March 27, 2007

He is seized by the sweetness that wins every felicity

Re: 08: A Shrine for the God of Love by RY Deshpande
on Mon 26 Mar 2007 06:01 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
The incarnate God of Love’s perfect Savitri In what manner does the incarnate God of Love become aware of incarnate Savitri? They have met on the well-planned chance road of Time and also recognised each other at once, Savitri remembering through the ages the one whose heart was longing for her as much as hers for him, he who knows that she is some immortal who has come to him putting on a mortal form. In the emerald depth of the Shalwa Woods, and in the glory of the summer morning, Satyavan is stunned by the beauty standing in front of him, “the haunting miracle of a perfect face”. The way the sea heaves to the loveliness of the full moon, so does he rush towards her.
In fact, his life is now taken by another life; he is seized by the sweetness that wins every felicity. Irresistible is the pull of that magnetic force, alchemic the charm that can transmute everything into lustrous gold of God. In it a new discovery of divinity in things is made. He has found the whole aim of existence, he has known the reality of the dreams he was cherishing through the long aeons, the possibility of heaven’s truth residing in the mortal breast. He tells Savitri: (Savitri, The Book of Love)

A well-designed dream greater than the possibilities reality can hold

Re: 08: A Shrine for the God of Love by RY Deshpande
on Sun 25 Mar 2007 02:31 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
The incarnate God of Love Incarnate Savitri is in search of the incarnate God of Love. Her quest is across lands and countries and mountains, in cities and towns and pilgrim places, and forests and hermitages, across the wide ways of the world, ways that are also uncertain. There is chance, there is fate, there is destiny and wheels are locked within wheels. But suddenly there he appears, in proper time and proper place, in the wilderness rich in its natural setting. He standing there—was that a dream? But it was a well-designed dream greater than the possibilities reality can hold. The dream happens to come true one early summer morning, at the dawn of eternal Time. It was as though the God was waiting there in the green mountainous land for the perfect shrine to walk unto him. (Savitri, The Book of Love)
But who is this incarnate God of Love? Does he expect the shrine to walk unto him? Lonely in the thick forest, how long has he been waiting for it to arrive? What is his appearance? And will he be acceptable to the shrine in the imperfection that is there all around? He is noble and grand and youthful, a weapon of living light, erect and lofty like a spear, his figure leading the splendour of the morn. There is visible wisdom on his brow, and beauty resides in his limbs, and joy makes his face gleaming-bright. Where he stands, he stands like a pillar of solid wonder, and where he moves, he moves like a lustrous statue of delight. But he is also a God who grows, grows in the divine marvel of this creation. Nature is his teacher and the wise sages of the woods are his preceptors.

