Re: 09: Her Mortal Birth by RY Deshpande
The mortal birth—a double sacrifice Savitri’s birth is an act of sacrifice, is from an act of sacrifice, a sacrifice made to perform sacrifices. In the sacrifice is made the sacrifice, discloses the Vedic intuition. That is the secret key for the growth in this creation, the growth of the individual soul and the world-soul. The imperial She, the majestic She, aishwaryamayi, the transcendental Consciousness-Force left her glory and greatness and her grandeur, her shining royalty; and she accepted the ignominy of the mortal creature. It is thus alone that She might transform it, give to it its true divinity. But well before that transformation can happen, this mortal creature must make a sacrifice to her. It is this sacrifice which she herself, as Savitri, performs here again, performs by taking a mortal birth. That is her identification with the mortal creature. That is the Law, the eternal Law binding even on the highest and the freest, and the Supreme obeys it or, one might even say, does what it demands to be done, does it even as he comes here as an Avatar or a Vibhuti. The Mother explains the aspect of sacrifice as follows:
The Divine has sacrificed Himself in Matter to awaken consciousness in Matter, which had become inconscient. And it is this sacrifice, this giving of the Divine in Matter, that is to say, His dispersion in Matter, which justifies the sacrifice of Matter to the Divine and makes it obligatory; for it is one and the same reciprocal movement. It is because the Divine has given Himself in Matter and scattered Himself everywhere in Matter to awaken it to the divine consciousness, that Matter is automatically under the obligation to give itself to the Divine. It is a mutual and reciprocal sacrifice. And this is the great secret of the Gita: the affirmation of the divine Presence in the very heart of Matter. And that is why, Matter must sacrifice itself to the Divine, automatically, even unconsciously—whether one wants it or not, this is what happens.But, actually, it is the Divine Mother as incarnate Savitri who does the Yoga of Surrender to the Supreme and it is she who identifies her will with the Will of the Supreme. Only this incarnation, this Savitri, who can do it and not the other powers and personalities or embodiments. The surety of the success is also there in it, in this Yoga of Savitri. She alone, and not other powers and personalities or embodiments, can attain the needed perfection. Savitri was “sent forth of old beneath the stars” of the dark Night for doing that Yoga. The mystery of manifestation is “[more] terrible and unfathomable than the Eternal Cause”; it indeed looks strange, the problem of death and ignorance arising out of the immortal spirit full of knowledge and wisdom, prajnānam brahma giving rise to its weird extreme opposites. However, it is precisely to remove that mystery, to bestow reality’s sense and purpose, to discover the law that governs it that the divine Soul takes birth here. What is true of the Chit-Shakti’s incarnations passing through the portals of the life that is a death, is also true for the supreme Purusha’s incarnations, the Avatars and also the great Vibhutis. But why does the Divine incarnate at all, why does he undergo the thousand sufferings our flesh is prone to? When the Divine comes, asserts Sri Aurobindo in a letter to Dilip Roy, he suffers or struggles not for himself “but in order to bear the world-burden and help the world and men; and if the sufferings and struggles are to be of any help, they must be real… the Divine bears them and at the same time shows the way out of them.” And then: “The manifestation of the Divine in the Avatar is of help to man because it helps him to discover his own divinity and find the way to realise it… The psychic being does the same for all who are intended for the spiritual way—men need not be extraordinary beings to follow it. That is the mistake you are making—to harp on greatness as if only the great can be spiritual.” This was in the mid-1930s. But even during the earlier period Sri Aurobindo, speaking about himself, said in letter written in 1911: “I have been kept busy laying down the foundation, a work severe and painful.” A work severe and painful—and it stands to perfect reason that anyone wishing to change the earth-nature must work hard against all odds, against every kind of antagonism, first bear its law, the law of anguish and suffering, must come in contact with the harsh reality of this life, this existence on earth. We have absolutely no notion, no perception, no understanding, no idea of the pain taken by the Avatar, the Divine Pain borne by the Divine, borne for the sake of this mortal creature. The Mother says: “People do not know what a tremendous sacrifice Sri Aurobindo has made for the world. About a year ago, while I was discussing things, I remarked that I felt like leaving this body of mine. He spoke out in a very firm tone, ‘No, this can never be. If necessary for this transformation, I might go, you will have to fulfil our Yoga of supramental descent and transformation.’ We stand in the Presence of Him who has sacrificed his physical life in order to help more fully his work of transformation. He is always with us, aware of what we are doing, of all our thoughts, of all our feelings and all our actions.” She told this to one of her attendants on 18 January 1951. And then we have her prayer at the Samadhi:
To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to Thee our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before Thee who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us, before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to Thee. (9 December 1950)
He “who worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all,”—about him we comprehend nothing. What can we know about the Avatar’s passing through the portals of the life that is a death? Perhaps not a bit.
Speaking about one of his ‘madnesses’ Sri Aurobindo says: “…whereas others regard the country as an inert object, and know it as the plains, the fields, the forests, the mountains and rivers, I look upon my country as the mother, I worship her and adore her as the mother. What would a son do when a demon sitting on the breast of his mother is drinking her blood? Would he sit down content to take his meals, and go on enjoying himself in the company of his wife and children, or would he, rather, run to the rescue of his mother? I know I have the strength to uplift this fallen race; it is not physical strength, I am not going to fight with the sword or with the gun, but with the power of knowledge. The power of the warrior is not the only kind of force, there is also the power of Brahman which is founded on knowledge. This is not a new feeling within me, it is not of a recent origin, I was born with it; it is in my very marrow. God sent me to the earth to accomplish this great mission."
“God sent me to the earth to accomplish this great mission,”—that is the arrival of the Avatar. He came to fight with the power of knowledge. During his absolutely last revision of Savitri, made around 15 November 1950, Sri Aurobindo added the following lines in the Book of Fate: (Savitri, p. 445; p, 459)
He who has found identity with God
Pays with the body’s death his soul’s vast light.
His knowledge immortal triumphs by his death.
And, then, taking the occasion of the prophecy of Satyavan’s death:
His death is a beginning of a greater life,
Death is the spirit’s opportunity.The allusion to the sacrifice being made by the Avatar cannot be more explicit than what we have here. Sri Aurobindo kind of went out of the way and created a situation in the epic to give this occult knowledge about the decision he had taken to withdraw, that by withdrawing the Hour of the Eternal be hastened in the evolutionary process. RYD