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Instances - Definitions - Quotes - Chapters - Wordnet - Webgen


object:the Higher Mind
I mean by the Higher Mind a first plane of spiritual [consciousness] where one becomes constantly and closely aware of the Self, the One everywhere and knows and sees things habitually with that awareness; but it is still very much on the mind level although highly spiritual in its essential substance; and its instrumentation is through an elevated thought-power and comprehensive mental sight-not illumined by any of the intenser upper lights but as if in a large strong and clear daylight. It acts as an intermediate state between the Truth-Light above and the human mind; communicating the higher knowledge in a form that the Mind intensified, broadened, made spiritually supple, can receive without being blinded or dazzled by a Truth beyond it.
Our first decisive step out of our human intelligence, our normal mentality, is an ascent into a higher Mind, a mind no longer of mingled light and obscurity or half-light, but a large clarity of the spirit. Its basic substance is a unitarian sense of being with a powerful multiple dynamisation capable of the formation of a multitude of aspects of knowledge, ways of action, forms and significances of becoming, of all of which there is a spontaneous inherent knowledge. It is therefore a power that has proceeded from the Overmind,-but with the Supermind as its ulterior origin,-as all these greater powers have proceeded: but its special character, its activity of consciousness are dominated by Thought; it is a luminous thought-mind, a mind of spirit-born conceptual knowledge.
The higher mind is a thing in itself above the intellect. It is only when something of its power comes down and is modified in the lower mind substance that it acts as part of the intellect.
It depends on what is meant by the higher buddhi - whether you use the word to mean the higher part of the intellect or the higher Mind. The higher Mind in itself on its own level knows, but when it is involved in the ordinary human intelligence and works under limitations, it often does not know - or it has the idea merely that it must be so but has not the consciousness of its separate existence. The intellect can rise above its ordinary movements and feel itself as a separate power no longer working under the limitations of the vital and physical mind and the senses. It then begins to reflect something of the action of the higher mind but without the full freedom and greater light and truth of the higher mind.
Higher mind - (c. 1931, in the diagram on page 1360) a plane of consciousness with three levels: "liberated intelligence", "intuitive [higher mind]" and "illumined [higher mind]" (in ascending order). The first level may correspond to vijn anabuddhi in the earlier terminology of the Record of Yoga. The "intuitive" and "illumined" levels may be what Sri Aurobindo soon after making the diagram began to refer to as "higher mind" (defined as "a luminous thought-mind, a mind of spiritborn conceptual knowledge") and "illumined mind" (characterised by "an intense lustre, a splendour and illumination of the spirit"); cf. logistic ideality (also called luminous reason) and hermetic ideality or srauta vij n ana (distinguished by "a diviner splendour of light and blaze of fiery effulgence") in the terminology of 1919-20.
--- FROM KHEPER
link:http://www.kheper.net/topics/Aurobindo/Higher_Mind.htm
--- The Higher Mind and Transformation
  The Higher Mind is in Sri Aurobindo's system the first of the supra-rational levels or grades of being, the first level of "Spiritual Mind". It is both an evolutionary stage beyond the rational mind, and an ascent to (and descent from) a plane above the level of pure thinking mind.
  About this level of realisation, the first of the "supra-liberation" levels - he says this in his opus The Life Divine (I have added headings and broken up the long paragraphs to make it more readable. Also I've added some commentary; feel; free to ignore and just read the block quotes for Sri Aurobindo):
--- The Higher Mind and its origin in Overmind and Supermind
  Our first decisive step out of our human Intelligence, our normal mentality, is an ascent into a higher Mind, a mind no longer of mingled light and obscurity or half-light, but a large clarity of the Spirit. Its basic substance is a unitarian sense of being with a powerful multiple dynamisation capable of the formation of a multitude of aspects of knowledge, ways of action, forms and significances of becoming, of all of which there is a spontaneous inherent knowledge. It is therefore a power that has proceeded from the overmind, -- but with the supermind as its ulterior origin, -- as all these greater powers have proceeded: but its special character, its activity of consciousness are dominated by Thought; it is a luminous thought-mind, a mind of Spirit-born conceptual knowledge.
  An all-awareness emerging from the original identity, carrying the truths the identity held in itself, conceiving swiftly, victoriously, multitudinously, formulating and by self-power of the Idea effectually realising its conceptions, is the character of this greater mind of knowledge.
  This kind of cognition is the last that emerges from the original spiritual identity before the initiation of a separative knowledge, base of the Ignorance; it is therefore the first that meets us when we rise from conceptive and ratiocinative mind, our best-organised knowledge-power of the Ignorance, into the realms of the Spirit: it is, indeed, the spiritual parent of our conceptive mental ideation, and it is natural that this leading power of our mentality should, when it goes beyond itself, pass Into its immediate source. ~ The Life Divine (10th ed.), , pp.939-940
  An important point: this is the first grade of being beyond "ignorance", the first hypostasis of higher gnosis. It can be identified with the Nous of the Neoplatonists, as the lowerst sub-level of Nous (or perhaps as the "noetic soul" of Plotinus).
--- Contrast between Higher Mind and Thinking Mind and Ordinary Intuition
  But here in this greater Thought there is no need of a seeking and self-critical ratiocination, no logical motion step by step towards a conclusion, no mechanism of express or implied deductions and inferences, no building or deliberate concatenation of idea with idea. In order to arrive at an ordered sum or outcome of knowledge: for this limping action of our reason is a movement of Ignorance searching for knowledge, obliged to safeguard Its steps against error, to erect a selective mental structure for its temporary shelter and to base it on foundations already laid and carefully laid but never firm, because it is not supported on a soil of native awareness but imposed on an original soil of nescience.
  There is not here, either, that other way of our mind at its keenest and swiftest, a rapid hazardous divination and insight, a play of the searchlight of intelligence probing into the little known or the unknown.
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.940
  So a trilogy of Reason-Intuition-Higher Gnosis. The Higher Mind is equally beyond the two conventional ways of arriving at Truth - ratiocintation (slow and limping) and intuition (quick but sporadic)

--- The Higher Mind in its aspect of Cognition
  This higher consciousness is a Knowledge formulating itself on a basis of self-existent all-awareness and manifesting some part of its integrality, a harmony of its significances put Into thought-form. It can freely express itself in single ideas, but its most characteristic movement is a mass ideation, a system or totality of truth-seeing at a single view; the relations of idea with idea, of truth with truth are not established by logic but pre-exist and emerge already self-seen in the integral whole. There is an initiation into forms of an ever-present but till now inactive knowledge, not a system of conclusions from premisses or data; this thought is a self-revelation of eternal Wisdom, not an acquired knowledge. Large aspects of truth come into view in which the ascending Mind, if it chooses, can dwell with satisfaction and, after its former manner, live in them as in a structure; but if progress is to be made, these structures can constantly expand into a larger structure or several of them combine themselves into a provisional greater whole on the way to a yet unachieved integrality. In the end there is a great totality of truth known and experienced but still a totality capable of infinite enlargement because there is no end to the aspects of knowledge, nastyanto vistarasya me. ~ The Life Divine (10th ed.), , pp.940-1
--- The Higher Mind in its aspect Will
  This [the previous paragraph] is the Higher Mind in its aspect of cognition; but there is also the aspect of will, of dynamic effectuation of the Truth: here we find that this greater more brilliant Mind works always on the rest of the being, the mental will, the heart and its feelings, the life, the body, through the power of thought, through the idea-force. It seeks to purify through knowledge, to deliver through knowledge, to create by the innate power of knowledge. The idea is put into the heart or the life as a force to be accepted and worked out; the heart and life become conscious of the idea and respond to its dynamisms and their substance begins to modify itself in that sense, so that the feelings and actions become the vibrations of this higher wisdom, are informed with it, filled with the emotion and the sense of it: the will and the life impulses are similarly charged with its power and its urge of self-effectuation; even in the body the idea works so that, for example, the potent thought and will of health replaces its faith in illness and its consent to illness, or the idea of strength calls in the substance, power, motion, vibration of strength; the idea generates the force and form proper to the idea and imposes it on our substance of Mind, Life or Matter. It is in this way that the first working proceeds; it charges the whole being with a new and superior consciousness, lays a foundation of change, prepares it for a superior truth of existence.
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.941
In his description of Supermind also, there is distinction of Will and Idea. This polarity seems to be important to Sri Aurobindo, e.g. Chit and Tapas (Consciousness and Force), and may be traced back to Tantric conception of passive Shiva (the "Knower") and dynamic Shakti (the Creative power)
These higher forces are limited in the realm of Ignorance
  It has here to be emphasised, in order to obviate a natural misconception which can easily arise when the superior power of the higher forces is first perceived or experienced,
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.941
Because they can appear dizzying and give a vast sense of possibilities. But in the lower world the situation is not the same as in their own realm (hence the idea of a Spiritual Dualism - common in Gnosticism and other philosophies). Sri Aurobindo explains
  that these higher forces are not in their descent immediately all-powerful as they would naturally be in their own plane of action and In their own medium. In the evolution in Matter they have to enter Into a foreign and inferior medium and work upon it; they encounter there the incapacities of our mind and life and body, meet with the unreceptiveness or blind refusal of the Ignorance, experience the negation and obstruction of the Inconscience. On their own level they work upon a basts of luminous consciousness and luminous substance of being and are automatically effective; but here they have to encounter an already and strongly formed foundation of Nescience, -- not only the complete nescience [Inconscience] of Matter, but the modified nescience of mind and heart and life.
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.941-2
Because on all these levels there is ignorance; as explained, right upto the higher levels of rational mind.
--- The Cognitive Mind resists the Illumninbation of the Higher Mind
  Thus the higher Idea descending into the developed mental intelligence has even there to overcome the barrage of a mass or system of formed ideas which belong to the Knowledge-Ignorance and the will to persistence and self-realisation of these ideas; for all ideas are forces and have a formative or self-effective faculty greater or less according to the conditions, - even reducible to nil in practice when they have to deal with inconscient Matter, but still potential. There is thus ready-formed a power of resistance which opposes or minimises the effects of the descending Light, a resistance which may amount to a refusal, a rejection of the Light, or take the shape of an attempt to impair, subdue, ingeniously modify or adapt or perversely deform the light in order to suit it to the preconceived ideas of the Ignorance.
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.942
Unless one is very open and receptive to higher truths, one's preconceived worldview will come in and ruin everything. Not just any sort of literalist belief, but even philosophical and intellectual conceptions taht may be fine on their own level, or where there is no alternative, but are here rendered obsolete by the Higher light.
--- Resitance by Lower Levels of the Being
  If the preconceived or already formed ideas are dismissed and deprived of their right to persistence, they have still the right of recurrence, from outside, from their prevalence in universal Mind, or they may retire downwards into the vital, physical or subconscient parts and from thence resurge at the least opportunity to repossess their lost domain: for evolutionary Nature has to give this right of persistence to things once established by her in order to bring a sufficient steadiness and solidity to her steps.
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.942
This "right of persistence" pertains to the necessity of manifestating in the world of "collision and struggle and intermixture of Forces".
--- Resistance by the Vital and the Subconscious
  In the lower levels of the being, in the heart and life and body, the same phenomenon recurs and on a more intense scale; for here it is not ideas that have to be met but emotions, desires, impulses, sensations, vital needs and habits of the lower Nature; these, since they are less conscious than ideas, are blinder in their response and are more obstinately self-assertive: all have the same or a greater power of resistance and recurrence, or take refuge in the circum-conscient universal Nature or in our own lower levels or in a seed-state in the subconscient and from there have the power of new invasion or resurgence. This power of persistence, recurrence, resistance of established things in Nature is always the great obstacle which the evolutionary Force has to meet, which it has indeed itself created in order to prevent a too rapid transmutation even when that transmutation is its own eventual intention in things.
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.943
For most spiritual teachings the task of overcoming the obstructions posed by the stubborn resistance of the old nature and old habits in matter and the psyche are so great that they prefer the Wikipedia link ascetic acosmic path of renbunciation and world-denial; total transcendence without any transformation. This is the option taken by traditional Hinduism and Buddhism (although in the former one finds Tantra, and in the latter some compensation in the Bodhisattva Ideal), by Gnosticism and Christianity in which the body, sexuality, and the world is renounced as sinful or evil (but re Christianity there is some progress in countering this attitude of denial of the world and of nature, for example in forms of Christianity, Process theology, the Creation Spirituality of Matthew Fox), and in fact in most forms of mysticism in general. But a far greater and more noble task is the transformation of matter and transmutation of the lower nature, rather than its denial.
Which brings us to the next section:
--- Overcoming the resistance to the transformation
  This obstacle will be there, -- even though it may progressively diminish, -- at each stage of this greater ascent. In order to allow at all to the higher Light an adequate entry and force of working, it is necessary to acquire a power for quietude of the nature, to compose, tranquillise, impress a controlled passivity or even an entire silence on mind and heart, life and body: but even so a continued opposition, overt and felt in the Force of the universal Ignorance or subliminal and obscure in the substance-energy of the individual's make of mind, his form of Life, his body of Matter, an occult resistance or a revolt or reaffirmation of the controlled or suppressed energies of the ignorant nature, is always possible and, if anything in the being consents to them, they can resume dominance.
  A previously established psychic control is very desirable as that creates a general responsiveness and inhibits the revolt of the lower parts against the Light or their consent to the claims of the Ignorance. A preliminary spiritual transformation will also reduce the hold of the Ignorance; but neither of these influences altoge ther eliminates its obstruction and limitation: for these preliminary changes do not bring the integral consciousness and knowledge; the original basis of Nescience proper to the Inconscient will still be there needing at every turn to be changed, enlightened, diminished in its extent and In its force of reaction. The power of the spiritual Higher Mind and its idea-force, modified and diminished as it must be by its entrance into our mentality, is not sufficient to sweep out all these obstacles and create the gnostic being, but it can make a first change, a modification that will capacitate a higher ascent and a more powerful descent and further prepare an Integration of the being in a greater Force of consciousness and knowledge.
  This greater Force is that of the Illumined Mind...
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.943-4

page by M.Alan Kazlev
Text by Sri Aurobindo Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1977
page uploaded 30 November 1998, last modified 5 March 2005


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OBJECT INSTANCES [0] - TOPICS - AUTHORS - BOOKS - CHAPTERS - CLASSES - SEE ALSO - SIMILAR TITLES

TOPICS

AUTH

BOOKS
Letters_On_Yoga
Letters_On_Yoga_I
Questions_And_Answers_1955
Sri_Aurobindo_or_the_Adventure_of_Consciousness
The_Yoga_Sutras

IN CHAPTERS TITLE
4.3.2.06_-_Levels_of_the_Higher_Mind

IN CHAPTERS CLASSNAME

IN CHAPTERS TEXT
0.08_-_Letters_to_a_Young_Captain
01.01_-_A_Yoga_of_the_Art_of_Life
02.01_-_Our_Ideal
02.02_-_Lines_of_the_Descent_of_Consciousness
04.01_-_The_March_of_Civilisation
05.05_-_In_Quest_of_Reality
07.36_-_The_Body_and_the_Psychic
1.008_-_The_Principle_of_Self-Affirmation
10.24_-_Savitri
1.02_-_Self-Consecration
10.37_-_The_Golden_Bridge
1.03_-_Meeting_the_Master_-_Meeting_with_others
1.07_-_Savitri
11.06_-_The_Mounting_Fire
1.1.1.01_-_Three_Elements_of_Poetic_Creation
1.1.1_-_The_Mind_and_Other_Levels_of_Being
1.1.2_-_Intellect_and_the_Intellectual
1.12_-_The_Superconscient
1.1.5_-_Thought_and_Knowledge
12.05_-_The_World_Tragedy
1.2.07_-_Surrender
12.10_-_The_Sunlit_Path
1.28_-_Supermind,_Mind_and_the_Overmind_Maya
13.03_-_A_Programme_for_the_Second_Century_of_the_Divine_Manifestation
1.3.03_-_Quiet_and_Calm
1.439
1.450_-_1.500_Talks
1929-04-21_-_Visions,_seeing_and_interpretation_-_Dreams_and_dreaml_and_-_Dreamless_sleep_-_Visions_and_formulation_-_Surrender,_passive_and_of_the_will_-_Meditation_and_progress_-_Entering_the_spiritual_life,_a_plunge_into_the_Divine
1929-06-09_-_Nature_of_religion_-_Religion_and_the_spiritual_life_-_Descent_of_Divine_Truth_and_Force_-_To_be_sure_of_your_religion,_country,_family-choose_your_own_-_Religion_and_numbers
1951-03-19_-_Mental_worlds_and_their_beings_-_Understanding_in_silence_-_Psychic_world-_its_characteristics_-_True_experiences_and_mental_formations_-_twelve_senses
1951-05-11_-_Mahakali_and_Kali_-_Avatar_and_Vibhuti_-_Sachchidananda_behind_all_states_of_being_-_The_power_of_will_-_receiving_the_Divine_Will
1953-08-05
1953-12-23
1954-12-08_-_Cosmic_consciousness_-_Clutching_-_The_central_will_of_the_being_-_Knowledge_by_identity
1956-10-24_-_Taking_a_new_body_-_Different_cases_of_incarnation_-_Departure_of_soul_from_body
1958_09_19
1960_01_27
1960-03-03
1961-11-07
1962-01-21
1962-06-30
1962-07-11
1962-09-05
1962-09-15
1962-10-12
1962_10_12
1963-05-18
1963-06-03
1963-06-19
1963-09-25
1965-01-12
1968-04-23
1968-07-20
1969-07-12
1970-07-25
1971-07-03
2.02_-_On_Letters
2.03_-_On_Medicine
2.06_-_On_Beauty
2.1.02_-_Classification_of_the_Parts_of_the_Being
2.1.02_-_Nature_The_World-Manifestation
2.1.2_-_The_Vital_and_Other_Levels_of_Being
2.1.3.2_-_Study
2.13_-_On_Psychology
2.1.4_-_The_Lower_Vital_Being
2.1.7.05_-_On_the_Inspiration_and_Writing_of_the_Poem
2.1.7.08_-_Comments_on_Specific_Lines_and_Passages_of_the_Poem
2.17_-_December_1938
2.18_-_January_1939
2.2.02_-_Becoming_Conscious_in_Work
22.05_-_On_The_Brink(2)
2.2.2.03_-_Virgil
2.26_-_The_Ascent_towards_Supermind
2.2.7.01_-_Some_General_Remarks
2.3.04_-_The_Higher_Planes_of_Mind
2.3.06_-_The_Mind
2.3.06_-_The_Mother's_Lights
2.4.02_-_Bhakti,_Devotion,_Worship
3.1.3_-_Difficulties_of_the_Physical_Being
3.2.08_-_Bhakti_Yoga_and_Vaishnavism
3.2.09_-_The_Teachings_of_Some_Modern_Indian_Yogis
3.2.10_-_Christianity_and_Theosophy
3.2.3_-_Dreams
3.4.1_-_The_Subconscient_and_the_Integral_Yoga
36.08_-_A_Commentary_on_the_First_Six_Suktas_of_Rigveda
3.7.2.04_-_The_Higher_Lines_of_Karma
4.05_-_The_Instruments_of_the_Spirit
4.0_-_NOTES_TO_ZARATHUSTRA
4.1.2.03_-_Preparation_for_the_Supramental_Change
4.3.1.07_-_The_Self_Experienced_on_Various_Planes
4.3.1_-_The_Hostile_Forces_and_the_Difficulties_of_Yoga
4.3.2.04_-_Degrees_in_the_Higher_Consciousness
4.3.2.06_-_Levels_of_the_Higher_Mind
4.4.1.06_-_Ascent_and_Descent_and_Problems_of_the_Lower_Nature
5.03_-_The_Divine_Body
5.08_-_Supermind_and_Mind_of_Light
7.02_-_The_Mind
Blazing_P3_-_Explore_the_Stages_of_Postconventional_Consciousness
Conversations_with_Sri_Aurobindo
Talks_With_Sri_Aurobindo_1
The_Coming_Race_Contents
The_Riddle_of_this_World

