For 28 Feb 2016

Three Cheers for a Glorious Future

A heavenlier passion shall upheave men’s lives,

Their mind shall share in the ineffable gleam,

Their heart shall feel the ecstasy and the fire.

SRI AUROBINDO (Savitri, Book 11, p. 709)

The yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is steeped in evolution, not just the evolution from matter to man, which has already taken place, but also the evolution of the future from man to ‘superman’, from the mental consciousness to the Supramental Consciousness. Further, they not only visualized the future, they also created it through their sadhana. The Mother declared that the Supramental principle had been established on earth on 29 February 1956, and over time it will manifest in more and more people. The significance of the milestone is that the while the present life of humanity is organized around the separative ego; life of the humanity of the future will be organized around the uniting Supramental Consciousness. That will be the real and lasting solution to the problems of human existence, such as evil, injustice and suffering. Glimpses of the advent of the Supramental and its impact on the world are available in several passages of Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem, Savitri, which may be considered an Upanishad in the English language. This article is based on a sample of such passages.

The achievements of the human mind

The human mind has been a unique development in evolution. Not only has man’s intellect made possible the development of science and technology, man also has, because of his well-developed mind, the urge to look deeper at existential questions such as the meaning of human life.

In waking Mind, the Thinker built his house.

A reasoning animal willed and planned and sought;

He stood erect among his brute compeers,

He built life new, measured the universe,

Opposed his fate and wrestled with unseen Powers,

Conquered and used the laws that rule the world,

And hoped to ride the heavens and reach the stars,

A master of his huge environment. (1)

What next?

Now that man is approaching the limits of what may be achieved by the mind, he is becoming aware of, and wants to explore what needs going beyond the mind. The part in him that was asleep so far is waking up.

Now through Mind’s windows stares the demigod

Hidden behind the curtains of man’s soul:

He has seen the Unknown, looked on Truth’s veilless face;

A ray has touched him from the eternal sun;

Motionless, voiceless in foreseeing depths,

He stands awake in Supernature’s light

And sees a glory of arisen wings

And sees the vast descending might of God. (2)

Certitude

That the future will be radically different is certain; it is only a matter of time.

Our greater self of knowledge waits for us,

A supreme light in the truth-conscious Vast:

It sees from summits beyond thinking mind,

It moves in a splendid air transcending life.

It shall descend and make earth’s life divine. (3)

Instrument for the Advent of the Supramental on Earth

The Divine needed an instrument in human form to establish the Supramental on earth. In Savitri, it is Savitri who is the chosen instrument. It is generally agreed that in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, the character Savitri is none other than the Mother. Savitri knows what her mission on earth is, but initially the Divine resists her attempts. The Divine first appears surprised that Savitri has been able to see what had been hidden from mankind so far.

How hast thou seen beyond the topaz walls

… …

In thee the secret sight man’s blindness missed

Has opened its view past Time, my chariot-course,

And death, my tunnel which I drive through life

To reach my unseen distances of bliss. (4)

Then she is told that man does not want to get liberated from his ignorance. He is so bogged down by his earthly needs that he does not look beyond them.

Heaven’s call is rare, rarer the heart that heeds;

The doors of light are sealed to common mind

And earth’s needs nail to earth the human mass, … (5)

Then she is told that evolution is a slow process, and therefore she should not be in a hurry. Let nature take its course, as it has done in the past.

Leave to the circling aeons’ tardy pace

And to the working of the inconscient Will,

Leave to its imperfect light the earthly race:

All shall be done by the long act of Time. (6)

Then she is offered a temptation. The Divine tells her to be satisfied with her own salvation.

Clasp, Ocean, deep into thyself thy wave,

Happy for ever in the embosoming surge. (7)

But Savitri is deeply touched by the misery of the world. Her dictum is:

Imperfect is the joy not shared by all. (8)

She wants to provide mankind the comfort of a mother’s arms.

“Thy energy, Lord, to seize on woman and man,

To take all things and creatures in their grief

And gather them into a mother’s arms.” (9)

All the arguments and the temptations of the Divine were meant to test the instrument. After Savitri clears the test, the Divine is pleased, and tells her:

“O beautiful body of the incarnate Word,

Thy thoughts are mine, I have spoken with thy voice.

My will is thine, what thou hast chosen I choose:

All thou hast asked I give to earth and men. (10)

The Divine tells Savitri how granting her what she wanted will affect her.

All beings shall be to thy life my emissaries;

Drawn to me on the bosom of thy friend,

Compelled to meet me in thy enemy’s eyes,

My creatures shall demand me from thy heart.

… …

Hearts touched by thy love shall answer to my call,

… …

Enamoured of thy spirit’s loveliness

They shall embrace my body in thy soul,

Hear in thy life the beauty of my laugh,

Know the thrilled bliss with which I made the worlds.

