The Finding of the Soul – Savitri's Yoga, Part 2 (Radio program)
- 1 Introduction
- 2 The triple Soul-Forces
- 3 Compassion and its shadow
- 4 Power and its shadow
- 5 Light and its shadow
- 6 “The night of God”
- 7 The cave of the soul
- 8 The Two who are one
- 9 The Jivatman
- 10 ‘A child of the Mother’
- 11 The soul and the Kundalini force
- 12 The chakras
- 13 Life governed by the soul
- 14 See also
Hello everybody, and welcome back to the people who were here last night. And welcome to the people who are here for the first time tonight. We're traveling with Savitri through her inner body. She's making her way to find her immortal soul. So I'm going to go back just a little bit, for the people who weren't here yesterday, so that they can really stay with us now, on the inner journey.
For anybody who might not know, Savitri is Sri Aurobindo's epic poem; it's about the woman who follows death to bring back the soul of her husband. It's an ancient legend in many cultures. And it contains all his teachings, in the form of mystic poetry. He said it was an exercise of putting consciousness into his writings. And he put all of his experiences, and all of Mother's experiences; and he wrote it for 35 years. So each time he had a new realization, he put that in Savitri.
So we follow his journey, and we follow Mother's journey, and we follow Savitri's journey – and we follow our journey, when we take this journey.
Finding our individual soul is the first major step in Sri Aurobindo's yoga. And most of the people who I know here are trying to find their soul. Mother and Sri Aurobindo called our soul the ‘psychic being’, to distinguish it from the Atman, the great Soul. And the ‘psychic being’ is used because it's the French word, l’être psychique, but it means the same. Soul and psychic being are exactly the same.
They taught us that we have to be conscious of our psychic being and have its presence forward in all the planes and parts of our own being, because it's the highest consciousness that we can possibly have. It makes our life easier; it makes our yoga practice easier; it makes everything around us easier; and it actually makes everyone around us a lot happier.
So our immortal soul is the part of us that's going to continue to evolve through all the births and deaths, all the way through the evolution; and eventually, it's going to manifest as the new being that we will become in the evolution.
So Savitri has to prepare herself to face Death. And to do this, she takes this inner journey to find her soul. Savitri's journey is a roadmap. It's a roadmap with clear instructions. And we've got the best writer of this roadmap that we can possibly have – because we have Sri Aurobindo.
So we saw that Savitri had entered through the most inconscient part of her being: the lowest, most inconscient part. And she went through her subconscious. And then she went through the subtle beginnings of physical form, without finding her soul. She went through her mental being, she didn't see her soul; she went through her vital being, she didn't see her soul. So now, she's been able to quieten her mind and purify her vital. And we followed her yoga last time – we saw what you have to do. We saw what she did. And now, she's going into her own deeper, deeper depths. She's deep in her subtle being, as we travel with her now.
The triple Soul-Forces
So Savitri's on her first upward ascent to her soul. She's gone down, she's been in the body; now she's starting ‘up’. And here, she meets three aspects of her soul. Sri Aurobindo calls them “The Triple Soul-Forces”. And they look like they're women – but they're not women. They're immortal powers of her soul, and immortal powers of our soul. We all have these higher capacities in us. And when they are fully realized, when our soul is functioning, then we act at our full potential. And until that happens, we are not at our own full potential.
So Savitri has not yet realized her soul. And so these powers cannot act; and we're going to hear these women complain. And we're going to hear them complain loud and clear, that they cannot do their job.
Compassion and its shadow
So the first Power, the the first lady that Savitri sees, is her power of Compassion. Sri Aurobindo calls her “A divine pity on the peaks of the world, / A spirit touched by the grief of all that lives” (p.503). She's come to share our suffering – to share the suffering of the world. And she sees and feels the agony of man and woman, bird and beast. She is pity and sympathy, refusing nothing of the creation's load of pain. But she complains, she says: “I have looked on, I have no power to save.”
- I have borne all and know I still must bear
- I carry the fire that never can be quenched
- And the compassion that supports the suns. (p.505)
And after she speaks, Savitri hears the voice of the lower voice from below, which prevents her from doing her divine work. Sri Aurobindo calls him “the beast crouching within man's depths”. He's full of anger. And this fellow expresses a lot of thoughts that, when we have (we may not say them in such a gross manner (!), but we do have these kinds of thoughts) – and when we have these thoughts, our life gets worse. And you're going to see why. So he says ‘he is the Man of Sorrows’. ‘God built the earth to enjoy his agony.’ ‘God beats him with whips of grief and pain, to make him worship blood and tears.’ He can't win at anything; he doesn't like anything; and he believes everything is there to hurt him. He says, “I have lived for myself, and not for others.” And he still believes that suffering is made by God, and not by his own self.
