Loretta reads Savitri:Two.X "The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind" part 1

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Transcript of:
Savitri: Book Two, Canto X (part 1 of 4)
by Loretta, 2017 (31:40)
Listen on Auroville Radio →

Savitri Book 2 Canto X icon.jpg  Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto X: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind
Part 1 of 4, pages 238-243
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The traveler is about to enter all the worlds of mind. He's going to go from the beginning to the highest, and then beyond. He has been through the worst of the worlds of the life-energies, and finally the best of the worlds of the life-energies. And he has conquered the dark forces of life-energies – the dark forces of what Mother and Sri Aurobindo call the 'lower vital' – in himself; and he's done it also for the world. Because now he is so developed that he is universalized, and he does his Yoga for the world.

He knows Life's secrets. He knows her emergence in Matter. Her full work in our world is fulfilled at least in the traveler king. In him, Life has achieved her original goal. (And it is our goal.)

In the king, in the great yogi, matter and spirit have mingled and are one. And this paves the way for us as we do our Yoga. Now the king can bear the ecstasy of this realization in his physical cells. But, the very best of the life-force is not enough to keep our king. As Sri Aurobindo writes:

This too must now be overpassed and left,
As all must be until the Highest is gained
In whom the world and self grow true and one:
Till That is reached our journeying cannot cease. (p.238)

So now as we follow the king, just as he has experienced the birth of Life in Matter, he will continue his journey through his own being – and through our greater cosmic universal being, all at once. And he's going to experience the birth of Mind in Matter – in our matter, in our body. Our body which is activated and animated by Life.

So first we had Life; now we will have Mind. And this follows evolution; this follows the way which everything has evolved on this planet.

In 1909 and 1910, Sri Aurobindo wrote a really beautiful poem to the Master of Mind: the supreme Creator who made Mind, who is Mind, and who moves Mind to do what it's supposed to do. And [no title was given in the manuscript; the poem is referred to as] “Perfect thy motion”:

Perfect thy motion

“Perfect thy motion ever within me,
Master of mind.
Grey of the brain, flash of the lightning,
Brilliant and blind,
These thou linkest, the world to mould,
Writing the thought in a scroll of gold
Violet lined.

Tablet of brain thou hast made for thy writing,
Master divine.
Calmly thou writest or full of thy grandeur
Flushed as with wine.
Then with a laugh thou erasest the scroll,
Bringing another, like waves that roll
And sink supine.”[1]

In different places Mother has spoken about the lightning flash. We can actually see that, when a thought comes into our mind, if we're quiet enough. And Sri Aurobindo writes of Mind as a golden scroll lined in violet.

They were very clear on subtle colors. They knew what they meant and they did explain them. In the Letters on Yoga he speaks of both of these colors:

“Golden Light is the light of the divine Truth descending from above.”[2]

Gold, if we see it in dreams, or in some subtle way, “is always the symbol of the higher Truth”[3]. Violet is the color of divine Grace; the color of compassion[4].

He says that our different parts – mind, life, and body – are “coloured by the lights of the powers that come down”[5] into them. When someone asked him “What is mind?”, he said:

“Mind in its essence is a consciousness which measures, limits, cuts out forms of things from the indivisible whole and contains them as if each were a separate integer. Even with what exists only as obvious parts and fractions, Mind establishes this fiction”[6]

...and Mind always treats these parts and pieces as things with which it has to deal separately – not as an aspect of a whole.

This is our mind's characteristic action. It's incapable of doing things any other way. The mind receives its information – with which it does its characteristic activity – through our senses, and by our actions. And all of these parts of us have their limitations. And we see now what mind's limitation is as well: mind is not a power of whole knowledge.

Sri Aurobindo says that when the mind begins to pass beyond itself, then it becomes “a power of direct knowledge”[7] – real actual knowledge. “[T]his is the very nature of our terrestrial ignorance”[8]. When our consciousness is only in a mind, and nothing beyond mind, it creates the ignorance that we live in; and it creates the world for itself.

