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“These two: one universe” from Jnaneshvar’s Amrutanubhava

by on April 15, 2012

[Following is a translation by Swami Abhayananda of a few verses from Jnaneshvar’s “Amrutanubhava”]

I offer obeisance to the God and Goddess,
The limitless primal parents of the universe.

They are not entirely the same,
Nor are they not the same.
We cannot say exactly what they are.

How sweet is their union!
The whole world is too small to contain them,
Yet they live happily in the smallest particle.

These two are the only ones
Who dwell in this home called the universe.
When the Master of the house sleeps,
The Mistress stays awake,
And performs the functions of both.

When He awakes, the whole house disappears,
And nothing at all is left.

Two lutes: one note.
Two flowers: one fragrance.
Two lamps: one light.

Two lips: one word.
Two eyes: one sight.
These two: one universe.

In unity there is little to behold;
So She, the mother of abundance,
Brought forth the world as play.

He takes the role of Witness
Out of love of watching Her.
But when Her appearance is withdrawn,
The role of Witness is abandoned as well.

Through Her,
He assumes the form of the universe;
Without Her,
He is left naked.

If night and day were to approach the Sun,
Both would disappear.
In the same way, their duality would vanish
If their essential Unity were seen.

In fact, the duality of Shiva and Shakti
Cannot exist in that primal unitive state
From which AUM emanates.

They are like a stream of knowledge
From which a knower cannot drink
Unless he gives up himself.

Is the sound of AUM divided into three
Simply because it contains three letters?
Or is the letter ‘न’ divided into three
Because of the three lines by which it is formed?

So long as Unity is undisturbed,
And a graceful pleasure is thereby derived,
Why should not the water find delight
In the floral fragrance of its own rippled surface?

It is in this manner I bow
To the inseparable Shiva and Shakti.

A man returns to himself
When he awakens from sleep;
Likewise, I have perceived the God and Goddess
By waking from my ego.

When salt dissolves,
It becomes one with the ocean;
When my ego dissolved,
I became one with Shiva and Shakti.

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  1. RY Deshpande permalink

    Let me quote here a passage from Savitri:

    The Absolute, the Perfect, the Alone
    Has called out of the Silence his mute Force
    Where she lay in the featureless and formless hush
    Guarding from Time by her immobile sleep
    The ineffable puissance of his solitude.

    The Absolute, the Perfect, the Alone
    Has entered with his silence into space:
    He has fashioned these countless persons of one self;
    He lives in all, who lived in his Vast alone;
    Space is himself and Time is only he.

    The Absolute, the Perfect, the Immune,
    One who is in us as our secret self,
    Our mask of imperfection has assumed,
    He has made this tenement of flesh his own,
    His image in the human measure cast
    That to his divine measure we might rise;
    Then in a fi gure of divinity
    The Maker shall recast us and impose
    A plan of godhead on the mortal’s mould
    Lifting our finite minds to his infi nite,
    Touching the moment with eternity.

    This transfi guration is earth’s due to heaven:
    A mutual debt binds man to the Supreme:
    His nature we must put on as he put ours;
    We are sons of God and must be even as he:
    His human portion, we must grow divine.
    Our life is a paradox with God for key.

  2. Govind permalink

    One more passage from Book VII Canto V “The Finding of the Soul”:

    A sealed identity within her woke;
    She knew herself the Beloved of the Supreme:
    These Gods and Goddesses were he and she:
    The Mother was she of Beauty and Delight,
    The Word in Brahma’s vast creating clasp,
    The World-Puissance on almighty Shiva’s lap,–
    The Master and the Mother of all lives
    Watching the worlds their twin regard had made,
    And Krishna and Radha for ever entwined in bliss,
    The Adorer and Adored self-lost and one.

  3. Govind permalink

    This letter of Sri Aurobindo from Volume 1 “The Object of Integral Yoga”, page 522, SABCL is also relevant in this context:

    “At X’s conscientious hesitations between Krishna and Shiva and Shakti I could not help indulging in a smile. If a man is attracted by one form or two forms of the Divine, it is all right, but if he is drawn to several at a time he need not torment himself over it. A man of some development has necessarily several sides in his nature and it is quite natural that different aspects should draw or govern different personalities in him: he can accept them all and harmonise them in the One Divine and the One Adya Shakti of whom all are the manifestations.

  4. Govind permalink

    Also there are two whole sections in Book I Canto IV, “The Secret Knowledge” that elaborate on the dual principle of Purusha-Prakriti:

    From “All here where each thing seems its lonely self” (page 60) to “Her finite’s multitude in an infinite Space.” (page 66)

    Some lines from the transition between the two passages:

    This whole wide world is only he and she.

