B1 C2 Movement 1 Passage-by-Passage Summary
Through the passages that follow, Sri Aurobindo gives us a quick look at Destiny as it operates under the law of karma. In the process the Master-poet gives us a hint of what Savitri needs to do to change the otherwise ‘inevitable’ fate that chases us all as if tied to our life through invisible links and unseen threads.
The yoke of Time
For only the unborn spirit’s timeless power
Can lift the yoke imposed by birth in Time.
The unborn spirit is the Transcendent Divine who stands above the play of Time and Space. It is only when the individual soul has discovered the timeless Universal and the Transcendent Divine and is able to call Its intervention from Above that it can be freed from the yoke of Time which is essentially a ‘law of cause and effect’ set into motion through the agency of Karma. But the Grace can completely dissolve karma and set us free.
The Self that builds this figure of self
Only the Self that builds this figure of self
Can rase the fixed interminable line
That joins these changing names, these numberless lives,
These new oblivious personalities
And keeps still lurking in our conscious acts
The trail of old forgotten thoughts and deeds,
Disown the legacy of our buried selves,
The burdensome heirship to our vanished forms
Accepted blindly by the body and soul.
Our ego-self is a temporary device created by Nature for its inferior play. Behind it is the true Self which is indeed a representative of the Divine. The ego-self is a formation that changes from birth to birth assuming different personalities and names through many lives. It dissolves with death but the true Self keeps the essential record of each experience. It holds within itself the curves of past efforts and also the seed-script of our future lives. The past lines and curves of destiny, the routes we have undertaken, the groves we have walked through pull us again to follow the same pattern. There is a stress of the past also to complete our unfinished curves of destiny. This is the chain of karma that keeps us hooked and tied to a past that we no more remember and yet have set it into motion by our thoughts and deeds.
Still there is a saving Grace, it is the Divine Presence within that can deliver us from this rigid chain and bondage to Ignorance, the source and secret cause of our suffering and pain.
A once living story
An episode in an unremembered tale,
Its beginning lost, its motive and plot concealed,
A once living story has prepared and made
Our present fate, child of past energies.
Our one single lifetime is simply one chapter in a large volume of the Book of Life that is ever unfolding itself in a secret continuity. But we are lost in the chapter before us while forgetting that account of all that has gone by. Nothing is really dead, it continues to exert its influence upon us a various temperaments and tendencies of nature that pull us in certain directions.
Fixity of the cosmic sequences
The fixity of the cosmic sequences
Fastened with hidden inevitable links
She must disrupt, dislodge by her soul’s force
Her past, a block on the Immortal’s road,
Make a rased ground and shape anew her fate.
The fixity of the cosmic Sequences is what is called in India as ‘the Law of Karma’, the law that arises due to the very nature of life. Arising from the heart of oneness, there is a thread of interconnectedness and consequent interdependence between each ‘seemingly separate unit of life’. Hence each release of energy whether as thought or feeling or impulse or action is really an exchange and brings a corresponding consequence. Yet to move forward we need to break free from this web of lower nature and its ignorant transactions into which our lives are caught. There is in man the power that can do so. It resides in his soul of which he is normally ignorant. This is the work now before Savitri, a work that will carve a way for the humanity of tomorrow.
Thus we see here a brief outline of the karmic law and the first secret of coming out of its grip. It is to find our secret soul and live by it.
It may be however noted that the karmic law as described here is not the whole truth of it. Sri Aurobindo would come back to this subject of Fate and Karma and the Law of Ignorance in great detail in Book Six (The Book of Fate).