“Invitation to Savitri” Pt 27: Book 8, Canto 3, and Book 9, Cantos 1–2

Talks by Prof. Mangesh V. Nadkarni in Pondicherry in 1995. All posts can be found HERE. A ZIP archive for off-line listening and reading is HERE


We had to rush through Book 7, particularly the last two cantos of Book 7. We haven’t said much about either of these cantos, and I’m afraid we may not have the time to do so either today or tomorrow, tomorrow being the last day of our camp, or Adhyay Satra, as we call it. Now, Book 8, as you can see, consists of only one canto, and it’s called Canto 3. And the editorial note explains why it is called Canto 3. This is a book about which Sri Aurobindo seems to have said, “let us see about it later.”

Now I have a very simple-minded explanation which helps us in understanding the arrangement of the cantos better. Chronologically, if you look at it: Cantos 1 and 2 of Book 1 belong here. So far, as we can see, Savitri’s yoga, Savitri performs during the last few days of that one year which she spends with Satyavan. In fact, the Mahabharata story says the triratra vow was undertaken four days prior to this date announced by Narad. So, that is, by the time Canto 7 of Book 7 is finished, we are ready for that day on which Satyavan was destined to die. And the dawn of that day, the early morning of that day are described in Cantos 1 and 2 of Book 1. And Canto 3 of Book 8 describes the forenoon and the noon. So chronologically, if you regard Cantos 1 and 2 of Book 1 as part of Book 8―just chronologically, they don’t belong there because Book 8 has a special place, it’s called the Book of Death―then it probably will make sense, and we can see why this has to be Canto 3.

Now Canto 3 is Death in the Forest and Sri Aurobindo follows the original story fairly closely here. That morning, Savitri approaches Satyavan’s parents and says, as we see on page 562:

“One year that I have lived with Satyavan
Here on the emerald edge of the vast woods
In the iron ring of the enormous peaks
Under the blue rifts of the forest sky,
I have not gone into the silences
Of this great woodland that enringed my thoughts
With mystery, nor in its green miracles
Wandered, but this small clearing was my world.
Bk 8, Canto 3, p. 562

She says, I have been very curious about this forest but I have never found the time to wander about, to wander around and take a look at all the glories and the beauties of this forest. I have been confined more or less to this clearing where our hermitage is located.

Now has a strong desire seized all my heart
To go with Satyavan holding his hand
Into the life that he has loved and touch
Herbs he has trod and know the forest flowers
And hear at ease the birds and the scurrying life
That starts and ceases, rich far rustle of boughs
And all the mystic whispering of the woods.
Release me now and let my heart have rest.”
Bk 8, Canto 3, p. 562

So would you please permit me to go out this morning with Satyavan into the forest, so that, as she says, I can hear the birds and look at the scurrying life and listen to the rustle of boughs and all the mystic whisperings of the woods. This is a request she makes because she knows that this was the day, and she should be by the side of Satyavan. But as you know, neither Satyavan nor Satyavan’s parents know about this prediction of Narad’s, so they don’t know anything about it, and Satyavan’s mother says,

“…Do as thy wise mind desires,
O calm child sovereign with the eyes that rule.
I hold thee for a strong goddess who has come
Pitying our barren days; so dost thou serve
Even as a slave might, yet art thou beyond
All that thou doest, all our minds conceive,
Like the strong sun that serves earth from above.”
Bk 8, Canto 3, p. 562

Somehow, Satyavan’s mother recognizes a secret divinity in Savitri. She doesn’t spell it out very clearly, but that’s what she says. Although you have been slaving for us since you arrived here, she says, you are like a strong goddess who has come pitying our barren days, and you have been serving us like a slave. Then she says, if your heart so desires, you are most welcome to accompany Satyavan today into the forest. And that’s how she goes. And Satyavan, very happy, is also very excited that Savitri is accompanying him that morning. They go into the forest and he has been collecting fruit and chopping wood. On page 564, about 5-6 lines from the top:

But as he worked, his doom upon him came.
The violent and hungry hounds of pain
Travelled through his body biting as they passed
Silently, and all his suffering breath besieged
Strove to rend life’s strong heart-cords and be free.
Bk 8, Canto 3, p. 564

Some pain ran through his entire body, and what this pain was, whether it was a sunstroke, or a snake bite, there’re plenty of speculation about it. There is a learned article on this topic by Dr. Deshpande, whom I don’t see today, but who normally comes here. He has an article called “Satyavan must Die.” There’s a series of articles on this very line, “Satyavan must Die.” Why does Sri Aurobindo say ”Satyavan must die”? What is the force of this “must” and so on? And in one of the articles, he takes this question up, and finally comes to the conclusion it must have been a sunstroke. Well, those of you who are medically inclined towards Savitri can make further investigation. I am just mentioning this as a point of peripheral interest.