PRIMARY CLASS

attribute
place
plane
SEE ALSO

SIMILAR TITLES
the Higher Mind

DEFINITIONS



QUOTES [7 / 7 - 13 / 13]


KEYS (10k)

   5 Sri Aurobindo
   1 The Mother
   1 ?

NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

   5 Sri Aurobindo

1:A touch of realisation is enough to set the higher mind knowledge or the illumined mind knowledge flowing. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga - IV, Thought and Knowledge,
2:The higher mind is a thing in itself above the intellect. It is only when something of its power comes down and is modified in the lower mind substance that it acts as part of the intellect.
   ~ ?,
3:It depends on what is meant by the higher buddhi - whether you use the word to mean the higher part of the intellect or the higher Mind. The higher Mind in itself on its own level knows, but when it is involved in the ordinary human intelligence and works under limitations, it often does not know - or it has the idea merely that it must be so but has not the consciousness of its separate existence. The intellect can rise above its ordinary movements and feel itself as a separate power no longer working under the limitations of the vital and physical mind and the senses. It then begins to reflect something of the action of the higher mind but without the full freedom and greater light and truth of the higher mind.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Letters On Yoga - I,
4:I mean by the Higher Mind a first plane of spiritual [consciousness] where one becomes constantly and closely aware of the Self, the One everywhere and knows and sees things habitually with that awareness; but it is still very much on the mind level although highly spiritual in its essential substance; and its instrumentation is through an elevated thought-power and comprehensive mental sight-not illumined by any of the intenser upper lights but as if in a large strong and clear daylight. It acts as an intermediate state between the Truth-Light above and the human mind; communicating the higher knowledge in a form that the Mind intensified, broadened, made spiritually supple, can receive without being blinded or dazzled by a Truth beyond it.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Letters On Poetry And Art, [9:342],
5:If we accept the Vedic image of the Sun of Truth, - an image which in this experience becomes a reality, - we may compare the action of the Higher Mind to a composed and steady sunshine, the energy of the Illumined Mind beyond it to an outpouring of massive lightnings of flaming sun-stuff. Still beyond can be met a yet greater power of the Truth-Force, an intimate and exact Truth-vision, Truth-thought, Truth-sense, Truth-feeling, Truth-action, to which we can give in a special sense the name of Intuition; for though we have applied that word for want of a better to any supra-intellectual direct way of knowing, yet what we actually know as intuition is only one special movement of self-existent knowledge. This new range is its origin; it imparts to our intuitions something of its own distinct character and is very clearly an intermediary of a greater Truth-Light with which our mind cannot directly communicate. At the source of this Intuition we discover a superconscient cosmic Mind in direct contact with the Supramental Truth-Consciousness, an original intensity determinant of all movements below it and all mental energies, - not Mind as we know it, but an Overmind that covers as with the wide wings of some creative Oversoul this whole lower hemisphere of Knowledge-Ignorance, links it with that greater Truth-Consciousness while yet at the same time with its brilliant golden Lid it veils the face of the greater Truth from our sight, intervening with its flood of infinite possibilities as at once an obstacle and a passage in our seeking of the spiritual law of our existence, its highest aim, its secret Reality. This then is the occult link we were looking for; this is the Power that at once connects and divides the supreme Knowledge and the cosmic Ignorance. ~ Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Supermind Mind and the Overmind Maya, 293,
6:Many men think and write through inspiration. From where does it come?

Many! That is indeed a wonderful thing. I did not think there have been so many.... So?

Poets, when they write poems...

Ah! Inspirations come from very many different places. There are inspirations that may be very material, there are inspirations that may be vital, there are inspirations that come from all kinds of mental planes, and there are very, very rare inspirations that come from the higher mind or from a still higher region. All inspirations do not come from the same place. Hence, to be inspired does not necessarily mean that one is a higher be- ing.... One may be inspired also to do and say many stupid things!

What does "inspired" mean?

It means receiving something which is beyond you, which was not within you; to open yourself to an influence which is outside your individual conscious being.

Indeed, one can have also an inspiration to commit a murder! In countries where they decapitate murderers, cut off their heads, this causes a very brutal death which throws out the vital being, not allowing it the time to decompose for coming out of the body; the vital being is violently thrown out of the body, with all its impulses; and generally it goes and lodges itself in one of those present there, men half horrified, half with a kind of unhealthy curiosity. That makes the opening and it enters within. Statistics have proved that most young murderers admit that the impulse came to them when they were present at the death of another murderer. It was an "inspiration", but of a detestable kind.

Fundamentally it is a moment of openness to something which was not within your personal consciousness, which comes from outside and rushes into you and makes you do something. This is the widest formula that can be given.

Now, generally, when people say: "Oh! he is an inspired poet", it means he has received something from high above and expressed it in a remarkable manneR But one should rather say that his inspiration is of a high quality. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1953,
7:This greater Force is that of the Illumined Mind, a Mind no longer of higher Thought, but of spiritual light. Here the clarity of the spiritual intelligence, its tranquil daylight, gives place or subordinates itself to an intense lustre, a splendour and illumination of the spirit: a play of lightnings of spiritual truth and power breaks from above into the consciousness and adds to the calm and wide enlightenment and the vast descent of peace which characterise or accompany the action of the larger conceptual-spiritual principle, a fiery ardour of realisation and a rapturous ecstasy of knowledge. A downpour of inwardly visible Light very usually envelops this action; for it must be noted that, contrary to our ordinary conceptions, light is not primarily a material creation and the sense or vision of light accompanying the inner illumination is not merely a subjective visual image or a symbolic phenomenon: light is primarily a spiritual manifestation of the Divine Reality illuminative and creative; material light is a subsequent representation or conversion of it into Matter for the purposes of the material Energy. There is also in this descent the arrival of a greater dynamic, a golden drive, a luminous enthousiasmos of inner force and power which replaces the comparatively slow and deliberate process of the Higher Mind by a swift, sometimes a vehement, almost a violent impetus of rapid transformation.
   But these two stages of the ascent enjoy their authority and can get their own united completeness only by a reference to a third level; for it is from the higher summits where dwells the intuitional being that they derive the knowledge which they turn into thought or sight and bring down to us for the mind's transmutation. Intuition is a power of consciousness nearer and more intimate to the original knowledge by identity; for it is always something that leaps out direct from a concealed identity. It is when the consciousness of the subject meets with the consciousness in the object, penetrates it and sees, feels or vibrates with the truth of what it contacts, that the intuition leaps out like a spark or lightning-flash from the shock of the meeting; or when the consciousness, even without any such meeting, looks into itself and feels directly and intimately the truth or the truths that are there or so contacts the hidden forces behind appearances, then also there is the outbreak of an intuitive light; or, again, when the consciousness meets the Supreme Reality or the spiritual reality of things and beings and has a contactual union with it, then the spark, the flash or the blaze of intimate truth-perception is lit in its depths. This close perception is more than sight, more than conception: it is the result of a penetrating and revealing touch which carries in it sight and conception as part of itself or as its natural consequence. A concealed or slumbering identity, not yet recovering itself, still remembers or conveys by the intuition its own contents and the intimacy of its self-feeling and self-vision of things, its light of truth, its overwhelming and automatic certitude. ... Intuition is always an edge or ray or outleap of a superior light; it is in us a projecting blade, edge or point of a far-off supermind light entering into and modified by some intermediate truth-mind substance above us and, so modified, again entering into and very much blinded by our ordinary or ignorant mind substance; but on that higher level to which it is native its light is unmixed and therefore entirely and purely veridical, and its rays are not separated but connected or massed together in a play of waves of what might almost be called in the Sanskrit poetic figure a sea or mass of stable lightnings.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine,

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:A touch of realisation is enough to set the higher mind knowledge or the illumined mind knowledge flowing. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga - IV, Thought and Knowledge,
2:The higher mind is a thing in itself above the intellect. It is only when something of its power comes down and is modified in the lower mind substance that it acts as part of the intellect.
   ~ ?,
3:It’s hard for the most primal, powerful regions of the mind to abandon habits that were once crucial to the organism’s survival, even when the higher mind recognizes those habits are no longer warranted. ~ Barry Eisler
4:The lower mind is the instrument of habit, appetite, emotion, sensation, and self-preservation. The higher mind accepts to itself philosophy, religion, and the arts, and contemplates the more refined elements of material existence. ~ Manly P Hall, How to Understand Your Bible
5:Sadhaka : Should not we have the desire to practise the yoga? Sri Aurobindo : N o . Sadhaka : Then h o w c a n we practise t h e yoga? Sri Aurobindo : You must have the wi l l fo r i t : will and desire are two distinct thing s . You have t o distinguish between true and false movements in the nature and give your consent t o the true ones. Sadhaka : We must use our Buddhi-intellect- for distinguishing the true from the false. Sri Aurobindo : It i s not b y Buddhi or understanding that you per­ ceive these things,- it is b y an inner perception or vision . It is not the intellect but something higher that sees. I t is the Higher Mind in which that inner perception, intuition etc. take ~ Anonymous
6:It depends on what is meant by the higher buddhi - whether you use the word to mean the higher part of the intellect or the higher Mind. The higher Mind in itself on its own level knows, but when it is involved in the ordinary human intelligence and works under limitations, it often does not know - or it has the idea merely that it must be so but has not the consciousness of its separate existence. The intellect can rise above its ordinary movements and feel itself as a separate power no longer working under the limitations of the vital and physical mind and the senses. It then begins to reflect something of the action of the higher mind but without the full freedom and greater light and truth of the higher mind.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Letters On Yoga - I,
7:I mean by the Higher Mind a first plane of spiritual [consciousness] where one becomes constantly and closely aware of the Self, the One everywhere and knows and sees things habitually with that awareness; but it is still very much on the mind level although highly spiritual in its essential substance; and its instrumentation is through an elevated thought-power and comprehensive mental sight-not illumined by any of the intenser upper lights but as if in a large strong and clear daylight. It acts as an intermediate state between the Truth-Light above and the human mind; communicating the higher knowledge in a form that the Mind intensified, broadened, made spiritually supple, can receive without being blinded or dazzled by a Truth beyond it.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Letters On Poetry And Art, [9:342],
8:The aristocratic interiority is centered on the higher mind, the mens, the ajna chakra, the seat of intellect and intuition that commands the lower soul and the body. To be blunt, that describes the true 'aristocrat if the soul'.

The second is the idea of destiny and the spiritual impetus behind it. A people, family, and son, have certain spiritual qualities at their origin. The purpose of rites and worship was to keep those qualities present in order to project them into the future. The modern mind cuts off the past in order to create a future with no relationship to it. But human nature will not be denied. Instead of being guided by past heroes and sages, able to distinguish good and evil, the deracinated contemporaries will latch onto any spiritual influences at random. Devoid of true identity, they will create factitious identities. ~ Julius Evola
9:The whole world has been asking for the same these thousands of years. There is, again, the universal dissatisfaction. We make an ideal but we have rushed only half the way after it when we make a newer one. We struggle hard to attain to some goal and then discover we do not want it. This dissatisfaction we are having time after time, and what is there in the mind if there is to be only dissatisfaction? What is the meaning of this universal dissatisfaction? It is because freedom is every man's goal. He seeks it ever, his whole life is a struggle after it. The child rebels against law as soon as it is born. Its first utterance is a cry, a protest against the bondage in which it finds itself. This longing for freedom produces the idea of a Being who is absolutely free. The concept of God is a fundamental element in the human constitution. In the Vedanta, Sat-chit-ânanda (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss) is the highest concept of God possible to the mind. It is the essence of knowledge and is by its nature the essence of bliss. We have been stifling that inner voice long enough, seeking to follow law and quiet the human nature, but there is that human instinct to rebel against nature's laws. We may not understand what the meaning is, but there is that unconscious struggle of the human with the spiritual, of the lower with the higher mind, and the struggle attempts to preserve one's separate life, what we call our "individuality". ~ Swami Vivekananda
10:If we accept the Vedic image of the Sun of Truth, - an image which in this experience becomes a reality, - we may compare the action of the Higher Mind to a composed and steady sunshine, the energy of the Illumined Mind beyond it to an outpouring of massive lightnings of flaming sun-stuff. Still beyond can be met a yet greater power of the Truth-Force, an intimate and exact Truth-vision, Truth-thought, Truth-sense, Truth-feeling, Truth-action, to which we can give in a special sense the name of Intuition; for though we have applied that word for want of a better to any supra-intellectual direct way of knowing, yet what we actually know as intuition is only one special movement of self-existent knowledge. This new range is its origin; it imparts to our intuitions something of its own distinct character and is very clearly an intermediary of a greater Truth-Light with which our mind cannot directly communicate. At the source of this Intuition we discover a superconscient cosmic Mind in direct contact with the Supramental Truth-Consciousness, an original intensity determinant of all movements below it and all mental energies, - not Mind as we know it, but an Overmind that covers as with the wide wings of some creative Oversoul this whole lower hemisphere of Knowledge-Ignorance, links it with that greater Truth-Consciousness while yet at the same time with its brilliant golden Lid it veils the face of the greater Truth from our sight, intervening with its flood of infinite possibilities as at once an obstacle and a passage in our seeking of the spiritual law of our existence, its highest aim, its secret Reality. This then is the occult link we were looking for; this is the Power that at once connects and divides the supreme Knowledge and the cosmic Ignorance. ~ Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Supermind Mind and the Overmind Maya, 293,
11:Many men think and write through inspiration. From where does it come?

Many! That is indeed a wonderful thing. I did not think there have been so many.... So?

Poets, when they write poems...

Ah! Inspirations come from very many different places. There are inspirations that may be very material, there are inspirations that may be vital, there are inspirations that come from all kinds of mental planes, and there are very, very rare inspirations that come from the higher mind or from a still higher region. All inspirations do not come from the same place. Hence, to be inspired does not necessarily mean that one is a higher be- ing.... One may be inspired also to do and say many stupid things!

What does "inspired" mean?

It means receiving something which is beyond you, which was not within you; to open yourself to an influence which is outside your individual conscious being.

Indeed, one can have also an inspiration to commit a murder! In countries where they decapitate murderers, cut off their heads, this causes a very brutal death which throws out the vital being, not allowing it the time to decompose for coming out of the body; the vital being is violently thrown out of the body, with all its impulses; and generally it goes and lodges itself in one of those present there, men half horrified, half with a kind of unhealthy curiosity. That makes the opening and it enters within. Statistics have proved that most young murderers admit that the impulse came to them when they were present at the death of another murderer. It was an "inspiration", but of a detestable kind.

Fundamentally it is a moment of openness to something which was not within your personal consciousness, which comes from outside and rushes into you and makes you do something. This is the widest formula that can be given.

