Loretta reads Savitri:Two.X "The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind" part 4
|Loretta reads Savitri
Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto X: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind
Part 4 of 4, pages 253-259
We're coming to the end of King Aswapati's journey through the little mind. And we are finding still the “dwarf three-bodied trinity” (p.245) of the great creatrix. At the end he's going to summarize it in slightly other words, by telling us that it receives everything from the senses – these three ways of thinking receive everything from the senses; and they cut everything down into manageable bits (that they can deal with them); and then they think that each part is the whole, each time, one after another. So that the little mind, no matter what function it has, cannot see the whole thing.
And these are the three kinds of mental functions that most people live in most of the time. Of course Sri Aurobindo and Mother came here for the beginning of mankind's evolution into something more than only a mental being. So we know beforehand that the yogi king will travel through the little mind, through the higher levels of mind, and finally on out, past the mind itself.
We've read Sri Aurobindo's really wonderful poetry so far, which gives us not only the information, but also the feeling and the experience – with his magical poetry – as it calls up in us what there is that can relate to what he's talking about.
So we've seen that the Divine Mother – the Power of the supreme Unmanifest, who creates and is our universe – has this trinity of powers through which she functions as our little mind. The first on is “A pigmy Thought needing to live in bounds” (p.245), standing on Nature's solid base. It's always absorbed, always confined in external sight. It sees truth only as habits of the mind. And it wants to live in its habits, in its old, sure, safe, well-known things. The little mind “lives content with the common and the known” (p.245) in this aspect. It hates change; it figures external fact as the only truth. And like the other two it receives its information from our outer senses.
And yet, Sri Aurobindo tells us, that behind this little mind “stands a cosmic might” (p.247). “A measured Greatness keeps its vaster plan” (p.247). Even in change, non-change is still treasured. We all think like this, more or less, from time to time.
And then the second one, Sri Aurobindo calls this kind of mental pattern of activity “A rash Intelligence” (p.247), that believes whatever flatters its own hopes true. And this moves us with “the burning vision of Desire” (p.247). This kind of thinking is brilliantly unstable. It springs up eagerly to seize and to possess whatever it imagines it should have.
This aspect of our little mind is not guided by the soul. It's not even guided by any kind of reasoning thought. The charm of this way of thinking is the experience of running after, desiring, trying things (not even so much to get them). And yet, Sri Aurobindo tells us that it's works are not small, not worthless, and not at all in vain. It “nurse[s] a portion of infinity’s strength” (p.249), and can create the high things its fancy wills. And this way of thinking is also limited to the information it receives from our external senses. It is our mind being influenced by our vital energies – the life-forces in us doing everything they can to fulfill their own impulses.
The third way that people usually think is to reason. And generally speaking, people often think that reasoning is our highest way of dealing with life. As children we are always told to 'be reasonable', to reason things out, to use our reason. And in fact, in Mother's class for the Ashram school students – a class that was held on June 13th of 1956 (and this class will be broadcast on Auroville Radio next week) – in this class she speaks in great detail about the need to teach children that while they are in school, and their brain is being formed – this is the age when their brain is being formed – so while they are in school, they should try to give their brain a little exactitude; some precision; a capacity of concentration, of choosing, of deciding, and putting things in order. And they should try to use their reason.
She says clearly that it is well-understood that reason is not the supreme capacity in man, and must be overpassed; but she says that it's quite obvious that if we don't have it, we will live an altogether incoherent life. (At this point in evolution.) We won't even know how to behave rationally if we don't think reasonably and we don't have a brain that is formed by all these capacities.
And we will see that all through Sri Aurobindo's poetic descriptions of reason, he constantly points out how reason cannot really get to the truth. He says that even in her high works of pure intelligence – even though she withdraws from the trap of the senses – there is never any dawn of heavenly certitude. She runs from one thing to the next, and again of course she receives all of her information from the senses; she tries to create things, but reason is limited.