He complains that there is no real pity in the world, there's no kindness; he says he is made of evil. Evil is what he must be – he will never change.
Mother says that the worse thing we can feel is self-pity. ‘Abhimana’, it is in Sanskrit – and that's how she said it. Abhimana is the worst thing that you can feel. It is the most corrosive and damaging energy that we have. And it's really easy for it to sneak in. Especially when you get older: you don't realize that you're starting to feel sorry for yourself. And you have to catch yourself up, and just say, “Ah! Don't have to do this. I'm not going to do this.”
So this fellow was wallowing in self-pity. He makes his own world miserable; he refuses to change. And he consciously rejects everything that the divine Mother of Compassion can give to him.
So in yoga practice we have to find these kinds of things inside ourselves, and reject them. We don't want to have them; but often they're hiding in our consciousness, in corners that we don't realize. And sometimes we're holding onto them. And we don't recognize that we're holding onto them – we don't see what they are. Everyone has his own way of dealing with this, of course. But for doing Mother and Sri Aurobindo's yoga, you can use this classic process of aspiration, rejection and surrender.
Usually when we see something we don't want, automatically we aspire for something higher. We take the time; we put it out of our being; and then the best thing we can do is call for help. We can surrender ourselves to the highest that we know. And there's lots of ‘highest’, but in this case with the Yoga, it's best to surrender to Mother and Sri Aurobindo, because they came to bring the new force. The new force – for those of you who were not here yesterday – is what they call in India Satchitananda: Existence, Consciousness and Bliss. It is the highest force in the universe. And Mother and Sri Aurobindo came to make it easier for it to come.
So calling on them, surrendering to them, is the best thing you can do. And surrender is a very deep and subtle thing. It goes on perfecting itself, in ways. Eventually you realize you have to surrender the way you're surrendering (!), because you're not even doing that right. So we surrender to Mother and Sri Aurobindo, we aspire, we reject, and we change more quickly.
So Savitri has heard Divine Pity. And she's heard the shadow: self-pity. But she knows that the real problem is the absence of her soul. She knows that once she's found her soul, this part of her being can do her job properly. And this lower part will start to change. So she tells her being of pity:
- “Madonna of suffering, Mother of grief divine,
- Thou art a portion of my soul put forth
- To bear the unbearable sorrow of the world.
- But thine is the power to solace, not to save.
- One day I will return, a bringer of strength,
- And make thee drink from the Eternal’s cup;
- His streams of force shall triumph in thy limbs
- And Wisdom’s calm control thy passionate heart.
- Misery shall pass abolished from the earth;
- The world shall be freed from the anger of the Beast, (p.507)
- There shall be peace and joy for ever more.” (p.508)
Power and its shadow
Savitri travels higher in her subtle being. And she comes upon a woman sitting on a boulder that's been carved like a throne. This is the Mother of Might. She is the mother of strength – Savitri's soul-power of divine strength. She tells Savitri that she stands upon the world's paths, the paths of danger and grief. She helps the unfortunate and she saves the doomed. She brings strength to the strong, and protection to the weak. She is charged by God to do his work; she is a power of God. She doesn't care about virtue, she doesn't care about sin; she's not afraid of heaven, she's not afraid of hell. She says:
- I break the ignorant pride of human mind
- And lead the thought to the wideness of the Truth;
- I rend man’s narrow and successful life
- And force his sorrowful eyes to gaze at the sun
- That he may die to earth and live in his soul. (p.510)
Like the Mother of Compassion, she's not successful. She complains, “The great obstinate world resists my Word” (p.510), and the evil in man's heart is profounder than the Pit, and stronger and more evil than anything. Hostile powers put back the clock of destiny; their malignancy seems mightier than the eternal Will itself. “The cosmic evil is too deep to unroot, / The cosmic suffering is too vast to heal.” (p.510). But she will never stop doing God's work; she says she knows God will come one day. Because of course our soul knows that God will come one day.
Then Savitri hears the answer of the warped and deformed power: the echo from the human plain. The ego of this great world of desire that claims earth and the wide heavens for the use of man. And here we have lovely traces of our lovely ego (!). Mother says we have to have an ego. Our ego is the thing that makes us into a separate individual being. And so ego is the helper; and then at some point, ego becomes the barrier on the way. When we are fully formed, then that ego – which makes us put everything aside, and see ourselves first, and always look at ourselves – becomes no longer necessary.