Now, generally, when people say: "Oh! he is an inspired poet", it means he has received something from high above and expressed it in a remarkable manneR But one should rather say that his inspiration is of a high quality. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1953,
12:This greater Force is that of the Illumined Mind, a Mind no longer of higher Thought, but of spiritual light. Here the clarity of the spiritual intelligence, its tranquil daylight, gives place or subordinates itself to an intense lustre, a splendour and illumination of the spirit: a play of lightnings of spiritual truth and power breaks from above into the consciousness and adds to the calm and wide enlightenment and the vast descent of peace which characterise or accompany the action of the larger conceptual-spiritual principle, a fiery ardour of realisation and a rapturous ecstasy of knowledge. A downpour of inwardly visible Light very usually envelops this action; for it must be noted that, contrary to our ordinary conceptions, light is not primarily a material creation and the sense or vision of light accompanying the inner illumination is not merely a subjective visual image or a symbolic phenomenon: light is primarily a spiritual manifestation of the Divine Reality illuminative and creative; material light is a subsequent representation or conversion of it into Matter for the purposes of the material Energy. There is also in this descent the arrival of a greater dynamic, a golden drive, a luminous enthousiasmos of inner force and power which replaces the comparatively slow and deliberate process of the Higher Mind by a swift, sometimes a vehement, almost a violent impetus of rapid transformation.
   But these two stages of the ascent enjoy their authority and can get their own united completeness only by a reference to a third level; for it is from the higher summits where dwells the intuitional being that they derive the knowledge which they turn into thought or sight and bring down to us for the mind's transmutation. Intuition is a power of consciousness nearer and more intimate to the original knowledge by identity; for it is always something that leaps out direct from a concealed identity. It is when the consciousness of the subject meets with the consciousness in the object, penetrates it and sees, feels or vibrates with the truth of what it contacts, that the intuition leaps out like a spark or lightning-flash from the shock of the meeting; or when the consciousness, even without any such meeting, looks into itself and feels directly and intimately the truth or the truths that are there or so contacts the hidden forces behind appearances, then also there is the outbreak of an intuitive light; or, again, when the consciousness meets the Supreme Reality or the spiritual reality of things and beings and has a contactual union with it, then the spark, the flash or the blaze of intimate truth-perception is lit in its depths. This close perception is more than sight, more than conception: it is the result of a penetrating and revealing touch which carries in it sight and conception as part of itself or as its natural consequence. A concealed or slumbering identity, not yet recovering itself, still remembers or conveys by the intuition its own contents and the intimacy of its self-feeling and self-vision of things, its light of truth, its overwhelming and automatic certitude. ... Intuition is always an edge or ray or outleap of a superior light; it is in us a projecting blade, edge or point of a far-off supermind light entering into and modified by some intermediate truth-mind substance above us and, so modified, again entering into and very much blinded by our ordinary or ignorant mind substance; but on that higher level to which it is native its light is unmixed and therefore entirely and purely veridical, and its rays are not separated but connected or massed together in a play of waves of what might almost be called in the Sanskrit poetic figure a sea or mass of stable lightnings.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine,
13:The Victories Of Love. Book I
From Frederick Graham
Mother, I smile at your alarms!
I own, indeed, my Cousin's charms,
But, like all nursery maladies,
Love is not badly taken twice.
Have you forgotten Charlotte Hayes,
My playmate in the pleasant days
At Knatchley, and her sister, Anne,
The twins, so made on the same plan,
That one wore blue, the other white,
To mark them to their father's sight;
And how, at Knatchley harvesting,
You bade me kiss her in the ring,
Like Anne and all the others? You,
That never of my sickness knew,
Will laugh, yet had I the disease,
And gravely, if the signs are these:
As, ere the Spring has any power,
The almond branch all turns to flower,
Though not a leaf is out, so she
The bloom of life provoked in me;
And, hard till then and selfish, I
Was thenceforth nought but sanctity
And service: life was mere delight
In being wholly good and right,
As she was; just, without a slur;
Honouring myself no less than her;
Obeying, in the loneliest place,
Ev'n to the slightest gesture, grace
Assured that one so fair, so true,
He only served that was so too.
For me, hence weak towards the weak,
No more the unnested blackbird's shriek
Startled the light-leaved wood; on high
Wander'd the gadding butterfly,
Unscared by my flung cap; the bee,
242
Rifling the hollyhock in glee,
Was no more trapp'd with his own flower,
And for his honey slain. Her power,
From great things even to the grass
Through which the unfenced footways pass,
Was law, and that which keeps the law,
Cherubic gaiety and awe;
Day was her doing, and the lark
Had reason for his song; the dark
In anagram innumerous spelt
Her name with stars that throbb'd and felt;
'Twas the sad summit of delight
To wake and weep for her at night;
She turn'd to triumph or to shame
The strife of every childish game;
The heart would come into my throat
At rosebuds; howsoe'er remote,
In opposition or consent,
Each thing, or person, or event,
Or seeming neutral howsoe'er,
All, in the live, electric air,
Awoke, took aspect, and confess'd
In her a centre of unrest,
Yea, stocks and stones within me bred
Anxieties of joy and dread.
O, bright apocalyptic sky
O'erarching childhood! Far and nigh
Mystery and obscuration none,
Yet nowhere any moon or sun!
What reason for these sighs? What hope,
Daunting with its audacious scope
The disconcerted heart, affects
These ceremonies and respects?
Why stratagems in everything?
Why, why not kiss her in the ring?
'Tis nothing strange that warriors bold,
Whose fierce, forecasting eyes behold
The city they desire to sack,
Humbly begin their proud attack
By delving ditches two miles off,
Aware how the fair place would scoff
243
At hasty wooing; but, O child,
Why thus approach thy playmate mild?
One morning, when it flush'd my thought
That, what in me such wonder wrought
Was call'd, in men and women, love,
And, sick with vanity thereof,
I, saying loud, ‘I love her,’ told
My secret to myself, behold
A crisis in my mystery!
For, suddenly, I seem'd to be
Whirl'd round, and bound with showers of threads
As when the furious spider sheds
Captivity upon the fly
To still his buzzing till he die;
Only, with me, the bonds that flew,
Enfolding, thrill'd me through and through
With bliss beyond aught heaven can have
And pride to dream myself her slave.
A long, green slip of wilder'd land,
With Knatchley Wood on either hand,
Sunder'd our home from hers. This day
Glad was I as I went her way.
I stretch'd my arms to the sky, and sprang
O'er the elastic sod, and sang
‘I love her, love her!’ to an air
Which with the words came then and there;
And even now, when I would know
All was not always dull and low,
I mind me awhile of the sweet strain
Love taught me in that lonely lane.
Such glories fade, with no more mark
Than when the sunset dies to dark.
They pass, the rapture and the grace
Ineffable, their only trace
A heart which, having felt no less
Than pure and perfect happiness,
Is duly dainty of delight;
A patient, poignant appetite
For pleasures that exceed so much
244
The poor things which the world calls such,
That, when these lure it, then you may
The lion with a wisp of hay.
That Charlotte, whom we scarcely knew
From Anne but by her ribbons blue,
Was loved, Anne less than look'd at, shows
That liking still by favour goes!
This Love is a Divinity,
And holds his high election free
Of human merit; or let's say,
A child by ladies call'd to play,
But careless of their becks and wiles,
Till, seeing one who sits and smiles
Like any else, yet only charms,
He cries to come into her arms.
Then, for my Cousins, fear me not!
None ever loved because he ought.
Fatal were else this graceful house,
So full of light from ladies' brows.
There's Mary; Heaven in her appears
Like sunshine through the shower's bright tears;
Mildred's of Earth, yet happier far
Than most men's thoughts of Heaven are;
But, for Honoria, Heaven and Earth
Seal'd amity in her sweet birth.
The noble Girl! With whom she talks
She knights first with her smile; she walks,
Stands, dances, to such sweet effect,
Alone she seems to move erect.
The brightest and the chastest brow
Rules o'er a cheek which seems to show
That love, as a mere vague suspense
Of apprehensive innocence,
Perturbs her heart; love without aim
Or object, like the sunlit flame
That in the Vestals' Temple glow'd,
Without the image of a god.
And this simplicity most pure
She sets off with no less allure
Of culture, subtly skill'd to raise
The power, the pride, and mutual praise
245
Of human personality
Above the common sort so high,
It makes such homely souls as mine
Marvel how brightly life may shine.
How you would love her! Even in dress
She makes the common mode express
New knowledge of what's fit so well
'Tis virtue gaily visible!
Nay, but her silken sash to me
Were more than all morality,
Had not the old, sweet, feverous ill
Left me the master of my will!
So, Mother, feel at rest, and please
To send my books on board. With these,
When I go hence, all idle hours
Shall help my pleasures and my powers.
I've time, you know, to fill my post,
And yet make up for schooling lost
Through young sea-service. They all speak
German with ease; and this, with Greek,
(Which Dr. Churchill thought I knew,)
And history, which I fail'd in too,
Will stop a gap I somewhat dread,
After the happy life I've led
With these my friends; and sweet 'twill be
To abridge the space from them to me.
II
From Mrs. Graham
My Child, Honoria Churchill sways
A double power through Charlotte Hayes.
In minds to first-love's memory pledged
The second Cupid's born full-fledged.
I saw, and trembled for the day
When you should see her beauty, gay
And pure as apple-blooms, that show
Outside a blush and inside snow,
Her high and touching elegance
Of order'd life as free as chance.
246
Ah, haste from her bewitching side,
No friend for you, far less a bride!
But, warning from a hope so wild,
I wrong you. Yet this know, my Child:
He that but once too nearly hears
The music of forefended spheres,
Is thenceforth lonely, and for all
His days like one who treads the Wall
Of China, and, on this hand, sees
Cities and their civilities,
And, on the other, lions. Well,
(Your rash reply I thus foretell,)
Good is the knowledge of what's fair,
Though bought with temporal despair!
Yes, good for one, but not for two.
Will it content a wife that you
Should pine for love, in love's embrace,
Through having known a happier grace;
And break with inward sighs your rest,
Because, though good, she's not the best?
You would, you think, be just and kind,
And keep your counsel! You will find
You cannot such a secret keep;
'Twill out, like murder, in your sleep;
A touch will tell it, though, for pride,
She may her bitter knowledge hide;
And, while she accepts love's make-believe,
You'll twice despise what you'd deceive.
I send the books. Dear Child, adieu!
Tell me of all you are and do.
I know, thank God, whate'er it be,
'Twill need no veil 'twixt you and me.
III
From Frederick
The multitude of voices blythe
Of early day, the hissing scythe
Across the dew drawn and withdrawn,
The noisy peacock on the lawn,
247
These, and the sun's eye-gladding gleam,
This morning, chased the sweetest dream
That e'er shed penitential grace
On life's forgetful commonplace;
Yet 'twas no sweeter than the spell
To which I woke to say farewell.
Noon finds me many a mile removed
From her who must not be beloved;
And us the waste sea soon shall part,
Heaving for aye, without a heart!
Mother, what need to warn me so?
I love Miss Churchill? Ah, no, no.
I view, enchanted, from afar,
And love her as I love a star,
For, not to speak of colder fear,
Which keeps my fancy calm, I hear,
Under her life's gay progress hurl'd,
The wheels of the preponderant world,
Set sharp with swords that fool to slay
Who blunders from a poor byway,
To covet beauty with a crown
Of earthly blessing added on;
And she's so much, it seems to me,
Beyond all women womanly,
I dread to think how he should fare
Who came so near as to despair.
IV
From Frederick
Yonder the sombre vessel rides
Where my obscure condition hides.
Waves scud to shore against the wind
That flings the sprinkling surf behind;
In port the bickering pennons show
Which way the ships would gladly go;
Through Edgecumb Park the rooted trees
Are tossing, reckless, in the breeze;
On top of Edgecumb's firm-set tower,
As foils, not foibles, of its power,
248
The light vanes do themselves adjust
To every veering of the gust:
By me alone may nought be given
To guidance of the airs of heaven?
In battle or peace, in calm or storm,
Should I my daily task perform,
Better a thousand times for love,
Who should my secret soul reprove?
Beholding one like her, a man
Longs to lay down his life! How can
Aught to itself seem thus enough,
When I have so much need thereof?
Blest in her place, blissful is she;
And I, departing, seem to be
Like the strange waif that comes to run
A few days flaming near the sun,
And carries back, through boundless night,
Its lessening memory of light.
Oh, my dear Mother, I confess
To a deep grief of homelessness,
Unfelt, save once, before. 'Tis years
Since such a shower of girlish tears
Disgraced me? But this wretched Inn,
At Plymouth, is so full of din,
Talkings and trampings to and fro.
And then my ship, to which I go
To-night, is no more home. I dread,
As strange, the life I long have led;
And as, when first I went to school,
And found the horror of a rule
Which only ask'd to be obey'd,
I lay and wept, of dawn afraid,
And thought, with bursting heart, of one
Who, from her little, wayward son,
Required obedience, but above
Obedience still regarded love,
So change I that enchanting place,
The abode of innocence and grace
And gaiety without reproof,
For the black gun-deck's louring roof,
249
Blind and inevitable law
Which makes light duties burdens, awe
Which is not reverence, laughters gain'd
At cost of purities profaned,
And whatsoever most may stir
Remorseful passion towards her,
Whom to behold is to depart
From all defect of life and heart.
But, Mother, I shall go on shore,
And see my Cousin yet once more!
'Twere wild to hope for her, you say.
l've torn and cast those words away.
Surely there's hope! For life 'tis well
Love without hope's impossible;
So, if I love, it is that hope
Is not outside the outer scope
Of fancy. You speak truth: this hour
I must resist, or lose the power.
What! and, when some short months are o'er,
Be not much other than before?
Drop from the bright and virtuous sphere
In which I'm held but while she's dear?
For daily life's dull, senseless mood,
Slay the fine nerves of gratitude
And sweet allegiance, which I owe
Whether the debt be weal or woe?
Nay, Mother, I, forewarn'd, prefer
To want for all in wanting her.
For all? Love's best is not bereft
Ever from him to whom is left
The trust that God will not deceive
His creature, fashion'd to believe
The prophecies of pure desire.
Not loss, not death, my love shall tire.
A mystery does my heart foretell;
Nor do I press the oracle
For explanations. Leave me alone,
And let in me love's will be done.
250
V
From Frederick
Fashion'd by Heaven and by art
So is she, that she makes the heart
Ache and o'erflow with tears, that grace
So lovely fair should have for place,
(Deeming itself at home the while,)
The unworthy earth! To see her smile
Amid this waste of pain and sin,
As only knowing the heaven within,
Is sweet, and does for pity stir
Passion to be her minister:
Wherefore last night I lay awake,
And said, ‘Ah, Lord, for Thy love's sake,
Give not this darling child of Thine
To care less reverent than mine!’
And, as true faith was in my word,
I trust, I trust that I was heard.
The waves, this morning, sped to land,
And shouted hoarse to touch the strand,
Where Spring, that goes not out to sea,
Lay laughing in her lovely glee;
And, so, my life was sunlit spray
And tumult, as, once more to-day,
For long farewell did I draw near
My Cousin, desperately dear.
Faint, fierce, the truth that hope was none
Gleam'd like the lightning in the sun;
Yet hope I had, and joy thereof.
The father of love is hope, (though love
Lives orphan'd on, when hope is dead,)
And, out of my immediate dread
And crisis of the coming hour,
Did hope itself draw sudden power.
So the still brooding storm, in Spring,
Makes all the birds begin to sing.
Mother, your foresight did not err:
I've lost the world, and not won her.
And yet, ah, laugh not, when you think
251
What cup of life I sought to drink!
The bold, said I, have climb'd to bliss
Absurd, impossible, as this,
With nought to help them but so great
A heart it fascinates their fate.
If ever Heaven heard man's desire,
Mine, being made of altar-fire,
Must come to pass, and it will be
That she will wait, when she shall see,
This evening, how I go to get,
By means unknown, I know not yet
Quite what, but ground whereon to stand,
And plead more plainly for her hand!
And so I raved, and cast in hope
A superstitious horoscope!
And still, though something in her face
Portended ‘No!’ with such a grace
It burthen'd me with thankfulness,
Nothing was credible but ‘Yes.’
Therefore, through time's close pressure bold,
I praised myself, and boastful told
My deeds at Acre; strain'd the chance
I had of honour and advance
In war to come; and would not see
Sad silence meant, ‘What's this to me.’
When half my precious hour was gone,
She rose to greet a Mr. Vaughan;
And, as the image of the moon
Breaks up, within some still lagoon
That feels the soft wind suddenly,
Or tide fresh flowing from the sea,
And turns to giddy flames that go
Over the water to and fro,
Thus, when he took her hand to-night,
Her lovely gravity of light
Was scatter'd into many smiles
And flattering weakness. Hope beguiles
No more my heart, dear Mother. He,
By jealous looks, o'erhonour'd me.
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With nought to do, and fondly fain
To hear her singing once again,
I stay'd, and turn'd her music o'er;
Then came she with me to the door.
‘Dearest Honoria,’ I said,
(By my despair familiar made,)
‘Heaven bless you!’ Oh, to have back then stepp'd
And fallen upon her neck, and wept,
And said, ‘My friend, I owe you all
‘I am, and have, and hope for. Call
‘For some poor service; let me prove
‘To you, or him here whom you love,
‘My duty. Any solemn task,
‘For life's whole course, is all I ask!’
Then she must surely have wept too,
And said, ‘My friend, what can you do!’
And I should have replied, ‘I'll pray
‘For you and him three times a-day,
‘And, all day, morning, noon, and night,
‘My life shall be so high and right
‘That never Saint yet scaled the stairs
‘Of heaven with more availing prayers!’
But this (and, as good God shall bless
Somehow my end, I'll do no less,)
I had no right to speak. Oh, shame,
So rich a love, so poor a claim!
My Mother, now my only friend,
Farewell. The school-books which you send
I shall not want, and so return.
Give them away, or sell, or burn.
I'll write from Malta. Would I might
But be your little Child to-night,
And feel your arms about me fold,
Against this loneliness and cold!
VI
From Mrs. Graham
The folly of young girls! They doff
Their pride to smooth success, and scoff
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At far more noble fire and might
That woo them from the dust of fight!
But, Frederick, now the storm is past,
Your sky should not remain o'ercast.
A sea-life's dull, and, oh, beware
Of nourishing, for zest, despair.
My Child, remember, you have twice
Heartily loved; then why not thrice,
Or ten times? But a wise man shuns
To cry ‘All's over,’ more than once.
I'll not say that a young man's soul
Is scarcely measure of the whole
Earthly and heavenly universe,
To which he inveterately prefers
The one beloved woman. Best
Speak to the senses' interest,
Which brooks no mystery nor delay:
Frankly reflect, my Son, and say,
Was there no secret hour, of those
Pass'd at her side in Sarum Close,
When, to your spirit's sick alarm,
It seem'd that all her marvellous charm
Was marvellously fled? Her grace
Of voice, adornment, movement, face
Was what already heart and eye
Had ponder'd to satiety;
And so the good of life was o'er,
Until some laugh not heard before,
Some novel fashion in her hair,
Or style of putting back her chair,
Restored the heavens. Gather thence
The loss-consoling inference.
Yet blame not beauty, which beguiles,
With lovely motions and sweet smiles,
Which while they please us pass away,
The spirit to lofty thoughts that stay
And lift the whole of after-life,
Unless you take the vision to wife,
Which then seems lost, or serves to slake
Desire, as when a lovely lake
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Far off scarce fills the exulting eye
Of one athirst, who comes thereby,
And inappreciably sips
The deep, with disappointed lips.
To fail is sorrow, yet confess
That love pays dearly for success!
No blame to beauty! Let's complain
Of the heart, which can so ill sustain
Delight. Our griefs declare our fall,
But how much more our joys! They pall
With plucking, and celestial mirth
Can find no footing on the earth,
More than the bird of paradise,
Which only lives the while it flies.
Think, also, how 'twould suit your pride
To have this woman for a bride.
Whate'er her faults, she's one of those
To whom the world's last polish owes
A novel grace, which all who aspire
To courtliest custom must acquire.
The world's the sphere she's made to charm,
Which you have shunn'd as if 'twere harm.
Oh, law perverse, that loneliness
Breeds love, society success!
Though young, 'twere now o'er late in life
To train yourself for such a wife;
So she would suit herself to you,
As women, when they marry, do.
For, since 'tis for our dignity
Our lords should sit like lords on high,
We willingly deteriorate
To a step below our rulers' state;
And 'tis the commonest of things
To see an angel, gay with wings,
Lean weakly on a mortal's arm!
Honoria would put off the charm
Of lofty grace that caught your love,
For fear you should not seem above
Herself in fashion and degree,
As in true merit. Thus, you see,
'Twere little kindness, wisdom none,
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To light your cot with such a sun.
VII
From Frederick
Write not, my Mother, her dear name
With the least word or hint of blame.
Who else shall discommend her choice,
I giving it my hearty voice?
Wed me? Ah, never near her come
The knowledge of the narrow home!
Far fly from her dear face, that shows
The sunshine lovelier than the rose,
The sordid gravity they wear
Who poverty's base burthen bear!
(And all are poor who come to miss
Their custom, though a crown be this.)
My hope was, that the wheels of fate,
For my exceeding need, might wait,
And she, unseen amidst all eyes,
Move sightless, till I sought the prize,
With honour, in an equal field.
But then came Vaughan, to whom I yield
With grace as much as any man,
In such cause, to another can.
Had she been mine, it seems to me