March 24, 2007

We will reject, for instance, Emerson, without belittling him

Re: 08: A Shrine for the God of Love by RY Deshpande on Fri 23 Mar 2007 04:33 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Word in its triple glory When we read Sri Aurobindo’s later poetry or his theory of poetic creation, a radical change in our way of thinking makes almost look all else insubstantial; the values undergo a sea-change. All the human lamps dim and dwarf under the spiritual sun. That we start seeing how small indeed everything appears in its comparison, could be taken as a shift in our perceptions. What is ordinarily considered to be the high achievement of our faculties, appealing to the very immediate senses, very striking to the modes of our cognition and aesthetic appreciation begins to lose its force in the reckoning. We will reject, for instance, Emerson, without belittling him. His Poetry and Imagination (1872) fails to stir any response in our depth, in any unfeigned sense: “Poetry is the perpetual endeavor to express the spirit of the thing, to pass the brute body and search the life and reason which causes it to exist;--to see that the object is always flowing away, whilst the spirit or necessity which causes it subsists. Its essential mark is that it betrays in every word instant activity of mind, shown in new uses of every fact and image, in preternatural quickness or perception of relations. All its words are poems. It is a presence of mind that gives a miraculous command of all means of uttering the thought and feeling of the moment. The poet squanders on the hour an amount of life that would more than furnish the seventy years of the man that stands next him.”
And about rhyme-melody-rhythm: “We are lovers of rhyme and return, period and musical reflection. The babe is lulled to sleep by the nurse's song. Sailors can work better for their yo-heave-o. Soldiers can march better and fight better for the drum and trumpet. Metre begins with pulse-beat, and the length of lines in songs and poems is determined by the inhalation and exhalation of the lungs. If You hum or whistle the rhythm of the common English metres, --of the decasyllabic quatrain, or the octosyllabic with alternate sexisyllabic, or other rhythms,--you can easily believe these metres to be organic, derived from the human pulse, and to be therefore not proper to one nation, but to mankind. I think you will also find a charm heroic, plaintive, pathetic, in these cadences, and be at once set on searching for the words that can rightly fill these vacant beats. Young people like rhyme, drum-beat, tune, things in pairs and alternatives; and, in higher degrees, we know the instant power of music upon our temperaments to change our mood, and gives us its own; and human passion, seizing these constitutional tunes, aims to fill them with appropriate words, or marry music to thought, believing, as we believe of all marriage, that matches are made in heaven, and that for every thought its proper melody or rhyme exists, though the odds are immense against our finding it, and only genius can rightly say the banns.” How can we accept the statement that “the world exists for thought?” True, that “mountains, crystals, plants, animals, are seen; that which makes them is not seen: these, then, are apparent copies of unapparent natures." And yet there must exist the possibility of those “unapparent natures” expressing themselves in them, expressing in its native language, in its genuine movement carrying authentic substance and the revealing vision of its beauty and joy and life and spirit and soul. And just see how British it sounds when we hear Ben Jonson! According to him, the "principal end of poetry is to inform men in the just reason of living."
But this is just a small aspect of our personality, of our totality, almost a trivial aspect, and such a reason for man will only turn him into a frozen wee-bit. But there are manners of living that open to widenesses beyond the reach of reason. Indeed, there is always present in man some deeper longing and urge to exceed himself. That the aesthetic creation should be towards its fulfilment is the function, the satisfying purport of the creative art.
But the deepest poetic expression is possible, explains Sri Aurobindo, “when three highest intensities of poetic speech meet and become indissolubly one, a highest intensity of rhythmic movement, a highest intensity of interwoven verbal form and thought-substance, of style, and a highest intensity of soul’s vision of truth.” Here we have the threefold power, the power of word-making, image-formation, and felicity of movement. Ezra Pound calls them Logopoeia, Phano- or Iconopoeia, and Melopoeia. In Logopoeia “it is the dance of the intellect among words”—says Ezra Pound. Commenting on this classification Amal Kiran elaborates as follows: “Broadly speaking, all poetry is image-making, since the poet is primarily the seer, the artistic visualiser. But, while all poetry is based on sight and insight, not all of it has the image-aspect in prominence. The other two aspects that can stand out are Melopoeia and Logopoeia. In the former we are impressed overwhelmingly by the music of the verse: often the very structure invites being set to music. Phanopoeia resembles not music so much as painting and sculpture. Logopoeia is poetic play essentially of ideas, the dance of the intellect among words—it is the conceptive word as distinguished from the musical or the pictorial-sculpturesque.”
But these seem to be two ways of looking at poetry from two different stations, one from top of the ladder down below and the other stretching its gaze from the intermediate steps upward where the ladder itself begins to disappear into the inexplicable. If we have to apply these poetic formulations to the 51-line passage describing the “perfect shrine”, we must take the top view of the things, the shrine built from above down below, as were some of the gigantic rock-hewn caves in Ellora. Is it not “Om, the creation-sound as the first music…”, the Word in its triple glory? Maybe, we could have a look at some of these aspects. RYD

