Friday, June 22, 2007

It is the rose that conquers

Re: 14: This Outbreak of Perfection's Law by RY Deshpande on Tue 19 Jun 2007 04:10 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link Rose of God
We shall conclude the present set of postings on the Outbreak of Perfection's Law with Sri Aurobindo’s Rose of God. The poem was written on 31 December 1934 and, in response to Parichanda’s query, he wrote a letter on 2 January 1935; in those days Parichanda was looking after the gardens in the Ashram. A typed copy must have been kept in the Reading Room where he must have read it and asked Sri Aurobindo about the significance of the flower: “Does the rose of all flowers most perfectly and aptly express the divine ecstasies or has it any symbolic allusion in the Veda or the Upanishad?”
Sri Aurobindo answered: “There were no roses in those times in India—roses came with the Mahomedans from Persia. The rose is usually taken by us as the symbol of surrender, love, etc. But here it is not used in that sense, but as the most intense of all flowers it is used as symbolic of the divine intensities—Bliss, Light, Love, etc.” It is remarkable that Sri Aurobindo had written the poem in one go and no further corrections were made afterwards. A part of the poem in his own handwriting can be seen in slide 5 at
Bliss-Light-Power-Life-Love, Ananda-Prakasha-Shakti-Jivan-Prema, are the five divine intensities mentioned in the stately incantatory Rose of God. About the technical aspects: Rose of God is written in pure stress metre. In it quantity and accent are subordinate and it is the emphasis which gives the force to the rhythmic success. Each line in the poem has six stresses and the arrangement of feet varies freely to suit the movement of thought and feeling, as the poet-critic tells us. The whole poem is built of five stanzas, each containing four lines...
Sri Aurobindo himself had given the example by marking stresses in the third stanza. The poet is definite that there are only six stresses in each line and any attempt from the point of view of melody or singing or any other consideration to make departures by stressing all the three syllables in the repetitive phrase “Rose of God” will amount to ignoring the demands of his poetry. It might make the invocation effective and living, as is claimed, appealing also perhaps but it will be more dramatic than natural.
One must bear in mind that, this poem is based purely on hexametric form with six stresses in each line. Therefore, putting stress on “of” of the phrase will make half of the composition with seven stresses and the other with six. I am not inclined to accept this, stressing of “of” also. Surely, Sri Aurobindo’s ear sees everywhere six stresses and this is important, his aesthetic perception in terms of sound value too. Very likely, we will be missing something subtle if we have the hybrid 7-6 stress-combinations...
Rose of God is the symbol of perfection and, full-blown, it must bloom here, manifest itself here upon our sorrowful and transient earth, Reality take possession of the Phenomenon. “Rose of God, damask force of Infinity”—Sword of Damask steel is unbreakable; also, damask rose is a bluish-red variety of rose. It is the rose that conquers, makes possible for the Law of Perfection prevail in every circumstance. Let us live in it, in its perfection, in the Rose of God. RYD

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