Loretta reads Savitri:Two.XI "The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Mind" part 2
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto XI: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Mind
Part 2 of 3, pages 264-271
Now Sri Aurobindo is taking us into the details of the greater mind, the kingdoms and godheads of the greater mind. The place where the vast, powerful, world-forming thoughts of man come from. The high place from where they come down into us. And as we read on, we're so glad to be out of the narrow limitations and the blindness that we find out – that we have learned – that we have in the functions of our lower mind. We're in high, wide, cosmic thoughts. But we do come to the places where, Sri Aurobindo shows us, that even in the higher planes – even with these high, wide, universal cosmic thoughts – something cannot continue, can't go all the way. And we end up again with a spiritual deficiency. Because we have not reached the fullness of what we can be. And so we see that what happens in the lower mind, happens again in the higher mind.
In one of his letters, Sri Aurobindo writes in prose – in a different way – the facts which he gives here in poetry. And these things show us that we're no longer in our lower mind; and when we're no longer in our lower mind, we are open to receive more and more from the different planes of the higher mind. We're in realms of the spirit which is acting freely in its own light, and acting freely in its own right.
So in his letters, we get a simple, direct explanation – a practical one. And here in Savitri, we get the mystic experiences. And it comes in images that explain it to us if we can be open just to receive.
And he tells us that:
- “Higher Mind is one of the planes of the spiritual mind, the first and lowest of them; it is above the normal mental level.”
And he says that:
- “Our first decisive step out of our human intelligence, our normal mentality, is an ascent into a higher Mind, a mind no longer of mingled light and obscurity or half-light, but a large clarity of the spirit. Its basic substance is a unitarian sense of being with a powerful multiple dynamisation capable of the formation of a multitude of aspects of knowledge, ways of action, forms and significances of becoming, of all of which there is a spontaneous inherent knowledge. It is therefore a power that has proceeded from the Overmind, — but with the Supermind as its ulterior origin, — as all these greater powers have proceeded: but its special character, its activity of consciousness are dominated by Thought; it is a luminous thought-mind, a mind of spirit-born conceptual knowledge. An all-awareness emerging from the original identity, carrying the truths the identity held in itself, conceiving swiftly, victoriously, multitudinously, formulating and by self-power of the Idea effectually realising its conceptions, is the character of this greater mind of knowledge. This kind of cognition is [the first one that meets us when we rise out of] separative knowledge, base of the Ignorance; [...] it is, indeed, the spiritual parent of our conceptive mental ideation, and it is natural that this leading power of our mentality should, when it goes beyond itself, pass into its immediate source.”
So we're going to pass into our “immediate source” – not our final source. We've often heard the worlds 'Overmind gods'. Here in India, we see temples everywhere, with images of gods for daily worship. And these are statues and paintings that have been made since the Vedic times, according to the experiences of the Vedic Rishis and mystics, when they attained the higher minds and saw the godheads. Mother speaks of her relationships with various gods. Sri Aurobindo gives us some of his experiences of them in his diary. And here, all through Savitri, he's giving again his and Mother's experiences.
He tells us of different beings, different deities. Beings which are there and active, doing things for universal creation; and we receive from them. For example, when one enters, there are beings which he calls the “wardens” – or another word one can say is the 'guardians' – “of the ascending stair” (p.265). Among other things, they are “wait[ing] for the pilgrim heaven-bound soul” (p.265). And they offer their knowledge to the climbing mind. They are “Interpreters between man’s mind and God’s” (p.265).
In the first part of this canto, Sri Aurobindo told us that we can receive the great influences and thoughts that are coming down to us from these ideal worlds of mind. Now as we start on what could be called 'practical details' – although they're nothing physically practical – he tells us that when we enter these worlds from the lower mind, there is “A triple realm of ordered thought” (p.264). Today we will travel the first two realms.
Sri Aurobindo tells us that the first of these realms are “close and kin to human mind” (p.264). And the godheads there shape the roads of our greater thinking. These are great thoughts that we can have. There are beings there who he calls the “Masters of things actual” (p.266). They are “Creators of Matter by hid stress of Mind”. They are “a race of young keen-visioned gods”. They “[Obey] the Eternal’s deep command” (p.266).
