Thought the Paraclete by Aurobindo Text and Summary

Thought the Paraclete 

As some bright archangel in vision flies 

Plunged in dream-caught spirit immensities, 

Past the long green crests of the seas of life, 

Past the orange skies of the mystic mind 

Flew my thought self-lost in the vasts of God. 

Sleepless wide great glimmering wings of wind 

Bore the gold-red seeking of feet that trod 

Space and Time’s mute vanishing ends. 

The face Lustred, pale-blue-lined of the hippogriff, 

Eremite, sole, daring the bourneless ways, 

Over world-bare summits of timeless being 

Gleamed; the deep twilights of the world-abyss 

Failed below. Sun-realms of supernal seeing, 

Crimson-white mooned oceans of pauseless bliss 

Drew its vague heart-yearning with voices sweet. 

Hungering, large-souled to surprise the unconned 

Secrets white-fire-veiled of the last Beyond, 

Crossing power-swept silences rapture-stunned, 

Climbing high far ethers eternal-sunned, 

Thought the great-winged wanderer parac1ete 

Disappeared slow-singing a flame-word rune. 

Self was left, lone, limitless, nude, immune.




        Thought, the Paraclete is a mystic poem which opens up a vision or revelation of an ascent through spiritual planes. It may lend itself to a descriptive interpretation or help the emergence of a general idea but what is really important in it is the vision, what one can apprehend through intuitive perception rather than through logical explanation. If poetry has its origin in a spiritual experience, it has to be perceived only intuitively. The title of the poem: ”Paraclete” means „one who intercedes on behalf of another, an advocate, a defender”.

       As Dr. Iyengar has observed, the central idea of the poem is the transformation of the self brought about as a result of the ascent of consciousness to the supramental level. This idea is suggested by the imagery and the music rather than explained in terms of logical argument. Dr. Iyengar identifies in the poem four separate ―movements. (Vide Dr. K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar Indian Writing in English pp. 167-68).

       Notwithstanding the view that this poem calls for a perception rather than logical explanation, the poem does lend itself to analyses at various levels. For instance, close attention to the imagery, its movement and the colour scheme in the poem will help one kind of response. The title of the poem: “Paraclete” means „one who intercedes on behalf of another, an advocate, a defender”. It is the title given to the Holy Ghost in (John XIV, 16, XVI 7) The Bible meaning that it is the mediator between the human and the divine.

     In Sri Aurobindonian metaphysics ―thought‖ itself is such a mediator. Man is the “Mediator” between Matter and Spirit and man is distinguished by his thought. Thought: Thought in this poem has a very wide significance, for it stands not only for cognition but the faculty of perception which in Indian parlance is denoted by chit or consciousness.

   According to Aurobindo, consciousness becomes the medium as well as the mediator for the yogic evolution leading to the higher levels of Consciousness and Being. Consciousness, as explained by Aurobindo in his Life Divine, progresses from Mind to Supermind passing through four stages or levels, namely Highermind, Illumined Mind, Intuition and Overmind.

Archangel: Principal or chief angel.

    Thought is described as leaving behind earth conscious-ness and flying into the vasts of God passing over the seas of life and skies of the mystic mind — like an archangel flying in a dream.

     Green crests of the sea of life: the green colour symbolizes the vital forces and the light of emotions. The aspiring individual self struggles in the immensities of the spirit. Orange skies: Orange symbolizes a desire for a union with the divine, to have a touch with the higher consciousness. ―The skies of the mystic mind‖ are therefore said to be orange in colour. The human consciousness has its own limitations caught as it is in the mesh of ignorance and the mechanical laws of Prakriti or nature.

     Now this human consciousness makes an effort to make a mystic search for the higher realms of bliss. Since it cannot easily make it with the limitations of nature it makes an ascent by substituting super-nature for the old, ordinary nature. Sleepless wide great glimmering. wings of mind………. Drew its vague heart- yearning with voices sweet: This second movement delineates the next stage in the upward progress of consciousness, which moves on from the Higher Mind to the Overmind crossing the Illumined Mind and Intuition.

    Sleepless wide… vanishing ends: These lines represent the first stage of this movement from the Higher mind to the Illumined Mind. The wings of wind, that is the soaring spiritual aspiration, carry the spirit which is on its quest, sleepless and restless‘.

    Gold-red: Signifies the radiance of the supernature in the physical.Space and Time‟s mute vanishing ends: We have here the image of a wanderer who is relentlessly searching for the goal breaking even the vital limitations imposed by space and time. The Higher Mind is ―No longer of mingled light and obscurity of half-light but a large clarity of the Spirit.” This is so because as at every other stage of progress, there is a corresponding illumination from above which is activating the next stage of the progress. Now the limitations and obstacles posed by the lower nature on the scale of time and peace vanish. The face lustred, pale-blue-lined summits of timeless being gleamed: The face of the soul is gleaming in the radiance like the face of a solitary hermit (Eremite) who dares to explore the unexplored and unchartered ways to enter the visionary realms. The illumined mind is no longer a mind of higher thought but a mind illumined by spiritual light. It is a realm in which ―a play of lightnings of spiritual truth and power breaks from above into consciousness.

     Hipprogriff: A mythical animal, a fabulous monster consisting of horse with the head and wings of griffin: Like the uni-corn or salamander it is always solitary. The word carries with it associations of brightness and splendour, for the sun who is the visible form of righteousness is believed to have taken the form of a horse to find his wife Samjna who had taken the shape of Asvini (mare) to escape him.

     Pale-blue in the mystic colour-scheme symbolises the light of higher knowledge. When this stage is reached in the illu-mined mind the world below becomes a blurred picture seen in a pale, mingled light and half-light. Seen from that vantage height, the world (Both physically and figuratively) becomes hazy and blurred or even dark. It seems like an abyss When Consciousness soars to higher realms, the vital con-sciousness left below becomes dark and almost vanished.

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