Myths and Legends (7/7) The Seer Vision and Imagination

It is thus we need to approach these myths. We need to understand that it is not just a story but a story written by a seer. That makes a lot of difference. It is how those with a deeper vision of Reality saw things and have gladly shared with us and in words that are so easy to comprehend. By reading these myths we come into contact with the characters they contain, we identify our mind with the mind of the seer but above all we are inspired by the sense of the Divine unfolding in life. That is their supreme value and contribution to mankind in its many-sided progress.

Often a myth is not just a tale of the past but a doorway to the future. The seers saw a far-off remote possibility like a scientist gazing through his telescope spots a distant star and studying its spectrum arrives at an understanding of the remote luminous body that our naked eyes do not behold. Yet by revealing to us about the star, the scientist not only brings information useful to heart but also fires our imagination. This imagination is not just a falsehood but is very often a creative energy that is able to foresee a possibility that has yet not manifested. Haven’t quite a few of our Science Fictions become later realities with slight modifications? The seers used these various faculties given to us deftly to weave a myth which the analytical mind is only quick to demolish or label it as a work of imaginative fiction. Yet Time cancels our verdicts and while the researches and their scholars vanish without a trace the myth and sacred lore survives and returns and continues to enlighten and empower mankind!

Sri Aurobindo puts it beautifully in Savitri, first when He reveals to us the limitations of Reason and analytical thought vis a vis these profound mysteries of existence that the myth has set to solve for us:

In her high works of pure intelligence,
In her withdrawal from the senses’ trap,
There comes no breaking of the walls of mind,
There leaps no rending flash of absolute power,
There dawns no light of heavenly certitude.
A million faces wears her knowledge here
And every face is turbaned with a doubt.
All now is questioned, all reduced to nought.
Once monumental in their massive craft
Her old great mythic writings disappear
And into their place start strict ephemeral signs;
This constant change spells progress to her eyes:
Her thought is an endless march without a goal.
There is no summit on which she can stand
And see in a single glance the Infinite’s whole.
[Savitri: 252 – 253] 

And then the cry of Death rings loud in earth’s ears denying Love and Truth, denying the Ideal, denying subtle and profound truths and replacing them with a very physical material view of life:

Earth only is there and not some heavenly source.
If heavens there are they are veiled in their own light,
If a Truth eternal somewhere reigns unknown,
It burns in a tremendous void of God;
For truth shines far from the falsehoods of the world;
How can the heavens come down to unhappy earth
Or the eternal lodge in drifting time?
How shall the Ideal tread earth’s dolorous soil
Where life is only a labour and a hope,
A child of Matter and by Matter fed,
A fire flaming low in Nature’s grate,
A wave that breaks upon a shore in Time,
A journey’s toilsome trudge with death for goal?
The Avatars have lived and died in vain,
Vain was the sage’s thought, the prophet’s voice;
In vain is seen the shining upward Way.
Earth lies unchanged beneath the circling sun;
She loves her fall and no omnipotence
Her mortal imperfections can erase,
Force on man’s crooked ignorance Heaven’s straight line
Or colonise a world of death with gods.
O traveller in the chariot of the Sun,
High priestess in thy holy fancy’s shrine
Who with a magic ritual in earth’s house
Worshippest ideal and eternal love,
What is this love thy thought has deified,
This sacred legend and immortal myth?

