Book One Canto II Summary

It is brief summary of the story and its central theme, that is the conquest of Love over death and fate. This love is of course not the usual passion that human beings experience but a Power that descends from high to save creation. This power has incarnated in Savitri who has come down to save Satyavan, the human soul entangled in the forest of human life and the laws of karma and all the forces of Ignorance that hold this earth and humanity a captive and slave. Savitri descends to change the law by accepting its burden upon herself. Therefore we find in this Canto a constant contrast drawn between the human soul caught in the net of darkness and ignorance and the being of Savitri who has come to share the burden of the race and to save. Outwardly she too seems to share the same human fate as others but inwardly there is a vast difference. She refuses to accept the law of doom and choses to fight and change the law that is rather too harsh upon the human soul still journeying in the darkness of the Night.

The first long passage (page 15) brings us in contact with Savitri’s being and the challenge that she faces assuming the human body and hence the human fate. Sri Aurobindo reveals to us through the eyes of Savitri, the tangled knots of fate and the forces of ignorance that keep the soul captive. But Savitri is born to save. She has brought with her the supreme power of transformation, that is to say, Love. It is not love as we understand it but Love in its divine form, in its pristine purity and power. She is an embodiment of this love. That is why she has accepted this burden and is capable of saving the race against the Law of Death.

The second passage contrasts our human life with Savitri who is now armed for the struggle. The Divine is ever ready to help but there is something in our nature that not only refuses but even actively revolts against the Divine touch. This too must be faced and tackled for it is this that prevents man’s advance towards a divinization of life, towards freedom from the Law of death, towards Love and Light and Unity and Bliss. Once again Sri Aurobindo brings us back to the story and connects the inner state of Savitri with the outer story. She is now fully awake on the fated day, awake not only outwardly but awake with the power and strength of the Divine Mother who alone can change the law.

 
A deep of compassion, a hushed sanctuary,
Her inward help unbarred a gate in heaven;
Love in her was wider than the universe,
The whole world could take refuge in her single heart….
 
The great World-Mother now in her arose:
A living choice reversed fate’s cold dead turn,
Affirmed the spirit’s tread on Circumstance,
Pressed back the senseless dire revolving Wheel
And stopped the mute march of Necessity.
A flaming warrior from the eternal peaks
Empowered to force the door denied and closed
Smote from Death’s visage its dumb absolute
And burst the bounds of consciousness and Time.
 
[pp 15, 21]

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