Lesson 35: Death Speaks
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It is the purpose of “Savitri” to reveal Aurobindo’s vision for mankind’s evolutionary destiny, that earth has a purpose and that your life is part of the fulfillment of that destiny. “Savitri” can be used as a tool for your ascension, for your movement out of the binding forces of your life (your mind and your past) and into your awakening and realization of the deep truth hidden within you. The answers you seek are within you. Truth is what you are.
You have a goal in this life, something valuable and unique to express which is not only part of your truth but which also contains your unique struggle. You are never given more of a struggle than you are equipped to handle and you are never given more truth than you are capable of realizing. Your struggle is the instrument you have chosen to ignite and advance your becoming. This internal war, two steps forward and one step back, the ever-increasing consciousness only to be met with the proportional and never-ending barriers, is the path! This is the purpose of the obstacles in your life: to become what you are, always have been and always will be. The purpose of your darkness is to reveal your light.
In the meantime, death is convincing. Death is embedded at a cellular level in every living organism. Death reveals an unstable world, a world born of a demented and remorseless God, of spiritual tyranny and chaos. Death is the idea that darkness is as powerful as God… and permanent. And for many, death is desired as the ultimate refuge from the demands of a meaningless life. In each, there lies a heart of joy trapped in a world of illusion, ignorance and pain. But how can this be the true purpose of what you are doing here?
Savitri held Satyavan’s lifeless body but remained untouched and tranquil as she leaned against the tree trunk.
“Her grief had passed away, her mind was still,
Her heart beat quietly with a sovereign force.
There came a freedom from the heart-strings’ clutch.
Now all her acts sprang from a godhead’s calm.
Calmly she laid upon the forest soil
The dead who still reposed upon her breast
And bore to turn away from the dead form:
Sole now she rose to meet the dreadful god.”
Now, be calm and imagine. Softly, look squarely at your struggle, at your “affliction.” It is as though you are at the movie theater watching yourself act out this struggle. Just watch without being involved. Let your past defeating thoughts wash away. To the best of your ability, let your mind be vacant. Just watch the scene playing out in front of you. Let all the pain and all of the fear and rage melt away where you are sitting. And now, all by yourself, see yourself standing up to confront the struggle and owning the difficulty. Raise your noble eyes.
“Transcended now was the poor human rule;
A sovereign power was there, a godlike will.
A moment yet she lingered motionless
And looked down on the dead man at her feet;
Then like a tree recovering from a wind
She raised her noble head; fronting her gaze
Something stood there, unearthly, somber, grand,
A limitless denial of all being
That wore the terror and wonder of a shape.
In its appalling eyes the tenebrous Form
Bore the deep pity of destroying gods;
A sorrowful irony curved the dreadful lips
That speak the word of doom.”
This voice of death that Savitri hears is also the voice of your struggle, the voice that speaks of defeat and injustice and calamity, the voice that speaks to you of your demise.
“’Unclasp’, it cried,
‘Thy passionate influence and relax, O slave
Of nature, changing tool of changeless Law,
Who vainly writh’st rebellion to my yoke,
Thy elemental grasp; weep and forget.
Entomb thy passion in its living grave.
Leave now the once-loved spirit’s abandoned robe:
Pass lonely back to thy vain life on earth.’”
“’Wilt thou for ever keep thy passionate hold,
Thyself a creature doomed like him to pass,
Denying his soul death’s calm and silent rest?
Relax thy grasp; this body is earth’s and thine,
His spirit now belongs to a greater power.
Woman, thy husband suffers.’”
Give up your dreams, O slave. Surrender to the pain and the struggle. Let the forces of life overwhelm you because there is nothing else you can do. There is no victory but that which is temporary. Relax your need for a better life because there is none but the one you live. The voice of death, of defeat, of pain is so convincing. But it is not reality.
“Indignant at its crouching point of steel,
A fierce she-eagle threatened in her brood,
Borne on a rush of puissance and a cry,
Outwinging like a mass of golden fire.
So on a spirit’s flaming outrush home
She crossed the border of dividing sense;
Like pale discarded sheaths dropped dully down
Her mortal members fell back from her soul.
A moment of a secret body’s sleep,
Her trance knew not of sun or earth or world;
Thought, time and death were absent from her grasp;
She knew not self, forgotten was Savitri,
All was the violent ocean of a will
Where lived captive to an immense caress,
Possessed in a supreme identity,
Her aim, joy, origin, Satyavan alone.”
You are the battlefield on which the struggle to awaken must begin. The world is an effect and that is why you cannot change the world. You cannot change "them." But you can change you and in doing so, you will change the world. Your struggle is the struggle you created. Your pain is the pain you designed. Let your will that emerges from this truth arise. Now is the time. Let the past fade and imagine the possibilities. You are not your past. You are not your experiences. You are not a slave to your mind and the past. See beyond the struggle and follow your will. Now is the time. You do not have to know how. You do not have to know when. You have only to follow your aim, your joy, your origin.