Savitri Book Seven: The Book of Yoga
Canto One: The Joy of Union; the Ordeal of the Foreknowledge of Death and the Heart’s Grief and Pain
Savitri now experiences a divided life, outwardly she remains calm and sweet and forbearing in her dealings with her little world around, but inwardly she suffers with the foreknowledge of death. She experiences now the entire range of human life and identifies with it. Yet her touch brings into even the most common acts the uplifting touch of love, the touch of some divinity is felt behind.
Vainly she fled into abysms of bliss
From her pursuing foresight of the end.
The more she plunged into love that anguish grew;
Her deepest grief from sweetest gulfs arose.
Remembrance was a poignant pang, she felt
Each day a golden leaf torn cruelly out
From her too slender book of love and joy.
Thus swaying in strong gusts of happiness
And swimming in foreboding’s sombre waves
And feeding sorrow and terror with her heart, —
For now they sat among her bosom’s guests
Or in her inner chamber paced apart,—
Her eyes stared blind into the future’s night.
Out of her separate self she looked and saw,
Moving amid the unconscious faces loved,
In mind a stranger though in heart so near,
The ignorant smiling world go happily by
Upon its way towards an unknown doom
And wondered at the careless lives of men.
As if in different worlds they walked, though close,
They confident of the returning sun,
They wrapped in little hourly hopes and tasks,—
She in her dreadful knowledge was alone.
The rich and happy secrecy that once
Enshrined her as if in a silver bower
Apart in a bright nest of thoughts and dreams
Made room for tragic hours of solitude
And lonely grief that none could share or know,
A body seeing the end too soon of joy
And the fragile happiness of its mortal love.
Her quiet visage still and sweet and calm,
Her graceful daily acts were now a mask;
In vain she looked upon her depths to find
A ground of stillness and the spirit’s peace.
Still veiled from her was the silent Being within
Who sees life’s drama pass with unmoved eyes,
Supports the sorrow of the mind and heart
And bears in human breasts the world and fate.
A glimpse or flashes came, the Presence was hid.
Only her violent heart and passionate will
Were pushed in front to meet the immutable doom;
Defenceless, nude, bound to her human lot
They had no means to act, no way to save.
These she controlled, nothing was shown outside:
She was still to them the child they knew and loved;
The sorrowing woman they saw not within.
No change was in her beautiful motions seen:
A worshipped empress all once vied to serve,
She made herself the diligent serf of all,
Nor spared the labour of broom and jar and well,
Or close gentle tending or to heap the fire
Of altar and kitchen, no slight task allowed
To others that her woman’s strength might do.
In all her acts a strange divinity shone:
Into a simplest movement she could bring
A oneness with earth’s glowing robe of light,
A lifting up of common acts by love.
All-love was hers and its one heavenly cord
Bound all to all with her as golden tie.
[Savitri: 469 – 471]