And in the last part of the canto that we have today, he continues to show us how reasoning cannot ever be mankind's highest mental process. And here, most interestingly – like before, when he was in the vital worlds, and he was describing some of the things that were occurring in the world at that time, in World War II – he seems to be describing certain historical facts. In 1900, Planck discovered what is now called quantum physics. And with this discovery, all the scientific reasoning of physics – with its conceptions of the truth of the physical universe – all of it was found to be false. And here Sri Aurobindo seems to describe how science saw its own progress until the 1900s. This was 'scientific reasoning'. This was scientists using their reason to explain and master the world. And again, the reason is fed by the outer senses. Nothing inner ever comes in.
And Sri Aurobindo writes:
- Thus vindicated, crowned, the grand new Thought
- Explained the world and mastered all its laws (p.254)
And then a little later, he tells us what Planck's discovery did to physical science as it had existed up to 1900:
- All was precise, rigid, indubitable.
- But when on Matter’s rock of ages based
- A whole [a completeness] stood up firm and clear-cut and safe,
- All staggered back into a sea of doubt (p.254)
Here's a small part of an article by Werner Heisenberg, which tells us the same thing; and it was said then, as Sri Aurobindo said it:
- “Since Planck's discovery of the quantum of action in 1900, a state of confusion had arisen in physics. The old rules which by nature had been successfully described for more than two centuries would no longer fit the new findings. But even these findings were in themselves inherently contradictory. A hypothesis that proved itself in one experiment failed in another.”
He also says:
- “We are obviously concerned here with a necessary intervening stage which cannot be bypassed and which is preparing for developments to come.”
And in fact, history shows us that Planck's findings led the world to Einstein, and his theory of relativity. And then, eventually, to the atomic bomb. And Sri Aurobindo writes:
- Once more the world was made a wonder-web,
- A magic’s process in a magical space (p.254)
- Once more we face the blank Unknowable.
- In a crash of values, in a huge doom-crack,
- In the sputter and scatter of her breaking work
- She lost her clear conserved constructed world.
- A quantum dance remained, a sprawl of chance
- In Energy’s stupendous tripping whirl (p.254)
And 'She' who has lost is of course the divine creatrix, who had hear clear, conserved, constructed world through reason. And then Sri Aurobindo speaks of what the atom bomb did to the world. He says:
- Ideals, ethics, systems had no base
- And soon collapsed or without sanction lived (p.254)
- Creation and destruction waltzed inarmed
- On the bosom of a torn and quaking earth (p.254)
And then he describes how this mental consciousness of the Supreme, as reason, came to see an atom – which science teaches us is mainly empty space with tiny particles in it. He says:
- Thus tumbled, sinking, sprawling in the Void,
- Clutching for props, a soil on which to stand,
- She only saw a thin atomic Vast,
- The rare-point sparse substratum universe
- On which floats a solid world’s phenomenal face. (p.255)
And he speaks of the force of the riven atom. (And 'riven' means cracked, or shattered.) This force which is strong to slay or to create by death.
And he describes Reason's plans (and history was trying this, you can see it) for how it could be used to create an absolute state which could force order on things – its own idea of order on things. According to 'reason'. But he tells us that the God within brings a touch that can alter the fixed front of fate; and we know that that never happened.
When Mother spoke about creating Auroville, one of the reasons she gave for creating Auroville was because of the atomic bomb. She said that 'it was seen' – and I think it means that she saw, and Sri Aurobindo also saw – that man was playing with this dangerous and deadly weapon like a child who played with a new toy. Very dangerous. And she said that Auroville, all of the things involved in the creation of Auroville (and she didn't say what they were), but she said that Auroville would avert the danger of mass atomic destruction in the world. And a third world war. (Which never happened.)
As we move with the king to the end of this canto, Sri Aurobindo finally tells us that the great creatrix was awake to the truth behind her creation of this little mind. And she knew that her “dwarf three-bodied trinity”, of the three kinds of thinking of the little mind, was tied to little things. And “Her deep heart yearned towards great ideal things” (p.256). So from that light, she looked out to greater light.
And Sri Aurobindo ends this canto by telling us that there are things that overshadow the dwarfish trinity: higher thoughts. And he speaks of “A pure Thought-Mind” which is surveying the cosmic act “from solitary heights // Luminous in a remote and empty air” (p.259).