March 20, 2007

Their tone of certain informality also brings out the intuitive perspective

Re: 08: A Shrine for the God of Love by RY Deshpande
on Tue 20 Mar 2007 04:20 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
The Bird-passage in the “Perfect Shrine” During the period 1936-47 Sri Aurobindo had written a number of letters, mostly to Amal Kiran, dealing with a few aspects of Savitri. Elucidations were sought in various respects, particularly about the text of Part I of the epic even as it was in the process of early composition. It is said that after completing the writing of Savitri, Sri Aurobindo would have written a preface or a preamble, a kind of overture for the epic; but it didn’t happen. However, the need for an introduction is to a large extent satisfied by these letters; their tone of certain informality also brings out the intuitive perspective which becomes difficult to get in a formalised presentation. Concerned with the bird-passage in the “perfect shrine” we have the author’s educative and revealing comments and clarifications. Here is the bird-passage:
As might a soul fly like a hunted bird, Escaping with tired wings from a world of storms, And a quiet reach like a remembered breast, In a haven of safety and splendid soft repose One could drink life back in streams of honey-fire, Recover the lost habit of happiness, Feel her bright nature's glorious ambience, And preen joy in her warmth and colour's rule.

March 17, 2007

The law that deprives us of the memory of past lives is a law of the cosmic Wisdom

It becomes at once evident that in this plan of rebirth the false importance which our mind attaches to the memory of past lives disappears altogether. If indeed rebirth were governed by a system of rewards and punishments, if life's whole intention were to teach the embodied spirit to be good and moral,—supposing that that is the intention in the dispensation of Karma and it is not what it looks like in this presentation of it, a mechanical law of recompense and retribution without any reformatory meaning or purpose,—then there is evidently a great stupidity and injustice in denying to the mind in its new incarnation all memory of its past births and actions. For it deprives the reborn being of all chance to realise why he is rewarded or punished or to get any advantage from the lesson of the profitableness of virtue and the unprofitableness of sin vouchsafed to him or inflicted on him.
Even, since life seems often to teach the opposite lesson,—for he sees the good suffer for their goodness and the wicked prosper by their wickedness,—he is rather likely to conclude in this perverse sense, because he has not the memory of an assured and constant result of experience which would show him that the suffering of the good man was due to his past wickedness and the prosperity of the sinner due to the splendour of his past virtues, so that virtue is the best policy in the long run for any reasonable and prudent soul entering into this dispensation of Nature. It might be said that the psychic being within remembers; but such a secret memory would seem to have little effect or value on the surface. Or it may be said that it realises what has happened and learns its lesson when it reviews and assimilates its experiences after issuing from the body: but this intermittent memory does not very apparently help in the next birth; for most of us persist in sin and error and show no tangible signs of having profited by the teaching of our past experience.
But if a constant development of being by a developing cosmic experience is the meaning and the building of a new personality in a new birth is the method, then any persistent or complete memory of the past life or lives might be a chain and a serious obstacle: it would be a force for prolonging the old temperament, character, preoccupations, and a tremendous burden hampering the free development of the new personality and its formulation of new experience.
A clear and detailed memory of past lives, hatreds, rancours, attachments, connections would be equally a stupendous inconvenience; for it would bind the reborn being to a useless repetition or a compulsory continuation of his surface past and stand heavily in the way of his bringing out new possibilities from the depths of the spirit. If, indeed, a mental learning of things were the heart of the matter, if that were the process of our development, memory would have a great importance: but what happens is a growth of the soul-personality and a growth of the nature by an assimilation into our substance of being, a creative and effective absorption of the essential results of past energies; in this process conscious memory is of no importance. As the tree grows by a subconscient or inconscient assimilation of action of sun and rain and wind and absorption of earth-elements, so the being grows by a subliminal or intraconscient assimilation and absorption of its results of past becoming and an output of potentialities of future becoming. The law that deprives us of the memory of past lives is a law of the cosmic Wisdom and serves, not disserves its evolutionary purpose.

