Loretta reads Savitri:Two.XV "The Kingdoms of the Greater Knowledge"
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto XV: The Kingdoms of the Greater Knowledge
King Aswapati, the traveller of the inner worlds, is finally reaching his goal: the supreme creative power of the universe, the Divine Mother. But we see that although he started to reach her, he's still got a ways to go. In his diary the Record of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo writes this about the Divine Mother:
- “[She is] the Supreme and Original Mahashakti, all proceeds from her, all lives by her, all lives in her, even as she lives in all. All wisdom and knowledge are her wisdom and knowledge; all power is her power, all will and force her will and force, all action is her action, all movement her movement. All beings are portions of her power of existence.”
So we see that that yogi king has a very high goal to reach. And he is a representative of humanity. He is a forerunner in human evolution. Back in Book One, Canto III: “The Yoga of the King”, Sri Aurobindo said, “His days were a long growth to the Supreme.” (p.22). Later on in that canto, he said:
- The cosmic Worker set his secret hand
- To turn this frail mud-engine to heaven-use.
- It beat his soil to bear a Titan’s weight,
- Refining half-hewn blocks of natural strength
- It built his soul into a statued god.
- The Craftsman of the magic stuff of self
- Who labours at his high and difficult plan
- In the wide workshop of the wonderful world,
- Modelled in inward Time his rhythmic parts. (p.24)
So we can see that it is also our destiny to be shaped by unseen forces, until we too are like the king.
Also in this canto, Sri Aurobindo told something that the king participated in ‒ that he did for himself.
- His force could work with a new luminous art
- On the crude material from which all is made
- He slowly chipped off the dark envelope,
- Line of defence of Nature’s ignorance (p.36)
We see a double work. The powers of growth and progress work to change us; and we also have to work. Man has evolved to be able to cooperate more or less consciously in his own evolution. The more we cooperate, the faster we grow.
So far in Savitri, we've seen a lot of negative and positive things that the king has had to experience, that he's had to work on in himself. And we have seen him work his way through many of the levels of consciousness that all human beings have. We've seen him meet and rise above the terrible darknesses of the vital worlds. And we've seen him attain to vital heavens. We've been with him to discover so many worlds of Mind. We've seen what a great being he was ‒ how great he was even before he started. And on the way we've learned how much greater he's become, this far.
Last time, in Canto XIV, King Aswapati entered the immortal plane of the world-soul. There, he was able to have his first experience of consciously being in the presence of the Supreme divine power. Not through the mind ‒ but through the heart. Through the depth of the heart; through the soul of the world. The center of creation.
And there, he could ‒ now, in his development ‒ at least begin to see the subtle form of the Divine Mother. But with all his traveling, with everything he's done, with all his work, with all his spiritual growth and changes ‒ we saw that he still couldn't handle it. He was so overwhelmed with her power, with her light, with her bliss, that he fainted dead away. And he fell down unconscious at her feet.
Perhaps the Divine Mother was expecting Aswapati. Perhaps she'd been watching over him for a long, long time, and maybe even guiding him on his way. In the same way that all sincere seekers are guided.
Just as many people here are very conscious of Mother and Sri Aurobindo helping them and guiding them. Maybe the Divine Mother really knew, that he still was not ready, even though he wanted so much. He still was not ready to bear her light and her bliss and her power. Because even though at this point, Aswapati is ready, and he sees her, and his spirit is made “a vessel of her force” ‒ so his spirit can receive and hold her force ‒ still, when “He outstretched to her his folded hands of prayer” (p.295), and surrendered so much, the Divine Mother only half-opened the eternal veil.
And when he had given his all ‒ the surrender of his mind, the surrender of his heart ‒ “He fell down at her feet unconscious, prone” (p.296).
And we see that the full force of the Divine Mother has proved to be more than he can take in and realize. He still lacks the capacity to hold it. Sri Aurobindo says:
- “The body is the pratistha in this material universe; for the working out of the divine lila on earth it is necessary that it should have especially the dharanasamarthyam or power of sustaining the full stream of force, of ananda, of widening knowledge & being which descends into mind and prana and the vital and bodily functions with the progress of the siddhi.”
Mother and Sri Aurobindo always said that the difficult work ‒ the real difficult work ‒ is in our physical body, because our physical body is the most resistant to the higher forces.
