A Study of Selected Poems by Maharshi Aurobindo by Bijay Kant Dubey SignUp
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A Study of Selected Poems by Maharshi Aurobindo
by Bijay Kant Dubey Bookmark and Share

Trance of Waiting

Lone on my summits of calm
I have brooded with voices around me,
Murmurs of silence
that steep mind in a luminous sleep,
Whispers from things beyond thought
in the Secrecy flame-white forever,
Unscanned heights that reply seek
from the inconscient deep.
Distant below me the ocean of life
with its passionate surges
Pales like a pool that is stirred
by the wings of a shadowy bird.
Thought has flown back from its wheelings and stoopings,
the nerve-beat of living
Stills; my spirit at peace bathes
in a mighty release.
Wisdom supernal looks down on me,
Knowledge mind cannot measure;
Light that no vision can render garments
the silence with splendor.
Filled with a rapturous Presence
the crowded spaces of being
Tremble with the Fire that knows,
thrill with the might of repose.
Earth is now girdled with trance
and Heaven is put round her for vesture.
Wings that are brilliant with fate
sleep at Eternity’s gate.
Time waits, vacant, the lightning that kindles,
the Word that transfigures:
Space is a stillness of God
building his earthly abode.
All waits hushed for the fiat to come
and the tread of the Eternal;
Passion of a bliss yet to be sweeps
from Infinity’s sea.

Trance of Waiting is really a poem of reckoning because it is symmetric and structural from the linguistic point of view, but is abstract and metaphysical, mystical and transcendental in tone and tenor. What is that he waits for? How the trance? Is it a transcendental trance, the trance for seeing the supernatural agent? Or, something different is the thing? Whatever be that, Trance of Waiting is one of meditational time. But sometimes we feel within if it is the trance of waiting for the Nature Spirit passing with wind-blown locks and with surmise or it is something different from all these, a dhyana feeling? Perhaps the latter is the thing of brooding here and in this poem Aurobindo is almost like the Wordsworth of Tintern Abbey.

Trance of Soul is actually a realization of the Self with the Cosmic Consciousness and that too after rising above mundane realms, sitting in a calm composure of yogic reflection and meditational pleasure. It is not like Revelation, the spiritual creature felt passing with awe and suspense, but the state of being one with the cosmos, the creation and to feel the peace around, the peace of mind, soul, body and spirit. It is also a fact that the yogis give utmost time to dhyana, the understanding of the Cosmic Force through the states of consciousness. Away from din and bustle, a busy place of hectic day-to-day activity and business, one can in a secluded surrounding feel the composition or keeping aloof, withdrawing from all these. What is Nature? What is the world? How is the composition? What is this process of integration, disintegration? What the Soul, the Supreme soul, the Divine soul? The Mind, the Over Mind, how the functions of them? What is transmigration? What is this vacuum, void, shunyata? Is to lose in that consciousness the all?

While lifting above from the mundane level of existence, he has confided in repose and silence, peace and calm to arrive at what he means to put it herein. When withdrawing oneself from all material and mundane activity, just for meditational bliss and endowment, detaching, dissociating and disconnecting oneself from, closing the eyes, fixing the mind on and loosening it all to be with the Consciousness Divine.

Lone on the summits of calm the poet has brooded with the voices around, the murmurs of silence coaxing mind in a sleep, hearing the whispers from beyond the things thought confiding in the white flame so secretly, unscanned heights of the deeps within always in askance. When calm and aloft and withdrawn, he lapses into the meditational summits of repose and silence always befitting to all.

Distant below is the ocean of life with its surges like a pool stirred by a shadowy bird. Thought has flown back to where it is from just as a returnee. His spirit feels it the release of the spirit, enjoying it to full.

Wisdom looks down on him; mind cannot measure knowledge. Light is as such that no vision can cover it. There is a rapturous presence filling the space of being. Earth is now girdled with trance and Heaven is put round her for vesture. Wings that are brilliant with fate sleep at Eternity’s gate. Time waits vacantly, the lightning that kindles, the Word that transfigures, are the summits to be measured and reached. Space is a stillness of God building his earthly abode. A strange vacuum takes over, nothingness and void with the Divine to fill it. Reaching the summits of the mountain of sadhna, meditational silence, one can truly feel what this existence of ours is in reality. The tones and tenors of viewing change it the moment we reach that zenith level.

