Loretta reads Savitri:Two.XIV "The World-Soul"
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto XIV: The World-Soul
Aswapati, the great yogi and king, is traveling through all the inner worlds of being. He is searching for the Divine Mother. He wants to ask her for her help in his own Yoga, and also for help for progress for the whole world. He's doing the Yoga of the world itself, in his inner journey to find her.
The king has travelled through the kingdoms of subtle matter, the kingdoms of the vital energetic worlds, the kingdoms of the worlds of mind, and he has been going always deeper and deeper into different levels of the creation. Now he's beginning to come closer to his goal. He's going to enter the soul of the world ‒ and there, at the very center of creation, he will see the Divine Mother for the first time.
When we left the king last time, he had just journeyed into the ‘Self of Mind’ ‒ this is a part of consciousness which is available to man. And this plane of mind holds all life in a corner of its vast. At first the yogi king had thought that at this level of the mental plane, he had finally attained the realization of the supreme Self. He believed this, because when he identified himself with the Self of Mind, and became one with the Self of Mind, he experienced his own being becoming wide and powerful and free.
Sri Aurobindo teaches that this is a liberation, where one has all knowledge, and one acts according to the Divine Will. But, when King Aswapati seemed to understand and know everything, and his soul had peace, and his soul knew the cosmic whole, Sri Aurobindo writes:
- Then suddenly a luminous finger fell
- On all things seen or touched or heard or felt
- And showed his mind that nothing could be known;
- That must be reached from which all knowledge comes. (p.284)
And when the king saw that he had not reached the goal, he knew that a greater spirit than the Self of Mind must answer to the questioning of his soul.
So when we left the king, at the end of Canto XIII, the king was trying to find the way out ‒ trying to find the way to progress to the greater Spirit. But he was going around in circles; he couldn't seem to get anywhere.
Now, we're going to have the most wonderful experiences here. We'll be travelling together with the king, to reach the last and deepest place in the heart of the world. And there we will be in the inmost depths of the world-soul.
Mother said that she had the king's experiences just as Sri Aurobindo wrote them here. In the Agenda, on July 26th, 1969, Mother told Satprem about reading this canto, “The World-Soul”. She said:
- Yesterday, I read another part of Savitri which tells how the king is transformed — those are ALL the experiences my body is now going through!
(And in the book, the word ‘ALL’ is in big, heavy capital letters. So we know that that's how Mother said it to Satprem: “those are ALL the experiences my body is now going through”. Then she says:)
- I knew nothing about it (I don't remember that at all),
(And by this, Mother means that she doesn't remember Savitri ‒ she doesn't remember reading this part of Savitri. And then she goes on and she says, again:)
- ...and I seemed to be reading all the experiences my body is now going through .... It's interesting.
- There's EVERYTHING in this Savitri!
(And again, the word ‘EVERYTHING’ is in full capital letters, so Mother has said: “There's EVERYTHING in this Savitri”. And then she says:)
- And to be able to describe those experiences like that, he must have had them.
In different letters that Sri Aurobindo wrote about Savitri, he said that everything spiritual or psychological that he wrote in Savitri was a personal experience. In one letter he wrote:
- “The mystical poet can only describe what he has felt, seen in himself or others or in the world just as he has felt or seen it or experienced through exact vision, close contact or identity”
He wrote in the Record of Yoga, his own spiritual diary, about an experience he had of the dual consciousness of the Supreme Master and the Divine Mother ‒ which later he wrote about in Savitri, here, in this canto (towards the end).
When the yogi king finally sees the Divine Mother for the first time, she is standing behind the figure of what Sri Aurobindo calls “the deathless Two-in-One / A single being in two bodies” (p.295). And he says:
- Their trance of bliss sustained the mobile world. (p.295)
In his own yoga practice, Sri Aurobindo worked to have the consciousness of both the supreme unmanifest (the Supreme Master) and the totality of the manifestation (the Divine Mother). It was not enough just to get out of the creation and realize the Master. One had to be able to have both, all the time. And these are often called ‘Parameshwara’ (the Supreme Lord) and ‘Parameshwari’ (the Divine Mother) ‒ his female form, his power which he puts out from himself to manifest the creation, and to be the whole creation.
