Nirvana and Works in the World, pp. 549-552 (SH 277)

Savitri Book Seven: The Book of Yoga
Canto Six: Nirvana and the Discovery of the All-Negating Absolute
Canto Seven: The Discovery of the Cosmic Spirit and the Cosmic Consciousness

 


Savitri has finally arrived at the complete annulment of her separate self in the utter infinity of the Unknowable One. Yet she ceases not from living nor from works in the world. Her newfound inner state is being described along with the outer life that goes on in the sylvan hermitage.


The men who walked beneath an unreal sky
Seemed mobile puppets out of cardboard cut
And pushed by unseen hands across the soil
Or moving pictures upon Fancy’s film:

This shadow of herself so close to nought
Could be again self’s point d’appui to live,
Return out of the Inconceivable
And be what some mysterious vast might choose.

Even as the Unknowable decreed,
She might be nought or new-become the All,
Or if the omnipotent Nihil took a shape
Emerge as someone and redeem the world.

Even, she might learn what the mystic cipher held,
This seeming exit or closed end of all
Could be a blind tenebrous passage screened from sight,
Her state the eclipsing shell of a darkened sun
On its secret way to the Ineffable.

Even now her splendid being might flame back
Out of the silence and the nullity,
A gleaming portion of the All-Wonderful,
A power of some all-affirming Absolute,
A shining mirror of the eternal Truth
To show to the One-in-all its manifest face,
To the souls of men their deep identity.

Or she might wake into God’s quietude
Beyond the cosmic day and cosmic night
And rest appeased in his white eternity.

But this was now unreal or remote
Or covered in the mystic fathomless blank.
In infinite Nothingness was the ultimate sign
Or else the Real was the Unknowable.

A lonely Absolute negated all:
It effaced the ignorant world from its solitude
And drowned the soul in its everlasting peace.

END OF CANTO SIX

Canto Seven. The Discovery of the Cosmic Spirit and the Cosmic Consciousness

In the little hermitage in the forest’s heart,
In the sunlight and the moonlight and the dark
The daily human life went plodding on
Even as before with its small unchanging works
And its spare outward body of routine
And happy quiet of ascetic peace.
The old beauty smiled of the terrestrial scene;
She too was her old gracious self to men.

The Ancient Mother clutched her child to her breast
Pressing her close in her environing arms,
As if earth ever the same could for ever keep
The living spirit and body in her clasp,
As if death were not there nor end nor change.

Accustomed only to read outward signs
None saw aught new in her, none divined her state;
They saw a person where was only God’s vast,
A still being or a mighty nothingness.

To all she was the same perfect Savitri:
A greatness and a sweetness and a light
Poured out from her upon her little world.
Life showed to all the same familiar face,
Her acts followed the old unaltered round,
She spoke the words that she was wont to speak
And did the things that she had always done.

Her eyes looked out on earth’s unchanging face,
Around her soul’s muteness all moved as of old;
A vacant consciousness watched from within,
Empty of all but bare Reality.

There was no will behind the word and act,
No thought formed in her brain to guide the speech:
An impersonal emptiness walked and spoke in her,
Something perhaps unfelt, unseen, unknown
Guarded the body for its future work,
Or Nature moved in her old stream of force.

Perhaps she bore made conscious in her breast
The miraculous Nihil, origin of our souls
And source and sum of the vast world’s events,
The womb and grave of thought, a cipher of God,
A zero circle of being’s totality.
It used her speech and acted in her acts,
It was beauty in her limbs, life in her breath;
The original Mystery wore her human face.

[Savitri: 549 – 552]


(line breaks added to emphasize separate movements)

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