Savitri Study Class 24-05 “The Apparent Futility of Human Efforts”, pp. 642-645

Savitri Study Class with Alok Pandey, Book 10 Canto 4.


Death now enters the realm of collective subconscious where the records of past events are kept. He shows here how ideals, systems, creeds, revolutions, philosophies have ended. He once again questions the possibility of ever changing the law of earth.

As if lost remnants of forgotten light,
Before her mind there fled with trailing wings
Dimmed revelations and delivering words,
Emptied of their mission and their strength to save,

The messages of the evangelist gods,
Voices of prophets, scripts of vanishing creeds.
Each in its hour eternal claimed went by:
Ideals, systems, sciences, poems, crafts
Tireless there perished and again recurred,
Sought restlessly by some creative Power;
But all were dreams crossing an empty vast.

Ascetic voices called of lonely seers
On mountain summits or by river banks
Or from the desolate heart of forest glades
Seeking heaven’s rest or the spirit’s worldless peace,
Or in bodies motionless like statues, fixed
In tranced cessations of their sleepless thought
Sat sleeping souls, and this too was a dream.

All things the past has made and slain were there,
Its lost forgotten forms that once had lived,
And all the present loves as new-revealed
And all the hopes the future brings had failed
Already, caught and spent in efforts vain,
Repeated fruitlessly age after age.

Unwearied all returned insisting still
Because of joy in the anguish of pursuit
And joy to labour and to win and lose
And joy to create and keep and joy to kill.

The rolling cycles passed and came again,
Brought the same toils and the same barren end,
Forms ever new and ever old, the long
Appalling revolutions of the world.

Once more arose the great destroying Voice:
Across the fruitless labour of the worlds
His huge denial’s all-defeating might
Pursued the ignorant march of dolorous Time.

“Behold the figures of this symbol realm,
Its solid outlines of creative dream
Inspiring the great concrete tasks of earth.

In its motion-parable of human life
Here thou canst trace the outcome Nature gives
To the sin of being and the error in things
And the desire that compels to live
And man’s incurable malady of hope.

In an immutable order’s hierarchy
Where Nature changes not, man cannot change:
Ever he obeys her fixed mutation’s law;
In a new version of her oft-told tale
In ever-wheeling cycles turns the race.

His mind is pent in circling boundaries:
For mind is man, beyond thought he cannot soar.
If he could leave his limits he would be safe:
He sees but cannot mount to his greater heavens;
Even winged, he sinks back to his native soil.

He is a captive in his net of mind
And beats soul-wings against the walls of life.

In vain his heart lifts up its yearning prayer,
Peopling with brilliant Gods the formless Void;
Then disappointed to the Void he turns
And in its happy nothingness asks release,
The calm Nirvana of his dream of self:
The Word in silence ends, in Nought the name.
Apart amid the mortal multitudes,
He calls the Godhead incommunicable
To be the lover of his lonely soul
Or casts his spirit into its void embrace.

Or he finds his copy in the impartial All;
He imparts to the Immobile his own will,
Attributes to the Eternal wrath and love
And to the Ineffable lends a thousand names.
Hope not to call God down into his life.
How shalt thou bring the Everlasting here?

There is no house for him in hurrying Time.
Vainly thou seekst in Matter’s world an aim;
No aim is there, only a will to be.
All walk by Nature bound for ever the same.

Look on these forms that stay awhile and pass,
These lives that long and strive, then are no more,
These structures that have no abiding truth,
The saviour creeds that cannot save themselves,
But perish in the strangling hands of the years,
Discarded from man’s thought, proved false by Time,
Philosophies that strip all problems bare
But nothing ever have solved since earth began,
And sciences omnipotent in vain
By which men learn of what the suns are made,
Transform all forms to serve their outward needs,
Ride through the sky and sail beneath the sea,
But learn not what they are or why they came;
These polities, architectures of man’s brain,
That, bricked with evil and good, wall in man’s spirit
And, fissured houses, palace at once and jail,
Rot while they reign and crumble before they crash;
These revolutions, demon or drunken god,
Convulsing the wounded body of mankind
Only to paint in new colours an old face;
These wars, carnage triumphant, ruin gone mad,
The work of centuries vanishing in an hour,
The blood of the vanquished and the victor’s crown
Which men to be born must pay for with their pain,
The hero’s face divine on satyr’s limbs,
The demon’s grandeur mixed with the demigod’s,
The glory and the beasthood and the shame;
Why is it all, the labour and the din,
The transient joys, the timeless sea of tears,
The longing and the hoping and the cry,
The battle and the victory and the fall,
The aimless journey that can never pause,
The waking toil, the incoherent sleep,
Song, shouts and weeping, wisdom and idle words,
The laughter of men, the irony of the gods?

Where leads the march, whither the pilgrimage?

Who keeps the map of the route or planned each stage?

Or else self-moved the world walks its own way,
Or nothing is there but only a Mind that dreams:
The world is a myth that happened to come true,
A legend told to itself by conscious Mind,
Imaged and played on a feigned Matter’s ground
On which it stands in an unsubstantial Vast.

Savitri: 642-645

[Breaks are added to emphasize separate movements]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email