appearing in the eternal Consciousness. He tells us that the Inconscient “did the works of God’s intelligence // Or wrought the will of some supreme Unknown” (p.154).
He says at first there was only etheric Space. He talks about a viewless Fire scattering worlds, and ordering the stars. And he speaks of wave particles and atoms and photons. So he's taking us to creation's origins here.
And then, when he brings in Life, he speaks again about the birth of a Life that follows Matter's law. And he tells us what Life brings to evolution here.
So, partially, he's taking us along the same road again that we travelled with him in Canto IV. But this time, he carries us all the way through the evolution of creation from its origin. But, interestingly, he doesn't take Life's evolution any further now, at this point. When we finish with this part of Canto V, Life is where she was when we left her in Canto IV – with a little exception, because now, “a breath was felt below of One supreme” (p.159). And a quick celestial flash, that was an illumined soul-ray, could sometimes come. But that is about all.
Now we know that Sri Aurobindo wrote his own experiences and realizations in Savitri. And we know that his purpose was not only to educate us, but also to give us all the force he could bring into his writing. He said that he rewrote things from a higher consciousness whenever he attained a higher consciousness. So now, we can open ourselves to his spirit, and his progress. And we can realize along with him, with his words, his own experiences and realizations of the very origin of the Creation.
So we're in Book Two: “The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds”, in Canto [V]: “The Godheads of the Little Life”, in the second part.
… At the outset of this enigmatic world Which seems at once an enormous brute machine And a slow unmasking of the spirit in things, In this revolving chamber without walls In which God sits impassive everywhere As if unknown to himself and by us unseen In a miracle of inconscient secrecy, Yet is all here his action and his will. In this whirl and sprawl through infinite vacancy The Spirit became Matter and lay in the whirl, A body sleeping without sense or soul. A mass phenomenon of visible shapes Supported by the silence of the Void Appeared in the eternal Consciousness And seemed an outward and insensible world. There was none there to see and none to feel; Only the miraculous Inconscient, A subtle wizard skilled, was at its task. Inventing ways for magical results, Managing creation’s marvellous device, Marking mechanically dumb wisdom’s points, Using the unthought inevitable Idea, It did the works of God’s intelligence Or wrought the will of some supreme Unknown. p.155 Still consciousness was hidden in Nature’s womb, Unfelt was the Bliss whose rapture dreamed the worlds. Being was an inert substance driven by Force. At first was only an etheric Space: Its huge vibrations circled round and round Housing some unconceived initiative: Upheld by a supreme original Breath Expansion and contraction’s mystic act Created touch and friction in the void, Into abstract emptiness brought clash and clasp: Parent of an expanding universe In a matrix of disintegrating force, By spending it conserved an endless sum. On the hearth of Space it kindled a viewless Fire That, scattering worlds as one might scatter seeds, Whirled out the luminous order of the stars. An ocean of electric Energy Formlessly formed its strange wave-particles Constructing by their dance this solid scheme, Its mightiness in the atom shut to rest; Masses were forged or feigned and visible shapes; Light flung the photon’s swift revealing spark And showed, in the minuteness of its flash Imaged, this cosmos of apparent things. Thus has been made this real impossible world, An obvious miracle or convincing show. Or so it seems to man’s audacious mind Who seats his thought as the arbiter of truth, His personal vision as impersonal fact, As witnesses of an objective world His erring sense and his instruments’ artifice. Thus must he work life’s tangible riddle out In a doubtful light, by error seize on Truth And slowly part the visage and the veil. Or else, forlorn of faith in mind and sense, His knowledge a bright body of ignorance, p.156 He sees in all things strangely fashioned here The unwelcome jest of a deceiving Force, A parable of Maya and her might. This vast perpetual motion caught and held In the mysterious and unchanging change Of the persistent movement we call Time And ever renewing its recurrent beat, These mobile rounds that stereotype a flux, These static objects in the cosmic dance That are but Energy’s self-repeating whorls Prolonged by the spirit of the brooding Void, Awaited life and sense and waking Mind. A little the Dreamer changed his pose of stone. But when the Inconscient’s scrupulous work was done And Chance coerced by fixed immutable laws, A scene was set for Nature’s conscious play. Then stirred the Spirit’s mute immobile sleep; The Force concealed broke dumbly, slowly out. A dream of living woke in Matter’s heart, A will to live moved the Inconscient’s dust, A freak of living startled vacant Time, Ephemeral in a blank eternity, Infinitesimal in a dead Infinite. A subtler breath quickened dead Matter’s forms; The world’s set rhythm changed to a conscious cry; A