    This is the knot that ties together the stars:
    The Two who are one are the secret of all power,
    The Two who are one are the might and right in things.
    His soul, silent, supports the world and her,
    His acts are her commandment’s registers.

  5. RY Deshpande permalink

    If in the primary manifestation the Absolute had called out of the Non-manifest his silent Force, in the cosmic we have their different aspects: Brahma-Maya, Ishwara-Ishwari, Purusha-Prakriti. There is the Puranic Ardhanarishwar, Half-Man—Half-Woman, or in Savitri the Two-in-One. In the World-Soul Aswapati meets the one who stands behind them both:

    Along a road of pure interior light,
    Alone between tremendous Presences,
    Under the watching eye of nameless Gods,
    His soul passed on, a single conscious power
    Towards the end which ever begins again,
    Approaching through a stillness dumb and calm
    To the source of all things human and divine.

    There he beheld in their mighty union’s poise
    The figure of the deathless Two-in-One,
    A single being in two bodies clasped,
    A diarchy of two united souls,
    Seated absorbed in deep creative joy;
    Their trance of bliss sustained the mobile world.

    Behind them in a morning dusk One stood
    Who brought them forth from the Unknowable.

    Ever disguised she awaits the seeking spirit;
    Watcher on the supreme unreachable peaks,
    Guide of the traveller of the unseen paths,
    She guards the austere approach to the Alone.

    At the beginning of each far-spread plane
    Pervading with her power the cosmic suns
    She reigns, inspirer of its multiple works
    And thinker of the symbol of its scene.

    Above them all she stands supporting all,
    The sole omnipotent Goddess ever-veiled
    Of whom the world is the inscrutable mask;
    The ages are the footfalls of her tread,
    Their happenings the figure of her thoughts,
    And all creation is her endless act.

    His spirit was made a vessel of her force…

    Then of course in the Transcendent we have Sat and Chit in Ananda of togetherness. This whole play is the play of Consciousness-Force supported by the Being. Jnaneshwar calls it Chid-Vilas, she the Chid-Vilasini. Vilas has in it both the aspects of Play and Joy, they in the royalty of creative expansion.

  6. RY Deshpande permalink

    The aspect of Sat and Chit, Existence and Consciousness, Soul and Nature, Being and Force, is a theme of frequent occurrence in Savitri. Presence and Power is used almost like a formula in several contexts. Thus on the very first page we have “a power of boundless self”, power and self. And then here is a quick survey of such descriptions:

    Now other claims had hushed in him their cry:
    Only he longed to draw her presence and power
    Into his heart and mind and breathing frame.

    An inert Soul and a somnambulist Force
    Have made a world estranged from life and thought;
    The Dragon of the dark foundations keeps
    Unalterable the law of Chance and Death;
    On his long way through Time and Circumstance
    The grey-hued riddling nether shadow-Sphinx,
    Her dreadful paws upon the swallowing sands,
    Awaits him armed with the soul-slaying word:
    Across his path sits the dim camp of Night.

    Amid the inventions of the inconscient Self
    And the workings of a blind somnambulist Force.

    In him Soul and Nature, equal Presences,
    Balance and fuse in a wide harmony.

    The Power that from her being’s summit reigned,
    The Presence Chambered in lotus secrecy,
    Came down and held the centre in her brow
    Where the mind’s Lord in his control-room sits;
    There throned on concentration’s native seat
    He opens that third mysterious eye in man,
    The Unseen’s eye that looks at the unseen,
    When Light with a golden ecstasy fi lls his brain
    And the Eternal’s wisdom drives his choice
    And eternal Will seizes the mortal’s will.

    But wisdom comes, and vision grows within;
    Then Nature’s instrument crowns himself her king;
    He feels his witnessing self and conscious power;
    His soul steps back and sees the Light supreme.
    A Godhead stands behind the brute machine.

    The Word in Brahma’s vast creating clasp,
    The World-Puissance on almighty Shiva’s lap,—
    The Master and the Mother of all lives
    Watching the worlds their twin regard had made,
    And Krishna and Radha for ever entwined in bliss,
    The Adorer and Adored self-lost and one.

    Among the many who came drawn to her
    Nowhere she found her partner of high tasks,
    The comrade of her soul, her other self
    Who was made with her, like God and Nature, one.

    Think not to intercede with the hidden Will,
    Intrude not twixt her spirit and its force
    But leave her to her mighty self and Fate.

    He sang the Inconscient and its secret self,
    Its power omnipotent knowing not what it does,
    All shaping without will or thought or sense,
    Its blind unerring occult mystery,
    And darkness yearning towards the eternal Light,
    And Love that broods within the dim abyss
    And waits the answer of the human heart,
    And death that climbs immortality.

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