- To all that Spirit conceives they give a mould;
- Persuading Nature into visible moods
- They lend a finite shape to infinite things. (p.266)
They “[fill] the life with Thought’s immensities” (p.265). The totality of the Supermind is not here yet, but we are in great heights of the spirit.
They control the powers that leap from the Unmanifest with “rhythmic laws” (p.266). They contain “The All-containing” (p.266) in form. And as our lower mind does, they take Oneness – the totality – and cut it into measurable bits. But for us, we're taking the totality of some information; but for them they're taking Oneness itself.
They make a term for the powers that want to “monopolise the world” (p.267). Everything is put into its own appointed place. So still it's an action of the mind; but it is here a universal work to manifest the creation. We're starting to go into levels that are really creative. It is a knowledge which in its origin is immortal. And here it is bound, and made into something fixed and perishable. So, since it's fixed – and perishable – it can no longer last. It breaks, and new thinking comes.
But unlike the individual's lower mind, our lower mind where we only get information from our individual five senses – and this ties us to outward worlds, and completely limits the way we think to our individuality – here, we have the inner world. An inner world which man can realize, and have much greater experiences.
Sri Aurobindo ends his description of the first of the triple realms of ordered thought by saying that in order for the created to grow Nature's lord – to become the lord of Nature – and for the depths of Matter to be illumined with a soul, “The million-mysteried movement of the One” is here “tied to date and norm and finite scope” (p.268).
The second realm of ordered thought has what Sri Aurobindo calls “a subtle archangel race” (p.268). These are beings that search the unseen. They live in the mind, and know truth from within. They investigate the works of “the timeless Power” (p.268). (Sri Aurobindo is writing 'Power' with a capital 'P', making it a living thing in its own.) And he refers to this Power as “her”, as the female. So we know that when he says, “Their mind could penetrate her occult mind” (p.268), it is the mighty Mother's occult mind that they're dealing with. They “diagram [...] her secret thoughts” (p.268); they put reasons and rules to her mysterious course.
But then, Sri Aurobindo kind of puts them in a place, when he says that “The unseen grew visible to student eyes” (p.269). He describes different ways they limit different aspects of the spirit's manifestations. Finally he says that here, “Mind’s knowledge overtopped the Omniscient’s power” (p.270). And of course by now we know that can never be true. 'Omniscient' means 'all-knowledge', everywhere, all-knowledge – the infinitude of knowledge and wisdom. And this is far more than any aspect that the limited mind can contain.
And so again, at this even higher level of greater mind, these beings are still limiting things. There is still some kind of lack of perception of the whole.
Sri Aurobindo says:
- The mighty Mother’s whims and lightning moods
- Robbed of their wonder were chained to a cause and aim; (p.270)
“[T]he alluring marvel of her eyes” (p.270) is lost. “[H]er eyelashes’ dream-print” (p.270) is forgotten.
And so these beings go on like this; they go on and on “Till all seem[s] known that in all time could be” (p.270). But “By knowing too much they missed the whole to be known” (p.271). So we see that the whole can't be realized yet; but many of the great realizations of the scientific geniuses, the great philosophers of history, have come from here. We don't get to the total truth which comes only with the Supermind, but we do get unknown truths of the creation.
Every plane below the Supermind has its limitations – limitations which play their part in both the involution and the evolution. And it all contributes to the balanced complexity of the total manifestation. Every possible stage has to be represented, so that there are no unbridgeable gaps anywhere. Our minds might wish things were simpler; but it all makes perfect sense to the Divine.
And there has to be something missing on each level, in each world, every place that the great traveller visits. He is questing for the Truth, and he is searching for the Divine Mother. If there was not a limitation, there would be no reason for the traveller to go on. And also no reason for us to make any more effort in our own sadhana, if we get to these worlds.
This higher mind was actually the spiritual ideal of attaining liberation for many centuries. It is only now that Sri Aurobindo has opened the way to much greater realms – and, most wonderfully, opened the way to the ultimate possibility of the Supermind.
So here we have something which shows us the higher mind with its limitations; but at the same time, seeing this, and knowing what will lie ahead on the path.
So here we are with the traveller in “The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Mind”.