All that thou hast, shall be for others’ bliss,

All that thou art, shall to my hands belong. (11)

The Process

The number of supramental beings will grow only slowly. When their number reaches a critical mass, they will be able to dominate the affairs of the world, making the world a better place to live in. The first supramental beings to arrive will naturally be children.

I saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers

Over the heavenly verge which turns towards life

Come crowding down the amber stairs of birth;

Forerunners of a divine multitude,

Out of the paths of the morning star they came

Into the little room of mortal life.

I saw them cross the twilight of an age,

The sun-eyed children of a marvellous dawn,

The great creators with wide brows of calm,

The massive barrier-breakers of the world

And wrestlers with destiny in her lists of will,

The labourers in the quarries of the gods,

The messengers of the Incommunicable,

The architects of immortality. (12)

Some shall be made the glory’s receptacles

And vehicles of the Eternal’s luminous power.

These are the high forerunners, the heads of Time,

The great deliverers of earth-bound mind,

The high transfigurers of human clay,

The first-born of a new supernal race. (13)

After the forerunners, will come much larger numbers of the new race.

Even the multitude shall hear the Voice

And turn to commune with the Spirit within

And strive to obey the high spiritual law:

This earth shall stir with impulses sublime,

Humanity awake to deepest self,

Nature the hidden godhead recognise.

Even the many shall some answer make

And bear the splendour of the Divine’s rush

And his impetuous knock at unseen doors. (14)

A peep into the world of the future

What will the world be like when the supramental beings have reached a sufficient number to be able to determine how the world will function? We can get a glimpse of it from the following passages.

All shall be drawn into a single plan,

A divine harmony shall be earth’s law,

Beauty and joy remould her way to live:

Even the body shall remember God,

Nature shall draw back from mortality

And Spirit’s fires shall guide the earth’s blind force;

Knowledge shall bring into the aspirant Thought

A high proximity to Truth and God.

The supermind shall claim the world for Light

And thrill with love of God the enamoured heart

And place Light’s crown on Nature’s lifted head

And found Light’s reign on her unshaking base.

A greater truth than earth’s shall roof-in earth

And shed its sunlight on the roads of mind;

A power infallible shall lead the thought,

A seeing Puissance govern life and act,

In earthly hearts kindle the Immortal’s fire. (15)

A divine force shall flow through tissue and cell

And take the charge of breath and speech and act

And all the thoughts shall be a glow of suns

And every feeling a celestial thrill.

Often a lustrous inner dawn shall come

Lighting the chambers of the slumbering mind;

A sudden bliss shall run through every limb

And Nature with a mightier Presence fill.

Thus shall the earth open to divinity

And common natures feel the wide uplift,

Illumine common acts with the Spirit’s ray

And meet the deity in common things.

Nature shall live to manifest secret God,

The Spirit shall take up the human play,

This earthly life become the life divine. (16)

Conclusion

A glimpse of the event on 29 February 1956 that marked a radical departure from the past is also available in Savitri. The final barrier between man and the Highest Truth, has been likened to a golden lid in the Isha Upanishad (Verse 15). The Mother also saw a golden door, which she broke to let the Light on the other side of the door rush to the earth. Savitri also talks of ‘golden bars’. The gold is symbolic of a temptation. The golden barrier is so tempting that there is not much motivation to cross over to the other side.

Then from a timeless plane that watches Time,

A Spirit gazed out upon destiny,

In its endless moment saw the ages pass.

All still was in a silence of the gods.

The prophet moment covered limitless Space

And cast into the heart of hurrying Time

A diamond light of the Eternal’s peace,

A crimson seed of God’s felicity;

A glance from the gaze fell of undying Love.

A wonderful face looked out with deathless eyes;

A hand was seen drawing the golden bars

That guard the imperishable secrecies.

A key turned in a mystic lock of Time.

But where the silence of the gods had passed,

A greater harmony from the stillness born

Surprised with joy and sweetness yearning hearts,

An ecstasy and a laughter and a cry.

A power leaned down, a happiness found its home.

Over wide earth brooded the infinite bliss. (17)

REFERENCES

All references are to Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. The ‘Book’, ‘Canto’ and page on which the passage occurs is given below. Book 11 has only one canto.

  1. Book 10, Canto 3, p. 622.
  2. Book 10, Canto 3, pp. 622-623.
  3. Book 7, Canto 2, p. 484.
  4. Book 11, p. 683.
  5. Book 11, p. 689.
  6. Book 11. p. 691.
  7. Book 11, p. 692.
  8. Book 11, p. 686.
  9. Book 11, p. 697.
  10. Book 11, p. 698.
  11. Book 11, p. 701.
  12. Book 3, Canto 4, pp. 343-344.
  13. Book 11, p. 705.
  14. Book 11, p. 709.
  15. Book 11, p. 707.
  16. Book 11, p. 710.
  17. Book 11, p. 712.

The full text of Savitri may be downloaded from https://www.google.co.in/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=sri+aurobindo+savitri+pdf