So this fellow says the universe was made for him. He refuses to admit that the universe was made by God; he refuses to admit that he's here on God's will. He brags that he is God in human form, and he brags about man's scientific accomplishments. He brags about the atomic bomb – that he's going to use it to destroy his kin. He says:
- Air was invented for my lungs to breathe,
- I have grown greater than Nature, wiser than God.
- There is no miracle I shall not achieve.
- What God imperfect left, I will complete
- What he invented not, I shall invent:
- He was the first creator, I am the last. (p.512)
- When earth is mastered, I shall conquer heaven (p.513)
They're very extreme examples, of those egotism. Yet, if you think about it, this is modern thinking without any presence of a higher consciousness. It may be said in nicer words, but the feeling is there. And that is what is going on. Man is still very much in a state when he is still forming. It's only the few, rare beings who are ready now, to seek their soul. And Mother says that when people come to her Yoga, their soul is already forward. And when people come here, it's their soul that calls them. That's why they come.
Savitri hears the higher side of power, she hears the lower side of power: both operating without the presence of our soul. But the soul has the wisdom to take care of this problem – both sides of this problem. So she tells her being of Power:
- “Madonna of might, Mother of works and force,
- Thou art a portion of my soul put forth
- To help mankind and help the travail of Time.
- Because thou art in him, man hopes and dares;
- Because thou art, men’s souls can climb the heavens
- And walk like gods in the presence of the Supreme. (p.513)
But, as Sri Aurobindo tells us here, power without wisdom “is like a wind” (p.514). It cannot build extreme eternal things. And Savitri promises to return, and show this soul-power God's way of seeings things. Then her wisdom will be as vast as her power. Hate will dwell no more in human hearts; fear and weakness will leave men's lives. The cry of the ego will be hushed. All will be might, and bliss, and happy force.
Light and its shadow
Then Savitri ascends higher, on her spirit's upward route. She comes to a place of happiness, a place of harmony. Here she finds all that is common, and natural, and sweet, and yet intimately divine to the heart and soul. Her spirit thrills to the nearness of its source. Deepest things seem obvious, close, and true. She's getting much closer to her soul. And here she meets her third soul-force, a woman who is a living center of this peace. She is the Mother of Joy and Peace; she is Savitri's being of Light. And she explains, she has come down to the wounded earth to heal earth's pangs, to lull her heart to rest. To bring her peace. And to draw the harmony of the higher spheres into the troubled days of the earth.
She is peace; she is charity; she is silence and knowledge. She is a power that works for God. She makes sin and error stepping-stones to God. And she lifts man's soul to light.
But she's also complaining. She says, she cannot succeed because the human heart clings to its littleness. And the human life clings to its right to grief. And like Savitri's two other soul-forces, she knows that God will come; she will never stop trying. She will save the earth, if the earth consents to be saved.
And then Savitri hears the cry: the cry of the warped echo, here on earth. And this is our mind that's bound to the body. This is how we function in the mind that only gets its information through the senses. And only has information from the outside world. And he says that he is the mind of God's great ignorant world. And he is trying to have knowledge through the mind in man, which is limited to receiving its information only from the senses. This mind contains our reason. And our reason reduces our whole world to rules that we make for our own purposes, so that we can get along in the world that we have created for ourselves.
Our mind can receive knowledge; our mind can receive higher knowledge from the higher mental planes; but if we're not born with this ability, we have to develop it inside ourselves. And this deformed power of Light – this struggling lower mind in man – says he is the all-discovering Thought of man. He is a god, bound by matter and sense. But he has found out many things, and he brags: he says he has observed most of matter; he has observed the ways of life, the paths of mind. And in fact, that's what science tries to do. That's what our mind tries to do. ‘If God is at work,’ (he's not too sure) – ‘If God is at work,’ then he has found all God's secrets.
Then he complains: he still does not know the cause of things. The Truth flees into a void. Who is doing all this? How is it done? He doesn't know. And perhaps he will never know. When all is explained, nothing is known!
And that's what science says. There's a very famous American scientist called Stephen Hawking, who has written wonderful books. He has a book called something like (forgive me, I don't remember) – it's like “The Story of the All”. Or “The Explanation of the All” [A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes]. And in about the last page, he says: “Well, maybe one day, we'll figure out God's plan.”
So this is where we are, when we stay on the surface, through this part of our mind. So our fellow here says, ‘the mind is a mystery’, ‘life is a mystery’, ‘nature is a mystery’. His great philosophies are only a reasoned guess. And in the end, the world itself becomes a doubt. Since he is stuck in the lower functions of the mind which cannot see the truth, he gives up. He stops trying to seek for anything higher. He says:
- Our smallness saves us from the Infinite
- Human I am, human let me remain
- Till in the Inconscient I fall dumb and sleep.