That I had that integrity
And only joy in her delight—
But each is his own favourite
In love! The thought to bring me rest
Is that of us she takes the best.
'Twas but to see him to be sure
That choice for her remain'd no more!
His brow, so gaily clear of craft;
His wit, the timely truth that laugh'd
To find itself so well express'd;
His words, abundant yet the best;
His spirit, of such handsome show
You mark'd not that his looks were so;
His bearing, prospects, birth, all these
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Might well, with small suit, greatly please;
How greatly, when she saw arise
The reflex sweetness of her eyes
In his, and every breath defer
Humbly its bated life to her;
Whilst power and kindness of command,
Which women can no more withstand
Than we their grace, were still unquell'd,
And force and flattery both compell'd
Her softness! Say I'm worthy. I
Grew, in her presence, cold and shy.
It awed me, as an angel's might
In raiment of reproachful light.
Her gay looks told my sombre mood
That what's not happy is not good;
And, just because 'twas life to please,
Death to repel her, truth and ease
Deserted me; I strove to talk,
And stammer'd foolishness; my walk
Was like a drunkard's; if she took
My arm, it stiffen'd, ached, and shook:
A likely wooer! Blame her not;
Nor ever say, dear Mother, aught
Against that perfectness which is
My strength, as once it was my bliss.
And do not chafe at social rules.
Leave that to charlatans and fools.
Clay graffs and clods conceive the rose,
So base still fathers best. Life owes
Itself to bread; enough thereof
And easy days condition love;
And, kindly train'd, love's roses thrive,
No more pale, scentless petals five,
Which moisten the considerate eye
To see what haste they make to die,
But heavens of colour and perfume,
Which, month by month, renew the bloom
Of art-born graces, when the year
In all the natural grove is sere.
Blame nought then! Bright let be the air
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About my lonely cloud of care.
VIII
From Frederick
Religion, duty, books, work, friends,—
'Tis good advice, but there it ends.
I'm sick for what these have not got.
Send no more books: they help me not;
I do my work: the void's there still
Which carefullest duty cannot fill.
What though the inaugural hour of right
Comes ever with a keen delight?
Little relieves the labour's heat;
Disgust oft crowns it when complete;
And life, in fact, is not less dull
For being very dutiful.
‘The stately homes of England,’ lo,
‘How beautiful they stand!’ They owe
How much to nameless things like me
Their beauty of security!
But who can long a low toil mend
By looking to a lofty end?
And let me, since 'tis truth, confess
The void's not fill'd by godliness.
God is a tower without a stair,
And His perfection, love's despair.
'Tis He shall judge me when I die;
He suckles with the hissing fly
The spider; gazes calmly down,
Whilst rapine grips the helpless town.
His vast love holds all this and more.
In consternation I adore.
Nor can I ease this aching gulf
With friends, the pictures of myself.
Then marvel not that I recur
From each and all of these to her.
For more of heaven than her have I
No sensitive capacity.
Had I but her, ah, what the gain
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Of owning aught but that domain!
Nay, heaven's extent, however much,
Cannot be more than many such;
And, she being mine, should God to me
Say ‘Lo! my Child, I give to thee
All heaven besides,’ what could I then,
But, as a child, to Him complain
That whereas my dear Father gave
A little space for me to have
In His great garden, now, o'erblest,
I've that, indeed, but all the rest,
Which, somehow, makes it seem I've got
All but my only cared-for plot.
Enough was that for my weak hand
To tend, my heart to understand.
Oh, the sick fact, 'twixt her and me
There's naught, and half a world of sea.
IX
From Frederick
In two, in less than two hours more
I set my foot on English shore,
Two years untrod, and, strange to tell,
Nigh miss'd through last night's storm! There fell
A man from the shrouds, that roar'd to quench
Even the billows' blast and drench.
Besides me none was near to mark
His loud cry in the louder dark,
Dark, save when lightning show'd the deeps
Standing about in stony heaps.
No time for choice! A rope; a flash
That flamed as he rose; a dizzy splash;
A strange, inopportune delight
Of mounting with the billowy might,
And falling, with a thrill again
Of pleasure shot from feet to brain;
And both paced deck, ere any knew
Our peril. Round us press'd the crew,
With wonder in the eyes of most.
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As if the man who had loved and lost
Honoria dared no more than that!
My days have else been stale and flat.
This life's at best, if justly scann'd,
A tedious walk by the other's strand,
With, here and there cast up, a piece
Of coral or of ambergris,
Which, boasted of abroad, we ignore
The burden of the barren shore.
I seldom write, for 'twould be still
Of how the nerves refuse to thrill;
How, throughout doubly-darken'd days,
I cannot recollect her face;
How to my heart her name to tell
Is beating on a broken bell;
And, to fill up the abhorrent gulf,
Scarce loving her, I hate myself.
Yet, latterly, with strange delight,
Rich tides have risen in the night,
And sweet dreams chased the fancies dense
Of waking life's dull somnolence.
I see her as I knew her, grace
Already glory in her face;
I move about, I cannot rest,
For the proud brain and joyful breast
I have of her. Or else I float,
The pilot of an idle boat,
Alone, alone with sky and sea,
And her, the third simplicity.
Or Mildred, to some question, cries,
(Her merry meaning in her eyes,)
‘The Ball, oh, Frederick will go;
‘Honoria will be there!’ and, lo,
As moisture sweet my seeing blurs
To hear my name so link'd with hers,
A mirror joins, by guilty chance,
Either's averted, watchful glance!
Or with me, in the Ball-Room's blaze,
Her brilliant mildness thrids the maze;
Our thoughts are lovely, and each word
260
Is music in the music heard,
And all things seem but parts to be
Of one persistent harmony.
By which I'm made divinely bold;
The secret, which she knows, is told;
And, laughing with a lofty bliss
Of innocent accord, we kiss;
About her neck my pleasure weeps;
Against my lip the silk vein leaps;
Then says an Angel, ‘Day or night,
‘If yours you seek, not her delight,
‘Although by some strange witchery
‘It seems you kiss her, 'tis not she;
‘But, whilst you languish at the side
‘Of a fair-foul phantasmal bride,
‘Surely a dragon and strong tower
‘Guard the true lady in her bower.’
And I say, ‘Dear my Lord, Amen!’
And the true lady kiss again.
Or else some wasteful malady
Devours her shape and dims her eye;
No charms are left, where all were rife,
Except her voice, which is her life,
Wherewith she, for her foolish fear,
Says trembling, ‘Do you love me, Dear?’
And I reply, ‘Sweetest, I vow
‘I never loved but half till now.’
She turns her face to the wall at this,
And says, ‘Go, Love, 'tis too much bliss.’
And then a sudden pulse is sent
About the sounding firmament
In smitings as of silver bars;
The bright disorder of the stars
Is solved by music; far and near,
Through infinite distinctions clear,
Their twofold voices' deeper tone
Utters the Name which all things own,
And each ecstatic treble dwells
On one whereof none other tells;
And we, sublimed to song and fire,
Take order in the wheeling quire,
Till from the throbbing sphere I start,
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Waked by the heaving of my heart.
Such dreams as these come night by night,
Disturbing day with their delight.
Portend they nothing? Who can tell!
God yet may do some miracle.
'Tis nigh two years, and she's not wed,
Or you would know! He may be dead,
Or mad, and loving some one else,
And she, much moved that nothing quells
My constancy, or, simply wroth
With such a wretch, accept my troth
To spite him; or her beauty's gone,
(And that's my dream!) and this man Vaughan
Takes her release: or tongues malign,
Confusing every ear but mine,
Have smirch'd her: ah, 'twould move her, sure,
To find I loved her all the more!
Nay, now I think, haply amiss
I read her words and looks, and his,
That night! Did not his jealousy
Show—Good my God, and can it be
That I, a modest fool, all blest,
Nothing of such a heaven guess'd?
Oh, chance too frail, yet frantic sweet,
To-morrow sees me at her feet!
Yonder, at last, the glad sea roars
Along the sacred English shores!
There lies the lovely land I know,
Where men and women lordliest grow;
There peep the roofs where more than kings
Postpone state cares to country things,
And many a gay queen simply tends
The babes on whom the world depends;
There curls the wanton cottage smoke
Of him that drives but bears no yoke;
There laughs the realm where low and high
Are lieges to society.
And life has all too wide a scope,
Too free a prospect for its hope,
For any private good or ill,
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Except dishonour, quite to fill!
—Mother, since this was penn'd, I've read
That ‘Mr. Vaughan, on Tuesday, wed
‘The beautiful Miss Churchill.’ So
That's over; and to-morrow I go
To take up my new post on board
The ‘Wolf,’ my peace at last restored;
My lonely faith, like heart-of-oak,
Shock-season'd. Grief is now the cloak
I clasp about me to prevent
The deadly chill of a content
With any near or distant good,
Except the exact beatitude
Which love has shown to my desire.
Talk not of ‘other joys and higher,’
I hate and disavow all bliss
As none for me which is not this.
Think not I blasphemously cope
With God's decrees, and cast off hope.
How, when, and where can mine succeed?
I'll trust He knows who made my need.
Baseness of men! Pursuit being o'er,
Doubtless her Husband feels no more
The heaven of heavens of such a Bride,
But, lounging, lets her please his pride
With fondness, guerdons her caress
With little names, and turns a tress
Round idle fingers. If 'tis so,
Why then I'm happier of the two!
Better, for lofty loss, high pain,
Than low content with lofty gain.
Poor, foolish Dove, to trust from me
Her happiness and dignity!
From Frederick
I thought the worst had brought me balm:
'Twas but the tempest's central calm.
Vague sinkings of the heart aver
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That dreadful wrong is come to her,
And o'er this dream I brood and dote,
And learn its agonies by rote.
As if I loved it, early and late
I make familiar with my fate,
And feed, with fascinated will,
On very dregs of finish'd ill.
I think, she's near him now, alone,
With wardship and protection none;
Alone, perhaps, in the hindering stress
Of airs that clasp him with her dress,
They wander whispering by the wave;
And haply now, in some sea-cave,
Where the ribb'd sand is rarely trod,
They laugh, they kiss. Oh, God! oh, God!
There comes a smile acutely sweet
Out of the picturing dark; I meet
The ancient frankness of her gaze,
That soft and heart-surprising blaze
Of great goodwill and innocence,
And perfect joy proceeding thence!
Ah! made for earth's delight, yet such
The mid-sea air's too gross to touch.
At thought of which, the soul in me
Is as the bird that bites a bee,
And darts abroad on frantic wing,
Tasting the honey and the sting;
And, moaning where all round me sleep
Amidst the moaning of the deep,
I start at midnight from my bed—
And have no right to strike him dead.
What world is this that I am in,
Where chance turns sanctity to sin!
'Tis crime henceforward to desire
The only good; the sacred fire
That sunn'd the universe is hell!
I hear a Voice which argues well:
‘The Heaven hard has scorn'd your cry;
‘Fall down and worship me, and I
‘Will give you peace; go and profane
‘This pangful love, so pure, so vain,
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‘And thereby win forgetfulness
‘And pardon of the spirit's excess,
‘Which soar'd too nigh that jealous Heaven
‘Ever, save thus, to be forgiven.
‘No Gospel has come down that cures
‘With better gain a loss like yours.
‘Be pious! Give the beggar pelf,
‘And love your neighbour as yourself!
‘You, who yet love, though all is o'er,
‘And she'll ne'er be your neighbour more,
‘With soul which can in pity smile
‘That aught with such a measure vile
‘As self should be at all named 'love!'
‘Your sanctity the priests reprove;
‘Your case of grief they wholly miss;
‘The Man of Sorrows names not this.
‘The years, they say, graff love divine
‘On the lopp'd stock of love like thine;
‘The wild tree dies not, but converts.
‘So be it; but the lopping hurts,
‘The graff takes tardily! Men stanch
‘Meantime with earth the bleeding branch,
‘There's nothing heals one woman's loss,
‘And lighten's life's eternal cross
‘With intermission of sound rest,
‘Like lying in another's breast.
‘The cure is, to your thinking, low!
‘Is not life all, henceforward, so?’
Ill Voice, at least thou calm'st my mood.
I'll sleep! But, as I thus conclude,
The intrusions of her grace dispel
The comfortable glooms of hell.
A wonder! Ere these lines were dried,
Vaughan and my Love, his three-days' Bride,
Became my guests. I look'd, and, lo,
In beauty soft as is the snow
And powerful as the avalanche,
She lit the deck. The Heav'n-sent chance!
She smiled, surprised. They came to see
The ship, not thinking to meet me.
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At infinite distance she's my day:
What then to him? Howbeit they say
'Tis not so sunny in the sun
But men might live cool lives thereon!
All's well; for I have seen arise
That reflex sweetness of her eyes
In his, and watch'd his breath defer
Humbly its bated life to her,
His wife. My Love, she's safe in his
Devotion! What ask'd I but this?
They bade adieu; I saw them go
Across the sea; and now I know
The ultimate hope I rested on,
The hope beyond the grave, is gone,
The hope that, in the heavens high,
At last it should appear that I
Loved most, and so, by claim divine,
Should have her, in the heavens, for mine,
According to such nuptial sort
As may subsist in the holy court,
Where, if there are all kinds of joys
To exhaust the multitude of choice
In many mansions, then there are
Loves personal and particular,
Conspicuous in the glorious sky
Of universal charity,
As Phosphor in the sunrise. Now
I've seen them, I believe their vow
Immortal; and the dreadful thought,
That he less honour'd than he ought
Her sanctity, is laid to rest,
And, blessing them, I too am blest.
My goodwill, as a springing air,
Unclouds a beauty in despair;
I stand beneath the sky's pure cope
Unburthen'd even by a hope;
And peace unspeakable, a joy
Which hope would deaden and destroy,
Like sunshine fills the airy gulf
266
Left by the vanishing of self.
That I have known her; that she moves
Somewhere all-graceful; that she loves,
And is belov'd, and that she's so
Most happy, and to heaven will go,
Where I may meet with her, (yet this
I count but accidental bliss,)
And that the full, celestial weal
Of all shall sensitively feel
The partnership and work of each,
And thus my love and labour reach
Her region, there the more to bless
Her last, consummate happiness,
Is guerdon up to the degree
Of that alone true loyalty
Which, sacrificing, is not nice
About the terms of sacrifice,
But offers all, with smiles that say,
'Tis little, but it is for aye!
XI
From Mrs. Graham
You wanted her, my Son, for wife,
With the fierce need of life in life.
That nobler passion of an hour
Was rather prophecy than power;
And nature, from such stress unbent,
Recurs to deep discouragement.
Trust not such peace yet; easy breath,
In hot diseases, argues death;
And tastelessness within the mouth
Worse fever shows than heat or drouth.
Wherefore take, Frederick, timely fear
Against a different danger near:
Wed not one woman, oh, my Child,
Because another has not smiled!
Oft, with a disappointed man,
The first who cares to win him can;
For, after love's heroic strain,
Which tired the heart and brought no gain,
267
He feels consoled, relieved, and eased
To meet with her who can be pleased
To proffer kindness, and compute
His acquiescence for pursuit;
Who troubles not his lonely mood;
And asks for love mere gratitude.
Ah, desperate folly! Yet, we know,
Who wed through love wed mostly so.
At least, my Son, when wed you do,
See that the woman equals you,
Nor rush, from having loved too high,
Into a worse humility.
A poor estate's a foolish plea
For marrying to a base degree.
A woman grown cannot be train'd,
Or, if she could, no love were gain'd;
For, never was a man's heart caught
By graces he himself had taught.
And fancy not 'tis in the might
Of man to do without delight;
For, should you in her nothing find
To exhilarate the higher mind,
Your soul would deaden useless wings
With wickedness of lawful things,
And vampire pleasure swift destroy
Even the memory of joy.
So let no man, in desperate mood,
Wed a dull girl because she's good.
All virtues in his wife soon dim,
Except the power of pleasing him,
Which may small virtue be, or none!
I know my just and tender Son,
To whom the dangerous grace is given
That scorns a good which is not heaven;
My Child, who used to sit and sigh
Under the bright, ideal sky,
And pass, to spare the farmer's wheat,
The poppy and the meadow-sweet!
He would not let his wife's heart ache
For what was mainly his mistake;
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But, having err'd so, all his force
Would fix upon the hard, right course.
She's graceless, say, yet good and true,
And therefore inly fair, and, through
The veils which inward beauty fold,
Faith can her loveliness behold.
Ah, that's soon tired; faith falls away
Without the ceremonial stay
Of outward loveliness and awe.
The weightier matters of the law
She pays: mere mint and cumin not;
And, in the road that she was taught,
She treads, and takes for granted still
Nature's immedicable ill;
So never wears within her eyes
A false report of paradise,
Nor ever modulates her mirth
With vain compassion of the earth,
Which made a certain happier face
Affecting, and a gayer grace
With pathos delicately edged!
Yet, though she be not privileged
To unlock for you your heart's delight,
(Her keys being gold, but not the right,)
On lower levels she may do!
Her joy is more in loving you
Than being loved, and she commands
All tenderness she understands.
It is but when you proffer more
The yoke weighs heavy and chafes sore.
It's weary work enforcing love
On one who has enough thereof,
And honour on the lowlihead
Of ignorance! Besides, you dread,
In Leah's arms, to meet the eyes
Of Rachel, somewhere in the skies,
And both return, alike relieved,
To life less loftily conceived.
Alas, alas!
Then wait the mood
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In which a woman may be woo'd
Whose thoughts and habits are too high
For honour to be flattery,
And who would surely not allow
The suit that you could proffer now.
Her equal yoke would sit with ease;
It might, with wearing, even please,
(Not with a better word to move
The loyal wrath of present love);
She would not mope when you were gay,
For want of knowing aught to say;
Nor vex you with unhandsome waste
Of thoughts ill-timed and words ill-placed;
Nor reckon small things duties small,
And your fine sense fantastical;
Nor would she bring you up a brood
Of strangers bound to you by blood,
Boys of a meaner moral race,
Girls with their mother's evil grace,
But not her chance to sometimes find
Her critic past his judgment kind;
Nor, unaccustom'd to respect,
Which men, where 'tis not claim'd, neglect,
Confirm you selfish and morose,
And slowly, by contagion, gross;
But, glad and able to receive
The honour you would long to give,
Would hasten on to justify
Expectancy, however high,
Whilst you would happily incur
Compulsion to keep up with her.
XII
From Frederick
Your letter, Mother, bears the date
Of six months back, and comes too late.
My Love, past all conceiving lost,
A change seem'd good, at any cost,
From lonely, stupid, silent grief,
Vain, objectless, beyond relief,
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And, like a sea-fog, settled dense
On fancy, feeling, thought, and sense.
I grew so idle, so despised
Myself, my powers, by Her unprized,
Honouring my post, but nothing more,
And lying, when I lived on shore,
So late of mornings: weak tears stream'd
For such slight cause,—if only gleam'd,
Remotely, beautifully bright,
On clouded eves at sea, the light
Of English headlands in the sun,—
That soon I deem'd 'twere better done
To lay this poor, complaining wraith
Of unreciprocated faith:
And so, with heart still bleeding quick,
But strengthen'd by the comfort sick
Of knowing that She could not care,
I turn'd away from my despair,
And told our chaplain's daughter, Jane,—
A dear, good girl, who saw my pain,
And look'd as if she pitied me,—
How glad and thankful I should be
If some kind woman, not above
Myself in rank, would give her love
To one that knew not how to woo.
Whereat she, without more ado,
Blush'd, spoke of love return'd, and closed
With what she thought I had proposed.
And, trust me, Mother, I and Jane,
We suit each other well. My gain
Is very great in this good Wife,
To whom I'm bound, for natural life,
By hearty faith, yet crossing not
My faith towards—I know not what!
As to the ether is the air,
Is her good to Honoria's fair;
One place is full of both, yet each
Lies quite beyond the other's reach
And recognition.
If you say,
271
Am I contented? Yea and nay!
For what's base but content to grow
With less good than the best we know?
But think me not from life withdrawn,
By passion for a hope that's gone,
So far as to forget how much
A woman is, as merely such,
To man's affection. What is best,
In each, belongs to all the rest;
And though, in marriage, quite to kiss
And half to love the custom is,
'Tis such dishonour, ruin bare,
The soul's interior despair,
And life between two troubles toss'd,
To me, who think not with the most;
Whatever 'twould have been, before
My Cousin's time, 'tis now so sore
A treason to the abiding throne
Of that sweet love which I have known,
I cannot live so, and I bend
My mind perforce to comprehend
That He who gives command to love
Does not require a thing above
The strength He gives. The highest degree
Of the hardest grace, humility;
The step t'ward heaven the latest trod,
And that which makes us most like God,
And us much more than God behoves,
Is, to be humble in our loves.
Henceforth for ever therefore I
Renounce all partiality
Of passion. Subject to control
Of that perspective of the soul
Which God Himself pronounces good,
Confirming claims of neighbourhood,
And giving man, for earthly life,
The closest neighbour in a wife,
I'll serve all. Jane be much more dear
Than all as she is much more near!
I'll love her! Yea, and love's joy comes
Ever from self-love's martyrdoms!
272
Yet, not to lie for God, 'tis true
That 'twas another joy I knew
When freighted was my heart with fire
Of fond, irrational desire
For fascinating, female charms,
And hopeless heaven in Her mild arms.
Nor wrong I any, if I profess
That care for heaven with me were less
But that I'm utterly imbued
With faith of all Earth's hope renew'd
In realms where no short-coming pains
Expectance, and dear love disdains
Time's treason, and the gathering dross,
And lasts for ever in the gloss
Of newness.
All the bright past seems,
Now, but a splendour in my dreams,
Which shows, albeit the dreamer wakes,
The standard of right life. Life aches
To be therewith conform'd; but, oh,
The world's so stolid, dark, and low!
That and the mortal element
Forbid the beautiful intent,
And, like the unborn butterfly,
It feels the wings, and wants the sky.
But perilous is the lofty mood
Which cannot yoke with lowly good.
Right life, for me, is life that wends
By lowly ways to lofty ends.
I well perceive, at length, that haste
T'ward heaven itself is only waste;
And thus I dread the impatient spur
Of aught that speaks too plain of Her.