So now we travel with the king, through the last of the little mind, through the kingdoms and the godheads that he is experiencing. And in the end of the third part, we had learned that the way reason was doing things, there was no more need of soul or spirit. God had passed out of thought; wasn't necessary.
- Matter is the admirable Reality,
- The patent unescapable miracle,
- The hard truth of things, simple, eternal, sole. (p.253)
And then the fourth part starts with a description...
... A suicidal rash expenditure Creating the world by a mystery of self-loss Has poured its scattered works on empty Space; Late shall the self-disintegrating Force p.254 Contract the immense expansion it has made: Then ends this mighty and unmeaning toil, The Void is left bare, vacant as before. Thus vindicated, crowned, the grand new Thought Explained the world and mastered all its laws, Touched the dumb roots, woke veiled tremendous powers; It bound to service the unconscious djinns That sleep unused in Matter’s ignorant trance. All was precise, rigid, indubitable. But when on Matter’s rock of ages based A whole stood up firm and clear-cut and safe, All staggered back into a sea of doubt; This solid scheme melted in endless flux: She had met the formless Power inventor of forms; Suddenly she stumbled upon things unseen: A lightning from the undiscovered Truth Startled her eyes with its perplexing glare And dug a gulf between the Real and Known Till all her knowledge seemed an ignorance. Once more the world was made a wonder-web, A magic’s process in a magical space, An unintelligible miracle’s depths Whose source is lost in the Ineffable. Once more we face the blank Unknowable. In a crash of values, in a huge doom-crack, In the sputter and scatter of her breaking work She lost her clear conserved constructed world. A quantum dance remained, a sprawl of chance In Energy’s stupendous tripping whirl: A ceaseless motion in the unbounded Void Invented forms without a thought or aim: Necessity and Cause were shapeless ghosts; Matter was an incident in being’s flow, Law but a clock-work habit of blind force. Ideals, ethics, systems had no base And soon collapsed or without sanction lived; p.255 All grew a chaos, a heave and clash and strife. Ideas warring and fierce leaped upon life; A hard compression held down anarchy And liberty was only a phantom’s name: Creation and destruction waltzed inarmed On the bosom of a torn and quaking earth; All reeled into a world of Kali’s dance. Thus tumbled, sinking, sprawling in the Void, Clutching for props, a soil on which to stand, She only saw a thin atomic Vast, The rare-point sparse substratum universe On which floats a solid world’s phenomenal face. Alone a process of events was there And Nature’s plastic and protean change And, strong by death to slay or to create, The riven invisible atom’s omnipotent force. One chance remained that here might be a power To liberate man from the old inadequate means And leave him sovereign of the earthly scene. For Reason then might grasp the original Force To drive her car upon the roads of Time. All then might serve the need of the thinking race, An absolute State found order’s absolute, To a standardised perfection cut all things, In society build a just exact machine. Then science and reason careless of the soul Could iron out a tranquil uniform world, Aeonic seekings glut with outward truths And a single-patterned thinking force on mind, Inflicting Matter’s logic on Spirit’s dreams A reasonable animal make of man And a symmetrical fabric of his life. This would be Nature’s peak on an obscure globe, The grand result of the long ages’ toil, Earth’s evolution crowned, her mission done. So might it be if the spirit fell asleep; p.256 Man then might rest content and live in peace, Master of Nature who once her bondslave worked, The world’s disorder hardening into Law, — If Life’s dire heart arose not in revolt, If God within could find no greater plan. But many-visaged is the cosmic Soul; A touch can alter the fixed front of Fate. A sudden turn can come, a road appear. A greater Mind may see a greater Truth, Or we may find when all the rest has failed Hid in ourselves the key of perfect change. Ascending from the soil where creep our days, Earth’s consciousness may marry with the Sun, Our mortal life ride on the spirit’s wings, Our finite thoughts commune with the Infinite. In the bright kingdoms of the rising Sun All is a birth into a power of light: All here deformed guards there its happy shape, Here all is mixed and