The opening lines of the poem are beautiful enough to say the things in a commanding language of own:

Lone on my summits of calm
I have brooded with voices around me,
Murmurs of silence
that steep mind in a luminous sleep,
Whispers from things beyond thought
in the Secrecy flame-white forever,
Unscanned heights that reply seek
from the inconscient deep.

Transformation

My breath runs in a subtle rhythmic stream;
It fills my members with a might divine:
I have drunk the Infinite like a giant’s wine.
Time is my drama or my pageant dream.
Now are my illumined cells joy’s flaming scheme
And changed my thrilled and branching nerves to fine
Channels of rapture opal and hyaline
For the influx of the Unknown and the Supreme.

I am no more a vassal of flesh,
A slave to Nature and her leaden rule;
I am caught no more in the senses’ narrow mesh.
My soul un-horizoned widens to measureless sight,
My body is God’s happy living tool,
My spirit a vast sun of deathless light.

The poem entitled Transformation is not about Revelation or Trance of Waiting or The Golden Light, but is about transformation through yogic practices and meditation and feeling energized with fresh breath and fresh energy revitalizing life is but one perspective while it is on the other hand the transformation felt after closing the eyes and concentrating upon the Divine trying to be in utter contact with Nature and creation, leaving it all to. The sitting of dhyana is as such which connives with silence, the silence of soul, spirit and mind. A perfect mind in a perfect body is the thing uniting the body with the soul and the spirit is yoga. It is also a fact when one cuts oneself from the worldly existence lifting above the mundane plane, the things come to a naught.

In the second stanza of the poem, the poet says that he is no more a vassal of flesh. His mortal physical being ceases to remain a thing subject to natural objects and phenomena which are bound to undergo changes. Time seems to be a drama of some sort. The soul un-horizoned widens to a measureless sight with the realization that the body is now God’s happy living tool and his spirit a vast sun of deathless light.

One does not get transformed instantly but takes time to be spiritually transformed. Yoga, yogic sadhna can lead to illumination, spiritual illumination and here it matters more, dhyan, gnan and yoga. When he takes Infinite like a giant’s wine, the cells get illumined under the soma rasa. The thrilled and branching nerves too get a spur of their own to partake in that change going, taking place internally.

To read this poem is feel, what is yoga? How the impact of it over the writing of the poem? Is it the result of yoga-sadhna?

How does transformation take place? Let us see the change in accommodation:

And changed my thrilled and branching nerves to fine
Channels of rapture opal and hyaline
For the influx of the Unknown and the Supreme.

What it sensory to lure the self if it gets transformed spiritually:

I am caught no more in the senses’ narrow mesh.
My soul unhorizoned widens to measureless sight,

Finally, the poet realizes, feels it within that he is free from inhibitions that bind the spirit and is one united with the Divine Soul and Spirit:

My body is God’s happy living tool,
My spirit a vast sun of deathless light.

The Tiger and The Deer

Brilliant, crouching, slouching,
what crept through the green heart of the forest,
Gleaming eyes and mighty chest
and soft soundless paws of grandeur and murder?
The wind slipped through the leaves as if afraid
lest its voice and the noise of its steps perturb the pitiless Splendor,
Hardly daring to breathe. But the great beast crouched
and crept, and crept and crouched a last time, noiseless, fatal,
Till suddenly death leaped
on the beautiful wild deer as it drank
Unsuspecting at the great pool
in the forest’s coolness and shadow,
And it fell and, torn,
died remembering its mate left sole in the deep woodland,—
Destroyed, the mild harmless beauty
by the strong cruel beauty in Nature.
But a day may yet come when the tiger crouches and leaps
no more in the dangerous heart of the forest,
As the mammoth shakes no more the plains of Asia;
Still then shall the beautiful wild deer drink
from the coolness of great pools in the leaves’ shadow.
The mighty perish in their might;
The slain survive the slayer.

Is it about a tiger seen by the sadhakas of India deep into the caves lost in their rigorous sadhana and the tigers too going their own way, none disturbing it none? We are not sure of it if Aurobindo has himself seen or is just writing about just as a poet writes. Whatever be that, it is a Blakian poem no doubt, heavily under his The Tiger as the imagery strikes us.

