Sri Aurobindo as a Mystic Poet
Sri Aurobindo is a mystic poet. His poetry is concerned with the exploration of the life divine and with the revelation of the real and the true. It is aglow with a divine fire. He carefully unmasks the divine spirit in a human body as that in Savitri. He makes man strive for the attainment of the Super-Mind.
The mystical planes are classified by Sri Aurobindo as occult, psychic and spiritual. The spiritual inspiration as distinguished from the occult and the psychic has a wide-winging power. Sri Aurobindo calls it “Over-head” because it arrives as if by a descent from species of light above the mind-level. Every where he brings out living symbols from the mystical planes- a concrete contact with the Divine presence.
Sri Aurobindo’s mystical poetry reaches its acme in Savitri. The poet wrote it when he was deeply immersed in meditation and yoga. This work is the result of many revisions and recasts. It is an endeavour to be comprehensive enough with a continued command of the Vedas and the Upanishads. It has the recurrent accent and vibration of the mantra and a general mantric atmosphere. The story is taken from the Mahabharata, but round the figure of “Savitri”, he instituted a wealth of symbol. Savitri is meant the Sun. It means the Truth-force of the divine light and by analogy ‘Satyavan’ would mean that Light’s Truth-being. Death incarnate in Yama regains the Vedic and Upanishadic connotation. The eternal night is ignorance. Savitri becomes the world-mother bent upon demolishing the citadel of ignorance. She possesses a Strong will to Life and inspires others for it and instills it into them (as in Satyavan). All the three planes of mysticism are to be seen at work in this monumental epic.
The philosophy of man’s evolution towards the Divine Life through a number of spiritual stages, is beautifully propounded in it. The poet has successfully combined the overhead vision with the over-head. Word-rhythm in Savitri He has attained “Siddhi” in his spiritual life. Savitri is always to be valued as a precious treasure of mystical and spiritual poetry. His epic Savitri is a cosmic epic and concerns all men and women and times. It surpasses all European epics. Throughout Savitri one finds the question of Eternity and Time and their interdependence. Savitri affirms the necessity of the birth of a new power, the power of Divine Love which alone can save man from the reign of ignorance which is death.
Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri is in many respects comparable to the highest spiritual poetry of the world, the Vedas and the Upanishads. It is this that makes the great epic the most sublime throb of an organic divine creation. The title page of Savitri carries a ‘sub-tittle “A legend and a Symbol”. “The Savitri story covers seven Cantos in the Vana Parva in the Mahabharata. It is not just a factual narration of an old legend. It is also a network of symbols. He is an explorer who discovers new lands and oceans in his imaginative vision and reveal a new splendour. One is transported to the splendid world revealed by the creative imagination of the poet. His poetry is concerned with images since he is primarily the seer, the visualiser. All his images are luminous, deep and arresting. Spiritual experiences have been rendered vivid, concrete and intimate by the imagery employed by him. He is really a philosophical poet and an idealist. He is a poet of many dimensions.
A few poems may be cited to get in touch with Aurobindo’s spiritual experience. In the poem “Revelation” he describes the divine revelation. While in meditation, he sees a celestial form leap from the rocks and run past him with his wind-blown locks. It is some heavenly form which runs behind the veil of thought. Here the poet attempts to capture an inward experience as revelation. In the poem “Transformation’ the poet articulates the change that has occurred in his attitude to his body in the wake of his spiritual transformation. The poem “Thought, the paraclete” embodies his yogic experience. It records the transformation in the self brought by an ascent of consciousness from the material to the supernatural level. The poem “The Rose of God is an appeal to the supreme spirit to transform mankind into super beings and make them deathless. It is a call for the descent of grace on earth to transform the earth into a heaven and make the human race immortal. The poem “Trance of Waiting” describes the mystical experience of the poet, while in a trance.
In the poem, “The Tiger and the Deer“, the tiger represents the strong cruel beauty and the deer stands for the mild harmless beauty in nature. The poet prophesies that evil will disappear totally from this earth one day and only good prevails. Then the earth becomes a paradise. In the oft-quoted poem “The Vision and the Boon” it reveals the vision of the Divine Mother and the boon granted to the King. The vision turns out to be a reality. The king Aswapathy’s prayer is granted and the World-Mother sends Savitri to earth to save mankind from the clutches of Death and to vindicate the presence of the Supreme. Thus the tale of Satyavan and Savitri is one of the many symbolic myths of the vedic cycle.
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