Jan 13, 2010

Comments by Vikram

Why are we studying Savitri if it is a fictional creation and "the circumstances of this life have nothing to do with" the plot? I looked up the reference. He has picked up HALF A SENTENCE (!) from somewhere. Secondly, he is assuming that this other lyrical poem has something to convey about Sri Aurobindo's Sadhana....

Ref A Few Comments Apropos of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by R.Y. Deshpande
Comment by Vikram on Thu 16 Jul 2009 07:32 AM IST:


I am a little late on this debate... Has anyone pointed out the following lines from p. 398 of this book?

Because his talks entirely ceased and his correspondence virtually so, there are no first-hand accounts of Sri Aurobindo's sadhana after 1941. One is tempted to mine Savitri to make up for the lack. Sri Aurobindo's accounts of Aswapathy's voyage through the worlds of matter, life, and mind before reaching "the kingdoms of the greater knowledge," and Savitri's transit through the "inner countries" until she reaches the inmost soul certainly are based on his and the Mother's experiences; but the poem is a fictional creation, and Sri Aurobindo said explicitly that "the circumstances of this life have nothing to do with" its plot. One is on somewhat firmer ground looking for clues in his lyrical poems, but he wrote only a few after 1943. Those he did write are uncharacteristically dark:

Is this the end of all that we have been,
And all we did or dreamed,-
A name unremembered and a form undone,
Is this the end?
A body rotting under a slab of stone
Or turned to ash in fire,
A mind dissolved, lost its forgotten thoughts,
Is this the end?

So begins a poem of June 1945. It ends, however, on a brighter note: the "Immortal in the mortal" is "unwilling to cease"…

Is this really true? Why are we studying Savitri if it is a fictional creation and "the circumstances of this life have nothing to do with" the plot? I looked up the reference. He has picked up HALF A SENTENCE (!) from somewhere. Secondly, he is assuming that this other lyrical poem has something to convey about Sri Aurobindo's Sadhana.

The sentence comes from CWSA Vol. 27, Letters on Poetry, p. 276:

If Aswapati is he, I’ll learn about his role from the poem -- but couldn’t you say something about him in direct reference to Mother and yourself?

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”. Theon and the circumstances of this life have nothing to do with it.
10 November 1936

This man Peter has been there for since the 70’s. Are there no other statements asserting the relevance of Savitri that he could find?

Ref A Few Comments Apropos of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by RY Deshpande
Comment by R.Y. Deshpande on Thu 16 Jul 2009 04:48 PM IST:


We can take up the technical part of the comment separately, but let me suggest here to avoid expressions such as "This man...has been here...", etc. Sorry. The other points are very valid and must be pursued further. I invite comments on them from perceptive readers. Thanks.

Ref A Few Comments Apropos of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by R.Y. Deshpande
Comment by Vikram on Thu 16 Jul 2009 07:42 PM IST:


Sure. I meant he has been associated long enough with the Archives to know that Savitri is not a work of fiction. This doesn't look like an innocent typo. Sticking to the primary sources is one thing but misrepresenting the Master's intent by using HALF A SENTENCE is quite another.

With a little effort I found at least 5 statements in the same CWSA Vol. 27 that he seems to have ignored. The Agenda may have more.

The very next page of the same CWSA Vol. 27 from which he picked up this half statement has this to say:

There was no climbing of planes there in the first version—rather Savitri moves through the worlds of Night, of Twilight, of Day—all of course in a spiritual sense—and ended by calling down the power of the Highest Worlds of Sachchidananda. I had no idea of what the supramental World could be like at that time, so it could not enter into the scheme. As for expressing the supramental inspiration, that is a matter of the future.
31 October 1936 (p 277)

In the new form it will be a sort of poetic philosophy of the Spirit and of Life much profounder in its substance and vaster in its scope than was intended in the original poem. I am trying of course to keep it at a very high level of inspiration, but in so large a plan covering most subjects of philosophical thought and vision and many aspects of spiritual experience there is bound to be much variation of tone: but that is, I think, necessary for the richness and completeness of the treatment.
1946 (pp 279-80)

The lines I quoted from myself are not in any published poem, but in the unfinished first book of “Savitri, A Legend and a Symbol” which was in intention a sort of symbolic epic of the aim of supramental Yoga! I may send it to you for typing when I have completed it; but in view of my abundant absence of leisure, the completion seems still to lurk in the mists of the far off future.
15 September 1931 (p 261)

