B1 C1 Movement 2 Passage-by-Passage Summary
Savitri too awoke among these tribes
And Savitri too awoke among these tribes
That hastened to join the brilliant Summoner’s chant
And, lured by the beauty of the apparent ways,
Acclaimed their portion of ephemeral joy.
We are now introduced to Savitri, the incarnation of the Divine Mother. She too has woken up on that fateful day. Sri Aurobindo beautifully compares the daybreak to the call of the sun, the brilliant summoner. Indeed sun is the symbol of the Divine who calls us to the adventure of life, the adventure of consciousness and joy, but we are rather busy and satisfied with the customary routine and the lure of trivial apparent joys. The call is therefore unheeded. Not so with Savitri. Though outwardly human like everyone else, inwardly, in her inner being she carries a New Consciousness of Light and Truth.
A mighty stranger in the human field
Akin to the eternity whence she came,
No part she took in this small happiness;
A mighty stranger in the human field,
The embodied Guest within made no response.
The call that wakes the leap of human mind,
Its chequered eager motion of pursuit,
Its fluttering-hued illusion of desire,
Visited her heart like a sweet alien note.
Savitri is of a different make. She is conscious of her eternity. Her inner being dwells on heights of Beauty and Bliss and hence is not attracted to the ephemeral joys and transient satisfactions that drive the rest of humanity. Therefore she feels a stranger among men who are ever chasing fleeting desires and small joys. The cry of desire and the call of passing things visits her only as a passing wave but finds no response.
Time’s transient gifts
Time’s message of brief light was not for her.
She was not here for partial gleams and fading lights but for the Permanent and the Eternal.
Anguish of the gods
In her there was the anguish of the gods
Imprisoned in our transient human mould,
The deathless conquered by the death of things.
Being in a human body and the limited human consciousness was felt like a prison to her. While she was conscious of her immortality, her physical mould was yet subject to death. This is her anguish, the anguish that a higher being experiences when he is born to earth-nature and must learn to adapt to human ways. Such a being wants things to be otherwise, to be moulded more and more in accordance to the Law of Beauty, Harmony and Truth. It is a difficult adaptation to the life of Ignorance around her even as she was conscious of and carried within her the Light and Power of Truth.
A vaster Nature’s joy
A vaster Nature’s joy had once been hers,
But long could keep not its gold heavenly hue
Or stand upon this brittle earthly base.
A vaster Nature’s joy is the delight that one experiences in the higher realms. But human body is not built to bear the intensity of this flame of Truth and the Bliss it carries. It breaks down readily with the touch of a higher Supernature. Taking a human birth means to forgo and renounce it, since our present body is too weak and inapt to hold and support the play of a higher consciousness and its tremendous Powers.
The denial of life to accept the divine ways
A narrow movement on Time’s deep abysm,
Life’s fragile littleness denied the power,
The proud and conscious wideness and the bliss
She had brought with her into the human form,
The calm delight that weds one soul to all,
The key to the flaming doors of ecstasy.
The outer nature, born of and formed by earth-consciousness, could not permit the play of larger and vaster forces, in fact it denied it. Yet in her inner being, Savitri carried the key to eternal Peace and Bliss. Inwardly, she dwelt in vast domains of Oneness and Bliss.
Earth rejects the boon of oneness and bliss
Earth’s grain that needs the sap of pleasure and tears (p.7 begins)
Rejected the undying rapture’s boon:
Offered to the daughter of infinity
Her passion-flower of love and doom she gave.
Instead of receiving her divine gifts, Earth-nature rejected the undying rapture of the eternal and preferred rather its inferior ways of pleasure and pain, passion of passing love foredoomed to end. Savitri too received this as part of the common endowment of earth-nature. It was the gift of Earth to the child of Heaven!
The splendid sacrifice
In vain now seemed the splendid sacrifice.
Her sacrifice, the renunciation of her divinity to change earth-nature into a diviner state seemed as if it were wasted. Instead of uplifting herself to become divine, earth-nature rather afflicted Savitri with her own sorrow and suffering.
She gave her all to earth and men
A prodigal of her rich divinity,
Her self and all she was she had lent to men,
Hoping her greater being to implant
And in their body’s lives acclimatise
That heaven might native grow on mortal soil.