From the green forest there appears a tiger crouching, slouching to jump and prey upon the poor creature drinking water from the great pool unaware of what it may befall it claiming its life finally. So brilliantly it creeps out of the green wild to pounce upon the meek animal drinking water quenching thirst. Though brilliant in color and movement, swift and proud and wild, the animal is so fragile and wrathful one cannot conclude instantly the prowess it springs with just a surprise. The wind slips through the leaves as if afraid of the pitiless splendor of the brute, the cruel beast of the forest roaring, taking the things by surprise, awe and suspense as for what it happened, so terrifying and horrifying the moment it roars and springs, follows into. The mystery of the wild, the beauty of Nature so freckled, full of contraries, contradictions, and contrasts, strange is it to see the animal so merciless and cruel, bloody and bestial by nature. The claws and the paws so sharp and full of thud reflect the tiger so swift and proud. A flesh-eating animal, a brutal hunter, what to say about its habitats, the caves it dwells in and the locations; the bloody temperament of it. When it roars, growls, the facial activity can be felt with the open mouth shaking and the teeth opening just like the furies loosened. So ferocious, it wreaks havoc and the creatures go panicking. When it is found on the prowl, waiting to hunt and lie in wait, it moves with the noiseless movement, but fatal in sequence. When it takes hold of, it becomes difficult to separate as so bloody, brutal and bestial is it with the sinister paws and claws to scratch and nail deep into. A blood-thirsty creature, brutality is its name. But mark, it is the creation of the same God who is the maker of the deer. But what to say about nature? One gets it by birth. The tiger leaps on the deer taking water from the great pool of the forest shadowed and under cool and calm and catches, kills and tears. The deer dies calling the mate grazing far into the woodland and as thus the mild and innocent element in nature is destroyed by the element which is heinous and ferocious, savage and bloody, brutal and bestial. Here one can mark the Hopkinsian and Blakian elements as used in Pied Beauty and The Tiger poems.

Such a day will when the population will dwindle and they will be reduced to a poor lot. The yogi murmurs within. They will no more roar into the forests of Asia as they wreak havoc, terror and pity; malign it all, killing mercilessly, striking with horror and terror. Then the deer will again drink waters from the cool shades of the wild. The mighty perish in their might and the slain will definitely survive the slayer. So is the victory of the dangling bloody sword which will not last it long. The lesson he seeks to impart is this that the mighty should not trample the weak and the meek taking them to be lowly as the Lord of the lord sees it all from there and one day the time will change taking the reverse swing.

The base of the poem one of duality, why is the Creator who has made the lamb has made the tiger, as the Blakian question is. Why the Creator who is Benign and Benevolent has He the brutal and bloody tiger, is the Aurobondonian question. To view in the Miltonic term, is it God the Maker of Satan, Lucifer too?

The first two lines of the poem tell of the suspense, horror and terror element:

Brilliant, crouching, slouching,
what crept through the green heart of the forest,
Gleaming eyes and mighty chest
and soft soundless paws of grandeur and murder?

The description of the wild leaping, creeping, crouching, slouching with the gleaming eyes, mighty chest and the soundless paws of grandeur and murder strikes us.

Here it grows the suspense when he says:

The wind slipped through the leaves as if afraid
lest its voice and the noise of its steps perturb the pitiless Splendor,
Hardly daring to breathe.

The wind too grows silent and awe-struck when the beast waits and leaps to grab and pounce upon the poor deer stealthily taking water from the shady pool of water. In nature, there lies two forked beauties. One is harmless mild beauty and while the other strong cruel beauty of which the latter denotes the ferocity of the bloody tiger:

The same spirit Shelley finds it in the wild west wind, swift, tameless and proud.

To quote a few lines from the poem under discussion:

And it fell and, torn,
died remembering its mate left sole in the deep woodland,—
Destroyed, the mild harmless beauty
by the strong cruel beauty in Nature.

What will the poor deer know that she meets her end in such a way? The Divine Scheme, Plan, Set-up of Things too is a matter of reckoning herein. The last two lines are like the prophetic words full of sigh and expression:

The mighty perish in their might;
The slain survive the slayer.

The words, as such, ‘the green heart of the forest, gleaming eyes, soft soundless paws of grandeur and murder, the wind slipped through the leaves as if afraid, the pitiless Splendor’, etc. add to the beauty of the poem.

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04-Jul-2020
More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey
 
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