The absence of any memory of past existences is wrongly and very ignorantly taken as a disproof of the actuality of rebirth; for if even in this life it is difficult to keep all the memories of our past, if they often fade into the background or fade out altogether, if no recollection remains of our infancy, and yet with all this hiatus of memory we can grow and be, if the mind is even capable of total loss of memory of past events and its own identity and yet it is the same being who is there and the lost memory can one day be recovered, it is evident that so radical a change as a transition to other worlds followed by new birth in a new body ought normally to obliterate altogether the surface or mental memory, and yet that would not annul the identity of the soul or the growth of the nature.
This obliteration of the surface mental memory is all the more certain and quite inevitable if there is a new personality of the same being and a new instrumentation which takes the place of the old, a new mind, a new life, a new body: the new brain cannot be expected to carry in itself the images held by the old brain; the new life or mind cannot be summoned to keep the deleted impressions of the old mind and life that have been dissolved and exist no more. There is, no doubt, the subliminal being which may remember, since it does not suffer from the disabilities of the surface; but the surface mind is cut off from the subliminal memory which alone might retain some clear recollection or distinct impression of past lives. This separation is necessary because the new personality has to be built up on the surface without conscious reference to what is within; as with all the rest of the superficial being, so our surface personality too is indeed formed by an action from within, but of that action it is not conscious, it seems to itself to be self-formed or ready-made or formed by some ill-understood action of universal Nature.
And yet fragmentary recollections of past births do sometimes remain in spite of these almost insuperable obstacles; there are even a very few cases of astonishingly exact and full memory in the child-mind. Finally, at a certain stage of development of the being when the inner begins to predominate over the outer and come to the front, past-life memory does sometimes begin to emerge as if from some submerged layer, but more readily in the shape of a perception of the stuff and power of past personalities that are effective in the composition of the being in the present life than in any precise and accurate detail of event and circumstance, although this too can recur in parts or be recovered by concentration from the subliminal vision, from some secret memory or from our inner conscious-substance. But this detailed memory is of minor importance to Nature in her normal work and she makes small or no provision for it: it is the shaping of the future evolution of the being with which she is concerned; the past is put back, kept behind the veil and used only as an occult source of materials for the present and the future.

March 14, 2007

This is the Word at once inspired and revelatory, with the quality of multi-sided inevitability

Re: 08: A Shrine for the God of Love by RY Deshpande on Wed 14 Mar 2007 04:15 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
His Perfect Shrine: This passage of 51 lines is one of the rarest examples in which the poetic utterance can reach the absolute of speech. What Sri Aurobindo was proposing not too long ago in the series of his Arya-articles dealing with the possibilities of the future poetry, that he achieved within twenty years in this description of Savitri. Here she is presented as a “perfect shrine” in whom the God of Love could move “as in his natural home”. It is one of the high marks of getting the pure Overmind expression in its sustained level for the first time in English poetry. This is the Word at once inspired and revelatory, with the quality of multi-sided inevitability, all making it mantric. We shall see this aspect in some detail later...
In the course of her work, when Huta was doing painting on Savitri with her, the Mother commented on this description as follows: “Coming from the highest world, Savitri knew intuitively what should and would be the possibilities of the beings who will live upon earth. But the possibilities were already in Her because She had them from Her Origin. But, for the beings born upon earth and of earth-origin, they are to be acquired after a long transformation. She came to announce what could be and to show that it would be possible. But all the work upon earth was to be done and is yet mostly to be done and that means a long effort and serious preparation. To know not only that it is a possibility but that it is a certitude and will surely be when the time comes, helps the consciousness to make the necessary effort to hasten the advent of the right time. She came to show what could be and would be. And that gives the energy to fulfil. ” This is Savitri. RYD