In his diary, which is written in English, Sri Aurobindo wrote very short sentences very quickly, and used a lot of Sanskrit words as a kind of shorthand so he could say things quickly. So I've added some of his English translations here in place of some of the Sanskrit terms, to understand what he's talking about. In January of 192 he wrote:
- “Darshana — simultaneous vision of Parameswara-Parameswari in all.”
And then again, on February 1st, soon after:
- A step forward in Darshana (Aditi holding Pa-Pi [Parameshwara-Parameshwari] in all living things, less vividly in all objects). This is not yet entirely universalised but it is increasing.”
Now, as we begin to travel with the king, we are drawn with him to the World-Soul, by the irresistible call of the world's heart. In Sri Aurobindo's words, we have the experiences that both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had. And not only do his words carry the experience, but also, he re-wrote Savitri again and again, over and over, for many years, each time he had another realization, to give the highest consciousness possible to the reader. Sri Aurobindo tells us about a passage to the world's deep heart, that the king enters. He is led by a mysterious sound, that was all sounds in turn, and yet the same sound. It was the wordless call of the heart of the world, calling to lead the king. And he travelled:
- As one drawn to his lost spiritual home
- Feels now the closeness of a waiting love (p.289)
Then, Sri Aurobindo tells us of the love and the power of the silent soul of all the world. And he tells us what it is like to be in the presence of this. He describes for us how soul can touch soul, and how souls can be together without the need of a body.
This is also the place where our souls retire to rest between lifetimes. And Sri Aurobindo describes it for us in some detail. He tells us what happens when a soul returns to the world's deep soul.
Then we travel with the king along a road of pure interior light, “Towards the end which ever begins again,”. There he sees “The figure of the deathless Two-in-One” (p.295) ‒ Parameshwara and Parameshwari. And behind them, for the first time in his long, long, long journey ‒ after having given his life to first doing his own yoga, and now to doing the yoga of the world ‒ he finally gets to see the Divine Mother.
At the end of this canto, Sri Aurobindo gives us the king's experience of being completely mastered, and completely overwhelmed, by the Divine Mother. He gives it to us in words that can fill our heart, and enter into our soul.
So here we are, in Savitri, Book Two, Canto XIV: “The World-Soul”.
Canto Fourteen The World-Soul A covert answer to his seeking came. In a far shimmering background of Mind-Space A glowing mouth was seen, a luminous shaft; A recluse gate it seemed, musing on joy, A veiled retreat and escape to mystery. Away from the unsatisfied surface world It fled into the bosom of the unknown, A well, a tunnel of the depths of God. It plunged as if a mystic groove of hope Through many layers of formless voiceless self To reach the last profound of the world’s heart, And from that heart there surged a wordless call Pleading with some still impenetrable Mind, Voicing some passionate unseen desire. As if a beckoning finger of secrecy Outstretched into a crystal mood of air, Pointing at him from some near hidden depth, As if a message from the world’s deep soul, An intimation of a lurking joy That flowed out from a cup of brooding bliss, There shimmered stealing out into the Mind A mute and quivering ecstasy of light, A passion and delicacy of roseate fire. As one drawn to his lost spiritual home Feels now the closeness of a waiting love, Into a passage dim and tremulous That clasped him in from day and night’s pursuit, He travelled led by a mysterious sound. A murmur multitudinous and lone, All sounds it was in turn, yet still the same. A hidden call to unforeseen delight In the summoning voice of one long-known, well-loved, p.290 But nameless to the unremembering mind, It led to rapture back the truant heart. The immortal cry ravished the captive ear. Then, lowering its imperious mystery, It sank to a whisper circling round the soul. It seemed the yearning of a lonely flute That roamed along the shores of memory And filled the eyes with tears of longing joy. A cricket’s rash and fiery single note, It marked with shrill melody night’s moonless hush And beat upon a nerve of mystic sleep Its high insistent magical reveille. A jingling silver laugh of anklet