Then his whole body began to be wracked with pain,

And he cried to her, “Savitri, a pang
Cleaves through my head and breast as if the axe
Were piercing it and not the living branch.
Bk 8, Canto 3, p. 564

He says, I feel as if the axe that I have been using on this tree, on this branch of this tree, it looks as if somebody is wielding the same axe on my body.

Such agony rends me as the tree must feel
When it is sundered and must lose its life.
Awhile let me lay my head upon thy lap
And guard me with thy hands from evil fate:
Perhaps because thou touchest, death may pass.”
Bk 8, Canto 3, p. 564

He already is talking about death because the pain must be so acute, so agonizing. So he says, I’ll come down and lie down with my head on your lap. Maybe, something you may have, some feeling pass, something about your touch may drive away even if the God of Death is planning to come near us. So he comes down and he is lying down with his head on Savitri’s lap. On page 565, these are his very last words:

He cried out in a clinging last despair,
“Savitri, Savitri, O Savitri,
Lean down, my soul, and kiss me while I die.”
And even as her pallid lips pressed his,
His failed, losing last sweetness of response;
His cheek pressed down her golden arm.
She sought His mouth still with her living mouth, as if
She could persuade his soul back with her kiss;
Then grew aware they were no more alone.
Something had come there conscious, vast and dire.
Near her she felt a silent shade immense
Chilling the noon with darkness for its back.
An awful hush had fallen upon the place:
There was no cry of birds, no voice of beasts.
A terror and an anguish filled the world,
As if annihilation’s mystery
Had taken a sensible form.
Bk. 8, Canto 3, p. 565

She suddenly becomes aware of another presence there around them, and when she looks up, she sees a terror and an anguish fill the world, “as if annihilation’s mystery had taken a sensible form.” That was the presence of the God of Death. On page 566, the last two lines:

She knew that visible Death was standing there
And Satyavan had passed from her embrace.
Bk 8, Canto 3, p. 566

At that point, she realizes that Satyavan had already passed from her embrace. Now, as you know, this is a book that Sri Aurobindo said we’ll come back to some time later. What that sentence means, why he said that, people have speculated a great deal about it, but there’s no need for us to go into the imponderables at this point.

We therefore go on to Book 9, which as you see now, we’re in the last part of this epic. Part 3, which consists of four books, Books 9, 10, 11 and 12. Twelve is a very brief book, the Epilogue, but in the original Mahabharata story, the ground Sri Aurobindo covers in the Epilogue takes about one third of the entire narration. Vyasa, in fact, devotes about 200 lines to what Sri Aurobindo covers in the Epilogue. For his purpose, the Epilogue doesn’t have a great deal of importance. As you know, the legend has been used primarily because it can serve as a symbol, but the Epilogue part he more or less ignores. Now, Books 9, 10 and 11, these three books describe what happens between Savitri and the God of Death―the dialogue, the conversation, the struggle, whichever way you want to look at it.

In the original, as I have been saying, you have something corresponding to this. There, of course, because Savitri had acquired great power, because of the various vratas and fidelity to her husband and so on, she has the power to step into the kingdom of the dead and she follows the God of Death. And the God of Death doesn’t like it, but Savitri talks to him very pleasingly, in very good diction, good syntax, good grammar. That’s what the poet describes. Vyasa talks about this. And she talks to him, she’s like a chatter box. She talks about various kinds of things: about what is dharma, what is righteousness, what is good conduct, and so on. And Yama is really charmed by the vivaciousness, the dignity, the innate culture, the learning, the good manners, the deep insight into matters sacred and profane, as it were, shown by Savitri. So he is shown as an indulgent God of Death. He’s not a terror; he’s shown as very indulgent and he’s very free with his gifts. So he gives her various gifts, but finally Savitri continues and wins him over and she gets Satyavan back and they come back to earth.

