Problem of Pain, pp 437-439 (SH 225)

Savitri Class in Hindi with Alok Pandey.
Savitri Book Six : The Book of Fate, Canto Two : The Way of Fate and the Problem of Pain

 


The Queen and human mother of Savitri is touched by her daughter’s Adverse Fate. She is moved to the core and raises now questions against Fate and its workings. However at first she states the problem of Pain and how our body and mind connive to make life painful.

A Silence sealed the irrevocable decree,
The word of Fate that fell from heavenly lips
Fixing a doom no power could ever reverse
Unless heaven’s will itself could change its course.
Or so it seemed: yet from the silence rose
One voice that questioned changeless destiny,
A will that strove against the immutable Will.

A mother’s heart had heard the fateful speech
That rang like a sanction to the call of death
And came like a chill close to life and hope.
Yet hope sank down like an extinguished fire.
She felt the leaden inevitable hand
Invade the secrecy of her guarded soul
And smite with sudden pain its still content
And the empire of her hard-won quietude.

Awhile she fell to the level of human mind,
A field of mortal grief and Nature’s law;
She shared, she bore the common lot of men
And felt what common hearts endure in Time.
Voicing earth’s question to the inscrutable power
The queen now turned to the still immobile seer:
Assailed by the discontent in Nature’s depths,
Partner in the agony of dumb driven things
And all the misery, all the ignorant cry,
Passionate like sorrow questioning heaven she spoke.
Lending her speech to the surface soul on earth
She uttered the suffering in the world’s dumb heart
And man’s revolt against his ignorant fate.

“O seer, in the earth’s strange twi-natured life
By what pitiless adverse Necessity
Or what cold freak of a Creator’s will,
By what random accident or governed Chance
That shaped a rule out of fortuitous steps,
Made destiny from an hour’s emotion, came
Into the unreadable mystery of Time
The direr mystery of grief and pain?

Is it thy God who made this cruel law?

Or some disastrous Power has marred his work
And he stands helpless to defend or save?

A fatal seed was sown in life’s false start
When evil twinned with good on earthly soil.
Then first appeared the malady of mind,
Its pang of thought, its quest for the aim of life.
It twisted into forms of good and ill
The frank simplicity of the animal’s acts;
It turned the straight path hewn by the body’s gods,
Followed the zigzag of the uncertain course
Of life that wanders seeking for its aim
In the pale starlight falling from thought’s skies,
Its guides the unsure idea, the wavering will.

Lost was the instinct’s safe identity
With the arrow-point of being’s inmost sight,
Marred the sure steps of Nature’s simple walk
And truth and freedom in the growing soul.

Out of some ageless innocence and peace,
Privilege of souls not yet betrayed to birth,
Cast down to suffer on this hard dangerous earth
Our life was born in pain and with a cry.

Although earth-nature welcomes heaven’s breath
Inspiring Matter with the will to live,
A thousand ills assail the mortal’s hours
And wear away the natural joy of life;
Our bodies are an engine cunningly made,
But for all its parts as cunningly are planned,
Contrived ingeniously with demon skill,
Its apt inevitable heritage
Of mortal danger and peculiar pain,
Its payment of the tax of Time and Fate,
Its way to suffer and its way to die.

This is the ransom of our high estate,
The sign and stamp of our humanity.
A grisly company of maladies
Come, licensed lodgers, into man’s bodily house,
Purveyors of death and torturers of life.

In the malignant hollows of the world,
In its subconscient cavern-passages
Ambushed they lie waiting their hour to leap,
Surrounding with danger the sieged city of life:
Admitted into the citadel of man’s days
They mine his force and maim or suddenly kill.

Ourselves within us lethal forces nurse;
We make of our own enemies our guests:
Out of their holes like beasts they creep and gnaw
The chords of the divine musician’s lyre
Till frayed and thin the music dies away
Or crashing snaps with a last tragic note.

All that we are is like a fort beset:
All that we strive to be alters like a dream
In the grey sleep of Matter’s ignorance.
Mind suffers lamed by the world’s disharmony
And the unloveliness of human things.

Savitri: 437 – 439

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