- A high insanity, a chimaera is this,
- To think that God lives hidden in the clay
- And that eternal Truth can dwell in Time,
- And call to her to save our self and world.
- How can man grow immortal and divine
- Transmuting the very stuff of which he is made? (p.546)
And this is how people think when they don't have inner experiences. This is how people think when they don't have higher experiences that bring them to some higher place, that they can have faith and know that there is something inside.
It's impossible to speak to people like this, about an inner experience. They refuse to believe it, either because they don't have it, or what they have, they don't believe in. People like this will often argue with you if you speak about inner experiences. And sometimes, if they don't believe in God, they'll try to convince you that God doesn't exist. Because they're trying to keep their world. They don't want to hear; they don't want to know.
Savitri has already had spiritual experiences; she knows them, she believes in them. And she knows that when she realizes her soul, her higher soul-force of Light will be able to help mankind to evolve into a higher way of being. So Savitri comforts her being of Light. She says:
- “Madonna of light, Mother of joy and peace,
- Thou art a portion of my self put forth
- To raise the spirit to its forgotten heights
- And wake the soul by touches of the heavens.
- Because thou art, the soul draws near to God
- But [thy work cannot be done] by showering heaven’s golden rain
- Upon the intellect’s hard and rocky soil
- Even if thou rain down intuition’s rays,
- The mind of man will think it earth’s own gleam,
- His spirit by spiritual ego sink,
- Or his soul dream shut in sainthood’s brilliant cell
- Where only a bright shadow of God can come. (p.520)
- One day I will return, [God's] hand in mine,
- And thou shalt see the face of the Absolute.
- There shall be light and peace in all the worlds.” (p.521)
“The night of God”
So Savitri travels on: in, and up, seeking her soul's mystic cave. But first, she enters into “a night of God” (p.522). This is such a fascinating concept: the night of God. Because it doesn't sound too good (!). But it's an absolutely fabulous state to be in. This is the point we get to when all our earth-bound powers have to give up. The powers of the outer world cannot act in the world of the spirit. We have to see and know everything by our spirit-sense, there. And Sri Aurobindo tells us:
- Our sight and sense are a fallible gaze and touch
- And only the spirit’s vision is wholly true.(p.525)
In this holy darkness – Sri Aurobindo describes it very beautifully – Savitri's mind gives up its thoughts. Her heart gives up its hopes. Knowledge fails. Wisdom feels a truth too great for thought or speech. Savitri has no strength left, no desire. Not even a hope of spiritual greatness. Her ego has completely dissolved. The only things left are her naked self, and the prostrate yearning of her surrendered heart.
Even humility is too proud a state to feel. Herself is nothing; God alone is all. Yet God she knows not – she only knows that he is.
Okay – it doesn't sound too good! But look at what she has, inside of her. Look at what she is realizing at the same time. Sri Aurobindo says a sacred darkness broods within us. All is formless, voiceless, infinite. This void – this emptiness, this darkness – holds more than all the teeming worlds. This void feels more than all that time has borne. This total emptiness knows the Unknown. Everything is there. This consciousness is all – it is the All.
Savitri moves on, silent, empty, absolute. She is a nought – a nothing – moving through a greater nothing. She is already out of time; in endless time, she has reached a wide end. “The spaceless Vast became her spirit’s place” (p.523). Traveling in the void, Savitri becomes both empty and absolute.
She has to go through the psychic transformation. The psychic transformation will fill all her parts and all her functions with the power of the immortal soul. Now all these parts and functions have to realize that they are not anything – that they cannot do anything. And this is what happens. Then, they can receive the presence of her immortal soul. And they can allow our soul to take over. And here, Sri Aurobindo has very beautifully described to us how we're getting to the point of the first step in his Yoga. He's brought us to the experience of our soul.
Savitri travels on, in the purity of her own being, empty of the endless stir – the endless activity – of our inner life, of our outer life. And then a wave ripples in the emptiness; dawn becomes day, in the worshiping silence of her world. Once more, her inner self becomes her space. In this pure state, she feels a blissful nearness to the goal. The air is trembling with passion and delight. Savitri recognizes the immortal light and sweetness of the space; she knows that this is the dwelling of her soul.
The cave of the soul
Now we're going to enter the cave of the soul. Sri Aurobindo tells us that the great rock doors at the entrance to the cave of the soul are “Carved in the massive stone of Matter’s trance” (p.524). And here we are, in the subtlest, subtlest part – why is he talking about stone? Stone is the grossest and grossest part. But we are in our body – the cave of the heart. And our body is the final gross end of the manifestation of the subtlest of the Supreme.
