Savitri Reading Group – Book Three, Canto III: The House of Spirit and the New Creation (second reading) – 21 Apr 2021

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with @JohnRobert, @andreavdl, @Geoffreyjen_Edwards, and @madrush


During the discussion, Andrea referenced a documentary on Matrimandir, the temple at the center of Auroville:

GeoffreyjenJohn Robert referenced the series of novels by Thomas Mann, Joseph and His Brothers:

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Twasn’t me, Marco. It was John Robert. Those books are on my list of books to read - I will have to pull them closer to the top!

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I came by to listen to John Robert’s reference to Thomas Mann’s opus (I am in the midst of reading Joseph and His Brothers during my “Year of the Mann” reading attempt) and stuck around to listen to the near-silent intensities radiating from all of you, especially John Robert expounding upon the psychic being and Andrea emiting radiance while speaking of her experiences at Auroville and at the Matrimandir.


I think what John Robert refers to is the fifty page prelude titled “Descent into Hell” . . . here are the opening words:

Deep is the well of the past. Should we not call it bottomless?
Indeed we should, if—in fact, perhaps only if—the past subjected to our remarks and inquiries is solely that of humanity, of this enigmatic life-form that comprises our own naturally lusty and preternaturally wretched existence and whose mystery is quite understandably the alpha and omega of all our remarks and inquiries, lending urgency and fire to all our speech, insistence to all our questions. And yet what happens is: the deeper we delve and the farther we press and grope into the underworld of the past, the more totally unfathomable become those first foundations of humankind, of its history and civilization, for again and again they retreat farther into the bottomless depths, no matter to what extravagant lengths we may unreel our temporal plumb line. The salient words here are “again” and “farther,” because what is inscrutable has a way of teasing our zeal for placing it under scrutiny; it offers us only illusory stations and goals, behind which, once we reach them, we discover new stretches of the past opening up—much like a stroller at the shore whose wanderings find no end, because behind each backdrop of loamy dunes that he strives to reach lie new expanses to lure him onward to another cape.
Thus some origins are of a conditional sort, marking both in practice and in fact the primal beginning of the particular tradition kept by a given community, people, or family of faith, but in such a way that memory, even when advised that the well’s deeps can in no way be considered earnestly plumbed, may find national reassurance in some primal event and come to historical and personal rest there.

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Thanks for the correction, GJ! And Doug, for the quote, which is brilliant. Yes, indeed, the farther back we peer into our personal and collective histories, the darker, weirder, and altogether improbable and unfathomable everything which has come to pass—which remains present, and present in its absence!—appears.

That is partly why I begin my own epic-ish/lyrical poem, echoing YHWH’s genetics: “In the beginning, there was nothing—and I am.” For we tend from the simple to the complex, and back to the simple.

Goethe, as I understand it, also saw Faust as a ‘Descent into Hell.’ And in Savitri, we are just now coming up for air from a similar descent over the past few months. More and more, I am getting why the Integral Yoga is considered an adventure of consciousness.

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