… A triple realm of ordered thought came first, A small beginning of immense ascent: Above were bright ethereal skies of mind, A packed and endless soar as if sky pressed sky Buttressed against the Void on bastioned light; The highest strove to neighbour eternity, The largest widened into the infinite. But though immortal, mighty and divine, The first realms were close and kin to human mind; Their deities shape our greater thinking’s roads, p.265 A fragment of their puissance can be ours: These breadths were not too broad for our souls to range, These heights were not too high for human hope. A triple flight led to this triple world. Although abrupt for common strengths to tread, Its upward slope looks down on our earth-poise: On a slant not too precipitously steep One could turn back travelling deep descending lines To commune with the mortal’s universe. The mighty wardens of the ascending stair Who intercede with the all-creating Word, There waited for the pilgrim heaven-bound soul; Holding the thousand keys of the Beyond They proffered their knowledge to the climbing mind And filled the life with Thought’s immensities. The prophet hierophants of the occult Law, The flame-bright hierarchs of the divine Truth, Interpreters between man’s mind and God’s, They bring the immortal fire to mortal men. Iridescent, bodying the invisible, The guardians of the Eternal’s bright degrees Fronted the Sun in radiant phalanxes. Afar they seemed a symbol imagery, Illumined originals of the shadowy script In which our sight transcribes the ideal Ray, Or icons figuring a mystic Truth, But, nearer, Gods and living Presences. A march of friezes marked the lowest steps; Fantastically ornate and richly small, They had room for the whole meaning of a world, Symbols minute of its perfection’s joy, Strange beasts that were Nature’s forces made alive And, wakened to the wonder of his role, Man grown an image undefaced of God And objects the fine coin of Beauty’s reign; But wide the terrains were those levels serve. p.266 In front of the ascending epiphany World-Time’s enjoyers, favourites of World-Bliss, The Masters of things actual, lords of the hours, Playmates of youthful Nature and child God, Creators of Matter by hid stress of Mind Whose subtle thoughts support unconscious Life And guide the fantasy of brute events, Stood there, a race of young keen-visioned gods, King-children born on Wisdom’s early plane, Taught in her school world-making’s mystic play. Archmasons of the eternal Thaumaturge, Moulders and measurers of fragmented Space, They have made their plan of the concealed and known A dwelling-house for the invisible king. Obeying the Eternal’s deep command They have built in the material front of things This wide world-kindergarten of young souls Where the infant spirit learns through mind and sense To read the letters of the cosmic script And study the body of the cosmic self And search for the secret meaning of the whole. To all that Spirit conceives they give a mould; Persuading Nature into visible moods They lend a finite shape to infinite things. Each power that leaps from the Unmanifest Leaving the largeness of the Eternal’s peace They seized and held by their precisian eye And made a figurante in the cosmic dance. Its free caprice they bound by rhythmic laws And compelled to accept its posture and its line In the wizardry of an ordered universe. The All-containing was contained in form, Oneness was carved into units measurable, The limitless built into a cosmic sum: Unending Space was beaten into a curve, Indivisible Time into small minutes cut, p.267 The infinitesimal massed to keep secure The mystery of the Formless cast into form. Invincibly their craft devised for use The magic of sequent number and sign’s spell, Design’s miraculous potency was caught Laden with beauty and significance And by the determining mandate of their gaze Figure and quality equating joined In an inextricable identity. On each event they stamped its curves of law And its trust and charge of burdened circumstance; A free and divine incident no more At each moment willed or adventure of the soul, It lengthened a fate-bound mysterious chain, A line foreseen of an immutable plan, One step more in Necessity’s long march. A term was set for every eager Power Restraining its will to monopolise the world, A groove of bronze prescribed for force and act And shown to each moment its appointed place Forewilled inalterably in the spiral Huge Time-loop fugitive from eternity. Inevitable their thoughts like links of Fate Imposed on the leap and lightning race of mind And on the frail fortuitous flux of life And on the liberty of atomic things Immutable cause and adamant consequence. Idea gave up the plastic infinity To which it was born and now traced out instead Small separate steps of chain-work in a plot: Immortal once, now tied to birth and end, Torn from its immediacy of errorless sight, Knowledge was rebuilt from cells of inference Into a fixed body flasque and perishable; Thus bound it