The Supreme consciousness created our universe by manifesting first as the most subtle, getting grosser and grosser, and manifesting last as the most gross: as us, as our physical bodies, as rocks. The Supreme consciousness is here in matter, and our body regains that consciousness. And that's part of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga. That's the part of yoga that Sri Aurobindo has brought very particularly: that our body will be conscious, along with all the other parts of us.
So in describing what Savitri sees and knows, he is telling us what happened to him. You can find many of the images that he uses here, in his diary [Record of Yoga]. Mother also had experiences of the inner worlds, in terms of caves and places deep in the earth. She spoke of seeing the new being of the new creation asleep in a cave, deep at the bottom of the earth. It opened its eyes and it looked at her. Sri Aurobindo told her that she saw the supramental being.
Now Savitri feels the holy stillness, as she comes to the great rock doors in the cave in the sacred hill. She enters across the threshold sleep. There are wise golden serpents; there's a protecting eagle; there are peaceful doves at the entrance of the cave – all in stone. Then she's walking among great stone figures of gods – stone figures which are conscious, living without breath. The walls of the cave are covered with living beings in the form of carvings of the life-scenes of man and beast; carvings of the mounting and descending planes of the whole of our existence. All of these are the one Being: the one Being who is all, and towards whom we climb. The whole cosmos is here; Savitri sees it here, because she's in her subtle being. She's closer to her soul. It's really in every cell of our body – every cell of us is the microcosm that holds the macrocosm. And now, here, with all of this around her, there is silence. There is no step of breathing men, no sound. Only the living nearness of the soul.
The Two who are one
Now Savitri is very conscious. Sri Aurobindo tells us that she saw all this from within: she knew it inly. She felt it inly. Not by some thought of mind, but by the self.
- As thus she passed in that mysterious place
- Through room and room, through door and rock-hewn door,
- She felt herself made one with all she saw.
- A sealed identity within her woke;
- She knew herself the Beloved of the Supreme:
- These Gods and Goddesses were he and she:
- The Master and the Mother of all lives
- Watching the worlds their twin regard had made (p.525)
This is the final realization. This is the final realization, that Sri Aurobindo said, that we go for. The final realization to achieve is that of the Supreme Master and the Divine Mother, and their relation to each other. This includes our knowing the whole of the manifestation, all of the unmanifest, and how everything works together. And this is the supramental consciousness that is coming, and coming more and more – and coming more and more now, because of Mother and Sri Aurobindo's work.
Sri Aurobindo wrote a lot about his progress in this realization. It's all through the Record of Yoga, his diary. And when he stopped writing his diary in 1927, he said he was close – hadn't quite made it. But after he stopped writing his diary, he picked up writing Savitri. And for the last 12 years of his life, he concentrated on it very much. And so it's likely that we have his final realization, in the things that he wrote about the Master and the Mother, in Savitri.
“The Two who are one”, who play in many worlds – such beautiful language he has – is the ’secret knowledge’ which is the final realization of the yoga of the Traveller of the Worlds, King Aswapati. King Aswapati is Savitri's father. And for those of you who have not read Savitri, or don't know much about it, Book One and Boook Two are just about half the book. It's “The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds”. And Savitri's father takes an inner journey through his own inner being, to search for the Divine Mother, to ask her to take birth, to help us. And Savitri is his daughter, the Divine Mother, who has taken birth.
And the very last realization the great yogi king has, before he can travel through the being and do his work for the universe, is the Two-in-One. Sri Aurobindo calls it “The Secret Knowledge”. So Savitri is the Divine Mother who took birth to conquer death; and most particularly for Savitri, the realization of being the Mother of the world is also part of her regaining her true consciousness, and her regaining her ability to conquer Death.
And just before Savitri realizes her soul, she comes into the presence of the Supreme Master. Because the Master and the Mother are always together.
- In the last chamber...
- One sat whose shape no vision could define;
- Only one felt the world’s unattainable fount,
- An invisible Beauty, goal of the world’s desire,
- A Sun of which all knowledge is a beam (p.525)
And elsewhere in Savitri, Sri Aurobindo has written these words (and they're so beautiful):
- All light is but a flash from his closed eyes (p.681)
Now, we've heard so much talk about the soul, that we might expect a very long description of the soul. But it doesn't happen. The description of the soul is barely two pages long, in the whole 720 pages of Savitri. He does describe the soul in other ways, in many places – he speaks about it, he gives a description – but still, this most important experience, he gives it straight out in two pages.