serpent Power twinned the insensible Force. Islands of living dotted lifeless Space And germs of living formed in formless air. A Life was born that followed Matter’s law, Ignorant of the motives of its steps; Ever inconstant, yet for ever the same, It repeated the paradox that gave it birth: Its restless and unstable stabilities Recurred incessantly in the flow of Time And purposeful movements in unthinking forms Betrayed the heavings of an imprisoned Will. p.157 Waking and sleep lay locked in mutual arms; Helpless and indistinct came pleasure and pain Trembling with the first faint thrills of a World-Soul. A strength of life that could not cry or move, Yet broke into beauty signing some deep delight: An inarticulate sensibility, Throbs of the heart of an unknowing world, Ran through its somnolent torpor and there stirred A vague uncertain thrill, a wandering beat, A dim unclosing as of secret eyes. Infant self-feeling grew and birth was born. A godhead woke but lay with dreaming limbs; Her house refused to open its sealed doors. Insentient to our eyes that only see The form, the act and not the imprisoned God, Life hid in her pulse occult of growth and power A consciousness with mute stifled beats of sense, A mind suppressed that knew not yet of thought, An inert spirit that could only be. At first she raised no voice, no motion dared: Charged with world-power, instinct with living force, Only she clung with her roots to the safe earth, Thrilled dumbly to the shocks of ray and breeze And put out tendril fingers of desire; The strength in her yearning for sun and light Felt not the embrace that made her breathe and live; Absorbed she dreamed content with beauty and hue. At last the charmed Immensity looked forth: Astir, vibrant, hungering, she groped for mind; Then slowly sense quivered and thought peered out; She forced the reluctant mould to grow aware. The magic was chiselled of a conscious form; Its tranced vibrations rhythmed a quick response, And luminous stirrings prompted brain and nerve, Awoke in Matter spirit’s identity And in a body lit the miracle p.158 Of the heart’s love and the soul’s witness gaze. Impelled by an unseen Will there could break out Fragments of some vast impulse to become And vivid glimpses of a secret self, And the doubtful seeds and force of shapes to be Awoke from the inconscient swoon of things. An animal creation crept and ran And flew and called between the earth and sky, Hunted by death but hoping still to live And glad to breathe if only for a while. Then man was moulded from the original brute. A thinking mind had come to lift life’s moods, The keen-edged tool of a Nature mixed and vague, An intelligence half-witness, half-machine. This seeming driver of her wheel of works Missioned to motive and record her drift And fix its law on her inconstant powers, This master-spring of a delicate enginery, Aspired to enlighten its user and refine Lifting to a vision of the indwelling Power The absorbed mechanic’s crude initiative: He raised his eyes; Heaven-light mirrored a Face. Amazed at the works wrought in her mystic sleep, She looked upon the world that she had made: Wondering now seized the great automaton; She paused to understand her self and aim, Pondering she learned to act by conscious rule, A visioned measure guided her rhythmic steps; Thought bordered her instincts with a frame of will And lit with the idea her blinded urge. On her mass of impulses, her reflex acts, On the Inconscient’s pushed or guided drift And mystery of unthinking accurate steps She stuck the specious image of a self, A living idol of disfigured spirit; On Matter’s acts she imposed a patterned law; p.159 She made a thinking body from chemic cells And moulded a being out of a driven force. To be what she was not inflamed her hope: She turned her dream towards some high Unknown; A breath was felt below of One supreme. An opening looked up to spheres above And coloured shadows limned on mortal ground The passing figures of immortal things; A quick celestial flash could sometimes come: The illumined soul-ray fell on heart and flesh And touched with semblances of ideal light The stuff of which our earthly dreams are made. A fragile human love that could not last, Ego’s moth-wings to lift the seraph soul, Appeared, a surface glamour of brief date Extinguished by a scanty breath of Time; Joy that forgot mortality for a while Came, a rare visitor who left betimes, And made all things seem beautiful for an hour, Hopes that soon fade to drab realities And passions that crumble to ashes while they blaze Kindled the common earth with their brief flame. A creature insignificant and small Visited, uplifted by an unknown Power, Man laboured on his little patch of earth For means to last, to enjoy, to suffer and die. A spirit that perished not with the body and breath Was there like a shadow of the Unmanifest And stood behind the little personal form But claimed not yet this earthly embodiment. Assenting to Nature’s long slow-moving toil, Watching the works of his own Ignorance, Unknown, unfelt the mighty Witness lives And nothing shows the Glory that is here. A Wisdom governing the mystic world, A Silence listening to the cry of Life, p.160 It sees the hurrying crowd of moments stream Towards the still greatness of a distant hour. …
- Kena and Other Upanishads, p.112