bells Travelled the roads of a solitary heart; Its dance solaced an eternal loneliness: An old forgotten sweetness sobbing came. Or from a far harmonious distance heard The tinkling pace of a long caravan It seemed at times, or a vast forest’s hymn, The solemn reminder of a temple gong, A bee-croon honey-drunk in summer isles Ardent with ecstasy in a slumbrous noon, Or the far anthem of a pilgrim sea. An incense floated in the quivering air, A mystic happiness trembled in the breast As if the invisible Beloved had come Assuming the sudden loveliness of a face And close glad hands could seize his fugitive feet And the world change with the beauty of a smile. Into a wonderful bodiless realm he came, The home of a passion without name or voice, A depth he felt answering to every height, A nook was found that could embrace all worlds, A point that was the conscious knot of Space, An hour eternal in the heart of Time. The silent Soul of all the world was there: p.291 A Being lived, a Presence and a Power, A single Person who was himself and all And cherished Nature’s sweet and dangerous throbs Transfigured into beats divine and pure. One who could love without return for love, Meeting and turning to the best the worst, It healed the bitter cruelties of earth, Transforming all experience to delight; Intervening in the sorrowful paths of birth It rocked the cradle of the cosmic Child And stilled all weeping with its hand of joy; It led things evil towards their secret good, It turned racked falsehood into happy truth; Its power was to reveal divinity. Infinite, coeval with the mind of God, It bore within itself a seed, a flame, A seed from which the Eternal is new-born, A flame that cancels death in mortal things. All grew to all kindred and self and near; The intimacy of God was everywhere, No veil was felt, no brute barrier inert, Distance could not divide, Time could not change. A fire of passion burned in spirit-depths, A constant touch of sweetness linked all hearts, The throb of one adoration’s single bliss In a rapt ether of undying love. An inner happiness abode in all, A sense of universal harmonies, A measureless secure eternity Of truth and beauty and good and joy made one. Here was the welling core of finite life; A formless spirit became the soul of form.        All there was soul or made of sheer soul-stuff; A sky of soul covered a deep soul-ground. All here was known by a spiritual sense: p.292 Thought was not there but a knowledge near and one Seized on all things by a moved identity, A sympathy of self with other selves, The touch of consciousness on consciousness And being’s look on being with inmost gaze And heart laid bare to heart without walls of speech And the unanimity of seeing minds In myriad forms luminous with the one God. Life was not there, but an impassioned force, Finer than fineness, deeper than the deeps, Felt as a subtle and spiritual power, A quivering out from soul to answering soul, A mystic movement, a close influence, A free and happy and intense approach Of being to being with no screen or check, Without which life and love could never have been. Body was not there, for bodies were needed not, The soul itself was its own deathless form And met at once the touch of other souls Close, blissful, concrete, wonderfully true. As when one walks in sleep through luminous dreams And, conscious, knows the truth their figures mean, Here where reality was its own dream, He knew things by their soul and not their shape As those who have lived long made one in love Need word nor sign for heart’s reply to heart, He met and communed without bar of speech With beings unveiled by a material frame. There was a strange spiritual scenery, A loveliness of lakes and streams and hills, A flow, a fixity in a soul-space, And plains and valleys, stretches of soul-joy, And gardens that were flower-tracts of the spirit, Its meditations of tinged reverie. Air was the breath of a pure infinite. A fragrance wandered in a coloured haze p.293 As if the scent and hue of all sweet flowers Had mingled to copy heaven’s atmosphere. Appealing to the soul and not the eye Beauty lived there at home in her own house, There all was beautiful by its own right And needed not the splendour of a robe. All objects were like bodies of the Gods, A spirit symbol environing a soul, For world and self were one reality. Immersed in voiceless internatal trance The beings that once wore forms on earth sat there In shining chambers of spiritual sleep. Passed were the pillar-posts of birth and