Now we're going to follow the king. And one thing which we can see in this canto is that everything is some kind of a light; and everything is done by some kind of light. Slowly but surely, in different ways, darkness gives way to light, as mind continues to develop.

So as we start through the canto, we learn that the paradise of the life-gods – where the king was able to have immortal pleasure; where all of these high vital forces healed “his warrior nature’s wounded limbs” (p.235); this beautiful paradise, all bliss – receded far away behind him, “Like a sweet song heard fading far away” (p.239). And then he could see “Large lucent realms of Mind” (p.239) shining.

But before he can get to them, as he starts from the beginning, first he meets “a silver-grey expanse” (p.239) where Day and Night – light and darkness – become one. Where rays of light divide “Life’s sentient flow from Thought’s self-poise” (p.239). So here is a borderline between Life and Mind. Sri Aurobindo calls it a meeting of Knowledge and Ignorance.

This is the beginning of Mind's action in the cosmos, and in us. Here is a mind that only senses itself, and senses outward things. Sri Aurobindo tells us that this is the first means of the mind's rise out of “the half-conscience of the animal soul” (p.239). In all this obscurity, the slow process of a material mind is born. This mind is the slave of the body; and it leans on our senses – our senses which don't give the mind accurate information anyway.

At the beginning of mental development, man can live only in this mind. Sri Aurobindo and Mother call it the 'physical mind'. They've defined all kinds of actions of minds – of our mind, but 'minds' as they say it – and this is the physical mind, the first level. This physical mind, through the senses, perceives only what it can sense. It perceives the actual, the physical, and the objective. And it accepts all this information as fact. And it accepts these facts as self-evident truths beyond question. It never goes within; it never goes deep; it never goes high; it never goes subtle. Whatever is not actual, not physical, not objective, it regards as unreal, or unrealized.

And there are zillions of people in the world who live only in their physical mind. Sri Aurobindo in one letter says there are more people in the West who live this way, believing the only reality that exists is what they can sense.

Here in Savitri, Sri Aurobindo says our physical mind only senses “itself and outward things” (p.239), nothing else. And then he tells us that we must break out of “earth’s heavy smallness”, and we must “search our nature with spiritual fire” (p.240). The physical mind has to open to the higher consciousness that's all around it. Then its limitations are removed; and it accepts and admits – and experiences – supra-physical things. And finally, it begins to see things in harmony with the higher knowledge that is available.

Finally the mind sees things as they are, and deals with them according to the larger truth. And then, Sri Aurobindo says, “Even the body becomes intuitively conscious”[9].

So the king escapes this world: the origin of our physical mind. And he comes into “a realm of early Light” (p.241). Here a mediating light – something that goes between – links the body's power, and the life and power in the plant and in the animal, and the power of man's thought and man's thought [itself], to a higher Ray. So again, through the mediating light, more light is coming down. And in this place, these rays, our full scope of mind is born. Here is where the capacity comes. This is the way it has developed, through the evolution. (And it's pretty clear man hasn't done anything to himself; there's a higher power, and it's acting through the light in this way for man's development.)

So slowly but surely, mind is creating its own world – just as we all create our own worlds with our minds (and we begin to realize that more and more).

But still in this world at this level, mind is still cutting the truth into manageable bits. And then more comes: from the secret heights, more light descends, and “Ethereal thinkings” (p.243) stream down into Matter's world. And Sri Aurobindo says:

Its morning rays illume our twilight’s eyes (p.243)

And with this, it inspires the mind of earth – the physical mind – to higher things.

So we find the traveler of the worlds at the borders of the paradise of the life-gods. It's Book Two: “The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds”, Canto X. And just as Sri Aurobindo brought us through the kingdoms and godheads of the little Life, this canto is called: “The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind”. And he tells us straight out...