March 10, 2007

Nietzschean supermanhood can only colossalise the human creature

This is man's only way of true self-exceeding: for so long as we live in the surface being or found ourselves wholly on Matter, it is impossible to go higher and vain to expect that there can be any new transition of a radical character in our evolutionary being. The vital man, the mental man have had an immense effect upon the earth-life, they have carried humanity forward from the mere human animal to what it is now. But it is only within the bounds of the already established evolutionary formula of the human being that they can act; they can enlarge the human circle but not change or transform the principle of consciousness or its characteristic operation. Any attempt to heighten inordinately the mental or exaggerate inordinately the vital man,—a Nietzschean supermanhood, for example,—can only colossalise the human creature, it cannot transform or divinise him.
A different possibility opens if we can live within in the inner being and make it the direct ruler of life or station ourselves on the spiritual and intuitive planes of being and from there and by their power transmute our nature. The spiritual man is the sign of this new evolution, this new and higher endeavour of Nature. But this evolution differs from the past process of the evolutionary Energy in two respects:
  • it is conducted by a conscious effort of the human mind, and
  • it is not confined to a conscious progression of the surface nature, but is accompanied by an attempt to break the walls of the Ignorance and extend ourselves inward into the secret principle of our present being and outward into cosmic being as well as upward towards a higher principle.

March 08, 2007

Man is a multiperson

In animal being Nature acts by her own mental and vital intuitions; she works out an order by the compulsion of habit and instinct which the animal implicitly obeys, so that the shiftings of its consciousness do not matter. But man cannot altogether act in the same way without forfeiting his prerogative of manhood; he cannot leave his being to be a chaos of instincts and impulses regulated by the automatism of Nature: mind has become conscious in him and is therefore self-compelled to make some attempt, however elementary in many, to see and control and in the end more and more perfectly harmonise the manifold components, the different and conflicting tendencies that seem to make up his surface being.
He does succeed in setting up a sort of regulated chaos or ordered confusion in him, or at least succeeds in thinking that he is directing himself by his mind and will, even though in fact that direction is only partial; for not only a disparate consortium of habitual motive-forces but also newly emergent vital and physical tendencies and impulses, not always calculable or controllable, and many incoherent and inharmonious mental elements use his reason and will, enter into and determine his self-building, his nature-development, his life action.
Man is in his self a unique Person, but he is also in his manifestation of self a multiperson; he will never succeed in being master of himself until the Person imposes itself on his multipersonality and governs it: but this can only be imperfectly done by the surface mental will and reason; it can be perfectly done only if he goes within and finds whatever central being is by its predominant influence at the head of all his expression and action. In inmost truth it is his soul that is this central being, but in outer fact it is often one or other of the part beings in him that rules, and this representative of the soul, this deputy self he can mistake for the inmost soul-principle.

March 03, 2007

It is for the exegete to demonstrate how an all-pervasive and abiding internal consistency remains the hallmark

