Savitri Veda (Part 2)

Word of the New Creation

This Divine Action of the embodied Divine, the Avatara, also takes the form of giving to the Earth the New Word, the word of a New Creation that would embody the dharma of the Age that is dawning upon earth and mankind. In one of Her early notes She does mention this as one of Her Works, something that we also find in Sri Aurobindo’s early statements:

The general aim to be attained is the advent of a progressing universal harmony.

 The means for attaining this aim, in regard to the earth, is the realisation of human unity through the awakening in all and the manifestation by all of the inner Divinity which is One.

 In other words,—to create unity by founding the Kingdom of God which is within us all. This, therefore, is the most useful work to be done:

 (1) For each individually, to be conscious in himself of the Divine Presence and to identify himself with it.

 (2) To individualise the states of being that were never till now conscious in man and, by that, to put the earth in connection with one or more of the fountains of universal force that are still sealed to it.

 (3) To speak again to the world the eternal word under a new form adapted to its present mentality. It will be the synthesis of all human knowledge.

 (4) Collectively, to establish an ideal society in a propitious spot for the flowering of the new race, the race of the Sons of God.

[The Mother, CWM 2: 49]

My future sadhan is for life, practical knowledge & shakti, —not the essential knowledge or shakti in itself which I have got already—but knowledge & shakti established in the same physical self & directed to my work in life. I am now getting a clearer idea of that work & I may as well impart something of that idea to you; since you look to me as the centre, you should know what is likely to radiate out of that centre. 

  1. To re-explain the Sanatana Dharma to the human intellect in all its parts, from a new standpoint. This work is already beginning, & three parts of it are being clearly worked out. Sri Krishna has shown me the true meaning of the Vedas, not only so but he has shown me a new Science of Philology showing the process & origins of human speech so that a new Nirukta can be formed & the new interpretation of the Veda based upon it. He has also shown me the meaning of all in the Upanishads that is not understood either by Indians or Europeans. I have therefore to re-explain the whole Vedanta & Veda in such a way that it will be seen how all religion arises out of it & is one everywhere. In this way it will be proved that India is the centre of the religious life of the world & its destined saviour through the Sanatana Dharma. 
  1. On the basis of Vedic knowledge to establish a Yogic sadhana which will not only liberate the soul, but prepare a perfect humanity & help in the restoration of the Satyayuga. That work has to begin now but will not be complete till the end of the Kali. 
  1. India being the centre, to work for her restoration to her proper place in the world; but this restoration must be effected as a part of the above work and by means of Yoga applied to human means & instruments, not otherwise.
  2. A perfect humanity being intended society will have to be remodelled so as to be fit to contain that perfection.

            [Sri Aurobindo, CWSA 36: 177-178 (from a letter to Barin)]

Sri Aurobindo with the rare genius of a Master takes up the ancient story of Savitri from the Vedic period and, while keeping intact its core spirit, raises it to a totally new dimension. This ancient legend becomes thereby a powerful means, a perfect symbol of not only reiterating the ancient Vedantic truths but also revealing the pathways of the Future towards which our present humanity would eventually walk in its aspiration for an integral and diviner existence. Savitri becomes a bridge between the past and the future that embodies at once not only secrets of the past dawns of mankind but also gives birth to the yet unknown truths of the future.

 

Imagery and Symbols

Savitri has many unique elements in it, poetic as well as mystic. One such element is the use of imagery. Mystic literature,especially Vedic, has made deft use of imagery, both to conceal as well as to communicate the experience! The Vedic seers often used imagery and words in such a way as to conceal the truth from the uninitiated. However the truth could be decoded as it were, by those who were initiated into the deeper mysteries of the Spirit. Both language and images were used for this purpose by mystics world-over. How else can one communicate experiences that belong not only to another domain but also to another dimension of Existence. Our language fails since it has evolved largely to convey and communicate our normal experience encountered in our ordinary every-day living. It is because of this difficulty that the mystics often become silent as they go deeper into the wonderlands of the Spirit. However the Vedic seers did attempt to communicate and express it for the sake of those who may follow after. Sri Aurobindo very much does the same. But the beauty of Sri Aurobindo’s expression is that the images used are often contemporary and it is easier to relate with them in our own times. Vedic imagery is, if one may say so, bit dated since the flow of time has moved forward. That is one reason why the essence of the Vedas got progressively lost and had to be revived each time. Another aspect is with regard to the language. Sanskrit is no doubt a wonderful language but it does not yet have a large outreach. Besides, even those who have studied the language well often find it difficult to connect with the language in its past forms. After all, languages also evolve and change as mankind evolves. There is much difference between Latin and modern English, though several roots may yet be found. A person well verse with modern English need not be equally a master in Latin. Sanskrit must have undergone several layers of shifts in the process of human evolution since its ancient origins, making it difficult to connect. This is even more so when it comes to deeper states of consciousness, often clothed in images of life that the Rishis of yore experienced around them. Often we find in the Vedas images that are taken up from natural surroundings and natural elements such as ocean, river, mountain, bird, cow, bull, horse, wolf, lightning, fire, day and night. Now Sri Aurobindo has with all the ingenuity of a Master kept some of these images that are still part of our everyday experience or where they correspond to mystic vision. But other images have been changed to suit the modern mind and its repertoire of experiences. We can take a few examples for each type:

Image of Sun and the River

A fit companion of the timeless Kings,
Equalled with the godheads of the living Suns,
He mixed in the radiant pastimes of the Unborn,
Heard whispers of the Player never seen
And listened to his voice that steals the heart
And draws it to the breast of God’s desire,
And felt its honey of felicity
Flow through his veins like the rivers of Paradise,
Made body a nectar-cup of the Absolute.
[Savitri: 236]

Image of Fire

We meet the ecstasy of the Godhead’s touch
In golden privacies of immortal fire.
These signs are native to a larger self
That lives within us by ourselves unseen;
Only sometimes a holier influence comes,
A tide of mightier surgings bears our lives
And a diviner Presence moves the soul;
Or through the earthly coverings something breaks,
A grace and beauty of spiritual light,
The murmuring tongue of a celestial fire….
A treasure of honey in the combs of God,
A Splendour burning in a tenebrous cloak,
It is our glory of the flame of God,
Our golden fountain of the world’s delight,
An immortality cowled in the cape of death,
The shape of our unborn divinity.
It guards for us our fate in depths within
Where sleeps the eternal seed of transient things.
Always we bear in us a magic key
Concealed in life’s hermetic envelope.
A burning Witness in the sanctuary
Regards through Time and the blind walls of Form;
A timeless Light is in his hidden eyes;
He sees the secret things no words can speak
And knows the goal of the unconscious world
And the heart of the mystery of the journeying years.
[Savitri: Page 48-49]

Modern Images describing the Rakshasic and Asuric Maya

Then in Illusion’s occult factory
And in the Inconscient’s magic printing-house
Torn were the formats of the primal Night
And shattered the stereotypes of Ignorance.
Alive, breathing a deep spiritual breath,
Nature expunged her stiff mechanical code
And the articles of the bound soul’s contract,
Falsehood gave back to Truth her tortured shape.
Annulled were the tables of the law of Pain,
And in their place grew luminous characters.
[Savitri: 231-232]

We could go on multiplying the examples but that would be a subject in its own right. For the moment it is enough to draw a quick comparison between images used in the Vedas and in Savitri, – the similarities and new additions.

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