In this new canto, the king definitely makes physical progress, because the body is “delivered to the soul” (p.301). In later cantos he makes more progress, until finally, we'll see that he can fully receive the Divine Mother's force.
Mother said about herself that she could easily experience the higher consciousness in all the planes and parts of her being, except the physical body. Her Agenda, the record of her own yoga, contains an ongoing story about her own cells ‒ about the consciousness of her cells. She spoke about her cells all the time, and spoke of their progress in receiving the divine Force.
She also said quite often how necessary it was for people to take care of the body. To take proper food; especially to take enough rest. Because all this was necessary for the full progress in the Yoga.
By the time the king had travelled through the Self of Mind, he had gone beyond the limits of normal human intelligence. Most of us never have that realization. But thus far, he had only been in mental planes ‒ in parts of the mind which have an essentially mental character. And this is defined as a function that has to break things up into parts.
So these things, these parts of the mind that break things up into parts, did not bring him the identification and the full union with the consciousness that contains the integral All. Even in the Self of Mind, where he thought at first that he had realized the Self of All, his soul had peace ‒ his soul knew the cosmic whole. Still, he was shown that nothing could be known by the mind. He had to reach that source where all knowledge comes from.
Elsewhere (and in fact many times elsewhere), Sri Aurobindo explained that this great knowledge of the cosmic whole was only half of the realization. There had to be power. There had to be full capacity. Power that can effectuate this knowledge in life ‒ use it, make it living, do things with it. We can't sit forever in some high place; we have to bring that attainment back, to use it in the world.
Here in Savitri, Sri Aurobindo shows us that the king has to stop ascending upward through the graded steps of Mind as he has been doing; and instead, for his full development, he has to descend down into the inmost depths of the world's heart, to the inmost depths of the world-soul, the center of creation itself. And it is there that the king first finds the divine Power that creates everything, that is the creation itself. The Divine Mother.
So, if we are again with King Aswapati, we are in the beginning of Canto XV. And there, from being in the world-soul, he has recovered his consciousness and he has found himself in a place that Sri Aurobindo was calling “The Kingdoms of Greater Knowledge”. And we'll see that we are finally completely out of the mind. Because the king is in what Sri Aurobindo calls an ‘Overmental’ plane. The Overmind.
This canto is full of extraordinary experiences and very high things. And it's full of different ways that describe an all-containing consciousness. Different descriptions of the all-ness of the Spirit, of the completion of energy. And the mind cannot have that by its nature. So, what is over the mental planes can have it. Sri Aurobindo writes things like:
- Here came the thought that passes beyond Thought,
- Here the still Voice which our listening cannot hear,
- The Knowledge by which the knower is the known,
- The Love in which beloved and lover are one. (p.297)
The king has already realized that nothing can be known by the mind; and he has to reach the consciousness from which all knowledge comes. And here we have “The Knowledge by which the knower is the known” (p.297).
When the king recovers his consciousness, Sri Aurobindo says, it is “After a measureless moment of the soul” (p.297). From being in the world-soul, Aswapati had risen out of the sphere of mind and the relativity of Nature, and he was now in the purity ‒ the colorless purity, the full purity ‒ of his Self. He writes:
- Himself was to himself his only scene. (p.297)
He was in a plane of spirit, where all began, and all ended. It was the place for spiritual birth. The king could see the infinity behind all finite things. And he's now beginning to know the unknowable. He can see the splendor of the spirit's realms, “One with self’s inlook into its own pure vasts” (p.298); so it's his own insides, and yet it's the spirit's realms. In that consciousness, spirit is not hidden from its own vision. He could see without limit the spirit's works, its calm, its vision of one same stupendous All, and its endless multiplicity of the one Self. He's in a place where all is different, and all is one.
So we can see, now that Sri Aurobindo has been in the world-soul, he can completely be in his own soul, which is a part of the soul, the Self. And perhaps (because Sri Aurobindo doesn't say so, but...), perhaps the Divine Mother was working in his consciousness while he was unconscious. Both Mother and Sri Aurobindo were working in people around them. In the Ashram they spent a lot of time working in the people, to help the people move forward with their own sadhana, with their own yoga.