There's little here that story tells;
But music talks of nothing else.
Therefore, when music breathes, I say,
(And urge my task,) Away, away!
Thou art the voice of one I knew,
But what thou say'st is not yet true;
Thou art the voice of her I loved,
273
And I would not be vainly moved.
So that which did from death set free
All things, now dons death's mockery,
And takes its place with things that are
But little noted. Do not mar
For me your peace! My health is high.
The proud possession of mine eye
Departed, I am much like one
Who had by haughty custom grown
To think gilt rooms, and spacious grounds,
Horses, and carriages, and hounds,
Fine linen, and an eider bed
As much his need as daily bread,
And honour of men as much or more.
Till, strange misfortune smiting sore,
His pride all goes to pay his debts,
A lodging anywhere he gets,
And takes his family thereto
Weeping, and other relics few,
Allow'd, by them that seize his pelf,
As precious only to himself.
Yet the sun shines; the country green
Has many riches, poorly seen
From blazon'd coaches; grace at meat
Goes well with thrift in what they eat;
And there's amends for much bereft
In better thanks for much that's left!
Jane is not fair, yet pleases well
The eye in which no others dwell;
And features somewhat plainly set,
And homely manners leave her yet
The crowning boon and most express
Of Heaven's inventive tenderness,
A woman. But I do her wrong,
Letting the world's eyes guide my tongue!
She has a handsomeness that pays
No homage to the hourly gaze,
And dwells not on the arch'd brow's height
And lids which softly lodge the light,
Nor in the pure field of the cheek
274
Flow'rs, though the soul be still to seek;
But shows as fits that solemn place
Whereof the window is the face:
Blankness and leaden outlines mark
What time the Church within is dark;
Yet view it on a Festal night,
Or some occasion else for light,
And each ungainly line is seen
A special character to mean
Of Saint or Prophet, and the whole
Blank window is a living scroll.
For hours, the clock upon the shelf,
Has all the talking to itself;
But to and fro her needle runs
Twice, while the clock is ticking once;
And, when a wife is well in reach,
Not silence separates, but speech;
And I, contented, read, or smoke,
And idly think, or idly stroke
The winking cat, or watch the fire,
In social peace that does not tire;
Until, at easeful end of day,
She moves, and puts her work away,
And, saying ‘How cold 'tis,’ or ‘How warm,’
Or something else as little harm,
Comes, used to finding, kindly press'd,
A woman's welcome to my breast,
With all the great advantage clear
Of none else having been so near.
But sometimes, (how shall I deny!)
There falls, with her thus fondly by,
Dejection, and a chilling shade.
Remember'd pleasures, as they fade,
Salute me, and colossal grow,
Like foot-prints in the thawing snow.
I feel oppress'd beyond my force
With foolish envy and remorse.
I love this woman, but I might
Have loved some else with more delight;
And strange it seems of God that He
275
Should make a vain capacity.
Such times of ignorant relapse,
'Tis well she does not talk, perhaps.
The dream, the discontent, the doubt,
To some injustice flaming out,
Were't else, might leave us both to moan
A kind tradition overthrown,
And dawning promise once more dead
In the pernicious lowlihead
Of not aspiring to be fair.
And what am I, that I should dare
Dispute with God, who moulds one clay
To honour and shame, and wills to pay
With equal wages them that delve
About His vines one hour or twelve!
XIII
From Lady Clitheroe To Mary Churchill
I've dreadful news, my Sister dear!
Frederick has married, as we hear,
Oh, such a girl! This fact we get
From Mr. Barton, whom we met
At Abury once. He used to know,
At Race and Hunt, Lord Clitheroe,
And writes that he ‘has seen Fred Graham,
‘Commander of the 'Wolf,'—the same
‘The Mess call'd Joseph,—with his Wife
‘Under his arm.’ He ‘lays his life,
‘The fellow married her for love,
‘For there was nothing else to move.
‘H. is her Shibboleth. 'Tis said
‘Her Mother was a Kitchen-Maid.’
Poor Fred! What will Honoria say?
She thought so highly of him. Pray
Tell it her gently. I've no right,
I know you hold, to trust my sight;
But Frederick's state could not be hid!
And Felix, coming when he did,
276
Was lucky; for Honoria, too,
Was half in love. How warm she grew
On ‘worldliness,’ when once I said
I fancied that, in ladies, Fred
Had tastes much better than his means!
His hand was worthy of a Queen's,
Said she, and actually shed tears
The night he left us for two years,
And sobb'd, when ask'd the cause to tell,
That ‘Frederick look'd so miserable.’
He did look very dull, no doubt,
But such things girls don't cry about.
What weathercocks men always prove!
You're quite right not to fall in love.
I never did, and, truth to tell,
I don't think it respectable.
The man can't understand it, too.
He likes to be in love with you,
But scarce knows how, if you love him,
Poor fellow. When 'tis woman's whim
To serve her husband night and day,
The kind soul lets her have her way!
So, if you wed, as soon you should,
Be selfish for your husband's good.
Happy the men who relegate
Their pleasures, vanities, and state
To us. Their nature seems to be
To enjoy themselves by deputy,
For, seeking their own benefit,
Dear, what a mess they make of it!
A man will work his bones away,
If but his wife will only play;
He does not mind how much he's teased,
So that his plague looks always pleased;
And never thanks her, while he lives,
For anything, but what he gives!
'Tis hard to manage men, we hear!
Believe me, nothing's easier, Dear.
The most important step by far
Is finding what their colours are.
The next is, not to let them know
277
The reason why they love us so.
The indolent droop of a blue shawl,
Or gray silk's fluctuating fall,
Covers the multitude of sins
In me. Your husband, Love, might wince
At azure, and be wild at slate,
And yet do well with chocolate.
Of course you'd let him fancy he
Adored you for your piety.
XIV
From Jane To Her Mother
Dear Mother, as you write, I see
How glad and thankful I should be
For such a husband. Yet to tell
The truth, I am so miserable!
How could he—I remember, though,
He never said he loved me! No,
He is so right that all seems wrong
I've done and thought my whole life long!
I'm grown so dull and dead with fear
That Yes and No, when he is near,
Is all I have to say. He's quite
Unlike what most would call polite,
And yet, when first I saw him come
To tea in Aunt's fine drawing-room,
He made me feel so common! Oh,
How dreadful if he thinks me so!
It's no use trying to behave
To him. His eye, so kind and grave,
Sees through and through me! Could not you,
Without his knowing that I knew,
Ask him to scold me now and then?
Mother, it's such a weary strain
The way he has of treating me
As if 'twas something fine to be
A woman; and appearing not
To notice any faults I've got!
I know he knows I'm plain, and small,
Stupid, and ignorant, and all
278
Awkward and mean; and, by degrees,
I see a beauty which he sees,
When often he looks strange awhile,
Then recollects me with a smile.
I wish he had that fancied Wife,
With me for Maid, now! all my life
To dress her out for him, and make
Her looks the lovelier for his sake;
To have her rate me till I cried;
Then see her seated by his side,
And driven off proudly to the Ball;
Then to stay up for her, whilst all
The servants were asleep; and hear
At dawn the carriage rolling near,
And let them in; and hear her laugh,
And boast, he said that none was half
So beautiful, and that the Queen,
Who danced with him the first, had seen
And noticed her, and ask'd who was
That lady in the golden gauze?
And then to go to bed, and lie
In a sort of heavenly jealousy,
Until 'twas broad day, and I guess'd
She slept, nor knew how she was bless'd.
Pray burn this letter. I would not
Complain, but for the fear I've got
Of going wild, as we hear tell
Of people shut up in a cell,
With no one there to talk to. He
Must never know he is loved by me
The most; he'd think himself to blame;
And I should almost die for shame.
If being good would serve instead
Of being graceful, ah, then, Fred—
But I, myself, I never could
See what's in women's being good;
For all their goodness is to do
Just what their nature tells them to.
Now, when a man would do what's right,
279
He has to try with all his might.
Though true and kind in deed and word,
Fred's not a vessel of the Lord.
But I have hopes of him; for, oh,
How can we ever surely know
But that the very darkest place
May be the scene of saving grace!
XV
From Frederick
‘How did I feel?’ The little wight
Fill'd me, unfatherly, with fright!
So grim it gazed, and, out of the sky,
There came, minute, remote, the cry,
Piercing, of original pain.
I put the wonder back to Jane,
And her delight seem'd dash'd, that I,
Of strangers still by nature shy,
Was not familiar quite so soon
With her small friend of many a moon.
But, when the new-made Mother smiled,
She seem'd herself a little child,
Dwelling at large beyond the law
By which, till then, I judged and saw;
And that fond glow which she felt stir
For it, suffused my heart for her;
To whom, from the weak babe, and thence
To me, an influent innocence,
Happy, reparative of life,
Came, and she was indeed my wife,
As there, lovely with love she lay,
Brightly contented all the day
To hug her sleepy little boy,
In the reciprocated joy
Of touch, the childish sense of love,
Ever inquisitive to prove
Its strange possession, and to know
If the eye's report be really so.
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XVI
From Jane To Mrs. Graham
Dear Mother,—such if you'll allow,
In love, not law, I'll call you now,—
I hope you're well. I write to say
Frederick has got, besides his pay,
A good appointment in the Docks;
Also to thank you for the frocks
And shoes for Baby. I, (D.V.,)
Shall soon be strong. Fred goes to sea
No more. I am so glad; because,
Though kinder husband never was,
He seems still kinder to become
The more he stays with me at home.
When we are parted, I see plain
He's dull till he gets used again
To marriage. Do not tell him, though;
I would not have him know I know,
For all the world.
I try to mind
All your advice; but sometimes find
I do not well see how. I thought
To take it about dress; so bought
A gay new bonnet, gown, and shawl;
But Frederick was not pleased at all;
For, though he smiled, and said, ‘How smart!’
I feel, you know, what's in his heart.
But I shall learn! I fancied long
That care in dress was very wrong,
Till Frederick, in his startling way,
When I began to blame, one day,
The Admiral's Wife, because we hear
She spends two hours, or something near,
In dressing, took her part, and said
How all things deck themselves that wed;
How birds and plants grow fine to please
Each other in their marriages;
And how (which certainly is true—
It never struck me—did it you?)
281
Dress was, at first, Heaven's ordinance,
And has much Scripture countenance.
For Eliezer, we are told,
Adorn'd with jewels and with gold
Rebecca. In the Psalms, again,
How the King's Daughter dress'd! And, then,
The Good Wife in the Proverbs, she
Made herself clothes of tapestry,
Purple and silk: and there's much more
I had not thought about before!
But Fred's so clever! Do you know,
Since Baby came, he loves me so!
I'm really useful, now, to Fred;
And none could do so well instead.
It's nice to fancy, if I died,
He'd miss me from the Darling's side!
Also, there's something now, you see,
On which we talk, and quite agree;
On which, without pride too, I can
Hope I'm as wise as any man.
I should be happy now, if quite
Sure that in one thing Fred was right.
But, though I trust his prayers are said,
Because he goes so late to bed,
I doubt his Calling. Glad to find
A text adapted to his mind,—
That where St. Paul, in Man and Wife,
Allows a little worldly life,—
He smiled, and said that he knew all
Such things as that without St. Paul!
And once he said, when I with pain
Had got him just to read Romaine,
‘Men's creeds should not their hopes condemn.
‘Who wait for heaven to come to them
‘Are little like to go to heaven,
‘If logic's not the devil's leaven!’
I cried at such a wicked joke,
And he, surprised, went out to smoke.
But to judge him is not for me,
Who myself sin so dreadfully
As half to doubt if I should care
282
To go to heaven, and he not there.
He must be right; and I dare say
I shall soon understand his way.
To other things, once strange, I've grown
Accustom'd, nay, to like. I own
'Twas long before I got well used
To sit, while Frederick read or mused
For hours, and scarcely spoke. When he
For all that, held the door to me,
Pick'd up my handkerchief, and rose
To set my chair, with other shows
Of honour, such as men, 'tis true,
To sweethearts and fine ladies do,
It almost seem'd an unkind jest;
But now I like these ways the best.
They somehow make me gentle and good;
And I don't mind his quiet mood.
If Frederick does seem dull awhile,
There's Baby. You should see him smile!
I'm pretty and nice to him, sweet Pet,
And he will learn no better yet:
Indeed, now little Johnny makes
A busier time of it, and takes
Our thoughts off one another more,
I'm happy as need be, I'm sure!
XVII
From Felix To Honoria
Let me, Beloved, while gratitude
Is garrulous with coming good,
Or ere the tongue of happiness
Be silenced by your soft caress,
Relate how, musing here of you,
The clouds, the intermediate blue,
The air that rings with larks, the grave
And distant rumour of the wave,
The solitary sailing skiff,
The gusty corn-field on the cliff,
The corn-flower by the crumbling ledge,
Or, far-down at the shingle's edge,
283
The sighing sea's recurrent crest
Breaking, resign'd to its unrest,
All whisper, to my home-sick thought,
Of charms in you till now uncaught,
Or only caught as dreams, to die
Ere they were own'd by memory.
High and ingenious Decree
Of joy-devising Deity!
You whose ambition only is
The assurance that you make my bliss,
(Hence my first debt of love to show,
That you, past showing, indeed do so!)
Trust me, the world, the firmament,
With diverse-natured worlds besprent,
Were rear'd in no mere undivine
Boast of omnipotent design,
The lion differing from the snake
But for the trick of difference sake,
And comets darting to and fro
Because in circles planets go;
But rather that sole love might be
Refresh'd throughout eternity
In one sweet faith, for ever strange,
Mirror'd by circumstantial change.
For, more and more, do I perceive
That everything is relative
To you, and that there's not a star,
Nor nothing in't, so strange or far,
But, if 'twere scanned, 'twould chiefly mean
Somewhat, till then, in you unseen,
Something to make the bondage strait
Of you and me more intimate,
Some unguess'd opportunity
Of nuptials in a new degree.
But, oh, with what a novel force
Your best-conn'd beauties, by remorse
Of absence, touch; and, in my heart,
How bleeds afresh the youthful smart
Of passion fond, despairing still
To utter infinite good-will
284
By worthy service! Yet I know
That love is all that love can owe,
And this to offer is no less
Of worth, in kind speech or caress,
Than if my life-blood I should give.
For good is God's prerogative,
And Love's deed is but to prepare
The flatter'd, dear Belov'd to dare
Acceptance of His gifts. When first
On me your happy beauty burst,
Honoria, verily it seem'd
That naught beyond you could be dream'd
Of beauty and of heaven's delight.
Zeal of an unknown infinite
Yet bade me ever wish you more
Beatified than e'er before.
Angelical were your replies
To my prophetic flatteries;
And sweet was the compulsion strong
That drew me in the course along
Of heaven's increasing bright allure,
With provocations fresh of your
Victorious capacity.
Whither may love, so fledged, not fly?
Did not mere Earth hold fast the string
Of this celestial soaring thing,
So measure and make sensitive,
And still, to the nerves, nice notice give
Of each minutest increment
Of such interminable ascent,
The heart would lose all count, and beat
Unconscious of a height so sweet,
And the spirit-pursuing senses strain
Their steps on the starry track in vain!
But, reading now the note just come,
With news of you, the babes, and home,
I think, and say, ‘To-morrow eve
‘With kisses me will she receive;’
And, thinking, for extreme delight
Of love's extremes, I laugh outright.
285
XVIII
From Frederick
Eight wedding-days gone by, and none
Yet kept, to keep them all in one,
Jane and myself, with John and Grace
On donkeys, visited the place
I first drew breath in, Knatchley Wood.
Bearing the basket, stuff'd with food,
Milk, loaves, hard eggs, and marmalade,
I halted where the wandering glade
Divides the thicket. There I knew,
It seem'd, the very drops of dew
Below the unalter'd eglantine.
Nothing had changed since I was nine!
In the green desert, down to eat
We sat, our rustic grace at meat
Good appetite, through that long climb
Hungry two hours before the time.
And there Jane took her stitching out,
And John for birds'-nests pry'd about,
And Grace and Baby, in between
The warm blades of the breathing green,
Dodged grasshoppers; and I no less,
In conscientious idleness,
Enjoy'd myself, under the noon
Stretch'd, and the sounds and sights of June
Receiving, with a drowsy charm,
Through muffled ear and folded arm.
And then, as if I sweetly dream'd,
I half-remember'd how it seem'd
When I, too, was a little child
About the wild wood roving wild.
Pure breezes from the far-off height
Melted the blindness from my sight,
Until, with rapture, grief, and awe,
I saw again as then I saw.
As then I saw, I saw again
The harvest-waggon in the lane,
286
With high-hung tokens of its pride
Left in the elms on either side;
The daisies coming out at dawn
In constellations on the lawn;
The glory of the daffodil;
The three black windmills on the hill,
Whose magic arms, flung wildly by,
Sent magic shadows o'er the rye.
Within the leafy coppice, lo,
More wealth than miser's dreams could show,
The blackbird's warm and woolly brood,
Five golden beaks agape for food;
The Gipsies, all the summer seen
Native as poppies to the Green;
The winter, with its frosts and thaws
And opulence of hips and haws;
The lovely marvel of the snow;
The Tamar, with its altering show
Of gay ships sailing up and down,
Among the fields and by the Town;
And, dearer far than anything,
Came back the songs you used to sing.
(Ah, might you sing such songs again,
And I, your Child, but hear as then,
With conscious profit of the gulf
Flown over from my present self!)
And, as to men's retreating eyes,
Beyond high mountains higher rise,
Still farther back there shone to me
The dazzling dusk of infancy.
Thither I look'd, as, sick of night,
The Alpine shepherd looks to the height,
And does not see the day, 'tis true,
But sees the rosy tops that do.
Meantime Jane stitch'd, and fann'd the flies
From my repose, with hush'd replies
To Grace, and smiles when Baby fell.
Her countenance love visible
Appear'd, love audible her voice.
Why in the past alone rejoice,
Whilst here was wealth before me cast
287
Which, I could feel, if 'twere but past
Were then most precious? Question vain,
When ask'd again and yet again,
Year after year; yet now, for no
Cause, but that heaven's bright winds will blow
Not at our pray'r but as they list,
It brought that distant, golden mist
To grace the hour, firing the deep
Of spirit and the drowsy keep
Of joy, till, spreading uncontain'd,
The holy power of seeing gain'd
The outward eye, this owning even
That where there's love and truth there's heaven.
Debtor to few, forgotten hours
Am I, that truths for me are powers.
Ah, happy hours, 'tis something yet
Not to forget that I forget!
And now a cloud, bright, huge and calm,
Rose, doubtful if for bale or balm;
O'ertoppling towers and bulwarks bright
Appear'd, at beck of viewless might,
Along a rifted mountain range.
Untraceable and swift in change,
Those glittering peaks, disrupted, spread
To solemn bulks, seen overhead;
The sunshine quench'd, from one dark form
Fumed the appalling light of storm.
Straight to the zenith, black with bale,
The Gipsies' smoke rose deadly pale;
And one wide night of hopeless hue
Hid from the heart the recent blue.
And soon, with thunder crackling loud,
A flash reveal'd the formless cloud:
Lone sailing rack, far wavering rim,
And billowy tracks of stormland dim.
We stood, safe group'd beneath a shed.
Grace hid behind Jane's gown for dread,
Who told her, fondling with her hair,
‘The naughty noise! but God took care
288
‘Of all good girls.’ John seem'd to me
Too much for Jane's theology,
Who bade him watch the tempest. Now
A blast made all the woodland bow;
Against the whirl of leaves and dust
Kine dropp'd their heads; the tortured gust
Jagg'd and convuls'd the ascending smoke
To mockery of the lightning's stroke.
The blood prick'd, and a blinding flash
And close coinstantaneous crash
Humbled the soul, and the rain all round
Resilient dimm'd the whistling ground,
Nor flagg'd in force from first to last,
Till, sudden as it came, 'twas past,
Leaving a trouble in the copse
Of brawling birds and tinkling drops.
Change beyond hope! Far thunder faint
Mutter'd its vast and vain complaint,
And gaps and fractures, fringed with light,
Show'd the sweet skies, with squadrons bright
Of cloudlets, glittering calm and fair
Through gulfs of calm and glittering air.
With this adventure, we return'd.
The roads the feet no longer burn'd.
A wholesome smell of rainy earth
Refresh'd our spirits, tired of mirth.
The donkey-boy drew friendly near
My Wife, and, touch'd by the kind cheer
Her countenance show'd, or sooth'd perchance
By the soft evening's sad advance,
As we were, stroked the flanks and head
Of the ass, and, somewhat thick-voiced, said,
‘To 'ave to wop the donkeys so
‘'Ardens the 'art, but they won't go
‘Without!’ My Wife, by this impress'd,
As men judge poets by their best,
When now we reach'd the welcome door,
Gave him his hire, and sixpence more.
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XIX
From Jane
Dear Mrs. Graham, the fever's past,
And Fred is well. I, in my last,
Forgot to say that, while 'twas on,
A lady, call'd Honoria Vaughan,
One of his Salisbury Cousins, came.
Had I, she ask'd me, heard her name?
'Twas that Honoria, no doubt,
Whom he would sometimes talk about
And speak to, when his nights were bad,
And so I told her that I had.
She look'd so beautiful and kind!
And just the sort of wife my mind
Pictured for Fred, with many tears,
In those sad early married years.
Visiting, yesterday, she said,
The Admiral's Wife, she learn'd that Fred
Was very ill; she begg'd to be,
If possible, of use to me.
What could she do? Last year, his Aunt
Died, leaving her, who had no want,
Her fortune. Half was his, she thought;
But he, she knew, would not be brought
To take his rights at second hand.
Yet something might, she hoped, be plann'd.
What did I think of putting John
To school and college? Mr. Vaughan,
When John was old enough, could give
Preferment to her relative;
And she should be so pleased.—I said
I felt quite sure that dearest Fred
Would be most thankful. Would we come,
And make ourselves, she ask'd, at home,
Next month, at High-Hurst? Change of air
Both he and I should need, and there
At leisure we could talk, and then
Fix plans, as John was nearly ten.
290
It seemed so rude to think and doubt,
So I said, Yes. In going out,
She said, ‘How strange of Frederick, Dear,’
(I wish he had been there to hear,)
‘To send no cards, or tell me what
‘A nice new Cousin I had got!’
Was not that kind?
When Fred grew strong,
I had, I found, done very wrong.
Anger was in his voice and eye.
With people born and bred so high
As Fred and Mrs. Vaughan and you,
It's hard to guess what's right to do;
And he won't teach me!
Dear Fred wrote,
Directly, such a lovely note,
Which, though it undid all I had done,
Was, both to me and Mrs. Vaughan,
So kind! His words, I can't say why,
Like soldiers' music, made me cry.
~ Coventry Patmore