The first thing he does, is he describes for us our Jivatman. And this is a concept that sometimes people are a little confused about, when they read this. Our Jivatman is the immortal power which is above our head, in our subtle body. This is our higher being; and Sri Aurobindo and Mother also call it our ‘central being’. Savitri was first told to look for her soul by the commanding voice of her Jivatman – her higher being. The Jivatman does not take birth; it does not die the way the soul does. It's an immortal, deathless being, who plays lightly with all the momentary powers that we believe are so immortal (!), and so difficult. Sri Aurobindo says, she has come into the immortal body's room “To play at ball with Time and Circumstance” (p.526). Our Jivatman is the spirit's conscious representative in us, “God’s delegate in our humanity” (p.522).
And yet, our Jivatman is not inside us – it is above us. Through its eyes, infinity sees our finite shapes. And through its eyes, eternity observes the passing of our hours, and observes the minute's acts, and the passing scene of the everlasting play, in the times and circumstances of our lives.
Sri Aurobindo advised people to keep their consciousness either in their heart, or above their head. And Mother once told Satprem that she kept her consciousness in both places. He asked her: he said, “Well, Sri Aurobindo says this; where do you keep your consciousness?” And Mother said, both places.
Our Jivatman sees everything as a masquerade of truth, disguised in costumes of ignorance. A joy in the world is her master movement here. A smile on her lips welcomes earth's bliss and grief, and she laughs at pleasure and pain. She can confront everything with the strong spirit's peace. But in the same way that a mother shares her children's lives, she knows our toil and our struggle of mind and life. So she puts forth a small portion of herself, which is “no bigger than the thumb of man” (p.526), and she puts it into a hidden region of our heart. This is our immortal soul – our psychic being. Our Jivatman sends her glory and her powers to us through our soul, so that we can evolve in our divine destiny.
She puts our soul within us to face the pang, to forget the bliss; to share our sufferings, to endure our wounds. And to labor amidst the labor of the stars. Our soul identifies with us: with our mind, with our thoughts, with our feelings, with our body, with our life. Our soul takes on itself our anguish and defeat. This is what laughs and weeps in us; and yet it remains the immortal, unwounded soul, that supports the actor and the human scene.
We notice that Sri Aurobindo is calling our Jivatman ‘she’. He's not saying ‘it’. He's saying that it is feminine, ‘she’. The Bhagavad Gita says that the Supreme's power, which manifests as the Divine Mother, becomes our portion of the Ishwara – the Supreme Master. This is the classic definition of the Divine Mother. This is what everybody says the Divine Mother is: the power of the Supreme, put out from himself to become the creation. And most particularly, for us – for our Jivatman – it is the power of the Mother for the manifestation of consciousness: whatever is new that is coming into the creation. And this is why our Jivatman is there, and why it puts our soul into us to evolve, so that we evolve.
‘A child of the Mother’
Sri Aurobindo illustrates the point that our higher nature is the Divine Mother by saying that she shares our toil of mind and life, as a mother shares her children's lives; and out of her motherly love, she puts forth – or even we could say, ‘gives birth’ – in us, to be our soul, and to evolve in us.
Now as Savitri realizes her soul, we're going to see just how much our realization of our soul is actually becoming a child of the Mother. Mother and Sri Aurobindo always said that the part of us which knows itself to be a child of the Mother is our psychic being, our soul. In Sri Aurobindo's book, The Mother, he says:
- ”The last stage of [perfection in doing divine works] will come when you are completely identified with the Divine Mother and feel yourself to be no longer another and separate being, instrument, servant or worker but truly a child and eternal portion of her consciousness and force. Always she will be in you and you in her; it will be your constant, simple and natural experience that all your thought and seeing and action, your very breathing and moving come from her and are hers. You will know and see and feel that you are a person and power formed by her out of herself...” And people do feel this. People have this experience as they go through the Yoga – the simple and beautiful sense of just being a child of the Mother.
The soul and the Kundalini force
So Savitri has reached the dwelling-place of her soul. After she's passed through the last chamber, where she has the experience of the Supreme, Sri Aurobindo says:
- Thence all departed into silent self,
- And all became formless and pure and bare.
- Then through a tunnel dug in the last rock
- She came out where there shone a deathless sun.
- A house was there all made of flame and light
- And crossing a wall of doorless living fire
- There suddenly she met her secret soul. (p.525)
- Here in this chamber of flame and light they met;
- They looked upon each other, knew themselves,
- The secret deity and its human part,
- The calm immortal and the struggling soul.
- Then with a magic transformation’s speed
- They rushed into each other and grew one. (p.526)
And now we're going to get an incredible description of how we are changed, when our own soul comes forward and fills our being. It can happen all at once, if we're ready. This is how it happens to Savitri. She's ready. But for most of us, it's a much longer journey. In fact, we've all been taking this journey for centuries (!), through our many lifetimes. Everybody takes it – more consciously, or less consciously. The closer we get, the more conscious it becomes.
