The Mother Recites “The Rishi” by Sri Aurobindo


Below is the text of a closing part of the poem, which The Mother recites. For a full text of the poem please refer to the accompanying post, which also contains a commentary on the poem by Dr Alok Pandey

The Rishi (a closing part)

Hear then the truth. Behind this visible world
The eyes see plain,
Another stands, and in its folds are curled
Our waking dreams.
Dream is more real, which, while here we wake,
Unreal seems.
From that our mortal life and thoughts we take.
Its fugitive gleams
Are here made firm and solid; there they float
In a magic haze,
Melody swelling note on absolute note,
A lyric maze,
Beauty on beauty heaped pell-mell to chain
The enchanted gaze,
Thought upon mighty thought with grandiose strain
Weaving the stars.
This is that world of dream from which our race
Came; by these bars
Of body now enchained, with laggard pace,
Borne down with cares,
A little of that rapture to express
We labour hard,
A little of that beauty, music, thought
With toil prepared;
And if a single strain is clearly caught,
Then our reward
Is great on earth, and in the world that floats
Lingering awhile
We hear the fullness and the jarring notes
Then travel forwards. So we slowly rise,
And every mile
Of our long journey mark with eager eyes;
So we progress
With gurge of revolution and recoil,
Slaughter and stress
Of anguish because without fruit we toil,
Without success;
Even as a ship upon the stormy flood
With fluttering sails
Labours towards the shore; the angry mood
Of Ocean swells,
Calms come and favouring winds, but yet afar
The harbour pales
In evening mists and Ocean threatens war:
Such is our life.
Of this be sure, the mighty game goes on,
The glorious strife,
Until the goal predestined has been won.
Not on the cliff
To be shattered has our ship set forth of old,
Nor in the surge
To founder. Therefore, King, be royal, bold,
And through the urge
Of winds, the reboant thunders and the close
Tempestuous gurge
Press on for ever laughing at the blows
Of wind and wave.
The haven must be reached; we rise from pyre,
We rise from grave,
We mould our future by our past desire,
We break, we save,
We find the music that we could not find,
The thought think out
We could not then perfect, and from the mind
That brilliant rout
Of wonders marshal into living forms.
End then thy doubt;
Grieve not for wounds, nor fear the violent storms,
For grief and pain
Are errors of the clouded soul; behind
They do not stain
The living spirit who to these is blind.
Torture, disdain,
Defeat and sorrow give him strength and joy:
’Twas for delight
He sought existence, and if pains alloy,
’Tis here in night
Which we call day. The Yogin knows, O King,
Who in his might
Travels beyond the mind’s imagining,
The worlds of dream.
For even they are shadows, even they
Are not,—they seem.
Behind them is a mighty blissful day
From which they stream.
The heavens of a million creeds are these:
Peopled they teem
By creatures full of joy and radiant ease.
There is the mint
From which we are the final issue, types
Which here we print
In dual letters. There no torture grips,
Joy cannot stint
Her streams,—beneath a more than mortal sun
Through golden air
The spirits of the deathless regions run.
But we must dare
To still the mind into a perfect sleep
And leave this lair
Of gross material flesh which we would keep
Always, before
The guardians of felicity will ope
The golden door.
That is our home and that the secret hope
Our hearts explore.
To bring those heavens down upon the earth
We all descend,
And fragments of it in the human birth
We can command.
Perfect millenniums are sometimes, until
In the sweet end
All secret heaven upon earth we spill,
Then rise above
Taking mankind with us to the abode
Of rapturous Love,
The bright epiphany whom we name God,
Towards whom we drove
In spite of weakness, evil, grief and pain.
He stands behind
The worlds of Sleep; He is and shall remain
When they grow blind
To individual joys; for even these
Are shadows, King,
And gloriously into that lustre cease
From which they spring.
We are but sparks of that most perfect fire,
Waves of that sea:
From Him we come, to Him we go, desire
And so long as He wills, our separate birth
Is and shall be.
Shrink not from life, O Aryan, but with mirth
And joy receive
His good and evil, sin and virtue, till
He bids thee leave.
But while thou livest, perfectly fulfil
Thy part, conceive
Earth as thy stage, thyself the actor strong,
The drama His.
Work, but the fruits to God alone belong,
Who only is.
Work, love and know,—so shall thy spirit win
Immortal bliss.
Love men, love God. Fear not to love, O King,
Fear not to enjoy;
For Death’s a passage, grief a fancied thing
Fools to annoy.
From self escape and find in love alone
A higher joy.

O Rishi, I have wide dominion,
The earth obeys
And heaven opens far beyond the sun
Her golden gaze.
But Him I seek, the still and perfect One,—
The Sun, not rays.

Seek Him upon the earth. For thee He set
In the huge press
Of many worlds to build a mighty state
For man’s success,
Who seeks his goal. Perfect thy human might,
Perfect the race.
For thou art He, O King. Only the night
Is on thy soul
By thy own will. Remove it and recover
The serene whole
Thou art indeed, then raise up man the lover
To God the goal.

Sri Aurobindo
c. 1900 – 1909

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