IN CHAPTERS



   75 Integral Yoga
   1 Yoga
   1 Philosophy
   1 Education


   41 Sri Aurobindo
   31 The Mother
   19 Satprem
   16 Nolini Kanta Gupta
   7 A B Purani


   9 Letters On Yoga IV
   7 Letters On Yoga II
   7 Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo
   6 Agenda Vol 03
   5 Letters On Yoga III
   5 Letters On Poetry And Art
   5 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04
   4 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03
   4 Agenda Vol 04
   3 On Thoughts And Aphorisms
   3 Letters On Yoga I
   3 Essays In Philosophy And Yoga
   2 The Life Divine
   2 Talks
   2 Questions And Answers 1953
   2 Questions And Answers 1950-1951
   2 Questions And Answers 1929-1931
   2 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01
   2 Agenda Vol 09


0.08 - Letters to a Young Captain, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  In the first case, they are the faculties that develop in man as
  he opens to the Higher Mind and overmind, and through those
  

01.01 - A Yoga of the Art of Life, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   It is not my purpose here to enter into details as to the exact meaning of the descent, how it happens and what are its lines of activity and the results brought about. For it is indeed an actual descent that happens: the Divine Light leans down first into the mind and begins its purificatory work therealthough it is always the inner heart which first recognises the Divine Presence and gives its assent to the Divine action for the mind, the Higher Mind that is to say, is the summit of the ordinary human consciousness and receives more easily and readily the Radiances that descend. From the Mind the Light filters into the denser regions of the emotions and desires, of life activity and vital dynamism; finally, it gets into brute Matter itself, the hard and obscure rock of the physical body, for that too has to be illumined and made the very form and figure of the Light supernal. The Divine in his descending Grace is the Master-Architect who is building slowly and surely the many-chambered and many-storeyed edifice that is human nature and human life into the mould of the Divine Truth in its perfect play and supreme expression. But this is a matter which can be closely considered when one is already well within the mystery of the path and has acquired the elementary essentials of an initiate.
  

02.01 - Our Ideal, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   Such a movement of transforming evolution is not merely a possibility or a probability: it is a fact of Nature. Indeed, natural evolution means nothing less than that. First of all, evolution means the reversibility of Nature; for, it is the backward movement of an involutionary process. We have said that the supreme truth and realitysat-cit-ananda, as it is calledmultiplied and concretised itself gradually through various steps and stages of a diminishing power of expression or an increasing entropy of self-concealment: the main grades being the Supermind, the Overmind, the Higher Mind, the Mind, Life and lastly the body or Matter. Having arrived at the extreme end that Matter represents,the farthest apparently from the original source, the movement turns round and seeks to go up the ladder through the same gradations it has traversed. But this process of reversal is not merely a resolution and dissolution, it is a process of greater fulfilment and synthetisation, of sublimation as well as of integration.
  

02.02 - Lines of the Descent of Consciousness, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   Between the Overmind and the Mind proper, varying according to the degree of immixture of the two, according to the degree of descent and of emergence of one and the other respectively, there are several levels of consciousness of which three main ones have been named and described by Sri Aurobindo. The first one nearest to the Overmind and the least contaminated by the Mind is pure Intuition; next, the intermediary one is called the Illumined Mind, and last comes the Higher Mind. They are all powers of the Overmind functioning in the Mind. The higher ranges are always more direct, intense, synthetic, dynamic than the lower ones where consciousness is slower, duller, more uncertain, more disintegrated. The lower the consciousness descends the more veiled it becomes, losing more and more the directness, the sureness, the intensity and force and the synthetic unity native to the highest ranges of our consciousness and being.
  
  --
  
   Evolution, which means the return movement of consciousness, consists, in its apparent and outward aspect, of two processes, or rather two parallel lines in a single process. First, there is the line of sublimation, that is to say, the lower purifies and modifies itself into the higher; the denser, the obscurer, the baser mode of consciousness is led into and becomes the finer, the clearer, the nobler mode. Thus it is that Matter rises into Life, Life into Psyche and Mind, Mind into Overmind and Supermind. Now this sublimation is not simply a process of refinement or elimination, something in the nature of our old Indian nivtti or pratyhra, or what Plotinus called epistrophe (a turning back, withdrawal or reabsorption): it includes and is attended by the process of integration also. That is to say, as the lower rises into the higher, the lower does not cease to exist thereby, it exists but lifted up into the higher, infused and modified by the higher. Thus when Matter yields Life, Matter is not destroyed: it means Life has appeared in Matter and exists in and through Matter and Matter thereby has attained a new mode and constitution, for it is no longer merely a bundle of chemical or mechanical reactions, it is instinct with life, it has become organic matter. Even so, when Lire arrives at Mind, it is not dissolved into Mind but both Life and Matter are taken up by the mental stuff, life becomes dynamic sentience and Matter is transformed into the grey substance of the brain. Matter thus has passed through a first transformation in Life and a second transformation in Mind; it awaits other transformations on other levels beyond Mind. Likewise, Life has passed through a first transformation in Mind and there are stages in this transformation. In the plant, Life is in its original pristine mode; in the animal, it has become sentient and centralised round a rudimentary desire-soul; in man, life-force is taken up by the Higher Mind and intelligence giving birth to idealism and ambition, dynamisms of a forward-looking purposive will.
  
  --
  
   Thus naturally there appear gradations of the human personality; as the consciousness in the human being rises higher and higher, the psychic centre organises a higher and higher a richer, wider, deeper personality. The first great conversion, the first turning of the human personality to a new mode of life and living, that is to say, living even externally according to the inner truth and reality, the first attempt at a conscious harmonisation of the psychic consciousness with its surface agents and vehicles is what is known as spiritual initiation. This may happen and it does happen even when man lives in his normal mental consciousness. But there is the possibility of growth and evolution and transformation of personality in higher and a higher spiritual degree through the upper reaches of the Higher Mind, the varying degrees of the Overmind and finally the Supermind. These are the spheres, the fields, even the continents of the personality, but the stuff, the substance of the personality, the inner nucleus of consciousness-force is formed, first, by the flaming aspiration, the upward drive within the developing and increasing psychic being itself, and secondly, by the descent, to a greater and greater degree, of the original Being from which it emanated. The final coalescence of the fully and integrally developed psychic being with the supreme splendour of its very source, the Jivatman, occurs in the Supermind. When this happens the supramental personality becomes incarnate in the physical body: Matter in the material plane is transformed into a radiant substance made of pure consciousness, the human personality becomes a living form of the Divine. Thus the wheel comes full circle: creation returns to the point from which it started but with an added significance, a new fulfilment.
  