grew, but could not last and broke And to a new thinking’s body left its place. p.268 A cage for the Infinite’s great-eyed seraphim Thoughts Was closed with a criss-cross of world-laws for bars And hedged into a curt horizon’s arc The irised vision of the Ineffable. A timeless Spirit was made the slave of the hours; The Unbound was cast into a prison of birth To make a world that Mind could grasp and rule. On an earth which looked towards a thousand suns, That the created might grow Nature’s lord And Matter’s depths be illumined with a soul They tied to date and norm and finite scope The million-mysteried movement of the One. Above stood ranked a subtle archangel race With larger lids and looks that searched the unseen. A light of liberating knowledge shone Across the gulfs of silence in their eyes; They lived in the mind and knew truth from within; A sight withdrawn in the concentrated heart Could pierce behind the screen of Time’s results And the rigid cast and shape of visible things. All that escaped conception’s narrow noose Vision descried and gripped; their seeing thoughts Filled in the blanks left by the seeking sense. High architects of possibility And engineers of the impossible, Mathematicians of the infinitudes And theoricians of unknowable truths, They formulate enigma’s postulates And join the unknown to the apparent worlds. Acolytes they wait upon the timeless Power, The cycle of her works investigate; Passing her fence of wordless privacy Their mind could penetrate her occult mind And draw the diagram of her secret thoughts; They read the codes and ciphers she had sealed, Copies they made of all her guarded plans, p.269 For every turn of her mysterious course Assigned a reason and unchanging rule. The unseen grew visible to student eyes, Explained was the immense Inconscient’s scheme, Audacious lines were traced upon the Void; The Infinite was reduced to square and cube. Arranging symbol and significance, Tracing the curve of a transcendent Power, They framed the cabbala of the cosmic Law, The balancing line discovered of Life’s technique And structured her magic and her mystery. Imposing schemes of knowledge on the Vast They clamped to syllogisms of finite thought The free logic of an infinite Consciousness, Grammared the hidden rhythms of Nature’s dance, Critiqued the plot of the drama of the worlds, Made figure and number a key to all that is: The psycho-analysis of cosmic Self Was traced, its secrets hunted down, and read The unknown pathology of the Unique. Assessed was the system of the probable, The hazard of fleeing possibilities, To account for the Actual’s unaccountable sum, Necessity’s logarithmic tables drawn, Cast into a scheme the triple act of the One. Unveiled, the abrupt invisible multitude Of forces whirling from the hands of Chance Seemed to obey some vast imperative: Their tangled motives worked out unity. A wisdom read their mind to themselves unknown, Their anarchy rammed into a formula And from their giant randomness of Force, Following the habit of their million paths, Distinguishing each faintest line and stroke Of a concealed unalterable design, Out of the chaos of the Invisible’s moods p.270 Derived the calculus of Destiny. In its bright pride of universal lore Mind’s knowledge overtopped the Omniscient’s power: The Eternal’s winging eagle puissances Surprised in their untracked empyrean Stooped from their gyres to obey the beck of Thought: Each mysteried God forced to revealing form, Zigzagged at the gesture of a chess-player Will Across the chequerboard of cosmic Fate. In the wide sequence of Necessity’s steps Predicted, every act and thought of God, Its values weighed by the accountant Mind, Checked in his mathematised omnipotence, Lost its divine aspect of miracle And was a figure in a cosmic sum. The mighty Mother’s whims and lightning moods Arisen from her all-wise unruled delight In the freedom of her sweet and passionate breast, Robbed of their wonder were chained to a cause and aim; An idol of bronze replaced her mystic shape That captures the movements of the cosmic vasts, In the sketch precise of an ideal face Forgotten was her eyelashes’ dream-print Carrying on their curve infinity’s dreams, Lost the alluring marvel of her eyes; The surging wave-throbs of her vast sea-heart They bound to a theorem of ordered beats: Her deep designs which from herself she had veiled Bowed self-revealed in their confessional. For the birth and death of the worlds they fixed a date, The diameter of infinity was drawn, Measured the distant arc of the unseen heights And visualised the plumbless viewless depths, Till all seemed known that in all time could be. All was coerced by number, name and form; p.271 Nothing was left untold, incalculable. Yet was their wisdom circled with a nought: Truths they could find and hold but not the one Truth: The Highest was to them unknowable. By knowing too much they missed the whole to be known: The fathomless heart of the world was left unguessed And the Transcendent kept its secrecy. ...