THE MOTHER’S SAVITRI: Book 1 Canto 2


The Mother Reads Selections from Savitri by Sri Aurobindo

Book 1 Canto 2

An absolute supernatural darkness falls
On man sometimes when he draws near to God:
An hour comes when fail all Nature’s means;
Forced out from the protecting Ignorance
And flung back on his naked primal need,
He at length must cast from him his surface soul
And be the ungarbed entity within:
That hour had fallen now on Savitri.
[p. 11-12]
* * *
Around her were the austere sky-pointing hills,
And the green murmurous broad deep-thoughted woods
Muttered incessantly their muffled spell.
A dense magnificent coloured self-wrapped life
Draped in the leaves’ vivid emerald monotone
And set with chequered sunbeams and blithe flowers
Immured her destiny’s secluded scene.
There had she grown to the stature of her spirit:
[p. 13]
* * *
And the mighty wildness of the primitive earth
And the brooding multitude of patient trees
And the musing sapphire leisure of the sky
And the solemn weight of the slowly-passing months
Had left in her deep room for thought and God.
There was her drama’s radiant prologue lived.
[p. 14]
* * *
Here with the suddenness divine advents have,
Repeating the marvel of the first descent,
Changing to rapture the dull earthly round,
Love came to her hiding the shadow, Death.
Well might he find in her his perfect shrine.
[p. 14]
* * *
All in her pointed to a nobler kind.
Near to earth’s wideness, intimate with heaven,
Exalted and swift her young large-visioned spirit
Voyaging through worlds of splendour and of calm
Overflew the ways of Thought to unborn things.
Ardent was her self-poised unstumbling will;
Her mind, a sea of white sincerity,
Passionate in flow, had not one turbid wave.
[p. 14-15]
* * *
As in a mystic and dynamic dance
A priestess of immaculate ecstasies
Inspired and ruled from Truth’s revealing vault
Moves in some prophet cavern of the gods,
A heart of silence in the hands of joy
Inhabited with rich creative beats
A body like a parable of dawn
That seemed a niche for veiled divinity
Or golden temple door to things beyond.
[p. 15]
* * *
As might a soul fly like a hunted bird,
Escaping with tired wings from a world of storms,
And a quiet reach like a remembered breast,
In a haven of safety and splendid soft repose
One could drink life back in streams of honey-fire,
Recover the lost habit of happiness,
Feel her bright nature’s glorious ambience,
And preen joy in her warmth and colour’s rule.
[p. 15]
* * *
Almost they saw who lived within her light
Her playmate in the sempiternal spheres
Descended from its unattainable realms
In her attracting advent’s luminous wake,
The white-fire dragon-bird of endless bliss
Drifting with burning wings above her days:
Heaven’s tranquil shield guarded the missioned child.

Whether to bear with Ignorance and death
Or hew the ways of Immortality,
To win or lose the godlike game for man,
Was her soul’s issue thrown with Destiny’s dice.
But not to submit and suffer was she born;
To lead, to deliver was her glorious part.

An image fluttering on the screen of Fate,
Half-animated for a passing show,
Or a castaway on the ocean of Desire
Flung to the eddies in a ruthless sport
And tossed along the gulfs of Circumstance,
[p. 16-17]
* * *
A creature born to bend beneath the yoke,
A chattel and a plaything of Time’s lords,
Or one more pawn who comes destined to be pushed
One slow move forward on a measureless board
In the chess-play of the earth-soul with Doom,—
Such is the human figure drawn by Time.
[p. 17-18]
* * *
A conscious frame was here, a self-born Force.
[p. 18]
* * *
Across each road stands armed a stone-eyed Law,
At every gate the huge dim sentinels pace.
[p. 18]
* * *
A grey tribunal of the Ignorance,
An Inquisition of the priests of Night
In judgment sit on the adventurer soul,
And the dual tables and the Karmic norm
Restrain the Titan in us and the God:
Pain with its lash, joy with its silver bribe
Guard the Wheel’s circling immobility.
[p. 18]
* * *
Death stays the journeying discoverer, Life.
[p. 18]
* * *
A magic leverage suddenly is caught
That moves the veiled Ineffable’s timeless will:
A prayer, a master act, a king idea
Can link man’s strength to a transcendent Force.
[p. 20]
* * *
A flaming warrior from the eternal peaks
Empowered to force the door denied and closed
Smote from Death’s visage its dumb absolute
And burst the bounds of consciousness and Time.
[p. 21]

End of Book 1 Canto 2


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