Canto Ten
The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind
This too must now be overpassed and left,
As all must be until the Highest is gained
In whom the world and self grow true and one:
Till That is reached our journeying cannot cease.
Always a nameless goal beckons beyond,
Always ascends the zigzag of the gods
And upward points the spirit’s climbing Fire.
This breath of hundred-hued felicity
And its pure heightened figure of Time’s joy,
Tossed upon waves of flawless happiness,
Hammered into single beats of ecstasy,
This fraction of the spirit’s integer
Caught into a passionate greatness of extremes,
This limited being lifted to zenith bliss,
Happy to enjoy one touch of things supreme,
Packed into its sealed small infinity,
Its endless time-made world outfacing Time,
A little output of God’s vast delight.
The moments stretched towards the eternal Now,
The hours discovered immortality,
But, satisfied with their sublime contents,
On peaks they ceased whose tops half-way to Heaven
Pointed to an apex they could never mount,
To a grandeur in whose air they could not live.
Inviting to their high and exquisite sphere,
To their secure and fine extremities
This creature who hugs his limits to feel safe,
These heights declined a greater adventure’s call.
A glory and sweetness of satisfied desire
Tied up the spirit to golden posts of bliss.
It could not house the wideness of a soul
Which needed all infinity for its home. p.239
A memory soft as grass and faint as sleep,
The beauty and call receding sank behind
Like a sweet song heard fading far away
Upon the long high road to Timelessness.
Above was an ardent white tranquillity.
A musing spirit looked out on the worlds
And like a brilliant clambering of skies
Passing through clarity to an unseen Light
Large lucent realms of Mind from stillness shone.
But first he met a silver-grey expanse
Where Day and Night had wedded and were one:
It was a tract of dim and shifting rays
Parting Life’s sentient flow from Thought’s self-poise.
A coalition of uncertainties
There exercised uneasy government
On a ground reserved for doubt and reasoned guess,
A rendezvous of Knowledge with Ignorance.
At its low extremity held difficult sway
A mind that hardly saw and slowly found;
Its nature to our earthly nature close
And kin to our precarious mortal thought
That looks from soil to sky and sky to soil
But knows not the below nor the beyond,
It only sensed itself and outward things.
This was the first means of our slow ascent
From the half-conscience of the animal soul
Living in a crowded press of shape-events
In a realm it cannot understand nor change;
Only it sees and acts in a given scene
And feels and joys and sorrows for a while.
The ideas that drive the obscure embodied spirit
Along the roads of suffering and desire
In a world that struggles to discover Truth,
Found here their power to be and Nature-force.
Here are devised the forms of an ignorant life
That sees the empiric fact as settled law, p.240
Labours for the hour and not for eternity
And trades its gains to meet the moment’s call:
The slow process of a material mind
Which serves the body it should rule and use
And needs to lean upon an erring sense,
Was born in that luminous obscurity.
Advancing tardily from a limping start,
Crutching hypothesis on argument,
Throning its theories as certitudes,
It reasons from the half-known to the unknown,
Ever constructing its frail house of thought,
Ever undoing the web that it has spun.
A twilight sage whose shadow seems to him self,
Moving from minute to brief minute lives;
A king dependent on his satellites
Signs the decrees of ignorant ministers,
A judge in half-possession of his proofs,
A voice clamant of uncertainty’s postulates,
An architect of knowledge, not its source.
This powerful bondslave of his instruments
Thinks his low station Nature’s highest top,
Oblivious of his share in all things made
And haughtily humble in his own conceit
Believes himself a spawn of Matter’s mud
And takes his own creations for his cause.
To eternal light and knowledge meant to rise,
Up from man’s bare beginning is our climb;
Out of earth’s heavy smallness we must break,
We must search our nature with spiritual fire:
An insect crawl preludes our glorious flight;
Our human state cradles the future god,