But if I had to write for the general reader I could not have written Savitri at all. It is in fact for myself that I have written it and for those who can lend themselves to the subject-matter, images, technique of mystic poetry.
This is the real stumbling-block of mystic poetry and specially mystic poetry of this kind. The mystic feels real and present, even ever-present to his experience, intimate to his being, truths which to the ordinary reader are intellectual abstractions or metaphysical speculations. He is writing of experiences that are foreign to the ordinary mentality. Either they are unintelligible to it and in meeting them it flounders about as in an obscure abyss or it takes them as poetic fancies expressed in intellectually devised images. (p 315)


This is not the method of Savitri. Its expression aims at a certain force, directness and spiritual clarity and reality. When it is not understood, it is because the truths it expresses are unfamiliar to the ordinary mind or belong to an untrodden domain or domains or enter into a field of occult experience; it is not because there is any attempt at a dark or vague profundity or at an escape from thought. (p 317)


Ref A Few Comments Apropos of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by R.Y. Deshpande
Comment by Vikram on Fri 17 Jul 2009 10:46 PM IST


The biography says "One is on somewhat firmer ground looking for clues in his lyrical poems, but he wrote only a few after 1943. Those he did write are uncharacteristically dark".

I looked at the Collected Poems volume for poems after 1943 and I didn't see any other poem which is "uncharacteristically dark" as he seems to suggest. He seems to have picked the only poem which may be negative - perhaps to fit his account of Sri Aurobindo's Sadhana.

These are the other poems. As you can see, none of these are dark in nature.

Mother of God (1945)

A conscious and eternal Power is here
Behind unhappiness and mortal birth
And the error of Thought and blundering trudge of Time.
The Mother of God, his sister and his spouse,
Daughter of his wisdom, of his might (strength) the mate,
She has leapt from the Transcendent’s secret breast
To build her rainbow worlds of mind and life.
Between the superconscient absolute Light
And the lnconscient’s vast unthinking toil
In the rolling and routine of Matter’s sleep
And the somnambulist motion of the stars
She forces on the cold unwilling Void
Her adventure of life, the passionate dreams of her lust.
Amid the work of darker Powers she is here
To heal the evils and mistakes of Space
And change the tragedy of the ignorant world
Into a Divine Comedy of joy.
And the laughter and the rapture of God’s bliss.
The Mother of God is master of our souls;
We are the partners of his birth in Time,
Inheritors we share his eternity. (p 642)

Silence is All (1946)

Silence is all, say the sages.
Silence watches the work of the ages;
In the book of Silence the cosmic Scribe has written his cosmic pages;
Silence is all, say the sages.
What then of the word, O speaker?
What then of the thought, O thinker?
Thought is the wine of the soul and the word is the beaker;
Life is the banquet-table - the soul of the sage is the drinker.
What of the wine, O mortal?
I am drunk with the wine as I sit at Wisdom’s portal,
Waiting for the Light beyond thought and the Word immortal.
I sit in vain at Wisdom’s portal.
How shalt thou know the Word when it comes, O seeker?
How shalt thou know the Light when it breaks, O witness?
I shall hear the voice of the God within me and grow wiser and meeker;
I shall be the tree that takes in the light as its food, I shall drink its nectar of sweetness. (p 644)

Evolution (22-3-1944)

I passed into a lucent still abode
And saw as in a mirror crystalline
An ancient Force ascending serpentine
The unhasting spirals of the aeonic road.
Earth was a cradle for the arriving god
And man but a half-dark half-luminous sign
Of the transition of the veiled Divine
From Matter’s sleep and the tormented load
Of ignorant life and death to the Spirit’s light.
Mind liberated swam Light's ocean vast,
And life escaped from its grey tortured line;
I saw Matter illumining its parent Night.
The soul could feel into infinity cast
Timeless God-bliss the heart incarnadine.
(p 594)

The Silver Call (23-3-1944)