Now, Sri Aurobindo takes this conversation between the God of Death and Savitri and he uses it in a different way. Just as I have been trying to explain with Aswapati’s yoga, which was described by Vyasa in 10 lines, Sri Aurobindo describes it in 10,968 lines. And I have explained why he needs such a vast canvas. Savitri’s yoga, which in the original is what is the triratra vow of Savitri, once again is converted here into Savitri’s yoga, almost 400 pages long.

Here again, the incident is retained, but the God of Death is not just some god here in Sri Aurobindo’s epic. The God of Death represents everything that negates, everything that pulls down the evolutionary urge for the progressive self-manifestation of the Divine. He represents death, death also is a part of this total scheme. The total scheme which kind of impedes, which provides various kinds of obstacles to this evolutionary urge for the complete self-manifestation of the Divine in all its glory. So, Death here represents all kinds of negativity, all kinds of pessimism, that which would like man to continue as he is or even probably put the clock of evolution back. All these forces are represented by the God of Death, and that is why the conversation between the God of Death and Savitri is entirely at a different level.

You see here, in one sense, a great miracle, where intellectual philosophy has been converted into poetic passion of a very rare kind. As you see, the God of Death assumes various philosophic positions against Savitri’s position, which is primarily Sri Aurobindo’s position. Savitri symbolizes that position in a particular way. She wants the fulfillment of her earthly love here on earth, she wants a terrestrial fulfillment of the ideal. Now that’s what Sri Aurobindo was talking about: we want the perfection to be realized here on earth. Now, this is symbolic: Savitri’s assertions, Savitri’s aim, is symbolic of this. And the God of Death takes various kinds of philosophical positions against this.

It’s like saying, let us write a critique of what Sri Aurobindo is trying to do, let us criticize him. This is what the God of Death keeps doing. All the strongest arguments against Sri Aurobindo’s own position can be found in the words used by the God of Death. Yama, in fact, is a great critic of Sri Aurobindo’s vision, of Sri Aurobindo’s ideal. That’s why when the God of Death speaks, it is so powerful. His arguments are so powerful and it’s very difficult to believe Sri Aurobindo himself wrote these words. That’s the great capacity of a poet: a poet can identify, can empathize with any point of view. In one sense, a poet doesn’t have a fixed personality, he has an ability to identify, to get into the skin of almost any character. That’s what Shakaespeare does, for example. He has a tremendous capacity to get into the skin of a Macbeth or a Hamlet, and you see, this is how characters probably are made, and for all times to come you have characters like Hamlet.

Exactly the same way, Sri Aurobindo has this tremendous capacity to identify himself, to get into the skin of an advaitin, for example. To begin with, you have the nihilist position, which says something like, there is no truth, and the corollary of it, everything is permitted. There is no truth, don’t go after truth, there is no truth. The sad fact is that most existentialists were anguished that there is no truth. They kept claiming, passionately asserting that there is no truth, but they felt there was some truth. That’s why there was this agonizing: “Where is truth? We want truth,” but at the same time they kept saying, “There is no truth.” This kind of a position the God of Death takes and then argues against Savitri. And you will see, in Yama’s mouth, it’s not any more a philosophical metaphysical proposition, it’s a passionately held conviction. So it comes out as great poetry, it comes out as great passion. This is what he does.

Then he goes on, after this position has been exhausted, he goes on to take up the position of somebody who argues the basis of realism: all ideals are, after all, you know, kind of like wings in the air―nobody has ever realized any ideal, we must be realistic.

Then he takes a third position: well, don’t you know that only spirit is real and matter is unreal. He almost takes a kind of Buddhist position. So he takes various positions, and each one of these positions is held very passionately by the God of Death. And so, in one sense, this is a fascinating part. It is not philosophy per se. It’s not philosophy, the kind you will see in books, but the force of these philosophies has been poetically expressed. This is the miracle I was talking about: intellectual statements being converted into great poetic passion. That’s what Sri Aurobindo does in these three books. That is the charm, and some of the most memorable poetic passages in Savitri also come from this section. As we will see, they are innumerable.  I don’t think we’ll have time to look at all those.

