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At the Feet of The Mother

Opening Remarks to the Canto Four

This Canto is about the journey Savitri undertakes at the behest of Aswapati to find her partner and mate in the great game of life. However as always Sri Aurobindo packs it up with a powerful symbol and deep revelations about the various spiritual approaches that mankind has taken so far in its own quest for the Higher Reality. Since his awakened thought mankind has always been instinct with an innate and intuitive sense of divinity. This instinct is perhaps there in animals and plants as well but it is only in man that this intuition turns into an active seeking for the greater Reality that stands behind and beyond creation. Man not only seeks it but aspires to become one with IT. It is this conscious evolutionary impulsion in man through which he strives to go beyond his natural limits that the name Yoga is given. In this Canto we witness various lines of yoga through which humanity has advanced so far in its pursuit of Truth. They have been brought in here, in this Canto as Savitri journeys through cities and forests in pursuit of the one with whom she is destined to work.

Yet it is none of these old lines of spiritual evolution that suit her purposes. They end up eventually on the dead banks of nirvana, a last finis line, a strange and dubious close to the long and winding journey of man through lives upon a precarious globe. It makes a nonsense of God’s Wisdom since if He wanted nirvana to be the goal then there would not have been any creation at all as all was already in That Stillness Absolute! The impulse to create is for manifestation and Savitri has undertaken the journey to find the soul-type who is best suited for the work of Divine Perfection upon earth. The humanity inclined towards an excess of other-worldliness seeking release from the apparent bonds of birth and death is not suited for the New Creation for which Savitri has taken a human birth. Equally those who are busy indulging in the pomp and show of wealth and power are also not best suited for her work.

Thus this Canto turns into a symbolic quest of man for the Divine, on the one hand but also, on the other hand God’s search for the ideal human type who will become the instrument of His grand design for the next evolutionary step. There are other truths as well that we find in this Canto as it unfolds.

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