04.01 - The March of Civilisation, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   Greece and Rome may be taken to represent two types of culture. And accordingly we can distinguish two types of elevation or crest-formation of human consciousness one of light, the other of power. In certain movements one feels the intrusion, the expression of light, that is to say, the play of intelligence, understanding, knowledge, a fresh outlook and consideration of the world and things, a revaluation in other terms and categories of a new consciousness. The greatest, at least, the most representative movement of this kind is that of the Renaissance. It was really a New Illumination: a flood of light poured upon the mind and intellect and understanding of the period. There was a brightness, a brilliance, a happy agility and keenness in the movements of the brain. A largeness of vision, a curious sensibility, a wide and alert consciousness: these are some of the fundamental characteristics of this remarkable New Birth. It is the birth of what has been known as the scientific outlook, in the- broadest sense: it is the threshold of the modern epoch of humanity. All the modern European languages leaped into maturity, as it were, each attaining its definitive form and full-blooded individuality. Art and literature flooded in their magnificent creativeness all nations and peoples of the whole continent. The Romantic Revival, starting somewhere about the beginning of the nineteenth century, is another outstanding example of a similar phenomenon, of the descent of light into human consciousness. The light that descended into human consciousness at the time of the Renaissance captured the Higher Mind and intelligence the Ray touched as it were the frontal lobe of the brain; the later descent touched the heart, the feelings and emotive sensibility, it evoked more vibrant, living and powerful perceptions, created varied and dynamic sense-complexes, new idealisms and aspirations. The manifestation of Power, the descent or inrush of forcemighty and terriblehas been well recognised and experienced in the great French Revolution. A violence came out from somewhere and seized man and society: man was thrown out of his gear, society broken to pieces. There came a change in the very character and even nature of man: and society had to be built upon other foundations. The past was gone. Divasa gatah. Something very similar has happened again more recently, in Russia. The French Revolution brought in the bourgeois culture, the Russian Revolution has rung in the Proletariate.
  
  --
  
   If we look at Europe once again and cast a glance at its origins, we find at the source the Grco-Roman culture. It was pre-eminently a culture based upon the powers of mind and reason: it included a strong and balanced body (both body natural and body politic) under the aegis of mens sana (a sound mind). The light that was Greece was at its zenith a power of the Higher Mind and intelligence, intuitively dynamic in one the earlierphase through Plato, Pythagoras, Heraclitus and the mystic philosophers, and discursively and scientifically rational through the Aristotelian tradition. The practical and robust Roman did not indulge in the loftier and subtler activities of the higher or intuitive mind; his was applied intelligence and its characteristic turn found expression in law and order and governance. Virgil was a representative poet of the race; finely sensitive and yet very self-consciousearth-bound and mind-boundas a creative artist: a clear and careful intelligence with an idealistic imagination that is yet sober and fancy-free is the very hall mark of his poetic genius. In the post-Roman age this bias for mental consciousness or the play of reason and intellectual understanding moved towards the superficial and more formal faculties of the brain ending in what is called scholasticism: it meant stagnation and decadence. It is out of this slough that the Renaissance raised the mind of Europe and bathed it with a new light. That movement gave to the mind a wider scope, an alert curiosity, a keener understanding; it is, as I have said, the beginning of that modern mentality which is known as the scientific outlook, that is to say, study of facts and induction from given data, observation and experience and experiment instead of the other scholastic standpoint which goes by a priori theorising and abstraction and deduction and dogmatism.
  
   We may follow a little more closely the march of the centuries in their undulating movement. The creative intelligence of the Renaissance too belonged to a region of the Higher Mind, a kind of inspirational mind. It had not the altitude or even the depth of the Greek mind nor its subtler resonances: but it regained and re-established and carried to a new degree the spirit of inquiry and curiosity, an appreciation of human motives and preoccupations, a rational understanding of man and the mechanism of the world. The original intuitive fiat, the imaginative brilliance, the spirit of adventure (in the mental as well as the physical world) that inspired the epoch gradually dwindled: it gave place to an age of consolidation, organisation, stabilisation the classical age. The seventeenth century Europe marked another peak of Europe's civilisation. That is the Augustan Age to which we have referred. The following century marked a further decline of the Intuition and higher imagination and we come to the eighteenth century terre terre rationalism. Great figures still adorned that agestalwarts that either stuck to the prevailing norm and gave it a kind of stagnant nobility or already leaned towards the new light that was dawning once more. Pope and Johnson, Montesquieu and Voltaire are its high-lights. The nineteenth century brought in another crest wave with a special gift to mankind; apparently it was a reaction to the rigid classicism and dry rationalism of the preceding age, but it came burdened with a more positive mission. Its magic name was Romanticism. Man opened his heart, his higher feeling and nobler emotional surge, his subtler sensibility and a general sweep of his vital being to the truths and realities of his own nature and of the cosmic nature. Not the clear white and transparent almost glaring light of reason and logic, of the brain mind, but the rosy or rainbow tint of the emotive and aspiring personality that seeks in and through the cosmic panorama and dreams of
  

05.05 - In Quest of Reality, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   Creation as a movement or expression of consciousness need not be dubbed a metaphysical jargon; it can be assumed as a scientific working hypothesis and seen how it affects our view, meets our problems and difficulties, whether it can give a satisfactory clue to some of the riddles of physical and psychical phenomena. A scientific supposition (or intuition) is held to be true if it can be applied invariably to facts of life and experience and if it can open up to our vision and perception new facts. The trend of scientific discoveries today is towards the positing of a background reality in Nature of which energy (radiant and electrical) is the first and overt form. We discarded ether, only to replace it by field and disposition. We have arrived at a point where the question is whether we cannot take courage" in both hands and declare, as some have already done, that the substratum in Nature is consciousness-energy and on that hypothesis better explain certain movements of Matter and Life and Mind in a global unity. Orthodox and die-hard views will always protest and cry that it is a misalliance, a misjoinder to couple together Matter and Consciousness or even Life and Consciousness. But since the light has touched the Higher Mind even among a few of the positivist type, the few may very well be the precursor of the order of the day.
  

07.36 - The Body and the Psychic, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   The Psychic is like the wire between the generator and the lamp. What is the generator and what is the lamp, or rather, who is the generator and who the lamp? The Divine is the generator and the body, the visible being, is the lamp. The function then of the Psychic is to connect the two. In other words, if there were no Psychic in Matter, Matter could not come in direct contact with the Divine. All human beings, including yourself, all carry the Divine within you, you have only to enter within you to find Him. It is a unique speciality of the human being, rather of all embodied beings living upon earth. In the human being, the psychic becomes more conscious and formed; more conscious and therefore also more free, it is individualised. You should note that it is a speciality of the earth alone. It is the direct infusion of a purifying and redeeming agent into the most obscure and unconscious Matter to awaken it by degrees towards the divine consciousness, the divine presence, to the Divine Himself. It is the psychic presence that makes of man an exceptional being. Perhaps it is not good to tell it to him too often, for as it is he is already puffed up and thinks very highly of himself and there is no need to encourage him in that direction. Still it is a fact: so much so that beings from other worlds, worlds of what are known as demigods or even gods, beings from what Sri Aurobindo calls the Overmind, are eager to take a physical body upon earth so that they may experience the Psychic, as they do not possess it. These beings have very many qualities which men have not, but they lack this divine presence which is quite an exceptional thing belonging to the earth alone. All the inhabitants of the higher worlds the Higher Mind, the Overmind and other domainsdo not have the psychic being. Naturally, the beings of the vital worlds have not got it either. But these vital beings do not regret, for they do not want to have it. There are, however, a few exceptional beings on this level who wish to be converted and therefore desire a physical body; but the rest do not want, they are bound to the law of their being and cannot repudiate it.
  

1.008 - The Principle of Self-Affirmation, #The Study and Practice of Yoga, #Swami Krishnananda, #Yoga
  
  These are things which cannot be learned theoretically by the study of books, because very few people have lost everything; we always have something with us. But to experience that moment of reckoning, we must lose everything, even our last strip of cloth; no one should want to even look at our face, as if we are the worst perhaps in the whole of creation. Such should be the condition to come upon us nothing to eat, no food of any kind, no place to lie down, no raiment on the body, everything is horrible at that moment the true nature of a person comes out. Otherwise, whatever self-analysis we will do, it will be an analysis of the false personality. Psychological analysis or yogic investigation conducted by a false mind will produce only false results and, therefore, a very superior type of CID (Central Intelligence Division) agent, who is not involved in the case on hand, is necessary to investigate into the mind someone quite different from and outside the purview of the operation of the involved mind. Such a mind is called the Higher Mind, which is in us. It is this higher mind that has to do what is called the stock-taking of one's own condition.
  

10.24 - Savitri, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   Ashwapati now passes into the higher luminous regions. He enters regions of larger breath and wider movement the higher vital and then into the yet more luminous region of the Higher Mind. He reaches the heavens where immortal sages and the divinities and the gods themselves dwell. Even these Ashwapati finds to be only partial truths, various aspects, true but limited, of the One Reality beyond. Thus he leaves all behind and reaches into the single sole Reality, the transcendental Truth of things, the status vast and infinite and eternal, immutable existence and consciousness and bliss.
  

10.37 - The Golden Bridge, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   The liberation of the mind, at least the Higher Mind, as an instrument of expression for the human consciousness was achieved to a remarkable degree in the Upanishads generally, particularly in some, although the beginnings of it might be traced even in some of the earliest of the Vedic Riks. A serious and persistent attempt for this liberation was made later, in the age or rather ages of the Gita, the Mahabharata, the Darshanas. It was the rational spirit that impelled and inspired the Buddhist consciousness and in Europe it had its heyday in the age of Socrates and Plato. Those were intellectual ages and the intellect was trying to find and explore its own domain in its full and free power and sovereignty. And the human language too, as a necessary corollary was remoulded, remodelled, rationalised: it shook itself away as far as possible from the prejudices and prepossessions of the sense-bound mind. That is the inner story of the growth of language from the synthetic inflexional cohesive stage to its modern analytic discursive character.
  

1.03 - Meeting the Master - Meeting with others, #Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo, #unset, #Kabbalah
  
   Sri Aurobindo: It is not by Buddhi that you perceive these things, it is by an inner perception or vision. It is not the intellect but something higher that sees. It is the Higher Mind in which that inner perception, intuition etc. take place.
  

1.07 - Savitri, #Twelve Years With Sri Aurobindo, #Nirodbaran, #Integral Yoga
  
  In another letter of the same year: "The poem was originally written from a lower level, a mixture perhaps of the inner mind, psychic, poetic intelligence, sublimised vital, afterwards with the Higher Mind, often illumined and intuitivised, intervening. Most of the stuff of the first Book is new or else the old so altered as to be no more what it was; the best of the old has sometimes been kept almost intact because it had already the higher inspiration. Moreover, there have been made several successive revisions, each trying to lift the general level higher and higher towards a possible Overmind poetry. As it now stands there is a general Overmind influence, I believe, sometimes coming fully through, sometimes colouring the poetry of the other higher planes fused together, sometimes lifting any one of these higher planes to its highest or the psychic, poetic intelligence or vital towards them."
  

11.06 - The Mounting Fire, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   But, there is a but, that is to say, a limitation in this line. The higher consciousness is brought down, it descends, but normally it does not penetrate far enough; it penetrates only very partially, slowly, intermittently and in a gradually diminishing strength. The top region receives the light comparatively easily; the middle receives or is touched and influenced with great difficulty and after long travail, but the bottom portion is rarely connected or contacted, only nominally perhaps. In other words, if the Higher Mind, the intellect and intelligence is somewhat illumined with a new light from above and even if the higher vital comes under its influence in a general way, the lower vital comes hardly in its grasp. And the lowest region, the region of physical or nervous movements for all practical purposes lies outside the influence of the Higher or Transcendent Consciousness; that remains almost undisturbed, un-regenerated. To bring down the Higher Light there, behind and below the brain stuff, is a task very few have done or even attempted to do.
  

1.1.1.01 - Three Elements of Poetic Creation, #Letters On Poetry And Art, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  
  The originating source may be anywhere; the poetry may arise or descend from the subtle physical plane, from the higher or lower vital itself, from the dynamic or creative intelligence, from the plane of dynamic vision, from the psychic, from the illumined mind or Intuition,even, though this is the rarest, from the Overmind widenesses. To get the Overmind inspiration is so rare that there are only a few lines or short passages in all poetic literature that give at least some appearance or reflection of it. When the source of inspiration is in the heart or the psychic there is more easily a good will in the vital channel, the flow is spontaneous; the inspiration takes at once its true form and speech and is transmitted without any interference or only a minimum of interference by the brain-mind, that great spoiler of the higher or deeper splendours. It is the character of the lyrical inspiration, to flow in a jet out of the beingwhe ther it comes from the vital or the psychic, it is usually spontaneous, for these are the two most powerfully impelling and compelling parts of the nature. When on the contrary the source of inspiration is in the creative poetic intelligence or even the Higher Mind or the illumined mind, the poetry which comes from this quarter is always apt to be arrested by the outer intellect, our habitual thought-production engine. This intellect is an absurdly overactive part of the nature; it always thinks that nothing can be well done unless it puts its finger into the pie and therefore it instinctively interferes with the inspiration, blocks half or more than half of it and labours to substitute its own inferior and toilsome productions for the true speech and rhythm that ought to have come. The poet labours in anguish to get the one true word, the au thentic rhythm, the real divine substance of what he has to say, while all the time it is waiting complete and ready behind; but it is denied free transmission by some part of the transmitting agency which prefers to translate and is not willing merely to receive and transcribe. When one gets something through from the illumined mind, then there is likely to come to birth work that is really fine and great. When there comes with labour or without it something reasonably like what the poetic intelligence wanted to say, then there is something fine or adequate, though it may not be great unless there is an intervention from the higher levels. But when the outer brain is at work trying to fashion out of itself or to give its own version of what the higher sources are trying to pour down, then there results a manufacture or something quite inadequate or faulty or, at the best, good on the whole, but not the thing that ought to have come.
  

1.1.1 - The Mind and Other Levels of Being, #Letters On Yoga IV, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  
  Your nature has always been very self-centred and the mind activein such a nature it is easier for the Higher Mind to act than for the psychic.
  ***

1.1.2 - Intellect and the Intellectual, #Letters On Yoga IV, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  
  Its [the intellects] function is to reason from the perceptions of the mind and senses, to form conclusions and to put things in logical relation with each other. A well-trained intellect is a good preparation of the mind for greater knowledge, but it cannot itself give the Yogic knowledge or know the Divineit can only have ideas about the Divine, but having ideas is not knowledge. In the course of the sadhana intellect has to be transformed into the Higher Mind which is itself a passage towards the true knowledge.
  ***
  --
  
  The intellect is made up of imaginations, perceptions, inferences. The pure reason is quite another thing, but only a few are able to use it. As for knowledge,in Yoga it comes first from the Higher Mind, but even that does not see the whole Truth, only sides of it.
  ***

1.12 - The Superconscient, #Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness, #Satprem, #Integral Yoga
  
  Before reaching the supramental plane, which is the beginning of the higher hemisphere of existence, the seeker will go through several mental layers or worlds, which Sri Aurobindo has respectively called, in ascending order, the Higher Mind, the illumined mind, the intuitive mind, and the overmind. We may of course use a different terminology, but these four zones correspond to very specific experiences, verifiable by anyone who has the capacity to consciously undertake the ascent.
  
  Theoretically, these four zones of consciousness belong to the Superconscient. We say theoretically, because the superconscious threshold varies with individuals: for some, the Higher Mind or even the illumined mind is not superconscious, but a normal part of their waking consciousness, while for others, the mere reasoning mind is still a remote possibility of inner development; in other words, the line dividing the superconscient from the rest tends to recede upward as our evolution progresses. If the subconscient is our evolutionary past, the Superconscient is our evolutionary future, gradually becoming our normal waking consciousness.
  
  --
  
  

b) the Higher Mind


  
  --
  
  But the light is still cold, somewhat hard. It is still a heavy mental substance catching the light from above and mixing it with its own substance, covering it with a thinking layer without even being aware of it, and therefore understanding the light received only after a long process of logicalization, dilution, and fragmentation into pages, words or ideas. Further, the pages and paragraphs of the Higher Mind derive from a single point of light, or a small number of points (this is its own preset conclusion; a small drop of intuition hurriedly digested), and so it goes to a great deal of trouble to eliminate from its development anything that might contradict its conclusion. Indeed, it can open itself to higher planes and receive flashes, but this is not its normal altitude; its mental substance is designed to break down the light. It cannot understand unless it first explains.
  
  --
  
  The illumined mind has a different nature. As the Higher Mind gradually accepts silence, it gains access to this region, meaning that its substance gradually clarifies, and what came one drop at a time now comes flowing in: The ground is no longer a general neutrality but pure spiritual ease and happiness upon which the special tones of the aesthetic consciousness come out or from which they arise. This is the first fundamental change.191 The consciousness is filled with a flood of light, often golden, infused with colors that vary with the inner state; this is a luminous irruption. And simultaneously, a state of enthusiasm, in the Greek sense of the word, a sudden awakening as if the whole being were on the alert, immersed in a very fast rhythm and in a brand-new world, with new values; new perspectives, and unexpected associations. The smoke screen of the world is lifted.
  
  --
  The intuitive mind differs from the illumined mind by its clear transparency. It is quicksilver, skipping barefoot from rock to rock.
  Unlike the Higher Mind, it is not hampered by the mental orthopedic braces that shackle us to the ground, as if knowledge forever depended upon the ponderous volume of our reflections. Knowledge is a flash bursting forth from the silence. It is right there, not really higher or deeper, but just before our eyes, waiting for us to become a little clear.
  