….Even so men cheat the Truth with splendid thoughts.
Thus wilt thou hire the glorious charlatan, Mind,
To weave from his Ideal’s gossamer air
A fine raiment for thy body’s nude desires
And thy heart’s clutching greedy passion clothe?
Daub not the web of life with magic hues:
Make rather thy thought a plain and faithful glass
Reflecting Matter and mortality,
And know thy soul a product of the flesh,
A made-up self in a constructed world.
Thy words are large murmurs in a mystic dream.
For how in the soiled heart of man could dwell
The immaculate grandeur of thy dream-built God,
Or who can see a face and form divine
In the naked two-legged worm thou callest man?
O human face, put off mind-painted masks:
The animal be, the worm that Nature meant;
Accept thy futile birth, thy narrow life.
For truth is bare like stone and hard like death;
Bare in the bareness, hard with truth’s hardness live.
[Savitri: 610 – 611, 634] 

Savitri replies revealing the Truth that exceeds the Mind and passes beyond the thinker’s seat. Her revelations also give us the secret of mythic writings which are an attempt to give us keys to some profound mysteries of existence. But if we approach them with disbelief and hold faith only in what we have thus far seen and touched and thought and experienced and interpret the epic in our limited light, social or otherwise, then we miss the mystery. Instead if we start with the sense of seeking and wonder than the whole creation itself assumes the symbol of a significant myth that reveals to us many mysteries in our everyday events of life. In that state all discloses the secret Beloved. Myth and Reality fuse and all becomes a happy unfolding of the One Divine in life:

“O dark ironic critic of God’s work,
Thou mockst the mind and body’s faltering search
For what the heart holds in a prophet hour
And the immortal spirit shall make its own.
Mine is a heart that worshipped, though forsaken,
The image of the god its love adored;
I have burned in flame to travel in his steps.
Are we not they who bore vast solitude
Seated upon the hills alone with God?
Why dost thou vainly strive with me, O Death,
A mind delivered from all twilight thoughts,
To whom the secrets of the gods are plain?
For now at last I know beyond all doubt,
The great stars burn with my unceasing fire
And life and death are both its fuel made.
Life only was my blind attempt to love:
Earth saw my struggle, heaven my victory;
All shall be seized, transcended; there shall kiss
Casting their veils before the marriage fire
The eternal bridegroom and eternal bride.
The heavens accept our broken flights at last.
On our life’s prow that breaks the waves of Time
No signal light of hope has gleamed in vain.”…

The world is a spiritual paradox
Invented by a need in the Unseen,
A poor translation to the creature’s sense
Of That which for ever exceeds idea and speech,
A symbol of what can never be symbolised,
A language mispronounced, misspelt, yet true.
Its powers have come from the eternal heights
And plunged into the inconscient dim Abyss
And risen from it to do their marvellous work.
The soul is a figure of the Unmanifest,
The mind labours to think the Unthinkable,
The life to call the Immortal into birth,
The body to enshrine the Illimitable.
The world is not cut off from Truth and God.
In vain thou hast dug the dark unbridgeable gulf,
In vain thou hast built the blind and doorless wall:
Man’s soul crosses through thee to Paradise,
Heaven’s sun forces its way through death and night;
Its light is seen upon our being’s verge.
My mind is a torch lit from the eternal sun,
My life a breath drawn by the immortal Guest,
My mortal body is the Eternal’s house.
Already the torch becomes the undying ray,
Already the life is the Immortal’s force,
The house grows of the householder part and one.
How sayst thou Truth can never light the human mind
And Bliss can never invade the mortal’s heart
Or God descend into the world he made?
If in the meaningless Void creation rose,
If from a bodiless Force Matter was born,
If Life could climb in the unconscious tree,
Its green delight break into emerald leaves
And its laughter of beauty blossom in the flower,
If sense could wake in tissue, nerve and cell
And Thought seize the grey matter of the brain,
And soul peep from its secrecy through the flesh,
How shall the nameless Light not leap on men,
And unknown powers emerge from Nature’s sleep?
Even now hints of a luminous Truth like stars
Arise in the mind-mooned splendour of Ignorance;
Even now the deathless Lover’s touch we feel:
If the chamber’s door is even a little ajar,
What then can hinder God from stealing in
Or who forbid his kiss on the sleeping soul?
Already God is near, the Truth is close:
Because the dark atheist body knows him not,
Must the sage deny the Light, the seer his soul?
[Savitri: 638, 648 – 649]

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