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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The occult details are made more explicit here than what we have in the tradition

Re: 08: A Shrine for the God of Love by RY Deshpande
on Mon 26 Mar 2007 05:52 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Thank you, Vladimir. I am glad to receive your response—otherwise I was kind of feeling lonely, lost to myself. Why Sri Aurobindo does not name the God of Death as Yama in his epic Savitri? That indeed is a puzzling question. He has named all the other characters of the Mahabharata but not Yama? Why? Nor did he explain the significance in his letter taken as the Author’s Note and put as the frontispiece. He tells that these “characters are not personified qualities, but incarnations or emanations of living and conscious Forces with whom we can enter into concrete touch and they take human bodies in order to help man and show him the way from his mortal state to a divine consciousness and immortal life.”
I think the answer to your question is present in this frontispiece letter itself. Yama the immortal antagonist works through his instruments but does not, perhaps cannot, incarnate himself directly. He has his own ‘Vibhutis’ in the cosmic working serving his own purpose, but incarnation is another matter.
In the Mahabharata story we have together the double aspect of Yama, the dark fearful God and the benign Giver of Boons. He is the son of Vivasvata, the Sun-God himself, and is assigned the task of upholding the Law of the World, that is, he Yama; he is also the Upholder of the Dharma, Dharmaraja. He is the Destroyer of the Pride, Mānada. He is Rājan, the King, he is the Ordainer, he is the King-Father Lord, pitŗarājastām bhagavān, that is how Vyasa puts it in his story. But when he comes to pick up the soul of Satyavan, the Rishi describes him as follows: “His body, dark in hue, was lustrous, and his eyes were blood-red, and he had a noose in his hand which inspired great fright; standing close behind Satyavan he was steadfastly gazing at him.” Savitri takes him as some noble God who has a form other than human.
What I see in this double description is that, Vyasa has presented simultaneously both the aspects of Yama. In Sri Aurobindo it is the Power of Antagonism that first stands out mostly prominently, one who has taken a form, a form springing up from the Void, to present himself in order to meet the challenge thrown by Savitri. Later he gets transformed through the power of the Divine Shakti working through incarnate Savitri, and it is this transformed Yama who finally gives boons to her. The occult details are made more explicit here than what we have in the tradition. Perhaps this is also the Vedic sense of Yama, the Son of Vivasvan. But you are the best expounder of this, and we would like to profit from your reflection on it. May I request you to respond. Thanks, again. RYD

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