So perhaps the Divine Mother helped Aswapati to make some progress, while he was not conscious. And perhaps his own soul was doing the same thing at that time. In any case, we know that the realization of our individual soul is very important to make progress. And now, after being in the soul of the world, seeing the Divine Mother at the center of creation, Aswapati is fully living in his own soul. And from living in the neutral silence of his soul, he goes to its field of calm and puissance (and puissance is the French word for power and potential). So he is moved into power ‒ he is moved into the possibility of all things. And here he continues to experience the wonders and the works of the spirit.
Sri Aurobindo says then:
- He trod along extinction’s narrow edge
- Near the high verges of eternity,
- And mounted the gold ridge of the world-dream
- Between the slayer and the saviour fires (p.300)
Now the king has reached the top of all that can be known. “His sight surpassed creation’s head and base” (p.300), and he was able to experience a million energies as the One. “He thought and felt in all, his gaze had power” (p.301).
Sri Aurobindo tells us that now he can scan the secrets of the Overmind. So we also know, by his direct words (and he doesn't use ‘Overmind’ or ‘Supermind’, those two words ‒ he does not use them very often in Savitri, only very rarely, but here he tells us), he can scan “the secrets of the Overmind” (p.302).
The very last line of the very last sentence of this canto is:
- His will took up the reins of cosmic Force. (p.302)
So here we are, ready to make the full journey into “The Kingdoms of the Greater Knowledge”, Canto XV.
Canto Fifteen The Kingdoms of the Greater Knowledge After a measureless moment of the soul Again returning to these surface fields Out of the timeless depths where he had sunk, He heard once more the slow tread of the hours. All once perceived and lived was far away; Himself was to himself his only scene. Above the Witness and his universe He stood in a realm of boundless silences Awaiting the Voice that spoke and built the worlds. A light was round him wide and absolute, A diamond purity of eternal sight; A consciousness lay still, devoid of forms, Free, wordless, uncoerced by sign or rule, For ever content with only being and bliss; A sheer existence lived in its own peace On the single spirit’s bare and infinite ground. Out of the sphere of Mind he had arisen, He had left the reign of Nature’s hues and shades; He dwelt in his self’s colourless purity. It was a plane of undetermined spirit That could be a zero or round sum of things, A state in which all ceased and all began. All it became that figures the absolute, A high vast peak whence Spirit could see the worlds, Calm’s wide epiphany, wisdom’s mute home, A lonely station of Omniscience, A diving-board of the Eternal’s power, A white floor in the house of All-Delight. Here came the thought that passes beyond Thought, Here the still Voice which our listening cannot hear, The Knowledge by which the knower is the known, The Love in which beloved and lover are one. p.298 All stood in an original plenitude, Hushed and fulfilled before they could create The glorious dream of their universal acts; Here was engendered the spiritual birth, Here closed the finite’s crawl to the Infinite. A thousand roads leaped into Eternity Or singing ran to meet God’s veilless face. The Known released him from its limiting chain; He knocked at the doors of the Unknowable. Thence gazing with an immeasurable outlook One with self’s inlook into its own pure vasts, He saw the splendour of the spirit’s realms, The greatness and wonder of its boundless works, The power and passion leaping from its calm, The rapture of its movement and its rest, And its fire-sweet miracle of transcendent life, The million-pointing undivided grasp Of its vision of one same stupendous All, Its inexhaustible acts in a timeless Time, A space that is its own infinity. A glorious multiple of one radiant Self, Answering to joy with joy, to love with love, All there were moving mansions of God-bliss; Eternal and unique they lived the One. There forces are great outbursts of God’s truth And objects are its pure spiritual shapes; Spirit no more is hid from its own view, All sentience is a sea of happiness And all creation is an act of light. Out of the neutral silence of his soul He passed to its fields of puissance and of calm And saw the Powers that stand above the world, Traversed the realms of the supreme Idea And sought the summit of created things And the almighty source of cosmic change. There Knowledge called him to her mystic peaks p.299 Where thought is held in a vast internal sense And feeling swims across a sea of peace And vision climbs beyond the reach of Time. An equal of the first creator seers, Accompanied by an all-revealing light He moved through regions of transcendent Truth