So once more, it is night. Savitri is human upon earthly soil. She is sitting in a rude cottage in the rain-swept woods, with her husband sleeping beside her. The subtle world withdrew deep within. And now, the half-opened lotus bud of her heart has bloomed, and she can see the image of her secret soul.
She sees her being in her heart chakra, calling to the Divine Mother to enter into her body, to make it her home. A living image of the Mother comes down to stay in her heart. And when the Mother's feet first touch this awakened center of energy, a mighty movement rocks Savitri's inner space. The Mother awakens the Kundalini force in Savitri's body. The serpent awakens; it moves up, it awakens the energies in each chakra. Sri Aurobindo says:
- Out of the Inconscient’s soulless mindless night
- A flaming Serpent rose released from sleep.
- It rose billowing its coils and stood erect
- And climbing mightily, stormily on its way
- It touched her centres with its flaming mouth;
- As if a fiery kiss had broken their sleep,
- They bloomed and laughed surcharged with light and bliss.
- Then at the crown it joined the Eternal’s space. (p.528)
After this, the Divine Mother, in Savitri's heart, makes a gesture of protection and salvation. And then – only then – all in Savitri underwent a celestial change. “Powers and divinities burst flaming forth” (p.529); each part of her being was trembling with delight. Each part lay overwhelmed with tides of happiness. She felt the Mother's touch in every limb and cell; and she saw the Mother's hand in every circumstance.
And now, Sri Aurobindo describes how we change when our chakras awaken. This is his most complete writing about our chakras. He didn't emphasize it – and this is because it happens automatically. In most other yogic practices, they make it a separate practice, they describe it, they talk about it a lot – but not here. He said very specifically that in his Yoga, we should not try to awaken our chakras. When we're ready, the Mother will do it. It is part of receiving the higher forces that are coming to us – the forces that contain the transformation within themselves, that will transform us.
So now, Savitri is able to realize the presence of the Mother in her heart. She has been protected; she's ready for Mother to open all of her chakras. And notice that until Sri Aurobindo said that the image of the Mother made this gesture of protection and salvation, Savitri was not affected – her consciousness did not change.
So our chakras are the subtle centers of energies that connect us with the universal planes that correspond to the subtle planes within us. Remember we just talked about the fact that we are a microcosm, of the macrocosm? This is the way these things work in us.
We should never do anything to force a chakra to open. There are many stories about new, serious problems that people have when their Kundalini force is awakened. Sri Aurobindo taught that the higher centers must awaken first. We awaken from the top down, to avoid any problems. In his yoga, the chakras are awakened by the Mother's action, under her care, under her protection.
Now, Sri Aurobindo does not name our chakras for us. He identifies each one by its place in our body. And then he describes how we are changed in the world when it opens. And he goes from the top down, instead of from the bottom up.
Now, all other yogas say it's from the bottom up, probably because the Kundalini force is coiled in the base chakra, at the root of our spine, and it moves up. But that does not mean it has to awaken every chakra one after the other. It's not an automatic machine. And remember, it is the Mother's force. It is the Mother's instrument. She can use it when she wants to, and she can use it how she wants to. And she is – how to say – individually, and in great detail, subtly and delicately, in each one of us.
There's a beautiful line in one of Sri Aurobindo's poems about the Supreme, which I just love; it says:
- “The hand that sent Jupiter spinning through heaven,
- Spends all its cunning to fashion a curl.”
(Which means that the hand that built the universe, is the same hand that curls our hair, and makes us beautiful.)
So the Mother is fully conscious of where we are, fully conscious of what we need. When she brings the Kundalini force, she knows where it should go. She knows what it should do.
So here we start not from the bottom up, but from the top down:
- In the country of the lotus of the head
- Which thinking mind has made its busy space,
- In the castle of the lotus twixt the brows
- Whence it shoots the arrows of its sight and will,
- In the passage of the lotus of the throat
- Where speech must rise and the expressing mind
- And the heart’s impulse run towards word and act,
- A glad uplift and a new working came.
- Life now obeyed to a diviner rule
- And every act became an act of God. (p.529)
The chakra at the top of our head extends beyond our head, and it connects us with the supramental force when we are ready. It governs our mind. The chakra between our eyes governs our subtle sight, and our physical sight. And the throat chakra governs our expression and communication. So now, when the God-conscious will of our immortal soul takes control of thought, vision, expressing will, and speech – now the power and will of the highest sees, thinks, speaks and acts in us and through us. We see things as they are. We act sincerely. We're able to express ourselves properly, and truthfully.
