Savitri is an embodiment of Divine Love. She is the Divine who has assumed the earthly nature. She has taken a material body so that matter can be transformed into an image of divinity. But it is not an easy task. The powers of the Inconscience resist the change and are unwilling to yield. This is the ancient wrestle taking place in every heart. Now Savitri has become the centre of the struggle. This is the cosmic load she has come to share. This is the divine sacrifice in matter that is meant to redeem material life and terrestrial existence. That is the secret of an Avatara who, unlike a spiritual Master and Guide, not only shows the way or helps us cross over from the land of ignorance to the realm of Truth, but actually shares our load of accumulated collective karma and works towards establishing the law of Truth here upon earth. It is not a gate of escape from earthly life that the Avatara comes to open but a gate of redemption of all earthly life, a chance to live divinely here for all who are so willing to heed his call divine. This is the sacrifice of Divine in Matter that helps the earth lift out of its state of inertia and inconscience and an excess of evil and sin.
The ancient disputants and the guardian of the abyss
All came back to her: Earth and Love and Doom,
The ancient disputants, encircled her
Like giant figures wrestling in the night: (page 10 begins)
The godheads from the dim Inconscient born
Awoke to struggle and the pang divine,
And in the shadow of her flaming heart,
At the sombre centre of the dire debate,
A guardian of the unconsoled abyss
Inheriting the long agony of the globe,
A stone-still figure of high and godlike Pain
Stared into Space with fixed regardless eyes
That saw grief’s timeless depths but not life’s goal.
The field of this battle is her human heart that must be forced to suffer and feel the pain and grief that humanity experiences in its journey upon earth. The unconsoled abyss is the fathomless Inconscience, and its guardian is Death who would not let the human soul escape its dark net of Ignorance. He is fed by the misery and suffering of man who has given him such power in their consciousness. Watching over the play of Time with eyes of ignorance, obscured by the darkness and unconsciousness of the abyss, we see only suffering and pain and not the high goal towards which life travels. Indeed material life has been uptil now moulded by this stress and suffering of evolution and knows not the Grace that works behind appearances. But Savitri has come armed with the omnipotent flame of Love that can change the stone-like heart of Death and Doom.
Afflicted by his harsh divinity,
Bound to his throne, he waited unappeased
The daily oblation of her unwept tears.
No amount of suffering and pain can move Death, no amount of human tears can melt his heart, which covered with the darkness of Inconscience knows only terror and grief. In fact this is his daily food. Yet Sri Aurobindo, in keeping with his vision of oneness, sees even behind him the One Divine who has assumed this frightful mask of terror and pain.
The fierce question of man
All the fierce question of man’s hours relived.
The fierce questions of man are the why of evil and suffering and death in a world built by Truth and Delight. Savitri must confront and solve this riddle that haunts man day and night.
The sacrifice of Earth
The sacrifice of suffering and desire
Earth offers to the immortal Ecstasy
Began again beneath the eternal Hand.
There is immortal Bliss a Light Supreme concealed in the heart of Earth. Earth is constantly in search for it. It longs for the emergence of this Delight, and for its sake suffers and labours, struggles and hopes. The days and nights and the changing seasons are the sacrifice that is going on as Earth moves in its orbit round the sun. To hasten earth’s journey and the fulfilment of her yoga, the Divine Mother has herself descended here. She has become one with the Earth and joined in her yagna. She has become the priest, the sacrificant, and her very body built of earth-matter – the object of sacrifice. Through her human body, the Divine Mother, now born as Savitri, experiences and offers all that earthly creatures experience. Taking upon herself their pain and suffering, she offers it all to Her own higher Self so that Delight and Truth and Harmony and Peace may be born here upon Earth and this earthly life become the life divine.
Awake she endured
Awake she endured the moments’ serried march
And looked on this green smiling dangerous world,
And heard the ignorant cry of living things.
Waking up on the day of fatal stroke, Savitri looks upon this world of Ignorance that hides danger and peril behind its smiling and happy appearances. It cries for the very things that will inflict upon it misery and pain. Until such time that it changes, Savitri must endure and bear it within herself for its transmutation.
Her soul arose
Amid the trivial sounds, the unchanging scene
Her soul arose confronting Time and Fate.
Savitri, conscious of her Soul, wakes within and watches the play of Time and Fate behind man’s unvarying life repeating the old patterns again and again. Rising above the appearances of life, Savitri is ready to take the challenge of destiny this day.
Immobile in herself, she gathered force
Immobile in herself, she gathered force.
This is a powerful line revealing the divine way of action. Human action is often driven by restlessness and thereby soon exhausts itself. But Divine action, though powerful and mighty, pours upon the world in perfect stillness. Savitri too remains still to gather all her energies and force needed for work.
Satyavan must die
This was the day when Satyavan must die.
The work she has risen up to do is to change the law of Death. But for this it is first needed to pass under its yoke, to enter into its kingdom, and convince and overpower this being of Night and his dark immensity. If it was just to save one Satyavan or to simply have a happy conjugal life hereafter, Savitri could have done it by remaining above the law and pulling Satyavan too beyond this realm of Ignorance where Death reigns supreme. But the work she is born to do is far more difficult and challenging. What that work is we have glimpsed. In a number of Cantos to follow, we shall see what divine Purpose brought her down to Earth.