There is a godhead of unrealised things
To which Time’s splendid gains are hoarded dross;
A cry seems near, a rustle of silver wings
Calling to heavenly joy by earthly loss
All eye has seen and all the ear has heard
Is a pale illusion by some greater voice
And mightier vision; no sweet sound or word,
No passion of hues that make the heart rejoice
Can equal these diviner ecstasies.
A Mind beyond our mind has sole the ken
Of those yet unimagined harmonies,
The fate and privilege of unborn men.
As rain-thrashed mire the marvel of the rose,
Earth waits that distant marvel to disclose.
(p 594)

The Inner Fields (14-3-1947)

There is a brighter ether than this blue
Pretence of an enveloping heavenly vault,
A deeper greenness than this laughing assault1
Of emerald rapture pearled with tears of dew.
Immortal spaces of cerulean hue
Are in our reach and fields without this fault
Of drab brown earth and streams that never halt
In their deep murmur which white flowers strew
Floating like stars upon a strip of sky.
This world behind is made of truer stuff
Than the manufactured tissue of earth’s grace.
There we can walk and see the gods go by
And sip from Hebe’s cup nectar enough
To make for us heavenly limbs and deathless face.
(p 627)


Ref A Few Comments Apropos of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by R.Y. Deshpande
Comment by Vikram on Sun 26 Jul 2009 06:23 AM IST:


Continuing here.. few lines from this poem "Is this the end" have been borrowed to create the illusion that it is connected to Sri Aurobindo's Sadhana. You have to read the whole poem to see the reality.

This is the text from the biography:

Those he did write are uncharacteristically dark:

Is this the end of all that we have been,
And all we did or dreamed,-
A name unremembered and a form undone,
Is this the end?
A body rotting under a slab of stone
Or turned to ash in fire,
A mind dissolved, lost its forgotten thoughts,
Is this the end?

So begins a poem of June 1945. It ends, however, on a brighter note: the "Immortal in the mortal" is "unwilling to cease"

Till all is done for which the stars were made,
Till the heart discovers God
And the soul knows itself And even then
There is no end.


Let us read the whole poem.

Is this the end of all that we have been,
And all we did or dreamed, -
A name unremembered and a form undone, -
Is this the end?

A body rotting under a slab of stone
Or turned to ash in fire,
A mind dissolved, lost its forgotten thoughts, -
Is this the end?

Our little hours that were and are no more,
Our passions once so high
Being mocked by the still earth and calm sunshine, -
Is this the end?

Our yearnings for the human Godward climb
Passing to other hearts
Deceived, while smiles towards death and hell the world, -
Is this the end?

Fallen is the harp; shattered it lies and mute;
Is the unseen player dead?
Because the tree is felled where the bird sang,
Must the song too hush?

One in the mind who planned and willed and thought,
Worked to reshape earth’s fate,
One in the heart who loved and yearned and hoped,
Does he too end?

The Immortal in the mortal is his Name;
An artist Godhead here
Ever remoulds himself in diviner shapes,
Unwilling to cease

Till all is done for which the stars were made,
Till the heart discovers God
And the soul knows itself. And even then
There is no end.

The title of the poem "Is this the end" must be understood. The word "end" here means "Goal" not "Termination". It is a poem about evolution. The Immortal works his magic behind the apparently transient by evolving new forms. These lines which were omitted connect the two parts of the poem:

"An artist Godhead here
Ever remoulds himself in diviner shapes,
Unwilling to cease"

The biography has created needless distortions here first by degrading Savitri and then by misinterpreting this poem to be uncharacteristically dark and connecting it to Sri Aurobindo's Sadhana.

Ref A Few Comments Apropos of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by R.Y. Deshpande
Comment by Vikram on Sun 26 Jul 2009 06:43 AM IST:


On page 414 we find:

In November 1926 he had an experience that he called the descent of the overmind, the highest of the powers of consciousness between the ordinary mind and the divine power that he called the supermind. All that remained was to "supramentalise the overmind." This process was still in progress twenty-one years later, when he spoke of it in the last known reference to the state of his sadhana. He never announced that the process was complete.

This is another distortion. The biographer and longtime member of the Archives seems to have conveniently forgotten the last prose writing of Sri Aurobindo which was the essay Mind of Light in the Bulletin of Physical Education published August 1950. This along with the Mother's remarks on it was proof of Sri Aurobindo's achievement. Instead the biography links Sri Aurobindo's Sadhana to some obscure unrelated poem.

Courtesy http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org

Permananent link:
http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org/blog/_archives/2008/12/14/4019788.html#1255132

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