Inward, immense, innumerably one. There distance was his own huge spirit’s extent; Delivered from the fictions of the mind Time’s triple dividing step baffled no more; Its inevitable and continuous stream, The long flow of its manifesting course, Was held in spirit’s single wide regard. A universal beauty showed its face: The invisible deep-fraught significances, Here sheltered behind form’s insensible screen, Uncovered to him their deathless harmony And the key to the wonder-book of common things. In their uniting law stood up revealed The multiple measures of the upbuilding force, The lines of the World-Geometer’s technique, The enchantments that uphold the cosmic web And the magic underlying simple shapes. On peaks where Silence listens with still heart To the rhythmic metres of the rolling worlds, He served the sessions of the triple Fire. On the rim of two continents of slumber and trance He heard the ever unspoken Reality’s voice Awaken revelation’s mystic cry, The birthplace found of the sudden infallible Word And lived in the rays of an intuitive Sun. Absolved from the ligaments of death and sleep He rode the lightning seas of cosmic Mind And crossed the ocean of original sound; On the last step to the supernal birth He trod along extinction’s narrow edge p.300 Near the high verges of eternity, And mounted the gold ridge of the world-dream Between the slayer and the saviour fires; The belt he reached of the unchanging Truth, Met borders of the inexpressible Light And thrilled with the presence of the Ineffable. Above him he saw the flaming Hierarchies, The wings that fold around created Space, The sun-eyed Guardians and the golden Sphinx And the tiered planes and the immutable Lords. A wisdom waiting on Omniscience Sat voiceless in a vast passivity; It judged not, measured not, nor strove to know, But listened for the veiled all-seeing Thought And the burden of a calm transcendent Voice. He had reached the top of all that can be known: His sight surpassed creation’s head and base; Ablaze the triple heavens revealed their suns, The obscure Abyss exposed its monstrous rule. All but the ultimate Mystery was his field, Almost the Unknowable disclosed its rim. His self’s infinities began to emerge, The hidden universes cried to him; Eternities called to eternities Sending their speechless message still remote. Arisen from the marvel of the depths And burning from the superconscious heights And sweeping in great horizontal gyres A million energies joined and were the One. All flowed immeasurably to one sea: All living forms became its atom homes. A Panergy that harmonised all life Held now existence in its vast control; A portion of that majesty he was made. At will he lived in the unoblivious Ray. In that high realm where no untruth can come, p.301 Where all are different and all is one, In the Impersonal’s ocean without shore The Person in the World-Spirit anchored rode; It thrilled with the mighty marchings of World-Force, Its acts were the comrades of God’s infinite peace. An adjunct glory and a symbol self, The body was delivered to the soul,— An immortal point of power, a block of poise In a cosmicity’s wide formless surge, A conscious edge of the Transcendent’s might Carving perfection from a bright world-stuff, It figured in it a universe’s sense. There consciousness was a close and single weft; The far and near were one in spirit-space, The moments there were pregnant with all time. The superconscient’s screen was ripped by thought, Idea rotated symphonies of sight, Sight was a flame-throw from identity; Life was a marvellous journey of the spirit, Feeling a wave from the universal Bliss. In the kingdom of the Spirit’s power and light, As if one who arrived out of infinity’s womb He came new-born, infant and limitless And grew in the wisdom of the timeless Child; He was a vast that soon became a Sun. A great luminous silence whispered to his heart; His knowledge an inview caught unfathomable, An outview by no brief horizons cut: He thought and felt in all, his gaze had power. He communed with the Incommunicable; Beings of a wider consciousness were his friends, Forms of a larger subtler make drew near; The Gods conversed with him behind Life’s veil. Neighbour his being grew to Nature’s crests. The primal Energy took him in its arms; His brain was wrapped in overwhelming light, p.302 An all-embracing knowledge seized his heart: Thoughts rose in him no earthly mind can hold, Mights played that never coursed through mortal nerves: He scanned the secrets of the Overmind, He bore the rapture of the Oversoul. A borderer of the empire of the Sun, Attuned to the supernal harmonies, He linked creation to the Eternal’s sphere. His finite parts approached their absolutes, His actions framed the movements of the Gods, His will took up the reins of cosmic Force. END OF CANTO FIFTEEN END OF BOOK TWO
- Record of Yoga, p.1339
- Ibid., p.11, “Sapta Chatusthaya”