Canto Eight: The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness
Opening Remarks for the Canto
Having revealed to us the general description and the atmosphere of various levels of descent into Hell, Sri Aurobindo now describes the beings and forces of evil and darkness, the parent power that gave them birth and finally, their nemesis and end.
Opening Remarks for the post
There is a luminous anarchy where each being, conscious of its oneness and lives by the law of Truth as it unfolds. This creates a spontaneous luminous order and harmony. On the opposite pole there is, as its shadow, a chaotic anarchy, an extreme degree of separativeness where each being is cut off not only from All but also from others and even within itself.
The hidden heart of Night
Then could he see the hidden heart of Night:
The labour of its stark unconsciousness
Revealed the endless terrible Inane.
Thus descending in the extreme limits of Hell, Aswapati discovers the heart of Night, its dark labour done unconsciously, it’s frightening sense of an endless and meaningless void.
Spiritless blank Infinity
A spiritless blank Infinity was there;
A Nature that denied the eternal Truth
In the vain braggart freedom of its thought
Hoped to abolish God and reign alone.
This dark and blank Infinite denied the Truth of which it was the shadow. It’s arrogant and egoistic thought, cut off from the universal sense in the name of freedom, hoped to abolish God from the human mind so that it can claim all nature as its field and be its Lord.
No witness Light
There was no sovereign Guest, no witness Light;
Unhelped it would create its own bleak world.
Here was no luminous witness soul, no divine guest within of which it remained unconscious. All that it saw was a blind and bleak world created and driven mechanically by an unconscious nature.
Its large blind eyes looked out on demon acts,
Its deaf ears heard the untruth its dumb lips spoke;
Its huge misguided fancy took vast shapes,
Its mindless sentience quivered with fierce conceits;
Engendering a brute principle of life
Evil and pain begot a monstrous soul.
This dark matrix, blind and deaf looked upon demon acts and took them as sole truth. Its dumb lips spoke the untruth and took these fanciful demoniac shapes and giant figures as sovereigns. It lived by its own conceit justifying a brute principle of life with evil and pain as its food. This dark sense of a shadowy self of evil was mistaken by it as the soul.
Titan beings and demoniac powers
The Anarchs of the formless depths arose,
Great Titan beings and demoniac powers,
World-egos racked with lust and thought and will,
Vast minds and lives without a spirit within:
Impatient architects of error’s house,
Leaders of the cosmic ignorance and unrest
And sponsors of sorrow and mortality
Embodied the dark Ideas of the Abyss.
It is this dark state of unconsciousness that gave birth to dark ideas of the Abyss. The anarchic thoughts eager only to satisfy its lusts and egos, the demoniac powers, the Titan beings and world-egos are driven by this soulless thought that builds a world in error and impatience, the leaders who propagate ignorance and unrest and sponsor merciless and cruel deeds that inflict sorrow and death are all born of this dark Idea that dwells within the Abyss. These dark Ideas are ideas of lust and hate and anger and terror and greed.
Being imagined Hell
A shadow substance into emptiness came,
Dim forms were born in the unthinking Void
And eddies met and made an adverse Space
In whose black folds Being imagined Hell.
This emptiness of the Abyss was filled with a shadowy substance out of which dim forms emerged responding to the dark ideas and driven by darkened and perverse wills. A space was created that was adverse to Truth and Light. Entering this space and moved by its perverse thought and will the very Being imagined Hell.
This is just the beginning of a long journey and encounter with such beings and forces that have distorted the original plan and turned creation into a veritable hell. Their action is especially felt and made visible in minds driven by gigantic egos and lusts for power and greed for money.