Now, in Book 9, the first thing that happens is the God of Death has caught Satyavan into a noose and then he’s pulling him into the world of death. Here it’s described about 6-7 lines from the top of page 574.

Something stood there, unearthly, sombre, grand,
A limitless denial of all being

That wore the terror and wonder of a shape.
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 574

 He says it wore ‘terror’ and also ‘wonder.’  Yama had a shape which made you wonder-struck, but also which terrified you.

Something stood there, unearthly, sombre, grand,
A limitless denial of all being

This is what Sri Aurobindo emphasizes whenever he talks about Yama: it’s a denial; he stands for this denial of all being.

That wore that terror and wonder of a shape
In its appalling eyes the tenebrous Form
Bore the deep pity of destroying gods;
A sorrowful irony curved the dreadful lips
That speak the word of doom. Eternal Night
In the dire beauty of an immortal face
Pitying arose, receiving all that lives
For ever into its fathomless heart, refuge
Of creatures from their anguish and world-pain.
His shape was nothingness made real, his limbs
Were monuments of transience and beneath
Brows of unwearying calm large godlike lids
Silent beheld the writhing serpent, life.
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 574

The God of Death, when he looked at life, life looked like a writhing serpent, all the time unsure of itself, mesmerized by the eyes of death.

Unmoved the timeless wide unchanging gaze
Had seen the unprofitable cycles pass,
Survived the passing of unnumbered stars
And sheltered still the same immutable orbs.
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 574

Savitri has cast, as it were, her heart ‘s protection around Satyavan’s being. And therefore the God of Death is finding it difficult to extricate Satyavan’s being from this hold of Savitri’s soul. On page 575, first line, he says:

 …“Unclasp”, it cried,
“Thy passionate influence and relax, O slave
Of Nature…
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

In the beginning he treats her with great disdain:

…O Slave
of Nature, changing tool of changeless Law,
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

You are just a changing tool of changeless law. That’s the respect he has for human nature.

Who vainly writh’st rebellion to my yoke,
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

What is it? Ungrasp what?

Thy elemental grasp; weep and forget.
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

That’s all that you human beings can do: weep and forget.

Entomb thy passion in its living grave.
Leave now the once-loved spirit’s abandoned robe:
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

Don’t you know this is the abandoned robe of Satyavan? Why do you want to cling to it? Release it.

Pass lonely back to thy vain life on earth.”
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

Go back to earth. Savitri is not obliging. Then he goes on:

“Wilt thou for ever keep thy passionate hold,
Thyself a creature doomed like him to pass,
Denying his soul death’s calm and silent rest?
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

I have come here to release him from this agonizing enterprise called life. I have come here to give him rest.

Denying his soul death’s calm and silent rest?
Relax thy grasp; this body is earth’s and thine,
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

His body belongs to this earth. If anything, you have a right over his body.

His spirit now belongs to a greater power.
Woman, thy husband suffers.”
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

In this tug of war, with the God of Death pulling in one direction, Savitri pulling in another direction, he says, your husband is suffering. Of course, Savitri is also getting ready in the meanwhile:

She rose and stood gathered in lonely strength,
Like one who drops his mantle for a race
And waits the signal, motionlessly swift.
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 575

You can’t beat the master: when it catches his fancy, in two lines, he can freeze a whole scene. Savitri is now getting ready, how to describe it, as a sprinter would throw off whatever mantle that he’s wearing to keep him warm. You know, they always wear something when they are limbering up and so on, this mantle. So, the last two minutes, the mantle is down, waiting for the signal to start, and the phrase is beautiful: “motionlessly swift.” The race has already begun, but it has not been executed. The motion is already there in his being: he’s ready for the race, motionlessly swift. That’s what Savitri is described as. Then, how does Satyavan look now? On page 576, about 5 lines from the top:

And, like a dream that wakes out of a dream,
Forsaking the poor mould of that dead clay,
Another luminous Satyavan arose,
Starting upright from the recumbent earth
As if someone over viewless borders stepped
Emerging on the edge of unseen worlds.
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 576

On page 577, where the section ends, about the second line from the top:

Luminous he moved away; behind him Death
Went slowly with his noiseless tread, as seen
In dream-built fields a shadowy herdsman glides
Behind some wanderer from his voiceless herds,
And Savitri moved behind eternal Death,
Her mortal pace was equalled with the god’s.
Wordless she travelled in her lover’s steps,
Planting her human feet where his had trod,
Into the perilous silences beyond.
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 577

Now the threesome is moving on: first Satyavan’s soul, then the God of Death, and following the God of Death, Savitri. On page 580, the God of Death is quite surprised that Savitri has come this far. About 15 lines from the bottom:

“O mortal, turn back to thy transient kind;
Aspire not to accompany Death to his home,
As if thy breath could live where Time must die.
Think not thy mind-born passion strength from heaven
To uplift thy spirit from its earthly base
And, breaking out from the material cage,
To upbuoy thy feet of dream in groundless Nought
And bear thee through the pathless infinite.
Only in human limits man lives safe.
Bk 9, Canto 1, p. 580

Live within your limits, operate within human limits. You have crossed the bounds which are laid down for man. You have come into an area which is not yours. First, the God of Death gives her what may be called the third degree treatment, as it were. He takes her through a dreadful experience hoping that this experience itself might dissuade her. That is described in Journey in Eternal Night and the Voice of Darkness in Canto 2. We’ll read just a little bit, we don’t have time for more. On page 583, about 7 lines from the top:

A mystery of terror’s boundlessness,
Gathering its hungry strength the huge pitiless void
Surrounded slowly with its soundless depths,
And monstrous, cavernous, a shapeless throat
Devoured her into its shadowy strangling mass,
The fierce spiritual agony of a dream.
A curtain of impenetrable dread,
The darkness hung around her cage of sense
As, when the trees have turned to blotted shades
And the last friendly glimmer fades away,
Around a bullock in the forest tied
By hunters closes in no empty night.
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 583

It’s like a bullock feeling all terrified. A bullock is tied to a tree as a bait for the tiger: that’s how the God of Death wants Savitri now to feel. And so he describes the scene:

The thought that strives in the world was here unmade;
Its effort it renounced to live and know,
Convinced at last that it had never been;
It perished, all its dream of action done:
This clotted cypher was its dark result.
In the smothering stress of this stupendous Nought
Mind could not think, breath could not breathe, the soul
Could not remember or feel itself; it seemed
A hollow gulf of sterile emptiness,
A zero oblivious of the sum it closed,
An abnegation of the Maker’s joy
Saved by no wide repose, no depth of peace.
On all that claims here to be Truth and God
And conscious self and the revealing Word
And the creative rapture of the Mind
And Love and Knowledge and heart’s delight, there fell
The immense refusal of the eternal No.
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 583

Well, you can read it; that’s a fairly long passage. Now, on page 586, the God of Death is quite surprised that all these terrors hold no threat for Savitri.  At the beginning of page 586:

“This is my silent dark immensity,
This is the home of everlasting Night,
This is the secrecy of Nothingness
Entombing the vanity of life’s desires.
Hast thou beheld thy source, O transient heart,
And known from what the dream thou art was made?
In this stark sincerity of nude emptiness
Hopest thou still always to last and love?”
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 586

This is the origin of the whole of creation. What thou just now saw―the denial, the darkness, the abyss―from here creation came out. This is all you are made of. Do you still want to establish the kingdom of love?

Then, on the same page, about 8-10 lines from the bottom, his sophistry begins and see how the God of Death in 2-3 lines condemns the entire human enterprise. You see, the cry of nihilism is that human life seems void of any significance. The human enterprise has no meaning. Does it mean anything at all whether we live or we die, because life seems to have no meaning, no purpose, no significance? And that kind of thing, the God of Death now captures very brilliantly, very beautifully, about 9 lines from the bottom. And this seems to be like the 1968 student revolution in Paris. They used to write this slogan in the underground metro; it said something like this: “there is no truth, everything is permitted.” You can do anything that you want. There is no law, there is no fulfillment, nothing at all. So this is the depths of despair, as if humanity as a whole had no will to live. That kind of an attitude is captured by the God of Death here. He says―just look at these two lines―what is man? People have given different descriptions of man; here is another description:

A fragile miracle of thinking clay,
Armed with illusions walks the child of Time.
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 586

What is man? “A fragile miracle of thinking clay.Fragile miracle: it’s a miracle, it’s fragile alright. One of the weakest animals on this earth is man, made of clay, but miracle alright. Look at the brain that he has! The most complicated, the most complex organism; there is nothing more complex than the human brain. And nature seems to have just fabricated it by a kind of blundering process. Nature took a handful of dust and made man and gave him all the things that he has: a heart that keeps pumping blood minute after minute, minute after minute. minute after minute, 60 years, 70 years, 80 years. It develops some sluggishness and you are quite surprised. Which machine works for 70 years without developing any kind of sluggishness? Then the brain, the whole complex mechanism, almost like God. Man is almost like God. It’s a miracle.

A fragile miracle of thinking clay,
Armed with illusions walks the child of Time.
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 586

What is he armed with? Illusions! Illusions like what? Illusions like God, illusions like soul, illusions like partriotism, illusions like love. They are all illusions: there is no God, there is no soul, there is no love, there is no patriotism. “Armed with illusions walks the child of Time.” So helpless walks the child of time.

To fill the void around he feels and dreads,
The void he came from and to which he goes,
He magnifies his self and names it God.
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 586

What is your God? You know, little children get terrified when they get up at midnight. Well, I guess in India most little children sleep with their mothers or fathers or both together, but in Western countries the child has to sleep all by itself or himself or herself right from a very young age. And if it gets up at midnight and Mommy isn’t there, it feels terrified. It’s dark. So to make the child feel reassured, the child is very often persuaded to go to bed with a doll. A doll looks human, and so when the child gets up at midnight frightened, scared, and there’s nobody around, it looks at the doll and feels reassured. The doll is absolutely useless. The girl at least has life; the doll has no life at all! But psychologically, it feels comfortable. He says man is exactly like that. When he wakes up in life, he feels totally frightened, he doesn’t know which way to turn. Our ancestors have said “take this doll; this is called God.” So God is nothing more nor nothing less than this doll. It makes you comfortable, he’s not denying it. He’s not saying it’s totally useless, but if it comes to a crunch, if the child really needs help, I don’t think the doll will help the child. Only, when mankind ever needs help, I don’t think God has ever been able to provide it. Look at the biting sarcasm. Look at the finesse with which he puts across his viewpoint. We’ve only done about five lines; there are hundreds of lines like this in the whole epic.

A fragile miracle of thinking clay,
Armed with illusions walks the child of Time.
To fill the void around he feels and dreads,
The void he came from and to which he goes,
He magnifies his self and names it God.
He calls the heavens to help his suffering hopes.
He sees above him with a longing heart
Bare spaces more unconscious than himself
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 586

He looks up there! Is there anything more conscious than man up there? There is nothing!

That have not even his privilege of mind,
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 583

You at least have mind, there is nobody up there who has even a mind.

And empty of all but their unreal blue,
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 587

Even the blue of the sky is unreal! The sky has nothing, not even a color, but we all think, O God, O Allah, O Jesus, whatever. Looking up, we are praying. What is this ridiculous thing you are doing?

And peoples them with bright and merciful powers.
For the sea roars around him and earth quakes
Beneath his steps, and fire is at his doors,
And death prowls baying through the woods of life.
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 587

When all this happens you are terrified: “God, God, somebody help us.” Who? God. This is what happens:

Moved by the Presences with which he yearns,
He offers in implacable shrines his soul
And clothes all with the beauty of his dreams.
The gods who watch the earth with sleepless eyes
And guide its giant stumblings through the void,
Have given to man the burden of his mind;
In his unwilling heart they have lit their fires
And sown in it incurable unrest.
Bk 9, Canto 2, p. 587

Gods have made man accursed by giving him something called the mind. Mind is what has made the human enterprise tragic. You don’t find any horse tragic, any animal tragic. Gods, of course, are beyond tragedy; they are a world of perfection. The only creature who is tragic is man. He has lost the innocence of the beasts, he is yet to achieve the perfection. And gods, your imaginary gods, if they are there, if they have given you anything at all, they have given you this curse called the human mind.