1.1.5 - Thought and Knowledge, #Letters On Yoga IV, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  
  Yes, it happens like that. A touch of realisation is enough to set the Higher Mind knowledge or the illumined mind knowledge flowing.
  ***

12.05 - The World Tragedy, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   It is to be noted that death does not mean literally or exclusively the physical event, disintegration and disappearance of the body: it is rather the symbol of the corrosive consciousness of the ordinary ignorant life. There is the ignorant consciousness making up the lower half circle of the integral life and there is the luminous consciousness making up the higher half circle. In between there is, as I have said, a border range which partakes of the nature of both. In psychological terms, the lower is the predominantly vital and physical ranges with a modicum of the mental shading into the higher mental. Up till here it is more or less the region of ignorance. Then comes the Higher Mind with its aspiring will: this is the purificatory agent the purgatory the crucible where forces are generated to stir and change and renovate the inferior sphere of our life. Indeed it is the region of the j-cakra in Tantric terminology: in modern terms you may call it the control-room, or in most modern lunar vocabulary, the command-module. It is from here that the first changes towards a higher and purer functioning are initiated in our lower limbs, the body, the vital and even the lower mental. Beyond is the overhead and overmental and still higher ranges. The luminous consciousness, the touch of immortality begins with the overhead and the overmental. As we enter the overhead, we shake off the shadow of death upon us and our mortal nature. The Upanishad speaks of two kinds of knowledge that have to be known, two forms of consciousness that have to be acquired in order to become the full integral Divine being. First you have to know, to become aware of the existence of ignorance, the primal or primitive nature and through that awareness or knowledge probe into its character and movement and destiny. Ignorance, pure ignorance leads towards disintegration and death, but to be aware of the ignorance is already a step towards enlightening the ignorance and redeeming it into knowledge. By this knowledge of the ignorance you release it from the grip of death; when you have the full consciousness of the ignorance you transcend the region of death, and free from death, free from ignorance you have the knowledge of knowledge and with the knowledge of knowledge, that is to say, with the full revelation of it you are one with Truth that is Immortality. The delight of immortality is love; love's own status and home is Paradise.
  

1.2.07 - Surrender, #Letters On Yoga II, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Surrender and the Brahmic Condition
  There can be [devotion and surrender on the higher spiritual planes], but it is not inevitable as in the psychic. In the Higher Mind one may be too conscious of identity with the "Brahman" to have devotion or surrender.
  

12.10 - The Sunlit Path, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   To understand a little closely we have to distinguish things. The mind has a higher status: the Higher Mind is naturally receptive to the light and sufficiently aloof from a lower region of the mind itself which is not only limited but subject to up rushes from a still lower region, the vital, the source of passions and prejudices. It is the lower mind, the physical mind as it is called, which is the one obstacle that shuts out the light of true consciousness. The source of all doubt is here. The physical mind has its own role, a truer role; for it is the instrumental consciousness that formulates things, gives a forma name and local habitation to things so that they possess a material existence but it transgresses its bounds when it chooses by itself the things to formulate, instead it should formulate only things presented to it, presented by a higher consciousness, presented, in other words, by faith.
  

1.28 - Supermind, Mind and the Overmind Maya, #The Life Divine, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  6:But once this entry into the inner being is accomplished, the inner Self is found to be capable of an opening, an ascent upwards into things beyond our present mental level; that is the second spiritual possibility in us. The first most ordinary result is a discovery of a vast static and silent Self which we feel to be our real or our basic existence, the foundation of all else that we are. There may be even an extinction, a Nirvana both of our active being and of the sense of self into a Reality that is indefinable and inexpressible. But also we can realise that this self is not only our own spiritual being but the true self of all others; it presents itself then as the underlying truth of cosmic existence. It is possible to remain in a Nirvana of all individuality, to stop at a static realisation or, regarding the cosmic movement as a superficial play or illusion imposed on the silent Self, to pass into some supreme immobile and immutable status beyond the universe. But another less negative line of supernormal experience also offers itself; for there takes place a large dynamic descent of light, knowledge, power, bliss or other supernormal energies into our self of silence, and we can ascend too into higher regions of the Spirit where its immobile status is the foundation of those great and luminous energies. It is evident in either case that we have risen beyond the mind of Ignorance into a spiritual state; but, in the dynamic movement, the resultant greater action of Consciousness-Force may present itself either simply as a pure spiritual dynamis not otherwise determinate in its character or it may reveal a spiritual mind-range where mind is no longer ignorant of the Reality, - not yet a supermind level, but deriving from the supramental Truth-Consciousness and still luminous with something of its knowledge.
  7:It is in the latter alternative that we find the secret we are seeking, the means of the transition, the needed step towards a supramental transformation; for we perceive a graduality of ascent, a communication with a more and more deep and immense light and power from above, a scale of intensities which can be regarded as so many stairs in the ascension of Mind or in a descent into Mind from That which is beyond it. We are aware of a sealike downpour of masses of a spontaneous knowledge which assumes the nature of Thought but has a different character from the process of thought to which we are accustomed; for there is nothing here of seeking, no trace of mental construction, no labour of speculation or difficult discovery; it is an automatic and spontaneous knowledge from a Higher Mind that seems to be in possession of Truth and not in search of hidden and withheld realities. One observes that this Thought is much more capable than the mind of including at once a mass of knowledge in a single view; it has a cosmic character, not the stamp of an individual thinking. Beyond this Truth-Thought we can distinguish a greater illumination instinct with an increased power and intensity and driving force, a luminosity of the nature of Truth-Sight with thought formulation as a minor and dependent activity. If we accept the Vedic image of the Sun of Truth, - an image which in this experience becomes a reality, - we may compare the action of the Higher Mind to a composed and steady sunshine, the energy of the Illumined Mind beyond it to an outpouring of massive lightnings of flaming sun-stuff. Still beyond can be met a yet greater power of the Truth-Force, an intimate and exact Truth-vision, Truth-thought, Truth-sense, Truth-feeling, Truthaction, to which we can give in a special sense the name of Intuition; for though we have applied that word for want of a better to any supra-intellectual direct way of knowing, yet what we actually know as intuition is only one special movement of self-existent knowledge. This new range is its origin; it imparts to our intuitions something of its own distinct character and is very clearly an intermediary of a greater Truth-Light with which our mind cannot directly communicate. At the source of this Intuition we discover a superconscient cosmic Mind in direct contact with the Supramental Truth-Consciousness, an original intensity determinant of all movements below it and all mental energies, - not Mind as we know it, but an Overmind that covers as with the wide wings of some creative Oversoul this whole lower hemisphere of Knowledge-Ignorance, links it with that greater Truth-Consciousness while yet at the same time with its brilliant golden Lid it veils the face of the greater Truth from our sight, intervening with its flood of infinite possibilities as at once an obstacle and a passage in our seeking of the spiritual law of our existence, its highest aim, its secret Reality. This then is the occult link we were looking for; this is the Power that at once connects and divides the supreme Knowledge and the cosmic Ignorance.
  8:In its nature and law the Overmind is a delegate of the Supermind Consciousness, its delegate to the Ignorance. Or we might speak of it as a protective double, a screen of dissimilar similarity through which Supermind can act indirectly on an Ignorance whose darkness could not bear or receive the direct impact of a supreme Light. Even, it is by the projection of this luminous Overmind corona that the diffusion of a diminished light in the Ignorance and the throwing of that contrary shadow which swallows up in itself all light, the Inconscience, became at all possible. For Supermind transmits to Overmind all its realities, but leaves it to formulate them in a movement and according to an awareness of things which is still a vision of Truth and yet at the same time a first parent of the Ignorance. A line divides Supermind and Overmind which permits a free transmission, allows the lower Power to derive from the higher Power all it holds or sees, but automatically compels a transitional change in the passage. The integrality of the Supermind keeps always the essential truth of things, the total truth and the truth of its individual self-determinations clearly knit together; it maintains in them an inseparable unity and between them a close interpenetration and a free and full consciousness of each other: but in Overmind this integrality is no longer there. And yet the Overmind is well aware of the essential Truth of things; it embraces the totality; it uses the individual self-determinations without being limited by them: but although it knows their oneness, can realise it in a spiritual cognition, yet its dynamic movement, even while relying on that for its security, is not directly determined by it. Overmind Energy proceeds through an illimitable capacity of separation and combination of the powers and aspects of the integral and indivisible all-comprehending Unity. It takes each Aspect or Power and gives to it an independent action in which it acquires a full separate importance and is able to work out, we might say, its own world of creation. Purusha and Prakriti, Conscious Soul and executive Force of Nature, are in the supramental harmony a two-aspected single truth, being and dynamis of the Reality; there can be no disequilibrium or predominance of one over the other. In Overmind we have the origin of the cleavage, the trenchant distinction made by the philosophy of the Sankhyas in which they appear as two independent entities, Prakriti able to dominate Purusha and cloud its freedom and power, reducing it to a witness and recipient of her forms and actions, Purusha able to return to its separate existence and abide in a free self-sovereignty by rejection of her original overclouding material principle. So with the other aspects or powers of the Divine Reality, One and Many, Divine Personality and Divine Impersonality, and the rest; each is still an aspect and power of the one Reality, but each is empowered to act as an independent entity in the whole, arrive at the fullness of the possibilities of its separate expression and develop the dynamic consequences of that separateness. At the same time in Overmind this separateness is still founded on the basis of an implicit underlying unity; all possibilities of combination and relation between the separated Powers and Aspects, all interchanges and mutualities of their energies are freely organised and their actuality always possible.

13.03 - A Programme for the Second Century of the Divine Manifestation, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 05, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
  
   First each element in the individual, each level of his being must find its centre, its soul or psychic base and then only a co-ordination of all would be possible. Next through the psychic level the general level of the being and consciousness, that is to say, its expression and its field of action should be lifted and raised to a higher potency of poise the higher the bettertowards the Higher Mind, towards the overmental and beyond.
  

1.3.03 - Quiet and Calm, #Letters On Yoga II, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  *
  Always get back to quietude. It is through the quietude that the right attitude and understanding and movements come back. It is natural for the lower vital to be made up of feelings, impulses and desires and to be attached to outer things - but that is only a part of you. There is also the psychic and the Higher Mind and higher vital which only need quietude and the help of the
  Force and Peace behind them to come forward more strongly and dominate over the lower vital and help to change it.

1.439, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  M.: Maharshi has no doubts to be cleared.
  D.: Well, I consider the goal to be the realisation by the lower mind of the Higher Mind so that the Kingdom of Heaven might endure here on earth. The lower mind is incomplete and it must be made perfect by realisation of the Higher Mind.
  M.: So then you admit a lower mind which is incomplete and which seeks realisation of the higher so that it may become perfect. Is that lower mind apart from the Higher Mind? Is it independent of the other?
  D.: The Kingdom of Heaven was brought down on Earth by Jesus
  Christ. I consider Him to be the Kingdom personified. I want everyone to realise the same. He said: I am hungry with other mens hunger; and so on. Mutual partnership in pleasure and pain is the Kingdom of Heaven. If that Kingdom is universalised everyone will feel at one with the rest.
  M.: You speak of the differences between the lower and the Higher Minds, pleasures and pains. What becomes of these differences in your sleep?
  D.: But I want to be wide awake.

1.450 - 1.500 Talks, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  
  D.: Well, I consider the goal to be the realisation by the lower mind of the Higher Mind so that the Kingdom of Heaven might endure here on earth. The lower mind is incomplete and it must be made perfect by realisation of the Higher Mind.
  
  M.: So then you admit a lower mind which is incomplete and which seeks realisation of the higher so that it may become perfect. Is that lower mind apart from the Higher Mind? Is it independent of the other?
  D.: The Kingdom of Heaven was brought down on Earth by Jesus
  --
  
  M.: You speak of the differences between the lower and the Higher Minds, pleasures and pains. What becomes of these differences in your sleep?
  D.: But I want to be wide awake.

1929-04-21 - Visions, seeing and interpretation - Dreams and dreaml and - Dreamless sleep - Visions and formulation - Surrender, passive and of the will - Meditation and progress - Entering the spiritual life, a plunge into the Divine, #Questions And Answers 1929-1931, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  
  Jeanne dArc was evidently in relation with some entities belonging to what we call the world of the Gods (or as the Catholics say, the world of the Saints, though it is not quite the same). The beings she saw she called archangels. These beings belong to the intermediate world between the Higher Mind and the supramental, the world that Sri Aurobindo calls the Overmind. It is the world of the creators, the Formateurs.
  

1929-06-09 - Nature of religion - Religion and the spiritual life - Descent of Divine Truth and Force - To be sure of your religion, country, family-choose your own - Religion and numbers, #Questions And Answers 1929-1931, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  
  Religion belongs to the Higher Mind of humanity. It is the effort of mans higher mind to approach, as far as lies in its power, something beyond it, something to which humanity gives the name God or Spirit or Truth or Faith or Knowledge or the Infinite, some kind of Absolute, which the human mind cannot reach and yet tries to reach. Religion may be divine in its ultimate origin; in its actual nature it is not divine but human. In truth we should speak rather of religions than of religion; for the religions made by man are many. These different religions, even when they had not the same origin, have most of them been made in the same way. We know how the Christian religion came into existence. It was certainly not Jesus who made what is known as Christianity, but some learned and very clever men put their heads together and built it up into the thing we see. There was nothing divine in the way in which it was formed, and there is nothing divine either in the way in which it functions. And yet the excuse or occasion for the formation was undoubtedly some revelation from what one could call a Divine Being, a Being who came from elsewhere bringing down with him from a higher plane a certain Knowledge and Truth for the earth. He came and suffered for his Truth; but very few understood what he said, few cared to find and hold to the Truth for which he suffered. Buddha retired from the world, sat down in meditation and discovered a way out of earthly suffering and misery, out of all this illness and death and desire and sin and hunger. He saw a Truth which he endeavoured to express and communicate to the disciples and followers who gathered around him. But even before he was dead, his teaching had already begun to be twisted and distorted. It was only after his disappearance that Buddhism as a full-fledged religion reared its head founded upon what the Buddha is supposed to have said and on the supposed significance of these reported sayings. But soon too, because the disciples and the disciples disciples could not agree on what the Master had said or what he meant by his utterances, there grew up a host of sects and sub-sects in the body of the parent religiona Southern Path, a Northern Path, a Far Eastern Path, each of them claiming to be the only, the original, the undefiled doctrine of the Buddha. The same fate overtook the teaching of the Christ; that too came to be made in the same way into a set and organised religion. It is often said that, if Jesus came back, he would not be able to recognise what he taught in the forms that have been imposed on it, and if Buddha were to come back and see what has been made of his teaching, he would immediately run back discouraged to Nirvana! All religions have each the same story to tell. The occasion for its birth is the coming of a great Teacher of the world. He comes and reveals and is the incarnation of a Divine Truth. But men seize upon it, trade upon it, make an almost political organisation out of it. The religion is equipped by them with a government and policy and laws, with its creeds and dogmas, its rules and regulations, its rites and ceremonies, all binding upon its adherents, all absolute and inviolable. Like the State, it too administers rewards to the loyal and assigns punishments for those that revolt or go astray, for the heretic and the renegade.
  

1951-03-19 - Mental worlds and their beings - Understanding in silence - Psychic world- its characteristics - True experiences and mental formations - twelve senses, #Questions And Answers 1950-1951, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  
   Of the physical mind. Certainly not of the Higher Mind, for there are no adverse forces there. The reference is to the mind that deals with material things.
  

1951-05-11 - Mahakali and Kali - Avatar and Vibhuti - Sachchidananda behind all states of being - The power of will - receiving the Divine Will, #Questions And Answers 1950-1951, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  
   I have explained that to you in connection with Sachchidananda. Sachchidananda exists at the very origin of the worlds, but there is a Sachchidananda behind all the other states of being. You could make a diagram (though that does not explain much, it is quite an erroneous idea, but it makes things more easily understandable), you arrange the states of being according to a scale. Then, you have the earth below and the Supreme above (it is not at all like that, I hasten to tell you! But anyway, it is easy to understand), you put the earth at the bottom and the Supreme at the top, and you divide that into lots of little parts each of which represents a state of being; that makes a kind of ladder. And then, you have as though behind it, behind your ladder, something which supports it, against which it leans. It is not a wall but it is something which supports your ladder. And that is precisely the first principle of the universal form. In Hindu terminology it is called Sachchidananda. It is there, everything leans upon that; without that nothing could exist. It is that which upholds and allows existence. Then, if you enter a certain state of consciousness and find yourself, for instance, in the Higher Mind (for generally it is more easily there that this happens; you have started from the physical and climbed slowly, rung by rung, as far as the Higher Mind), but instead of continuing your ascent on the ladder you enter into a kind of interiorisation and try to go out of the form, you pass into a kind of silence outside the form. You pass in between the bars of your ladder and enter straight into Sachchidananda which supports everything from behind. And then you can have mentally the experience of Sachchidananda. I have known people who had it and thought they had reached the heights of the Supreme. For there is a similarity in the experience, a very great likeness, only it is limited to the mind, the mind alone participates in it. Well, for the will it is the same thing. Instead of being the support of the ladder it is a kind of force, a very powerful current which passes through all these states, starting from aboveit is the supreme Willand coming down into the physical manifestation. Hence, if you get into affinity with this vibration or this force, you can enter the state of will; that is, whatever state of being you may find yourself inphysical, vital, mental, etc.if you enter a certain state of consciousness and force, you come into contact with this power of will: it penetrates into you and you can use it for any purpose. If your reception is free from all egoism, if you are pure, completely surrendered and accept only what comes from the Divine, and if you dont mix anything with it, egoism or desires or limitations well, it is a state a bit difficult to attain, but if you attain it, you receive this force of will in its original state, pure (for it comes down pure, it is only in its reception that it gets deformed), then, instead of being your will it becomes an expression of the divine Will. And this happens without your leaving the physical bodyyou can receive the force of the divine Will without leaving the physical. Only, you see, you must not change it and deform it, spoil it in the receiving. When you feel within you a kind of indomitable energy to realise something, when you tell yourself, I shall do this whatever the cost, I shall go to the end and shall use all my will (for you always say my will), well, you cannot be in that state unless you have come into contact with this current of will-force. Only, with your little personal reaction, naturally you deform it and use it all wrongly, and then you come into conflict with other elements. But if you are truly a yogi, you receive the current and nothing can stop the lan of your action, even physically.
  

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