Our mortal frailty an immortal force.
      At the glow-worm top of these pale glimmer-realms
Where dawn-sheen gambolled with the native dusk
And helped the Day to grow and Night to fail,
Escaping over a wide and shimmering bridge, p.241
He came into a realm of early Light
And the regency of a half-risen sun.
Out of its rays our mind’s full orb was born.
Appointed by the Spirit of the Worlds
To mediate with the unknowing depths,
A prototypal deft Intelligence
Half-poised on equal wings of thought and doubt
Toiled ceaselessly twixt being’s hidden ends.
A Secrecy breathed in life’s moving act;
A covert nurse of Nature’s miracles,
It shaped life’s wonders out of Matter’s mud:
It cut the pattern of the shapes of things,
It pitched mind’s tent in the vague ignorant Vast.
A master Magician of measure and device
Has made an eternity from recurring forms
And to the wandering spectator thought
Assigned a seat on the inconscient stage.
On earth by the will of this Arch-Intelligence
A bodiless energy put on Matter’s robe;
Proton and photon served the imager Eye
To change things subtle into a physical world
And the invisible appeared as shape
And the impalpable was felt as mass:
Magic of percept joined with concept’s art
And lent to each object an interpreting name:
Idea was disguised in a body’s artistry,
And by a strange atomic law’s mystique
A frame was made in which the sense could put
Its symbol picture of the universe.
Even a greater miracle was done.
The mediating light linked body’s power,
The sleep and dreaming of the tree and plant,
The animal’s vibrant sense, the thought in man,
To the effulgence of a Ray above.
Its skill endorsing Matter’s right to think
Cut sentient passages for the mind of flesh p.242
And found a means for Nescience to know.
Offering its little squares and cubes of word
As figured substitutes for reality,
A mummified mnemonic alphabet,
It helped the unseeing Force to read her works.
A buried consciousness arose in her
And now she dreams herself human and awake.
But all was still a mobile Ignorance;
Still Knowledge could not come and firmly grasp
This huge invention seen as a universe.
A specialist of logic’s hard machine
Imposed its rigid artifice on the soul;
An aide of the inventor intellect,
It cut Truth into manageable bits
That each might have his ration of thought-food,
Then new-built Truth’s slain body by its art:
A robot exact and serviceable and false
Displaced the spirit’s finer view of things:
A polished engine did the work of a god.
None the true body found, its soul seemed dead:
None had the inner look which sees Truth’s whole;
All glorified the glittering substitute.
Then from the secret heights a wave swept down,
A brilliant chaos of rebel light arose;
It looked above and saw the dazzling peaks,
It looked within and woke the sleeping god.
Imagination called her shining squads
That venture into undiscovered scenes
Where all the marvels lurk none yet has known:
Lifting her beautiful and miraculous head,
She conspired with inspiration’s sister brood
To fill thought’s skies with glimmering nebulae.
A bright Error fringed the mystery-altar’s frieze;
Darkness grew nurse to wisdom’s occult sun,
Myth suckled knowledge with her lustrous milk;
The infant passed from dim to radiant breasts. p.243
Thus worked the Power upon the growing world;
Its subtle craft withheld the full-orbed blaze,
Cherished the soul’s childhood and on fictions fed
Far richer in their sweet and nectarous sap
Nourishing its immature divinity
Than the staple or dry straw of Reason’s tilth,
Its heaped fodder of innumerable facts,
Plebeian fare on which today we thrive.
Thus streamed down from the realm of early Light
Ethereal thinkings into Matter’s world;
Its gold-horned herds trooped into earth’s cave-heart.
Its morning rays illume our twilight’s eyes,
Its young formations move the mind of earth
To labour and to dream and new-create,
To feel beauty’s touch and know the world and self:
The Golden Child began to think and see.

  1. Collected Poems, p.285
  2. Letters on Yoga – III, p.129
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., p.128
  5. Ibid., p.130
  6. The Life Divine, p.173
  7. Essays in Philosophy and Yoga, p.575, “Supermind and Humanity”
  8. Ibid.
  9. Letters on Yoga – IV, p.7