Book Ten: The Book of the Double Twilight
Canto Three: The Debate of Love and Death
Savitri now reveals to Death the complete Truth. She reveals how our nature swinging between the two extremes tends to veil the One Divine. In reality these are masks of the Divine and each is a needed step in our growth out of ignorance towards the all-comprehending Wisdom.
A thousand aspects point back to the One;
A dual Nature covered the Unique.
In this meeting of the Eternal’s mingling masques,
This tangle-dance of passionate contraries
Locking like lovers in a forbidden embrace
The quarrel of their lost identity,
Through this wrestle and wrangle of the extremes of Power
Earth’s million roads struggled towards deity.
All stumbled on behind a stumbling Guide,
Yet every stumble is a needed pace
On unknown routes to an unknowable goal.
All blundered and straggled towards the One Divine.
As if transmuted by a titan spell
The eternal Powers assumed a dubious face:
Idols of an oblique divinity,
They wore the heads of animal or troll,
Assumed ears of the faun, the satyr’s hoof,
Or harboured the demoniac in their gaze:
A crooked maze they made of thinking mind,
They suffered a metamorphosis of the heart,
Admitting bacchant revellers from the Night
Into its sanctuary of delights,
As in a Dionysian masquerade.
On the highways, in the gardens of the world
They wallowed oblivious of their divine parts,
As drunkards of a dire Circean wine
Or a child who sprawls and sports in Nature’s mire.
Even wisdom, hewer of the roads of God,
Is a partner in the deep disastrous game:
Lost is the pilgrim’s wallet and the scrip,
She fails to read the map and watch the star.
A poor self-righteous virtue is her stock
And reason’s pragmatic grope or abstract sight,
Or the technique of a brief hour’s success
She teaches, an usher in utility’s school.
On the ocean surface of vast Consciousness
Small thoughts in shoals are fished up into a net
But the great truths escape her narrow cast;
Guarded from vision by creation’s depths,
Obscure they swim in blind enormous gulfs
Safe from the little sounding leads of mind,
Too far for the puny diver’s shallow plunge.
Savitri: 625 – 626
(line breaks added to emphasize separate movements)