- In the kingdom of the lotus of the heart
- Love chanting its pure hymeneal hymn
- Made life and body mirrors of sacred joy
- And all the emotions gave themselves to God. (p.529)
The heart chakra governs love. Now real love can flow through our hearts. We can feel love without self-interest, without desire. We can give, instead of taking. We can give, without wanting to control the object of our love. This releases a lot of tensions that we don't even know that we're feeling.
- In the navel lotus’ broad imperial range
- Its proud ambitions and its master lusts
- Were tamed into instruments of a great calm sway
- To do a work of God on earthly soil. (p.530)
Because the center of our vital being, the place of our will – that place that is the last to change, that gives us so much trouble – that place, because it is now filled with our soul, our small, ignorant, petty will can take its true place as an instrument of the will of the Supreme.
- In the narrow nether centre’s petty parts
- Its childish game of daily dwarf desires
- Was changed into a sweet and boisterous play,
- A romp of little gods with life in Time. (p.530)
The second chakra governs all the life-forces; therefore it governs the sexual impulses which are a basic part of the life-force itself. So now, the life-force in us, which used to act in an uncontrolled way, or an automatic fashion, comes under control of our soul; and the wisdom and love of our soul puts everything into its proper place.
- In the deep place [the root chakra] where once the Serpent slept,
- There came a grip on Matter’s giant powers
- For large utilities in life’s little space;
- A firm ground was made for Heaven’s descending might. (p.530)
‘Utilities’, ‘use’ – the use of life. What do we do in our physical life; how do we move the physical. The chakra at the base of the spine governs our relationship with physical matter. Often we're not grounded; we don't have a firm grip on our own material life. Now our relationship to the earth – the earth in ourselves, the earth in others, and our relationship to things around us – becomes grounded, balanced, realistic.
Life governed by the soul
Up to now, our psychic being has remained secret, supporting all from behind, acting only when it can somehow get in there and do something or the other (!). Now our soul can cast aside its veil of ignorance. With all its connections to the highest powers of the creation, it can now build the harmony of our human state. Which means, it can build us into our higher selves. We live our full potential.
In the beginning, Savitri was told to quieten her mind, to purify her vital. When she did that, just before she saw her soul – in that so-called ‘night of God’ (which is so fabulous) – both her vital and her mind gave up all their functions, and were ready to be governed by the soul. And now here, Sri Aurobindo says, when our soul comes forward, our mind becomes a mastered instrument. And life becomes a hue and figure of the soul. All happily grows towards knowledge and towards bliss. The divine power of the Mother takes Nature's place in us. She streams into us with her unbounded force. Her immortal rapture and power fills our mortal limbs. An inner law of beauty shapes our lives. Our words become the natural speech of truth. Each thought is a ripple on a sea of light.
And then, sin and virtue struggle no more in our delivered hearts. “Our acts chime with God’s simple natural good / Or serve the rule of a supernal Right”. We don't judge people anymore. We're not ruled by outside ethics. This fills us with peace. Our life balances itself, as we make the right decisions. Simple decisions: about what to do every day, how to take care of ourselves, how to treat others, how to move things around physically. How to do the work that is before us. How to step one foot in front of the other, in the path of our daily lives. Automatically, we see and we serve the Divine's will for us, and for everything that is touched and influenced by us.
It may not sound like these are great cosmic things – but on a daily basis, it's all the cosmos that we have (!). This is who we are; this is our world; this is what we do every day. And with this clear vision and right action, realizations of high truths are natural, and we go on progressing spiritually. So, as Sri Aurobindo says:
- In the slow process of the evolving spirit,
- A first perfection’s stage is reached at last (p.531)
It is “A first betrothal of the Earth to Heaven” (p.531). We feel we have created heaven here, with our immortal soul. And we feel it is enough.
Sri Aurobindo says:
- Even if the struggling world is left outside
- One [person]’s perfection still can save the world. (p.531)
There is a deep agreement inside us, a concord between Truth and Life. We feel so good; we ask our soul, “is there anything else to be done?”
Savitri's found her soul, her life is full of light. All her fears of losing Satyavan are over. She no longer sees him dead and gone; she sees them living together, on into a beautiful future. There is one more step that Savitri has to attain to complete all of Sri Aurobindo's yoga. She has to attain cosmic consciousness. This is the second stage in the Yoga; and then, that higher, higher realization really takes its place in us. He describes this process in Savitri, in the last two cantos of the Book of Yoga (Book Seven).
|Book Seven, Canto VI:|
“Nirvana and the Discovery of the All-Negating Absolute”
|Book Seven, Canto VII:|
“The Discovery of the Cosmic Spirit and the Cosmic Consciousness”
But now, we have to find our psychic being – we have enough to do!