December 01, 2006

They were certainly not Avatars earlier

Re: Derrida, Death and Forgiveness by Andrew J. McKenna by RY Deshpande on Thu 16 Nov 2006 03:49 AM PST Profile Permanent Link We have in Savitri the following: “A world’s desire compelled her mortal birth” and Answering earth’s yearning and her cry for bliss, A greatness from our other countries came. But when did she come?
“Savitri is represented in the poem as an incarnation of the Divine Mother. This incarnation is supposed to have taken place in far past times when the whole thing had to be opened, so as to ‘hew the ways of Immortality’. ” This is what Sri Aurobindo writes in a letter. Aswapati carried the “world’s desire” to the Divine Mother. Then, in answer to that earth’s yearning, Savitri came from our other countries. She came in the “far past times when the whole thing had to be opened”. She has been here all along. She will continue to be here even as the evolution marches from Ignorance into Knowledge.
What is true for Savitri must be so for Aswapati also. He is Savitri’s human father, is the Lord of Tapasya, the concentrated energy of spiritual endeavour that helps us to rise from the mortal to the immortal planes. He is also an incarnation which must have occurred “in far past times”. They have accepted “to pass through the portals of the birth that is a death”. If Savitri’s “mortal birth” conveys that sense, then it also true in the case of Aswapati. About Satyavan: “Well, he is the Avatar. He is the incarnation of the Supreme,” says the Mother.
If we identify the Mother and Sri Aurobindo with Savitri and Aswapati, then their incarnations occurred “in far past times”. The purpose is to hew the ways of Immortality. They have taken, as we know, many human births in the meanwhile, have “passed through the portals of the birth that is a death”, but have appeared as Avatars only now. They were certainly not Avatars earlier. So the question of “(repeated) avatarhood” does not, in my opinion, arise.
When in the Gita Krishna makes known to Arjuna that he had many births, that he had been coming here from age to age, yuge-yuge, he does not mean that he was speaking of his “repeated avatarhood”; he was an Avatar on the Kurukshetra Battlefield, and not earlier. Of the divine birth, divya janma, there are two aspects, explains Sri Aurobindo: “ is a descent, the birth of God in humanity, the Godhead manifesting itself in the human form and nature, the eternal Avatar; the other is an ascent, the birth of man into the Godhead, man rising into the divine nature and consciousness, madbhavam agatah; it is the being born anew in a second birth of the soul.”
  • What is an Avatar? The Mother answers: “Avatar—the Supreme manifested on earth in a body.”
  • And what is the work of the Avatar? “To go up and down and join the top to the bottom, the whole secret of realisation.”

In the context of incarnation of Savitri we may say that she has ever been engaged in the work of the Lord. Her yoga-tapasya progresses in the Will of the Lord, her power grows in the Will of the Lord, her action in the Will of the Lord. A prayer of the Mother speaks of amplitude and majesty, nobility and grace, charm and grandeur, variety and strength, “for it is the will of the Lord to manifest.” For that purpose she is ready to suffer, she is ready to accept “lamentable limitations”, climb up the Calvary of deep-rooted frustration, bear ignominy of human births...(24 November 1931) ...

Such intensity of anguish! Such totality of commitment to do the work the Lord has given to her! She is prepared to bear the assaults of the adversary force, the extreme of pain and suffering. Hers is the work connected with the evolutionary soul of the earth into which she has entered and no hardship she discounts in making it progress towards the Divine. It is for that purpose she passes through the portals of the life that is a death.
Other powers of the Divine Mother don’t do that. The Mother told Durga the magic of surrender to the Lord, and then did Durga with considerable hesitation see its wonder and its power. Gauri, Uma, Parvati, Kali, Lakshmai, Saraswati, and in a way even the Madonnas who are present in the cosmic field are powers and personalities of the Divine Mother. But they are essentially typal in character. There are goddesses and goddessess, devis, matrikas, lesser vital embodiments of the Divine Mother which have drifted far away from her. The Mother of Compassion we meet in Savitri suffers no doubt, but not the way does Savitri. Thus we have her description as follows...
What are the seven stabs she bore? Here is Stabat Mater, with emotions of Our Lady at the Cross and at the Manger—Calvary and Bethlehem—respectively. Here is Mary at the Cross, but not at the Cradle. Her Seven Sorrows are: The Prophecy of Simeon The Flight into Egypt The Loss of Jesus in the Temple Mary meets Jesus Carrying the Cross The Crucifixion Mary Receives the Dead Body of Her Son The Burial of Her Son and Closing of the Tomb Fourth Dolor: Meeting with Jesus Carrying His Cross As Mary’s heart bled with anguish at seeing her Son tortured and carrying His heavy Cross, many families throughout the world have crushed hearts at what is done to their children—the physical and spiritual deprivations of the slums, the dangers of gang warfare, the unjust arrests, the misery and horror of prison life—all these wring with anguish the hearts of mothers and fathers. And the prayer is: Mother of Sorrows have compassion on them, and grant us the privilege to be present to them...
This may be very touching, very poignant, even to some extent psychic; but the spiritual which is there in Savitri’s Mother of Compassion, Grief Divine does not come with that reassuring definiteness. Perhaps this is because she is typal, one who has not passed through the portals of the birth that is a death, which Savitri has. In that sense this incarnation of the Divine Mother as Savitri is of a different kind. But let us move on, to some aspects of the Sacrifice of the Purusha. In The Synthesis of Yoga we have the following about the law of sacrifice obtaining in this creation..
The Vedic Purusha Sukta thus becomes very meaningful indeed. The appearance of the four aspects is only the beginning in the process of cosmic manifestation. Only when the Four have founded their harmony and freedom can the higher powers of the Mother descend. Sri Aurobindo looks at these powers from the point of view of Vaishnava experience as follows: Mahavira is the Brahmin embodying Knowledge and Light and wide Consciousness; Balarama, Kshatriya quality of Force and Dynamism; Pradyumna, quality of Love and Beauty—the Vaishya; Aniruddha, Shudra quality of competent service, of organisation and execution in details.
Vivekananda brings out the yogic aspect of the Chaturvarna in another beautiful manner. When he speaks of Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Karma Yoga he is also suggesting the methods available for the divine realisation for the corresponding type or quality or cast of the soul present in this manifestation.
But finally it is the Divine Mother who does the Yoga of Surrender to the Supreme and in his Will identifies her will. Only the incarnation that took place in the far past times can do it and not other powers and personalities or embodiments of the Divine Mother, the Consciousness-Force of the Divine. That is the surety of success. That is the perfection which she alone can attain and not other powers and personalities or embodiments. That is Savitri who was “sent forth of old beneath the stars” of the dark Night. RY Deshpande

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