Savitri hoped to accustom humanity to the new consciousness, the higher and greater way of being that was natural to her. Rich with divine wisdom and power, she freely gave these gifts divine in the hope that man will one day learn to value and use them rightly for making his life and earth a better and happier place, a peer and mate of heavens. Especially she wanted earth and matter to taste and breath the bliss of higher states so that these heavenly states may become natural to earth and be established here as the very law of our living.
Hard is it to persuade earth-nature’s change
Hard is it to persuade earth-nature’s change;
Mortality bears ill the eternal’s touch:
It fears the pure divine intolerance
Of that assault of ether and of fire;
It murmurs at its sorrowless happiness,
Almost with hate repels the light it brings;
It trembles at its naked power of Truth
And the might and sweetness of its absolute Voice.
But the resistance in earth nature is too deep. Its soil is too hard for heavenly bloom, its stuff too crude for subtle truths to manifest and find expression. Unable to bear the pressure for a divine change, it complains and murmurs, and responds with fear and distrust, worse still with hate and hostility, to the Divine Power and Sweetness and Bliss. It is afraid of Truth, it revolts against the Light, it loves its ignorance and imperfection, and feels the outpouring of divine Light and Force as an intolerance. It is so because the Divine Power wants things to change for the better but the old laws and their guardians are unwilling to give in so easily. They wish to prolong their reign of Ignorance and darkness and terror and gloom.
The abysm’s law
Inflicting on the heights the abysm’s law,
It sullies with its mire heaven’s messengers:
Its thorns of fallen nature are the defence
It turns against the saviour hands of Grace;
It meets the sons of God with death and pain.
Instead of being uplifted by the touch of Grace, it drags it down to its mud and mire, sullying the hands that came to Help, accusing and blaming the Grace that came to succor and save. It inflicts on the messengers of Light and Love suffering and pain; indicts them with death. For this is the law that earth-nature knows. It knows not Divine Love and the savior Grace. It refuses any change in its old pattern of life and takes it as heresy. The law of the abyss is greed, falsehood, deceit, lust and violence.
The Cross and the splendid Name
A glory of lightnings traversing the earth-scene,
Their sun-thoughts fading, darkened by ignorant minds,
Their work betrayed, their good to evil turned,
The cross their payment for the crown they gave,
Only they leave behind a splendid Name.
All that is left of these divine and luminous beings is a splendid Name which is often misused to fulfill dark intentions, the message itself is falsified and turned into a means of justification and perpetuation of our ignorant ways. This is the tragedy of earth that each time a divine representative comes, he is dealt with hostility and death, even though it comes to bring the crown of glories that awaits us on Nature’s peaks. There is here a clear allusion to the life of Christ, the cross symbolizing the failure of Divine Love to descend into earth-life.
A few have caught the flame
A fire has come and touched men’s hearts and gone;
A few have caught flame and risen to greater life.
Only a few catch the fire and rise to a greater life. The rest are only momentarily touched by it. Of course there may be many followers so to say, but those who truly and sincerely aspire for the divine change are very few.
The greatness of the Divine weighs upon the earth
Too unlike the world she came to help and save,
Her greatness weighed upon its ignorant breast
And from its dim chasms welled a dire return,
A portion of its sorrow, struggle, fall.
The greatness of a divine being is felt as a burden and oppression to earth nature, accustomed to remain in a state of ignorance and darkness. Savitri had come to bid earth to rise towards a greater, diviner life, to save it from its present state of disorder and Ignorance, the root of suffering and pain. Instead of gratitude and enthusiasm for the change, the earth-nature challenges her divinity with sorrow and struggle and failure and fall.
The mortal’s load becomes the immortal’s share
To live with grief, to confront death on her road,—
The mortal’s lot became the Immortal’s share.
The earth is not ready to tread the sunlit path. Hence the Avatara, Savitri, must descend and prepare it for its sun-ward ascension. She has come to show to men how to conquer grief and confront death that strikes us at will on the roads of Time. If earth were ready and receptive, this may not have been necessary. If men could trust the divine leading and be willing to change their human ways into ways divine, then the earth could swiftly change into a divine and glorious state. But since it is not ready, the Avatara must bear the burden of darkness, go down into the pit and bring into the abysses the savior Light and Grace.