Savitri Veda (Part 1)

Introduction

Savitri, the epic poem of Sri Aurobindo, is regarded by many as a deeply mystical poem. The Mother revealed that the lines of Savitri are a mantra in their own right, a mantra of transformation. Sri Aurobindo’s own letters, written in response to queries from poet-disciples, reveal to us the immense labour that has gone into the poem with the sole intention of bringing down the very highest rhythms of Beauty and Truth and Delight into a body of sound and word. The very fact that Savitri embodies the very highest rhythms of Truth, termed in Indian thought as the mantra, and is the manifestation of the Seer-Vision and Spiritual-occult vision and experiences of Sri Aurobindo, who had entered the deepest and highest realms of yogic realisations, makes Savitri a Veda in its own right. For what we mean by the Vedas is not just a set of four holy books, the most ancient and revered sacred texts of Hindu Thought, but a document of occult vision and spiritual experiences of seers who sought for the Truth behind appearances and had found it. They have left for us invaluable documents as a priceless treasure for all the children of Earth, regardless of their religion, to benefit from their discoveries and deciphering the truth behind the texts. This is however no easy task. Firstly, the language used is a rather archaic form of Sanskrit whose keys are not always easy to find. But even when one has found the keys, the texts themselves have been clothed in imagery that does not lend itself to an easy interpretation, a difficulty that even great scholars have experienced, not to speak of a common seeker. However even if we have overcome these two challenges, there is a yet another difficulty; it is the challenge of making the texts contextual so that the modern mind can connect with the profound truths contained within these wonderful texts. This is true not only of the truths contained but also for the path shown in the Vedas. Humanity has moved ahead much in its pursuit of Truth and it is difficult to imagine a life that the ancients lived and followed as part of their self-discipline and preparation for yoga. It is for these reasons that many youths find a greater connect with the Gita with its stress on a psychological approach, rather than an occult and mystic one, as we see in the Vedas. Sri Krishna must have seen the necessity of recovering the Vedas from the state of obscurity and confusion in which their understanding had fallen, especially with a ritualistic interpretation, and the emergence of more than one approaches towards the Divine seeking. The Gita was his way of recovering the Vedas, which is one of the many Works of the Avatara. But humanity has moved yet further. The Gita itself was being turned into a religious scripture, and with the fast growing strides of modern science, new questions were besieging mankind at the beginning of the previous century. Arjuna’s dilemma was largely a moral and ethical one. He hardly questioned the validity of spiritual experience nor was his mind caught up between the discoveries of material Science and the ancient Spiritual truths. Our age, endowed with new possibilities, has also brought with it new challenges and difficulties. The Veda had to be recovered once again and put in a language more suited to our modern temperament. At the same time this had to be done without compromising on the method followed by the Vedic seers, that is of stating profound truths not merely as statements but as a powerful mantra that can act directly on the recipient, evoke in him the aspiration that moved the heart of the seer, and inspire him to walk the way, giving all the Guidance and Light and Power needed when we undertake the greatest of all adventures, – the search for Truth and Freedom and Bliss and Immortality. That mantra, that Veda is Savitri given to man by the Avatara of the Age, Sri Aurobindo.

Rescuing the Vedas

In fact this is one of the works undertaken by the Avatara as is beautifully stated in this symbolic story, which also reveals that the Vedas are more than a set of sacred scriptures. The real Veda is the Knowledge-Power, the Wisdom, Prajna prasrato purano, that has gone into creation. It is the blueprint of Divine, embedded in the heart of all creatures, and is revealed as we dive deep within our core and come in touch with our soul. The Vedic seers were some of the early mystics who experienced this Wisdom, though they themselves mention about the forefathers who paved the way for them. There are therefore two ways in which the Vedas can be understood. The first and common sense, the one in which it is generally understood, is to see them as a set of four books that have emerged as the very Word of God, traditionally from Brahma whose Word is also associated with creation. But this very parallel in the story of the Vedas and Creation emerging from the same Source would indicate, at least suggest that there is another Veda and it is that which is involved in creation itself, not as a book but as the Knowledge that is inbuilt in the very warp and woof of existence. The soul recovers this Knowledge bit by bit as it goes through the countless experiences life after life. This second sense of the Vedas makes it a much vaster Truth, one that cannot be confined to any number of books and would remain inexhaustible even if one were to take into account all the soul-experiences and soul-moments of all beings who have so far entered into the great play of Creation. It would also mean that even if creation were destroyed, as indeed records suggest so, it would still emerge since ‘Knowledge’ cannot be destroyed. This Knowledge will invariably bring out creation back into order. Perhaps that is what is hinted at the story of the very first Avatara in Hindu thought, the great Fish. During the great deluge (pralaya) everything is destroyed in the Swell except the great King Satyavrata (significantly meaning one who holds to the Truth, – Truth is never destroyed) and those subjects whom he has placed in the great Arc. The Divine has come down as Fish and steers the boat through the growing Waters. When questioned by the king as to what is its mission, the Divine-Fish, Matsya Avatara remarks that it has come down to save the Vedas! Surely it is not some set of holy books that were being rescued but the Truth, the essential Knowledge that was being preserved for a New Creation that would follow the destruction of the Old. One cannot but help remembering one of the experiences of the Divine Mother which is so very similar to this most ancient story that one may very well conclude that at least a certain section of humanity has just crossed over the great Deluge. It is that section which clings to Truth and to the Divine. The rest is marked out for collapse sooner or later. Let us read through these experiences before we proceed:

It was as if the doors of destruction had been flung open. Floods – floods as vast as an ocean – were rushing down onto … something … the earth? A formidable current pouring down at an insane speed, with an unstoppable power….

Right at the end, there was a place where the water had to turn to run down – this was the Great Passage. If you got caught in that, it was all over. You had to reach this spot and cross over before the water came. It was the only place you could get across. Then a last plunge, and like an arrow shot from a bow, full speed ahead, I crossed over and there I was.

And once on the other side, without even a rise in ground level (I don’t know why), it was immediately safe. And the current went on and on, waves upon waves, on and on, as far as the eye could see, but it was canalized here at the Great Turning; and as soon as it went past this point, the inundation was total, it spread out over something … over the earth. And the current turned – it turned – but I was already on the other side. And down below, everything was finished, the water rushed down everywhere. Only, as soon as I was on the other side, it could not touch me – the water could not get across, it was stopped by something invisible, and it turned away….

The vehicle’s path was not on earth, but up above (probably in interstellar regions!), a special path for this vehicle. And I didn’t know where the water was coming from; I couldn’t see its origin, which was off beyond the horizon. But it came raging down in torrents – not precipitously like a waterfall, but rather like a rushing torrent. My path passed between the torrents of water and the earth below. And I saw the water before me, everywhere, in front and behind – it was so extraordinary, for it looked like … it was everywhere, you see, except along my path (and even then, there was some seepage). Water speeding everywhere. But there was a kind of conscious will in this onrush, and I had to reach the Great Passage before this conscious will….

The vehicle and the forward movement are the sadhana, beyond the shadow of a doubt. I understood that the speed of sadhana was greater than the speed of the forces of destruction. And it ended in certain victory, there is not a shadow of doubt. This feeling of Power once I was firmly grounded there [in the ‘square’], enough power to help others.

[Conversations with a disciple: July 23, 1960]

 

One must rise above, surge forth into the Light and the Harmony, or sink back down into the simplicity of a wholesome, unperverted animal life.

But those who cannot be lifted up, who refuse to progress, will automatically lose the use of the mental consciousness and fall back into an infrahuman stage….

That part of humanity, of the human consciousness, which is able to unite with the Supermind and liberate itself will be completely transformed. It is moving towards its future reality as yet unexpressed in the outer form; the part very close to the simplicity of the animal, close to Nature, will be reabsorbed by Nature and thoroughly reassimilated. But that corrupted part of the human consciousness, which through its wrong use of the mind allows this perversion, will be abolished.

That kind of humanity belongs to an unfruitful attempt – and will be eliminated, like so many other abortive species which have vanished in the course of universal history.

Certain prophets in the past had this apocalyptic vision, but as usual things became mixed, and along with their vision of the apocalypse they did not have the vision of the supramental world that will come to uplift the consenting part of humanity and transform this physical world. However, to give hope to those born into this perverted part of the human consciousness, redemption through faith was taught: those who have faith in the sacrifice of the Divine in Matter will automatically be saved, in another world – faith alone, without understanding, without intelligence. They never saw the supramental world, nor did they see that the great Sacrifice of the Divine in Matter is that of an involution which will lead to the total revelation of the Divine in Matter itself.

[CWM 9: 300 – 301]

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