death, Passed was their little scene of symbol deeds, Passed were the heavens and hells of their long road; They had returned into the world’s deep soul. All now was gathered into pregnant rest: Person and nature suffered a slumber change. In trance they gathered back their bygone selves, In a background memory’s foreseeing muse Prophetic of new personality Arranged the map of their coming destiny’s course: Heirs of their past, their future’s discoverers, Electors of their own self-chosen lot, They waited for the adventure of new life. A Person persistent through the lapse of worlds, Although the same for ever in many shapes By the outward mind unrecognisable, Assuming names unknown in unknown climes Imprints through Time upon the earth’s worn page A growing figure of its secret self, And learns by experience what the spirit knew, Till it can see its truth alive and God. Once more they must face the problem-game of birth, The soul’s experiment of joy and grief p.294 And thought and impulse lighting the blind act, And venture on the roads of circumstance, Through inner movements and external scenes Travelling to self across the forms of things. Into creation’s centre he had come. The spirit wandering from state to state Finds here the silence of its starting-point In the formless force and the still fixity And brooding passion of the world of Soul. All that is made and once again unmade, The calm persistent vision of the One Inevitably re-makes, it lives anew: Forces and lives and beings and ideas Are taken into the stillness for a while; There they remould their purpose and their drift, Recast their nature and re-form their shape. Ever they change and changing ever grow, And passing through a fruitful stage of death And after long reconstituting sleep Resume their place in the process of the Gods Until their work in cosmic Time is done. Here was the fashioning chamber of the worlds. An interval was left twixt act and act, Twixt birth and birth, twixt dream and waking dream, A pause that gave new strength to do and be. Beyond were regions of delight and peace, Mute birthplaces of light and hope and love, And cradles of heavenly rapture and repose. In a slumber of the voices of the world He of the eternal moment grew aware; His knowledge stripped bare of the garbs of sense Knew by identity without thought or word; His being saw itself without its veils, Life’s line fell from the spirit’s infinity. Along a road of pure interior light, Alone between tremendous Presences, p.295 Under the watching eyes of nameless Gods, His soul passed on, a single conscious power, Towards the end which ever begins again, Approaching through a stillness dumb and calm To the source of all things human and divine. There he beheld in their mighty union’s poise The figure of the deathless Two-in-One, A single being in two bodies clasped, A diarchy of two united souls, Seated absorbed in deep creative joy; Their trance of bliss sustained the mobile world. Behind them in a morning dusk One stood Who brought them forth from the Unknowable. Ever disguised she awaits the seeking spirit; Watcher on the supreme unreachable peaks, Guide of the traveller of the unseen paths, She guards the austere approach to the Alone. At the beginning of each far-spread plane Pervading with her power the cosmic suns She reigns, inspirer of its multiple works And thinker of the symbol of its scene. Above them all she stands supporting all, The sole omnipotent Goddess ever-veiled Of whom the world is the inscrutable mask; The ages are the footfalls of her tread, Their happenings the figure of her thoughts, And all creation is her endless act. His spirit was made a vessel of her force; Mute in the fathomless passion of his will He outstretched to her his folded hands of prayer. Then in a sovereign answer to his heart A gesture came as of worlds thrown away, And from her raiment’s lustrous mystery raised One arm half-parted the eternal veil. A light appeared still and imperishable. Attracted to the large and luminous depths p.296 Of the ravishing enigma of her eyes, He saw the mystic outline of a face. Overwhelmed by her implacable light and bliss, An atom of her illimitable self Mastered by the honey and lightning of her power, Tossed towards the shores of her ocean-ecstasy, Drunk with a deep golden spiritual wine, He cast from the rent stillness of his soul A cry of adoration and desire And the surrender of his boundless mind And the self-giving of his silent heart. He fell down at her feet unconscious, prone. END OF CANTO FOURTEEN