Prashant Khanna, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch
Indian philosophy, embracing several streams of widely divergent persuasions, also includes in its fold, the six schools of Vedantic metaphysical thought. These again, though differing considerably in their conclusions, have one feature common and unique to them all, namely that they have the sacred texts, called Sruti in Sanskrit, as their starting point. In other words, at least for these six schools, all metaphysical enquiry resolves itself to the interpretation of the Sruti.
All six schools are agreed on the primacy of the ancient texts – the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and the Bhagavad Gita and believe them to be the possessors and expressions of the Supreme Truth and it is left to the philosophers only to interpret and explain their true meaning. The role of the metaphysicians, therefore, is not to discover the Truth independently with the help of Reason and Logic, as in other philosophical traditions, primarily of the West, but rather to act as true, consistent, accurate and faithful exegetes – interpreters of the text. Since these scriptures are often very abstract in content and pithy and terse in their expression, they provide ample scope for widely varying interpretations and conclusions.
The bulk of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophical writings, generally described as “Integral Vedanta” too fall in the category of exegesis. In Sri Aurobindo’s view, correctness of interpretation would imply that the various verses of each text are self-consistent with the particular text taken in totality. In other words, whether we study an individual text or all of them together as a whole, it is for the exegete to demonstrate how an all-pervasive and abiding internal consistency remains the hallmark at every level.
In order to derive maximum benefit from these texts, it is imperative that they be treated as being not only abstract expressions of great metaphysical truths but also as organic and living entities imbued with the power to redeem and transmute. It is for the Seeker of Truth to forge an umbilical chord for the knowledge contained in them to pass into him. The most appropriate description of this phenomena is found in the metaphor used in one of the texts itself, viz. of a very coy mistress who yields herself up only after ardent and persistent wooing, vivrinute tanum svam.
According to Sri Aurobindo, while trying to understand and interpret these texts, it may also be worth our while to go back to their point of genesis and their method of actualization – how did they come into being?...In other words, while the source of inspiration is an Absolute, Eternal, Cosmic and Supracosmic Reality which is the Creator, Upholder, Final Arbiter and Final Goal of this phenomenal world, the mode of transmission of the knowledge is Intuition. The Rishi by a process of self-purification and internal development – Yoga – experienced and even attained unity with this Reality and then became a completely spontaneous, transparent and unalloyed medium for the transmission and reception of knowledge by the mode of Intuition.
These texts have no authorship; they are only “receiving from above” manifested through perfect mediums. It is, therefore, incumbent on the part of the Seeker to cover the same ground and discover and realize for himself the truth of the text. To the extent that his aspiration for right understanding of the text is sincere and earnest, paradoxically enough, he will find maximum help by invoking the grace of the text itself.
In this context one also needs to bear in mind that however comprehensive the experience and perfect the medium, the individual should be in full possession of the necessary Adhars as well. The basic desiderata are good education, a well trained intellect and deep knowledge of the meaning of the Scriptures even if it be at a purely intellectual level to begin with.
A correct, proper and fully rewarding interpretation of Sruti would require that the exegete be also a seeker and should undertake to trace his steps backward with aasrha (faith) and shraddha (devotion) in his mind, making it receptive for inspiration to flow into him as revelation of the deeper meaning of the text, rather than have recourse merely to his own individual labour and intellectual reasoning. As the Gita itself declares, shraddhavan labhate jnanam – it is the devotee who is blessed with knowledge.

March 02, 2007

Nolini Kanto Gupta came in contact with the god Varuna

Raman’75 continues his series on Collective Meditation in the Ashram
Compiler’s Notes The Golden Chain FEBRUARY 2006
These early meditations with the Mother belong to what Sri Aurobindo called "the brightest period in the history of the Ashram".1 This period represents an early and occult phase of sadhana in the Ashram which began shortly before the Siddhi Day and ended a few months after the descent of the Overmind on 24 November 1926. The Mother took up the responsibility of Sri Aurobindo’s disciples and immediately "a very brilliant creation was worked out in extraordinary detail, with marvellous experiences, contacts with divine beings, and all kinds of manifestations which are considered miraculous".2
Each one came in touch with the "inner godhead he represents". Nolini Kanto Gupta came in contact with the god Varuna 3 who represents vastness and purity, Haradhan Bakshi with Twashtri, the Divine Fashioner, and Rajani Palit with Kubera, the God of Wealth. Purushottam identified himself in a state of trance with "Sesha-naga, the primal energy that sustains the material world" and became a means of the spiritual purification of others under the Mother’s own supervision. This sometimes worked itself out in a rather unusual way at the physical level. Champaklal, for example, was pounded by him for almost an hour and the result was so beneficial that Sri Aurobindo remarked, "Champaklal has become a demi-god". Similarly, he gave a twist to Barin Ghose’s throat and the latter found his "head shooting up and up until [heing down on everybody from a great height".
Later, Purushottam was strongly discouraged by the Mother from such actions when the ocslow and difficult process of purification of the lower vital and physical began for the sadhaks and sadhikas of the Ashram. 4 ] was lookcult phase of the sadhana came to an end and a slow and difficult process of purification of the lower vital and physical began for the sadhaks and sadhikas of the Ashram. Endnotes
1. Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, On Himself, Volume 26, p 472.
2. The Mother’s Collected Works, Volume 9, p 148.
3. A copy of the first edition of Sri Aurobindo’s book The Mother found in Nolini Kanto Gupta’s papers is addressed "To Varuna" with the Mother’s signature below it.
4. See Champaklal Speaks (2002), p 71. 