The English of Savitri
This is the Eighth Volume of the English of Savitri series, based on transcripts of classes led by the author at Savitri Bhavan, in this case from 29 March to 3 May 2012 and from 12 September 2019 to 27 February 2020. The transcripts have been carefully revised and edited for conciseness and clarity, while aiming to preserve the informal atmosphere of the courses. This volume contains detailed explanations of the texts of three cantos of Book Two of Sri Aurobindo’s epic, namely Canto Seven, The Descent into Night, Canto Eight, The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness, and Canto Nine, The Paradise of the Life-Gods. Each sentence is examined closely and explanations are given about vocabulary, sentence- structure and imagery. The aim is to assist a deeper understanding and appreciation of the poem which the Mother has characterised as ‘the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s vision’.
Print Length: 157 pages
Publisher: Savitri Bhavan
Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle
Table of Contents
Canto Seven. The Descent into Night
- Section 1 : lines 1-118
- Section 2 : lines 119-235
- Section 3 : lines 236-334
- Section 4 : lines 335-441
- Section 5 : lines 442-524
- Section 6 : lines 525-609
Canto Eight. The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness
- Section 1 : lines 1-79
- Section 2 : lines 80-189
- Section 3 : lines 190-250
- Section 4 : lines 251-460
Canto Nine. The Paradise of the Life-Gods
The English of Savitri
This is the Eighth Volume of The English of Savitri series and the third one covering Book Two of Sri Aurobindo’s great epic Savitri. In this volume, covering Cantos Seven, Eight and Nine of Book Two, we continue to follow Sri Aurobindo’s protagonist, the rishi-king Aswapati, in his exploration of the subtle realms and worlds in search of a Power that he has glimpsed in the course of his sadhana which would have the capacity to transform the present state of life on earth from its current subjection to death and ignorance into a Divine Life of spiritual freedom and eventual Immortality.
Book Two of Savitri, entitled ‘The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds’, describes Aswapati’s spiritual journey through the ‘Worlds’, starting from the most material, and in Cantos One and Two we have witnessed him crossing the borderline separating the physical world from a mounting series of subtle worlds and realms, entering first ‘The Kingdom of Subtle Matter’. Then in turn he explores eight different worlds where Life is the predominant Force. In Cantos Three to Six Sri Aurobindo introduces us first to ‘The Glory and the Fall of Life’, then to ‘The Kingdoms of the Little Life’ and ‘The Godheads of the Little Life’, followed by ‘The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life’. Then in Cantos Seven and Eight we see Aswapati, having failed so far to find the root cause and cure of the imperfection of our earthly life, undertaking a heroic ‘Descent into Night’, which leads him into ‘The World of Falsehood’ where he encounters ‘The Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness’. There at last he becomes aware of the cause of Evil and Darkness, which brings about a great change within him. As a result in Canto Nine Aswapati finds himself projected into the ‘Paradise of the Life-Gods’.
However, this does not bring an end to Aswapati’s quest. He has not yet found the great solution he has been searching for. In subsequent cantos we see him entering higher and higher realms of Mind, until at last he enters the presence of the Supreme Divine Mother and surrenders to Her. This surrender shows him the way to enter first the realm of ‘The World-Soul’ and then, in Canto Fifteen, ‘The Kingdoms of the Greater Knowledge’ which closes Book Two of Sri Aurobindo’s epic, but not yet Aswapati’s Quest. He has yet to pass through many more spiritual worlds far beyond the reach of human mind which are described at length in the four cantos of Book Three, ‘The Book of the Divine Mother’, before She finally grants his plea, promising him that
One shall descend and break the iron Law,
Change Nature’s doom by the lone spirit’s power.
Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will.
Only then does Aswapati return to his earthly Kingdom and royal duties, ending Part One of Sri Aurobindo’s epic.
In two previous volumes of The English of Savitri series we have covered the first six cantos of Book Two, following King Aswapati, ‘The Traveller of the Worlds’ as he begins to explore the many subtle realms and levels of consciousness which are hidden from our normal perceptions, first the realm of subtle matter and then the various Life worlds. The present volume leads us through the last three of the Life realms: first, in Cantos seven and Eight, Aswapati descends deeper and deeper into the Night of Falsehood and Evil, hoping to find their source and a possibility of transforming them; then, in Canto Nine he gets the unearthly experience of the Paradise of the Life Gods.