marred, there pure and whole; Yet each is a passing step, a moment’s phase. Awake to a greater Truth beyond her acts, The mediatrix sat and saw her works And felt the marvel in them and the force But knew the power behind the face of Time: She did the task, obeyed the knowledge given, Her deep heart yearned towards great ideal things And from the light looked out to wider light: A brilliant hedge drawn round her narrowed her power; Faithful to her limited sphere she toiled, but knew Its highest, widest seeing was a half-search, Its mightiest acts a passage or a stage. For not by Reason was creation made And not by Reason can the Truth be seen Which through the veils of thought, the screens of sense Hardly the spirit’s vision can descry Dimmed by the imperfection of its means: p.257 The little Mind is tied to little things: Its sense is but the spirit’s outward touch, Half-waked in a world of dark Inconscience; It feels out for its beings and its forms Like one left fumbling in the ignorant Night. In this small mould of infant mind and sense Desire is a child-heart’s cry crying for bliss, Our reason only a toys’ artificer, A rule-maker in a strange stumbling game. But she her dwarf aides knew whose confident sight A bounded prospect took for the far goal. The world she has made is an interim report Of a traveller towards the half-found truth in things Moving twixt nescience and nescience. For nothing is known while aught remains concealed; The Truth is known only when all is seen. Attracted by the All that is the One, She yearns towards a higher light than hers; Hid by her cults and creeds she has glimpsed God’s face: She knows she has but found a form, a robe, But ever she hopes to see him in her heart And feel the body of his reality. As yet a mask is there and not a brow, Although sometimes two hidden eyes appear: Reason cannot tear off that glimmering mask, Her efforts only make it glimmer more; In packets she ties up the Indivisible; Finding her hands too small to hold vast Truth She breaks up knowledge into alien parts Or peers through cloud-rack for a vanished sun: She sees, not understanding what she has seen, Through the locked visages of finite things The myriad aspects of infinity. One day the Face must burn out through the mask. Our ignorance is Wisdom’s chrysalis, Our error weds new knowledge on its way, p.258 Its darkness is a blackened knot of light; Thought dances hand in hand with Nescience On the grey road that winds towards the Sun. Even while her fingers fumble at the knots Which bind them to their strange companionship, Into the moments of their married strife Sometimes break flashes of the enlightening Fire. Even now great thoughts are here that walk alone: Armed they have come with the infallible word In an investiture of intuitive light That is a sanction from the eyes of God; Announcers of a distant Truth they flame Arriving from the rim of eternity. A fire shall come out of the infinitudes, A greater Gnosis shall regard the world Crossing out of some far omniscience On lustrous seas from the still rapt Alone To illumine the deep heart of self and things. A timeless knowledge it shall bring to Mind, Its aim to life, to Ignorance its close. Above in a high breathless stratosphere, Overshadowing the dwarfish trinity, Lived, aspirants to a limitless Beyond, Captives of Space, walled by the limiting heavens, In the unceasing circuit of the hours Yearning for the straight paths of eternity, And from their high station looked down on this world Two sun-gaze Daemons witnessing all that is. A power to uplift the laggard world, Imperious rode a huge high-winged Life-Thought Unwont to tread the firm unchanging soil: Accustomed to a blue infinity, It planed in sunlit sky and starlit air; It saw afar the unreached Immortal’s home And heard afar the voices of the Gods. p.259 Iconoclast and shatterer of Time’s forts, Overleaping limit and exceeding norm, It lit the thoughts that glow through the centuries And moved to acts of superhuman force. As far as its self-winged air-planes could fly, Visiting the future in great brilliant raids It reconnoitred vistas of dream-fate. Apt to conceive, unable to attain, It drew its concept-maps and vision-plans Too large for the architecture of mortal Space. Beyond in wideness where no footing is, An imagist of bodiless Ideas, Impassive to the cry of life and sense, A pure Thought-Mind surveyed the cosmic act. Archangel of a white transcending realm, It saw the world from solitary heights Luminous in a remote and empty air. END OF CANTO TEN