THE MOTHER’S SAVITRI: Book 1 Canto 4


The Mother Reads Selections from Savitri by Sri Aurobindo

Book 1 Canto 4

On a height he stood that looked towards greater heights.
Our early approaches to the Infinite
Are sunrise splendours on a marvellous verge
While lingers yet unseen the glorious sun.
What now we see is a shadow of what must come.
[p. 46]
* * *
A shapeless memory lingers in us still
And sometimes, when our sight is turned within,
Earth’s ignorant veil is lifted from our eyes;
There is a short miraculous escape.
[p. 47]
* * *
Our souls can visit in great lonely hours
Still regions of imperishable Light,
All-seeing eagle-peaks of silent Power
And moon-flame oceans of swift fathomless Bliss
And calm immensities of spirit space.
[p. 47]
* * *
In moments when the inner lamps are lit
And the life’s cherished guests are left outside,
Our spirit sits alone and speaks to its gulfs.
[p. 47]
* * *
A treasure of honey in the combs of God,
A Splendour burning in a tenebrous cloak,
It is our glory of the flame of God,
Our golden fountain of the world’s delight,
An immortality cowled in the cape of death,
The shape of our unborn divinity.
[p. 49]
* * *
Along a path of aeons serpentine
In the coiled blackness of her nescient course
The Earth-Goddess toils across the sands of Time.
[p. 50]
* * *
A Being is in her whom she hopes to know,
A Word speaks to her heart she cannot hear,
A Fate compels whose form she cannot see.
In her unconscious orbit through the Void
Out of her mindless depths she strives to rise,
A perilous life her gain, a struggling joy;
[p. 50]
* * *
Ignorant and weary and invincible,
She seeks through the soul’s war and quivering pain
The pure perfection her marred nature needs,
A breath of Godhead on her stone and mire.
[p. 51]
* * *
A light grows in her, she assumes a voice,
Her state she learns to read and the act she has done,
But the one needed truth eludes her grasp,
Herself and all of which she is the sign.
[p. 51]
* * *
A vision meets her of supernal Powers
That draw her as if mighty kinsmen lost
Approaching with estranged great luminous gaze.
Then is she moved to all that she is not
And stretches arms to what was never hers.
[p. 51]
* * *
Outstretching arms to the unconscious Void,
Passionate she prays to invisible forms of Gods
Soliciting from dumb Fate and toiling Time
What most she needs, what most exceeds her scope,
A Mind unvisited by illusion’s gleams,
A Will expressive of soul’s deity,
A Strength not forced to stumble by its speed,
A Joy that drags not sorrow as its shade.
[p. 51-52]
* * *
Only the Immortals on their deathless heights
. . .
Can see the Idea, the Might that change Time’s course,
Come maned with light from undiscovered worlds,
Hear, while the world toils on with its deep blind heart,
The galloping hooves of the unforeseen event,
Bearing the superhuman Rider, near
And, impassive to earth’s din and startled cry,
Return to the silence of the hills of God;
As lightning leaps, as thunder sweeps, they pass
And leave their mark on the trampled breast of Life.
Above the world the world-creators stand,
In the phenomenon see its mystic source.
These heed not the deceiving outward play,
They turn not to the moment’s busy tramp,
But listen with the still patience of the Unborn
For the slow footsteps of far Destiny
. . .
Thus will the masked Transcendent mount his throne.
When darkness deepens strangling the earth’s breast
And man’s corporeal mind is the only lamp,
As a thief’s in the night shall be the covert tread
Of one who steps unseen into his house.
[p. 53, 54, 55]
* * *
In Matter shall be lit the spirit’s glow,
. . .
A few shall see what none yet understands;
God shall grow up while the wise men talk and sleep;
For man shall not know the coming till its hour
And belief shall be not till the work is done.
[p. 55]
* * *
In the wide signless ether of the Self,
In the unchanging Silence white and nude,
Aloof, resplendent like gold dazzling suns
Veiled by the ray no mortal eye can bear,
The Spirit’s free and absolute potencies
Burn in the solitude of the thoughts of God.
[p. 57]
* * *
An outstretched Hand is felt upon our lives.
It is near us in unnumbered bodies and births;
In its unslackening grasp it keeps for us safe
The one inevitable supreme result
No will can take away and no doom change,
The crown of conscious Immortality,
The godhead promised to our struggling souls
When first man’s heart dared death and suffered life.
[p. 59]
* * *
In the mystery of the deeps that God has built
For his abode below the Thinker’s sight,
. . .
In this gold dome on a black dragon base,
The conscious Force that acts in Nature’s breast,
A dark-robed labourer in the cosmic scheme
Carrying clay images of unborn gods,
. . .
Absolves from hour to hour her secret charge.
[p. 60]
* * *
There are Two who are One and play in many worlds;
In Knowledge and Ignorance they have spoken and met
And light and darkness are their eyes’ interchange;
[p. 61]
* * *
Here on the earth where we must fill our parts,
We know not how shall run the drama’s course;
Our uttered sentences veil in their thought.
Her mighty plan she holds back from our sight:
She has concealed her glory and her bliss
And disguised the Love and Wisdom in her heart;
. . .
As one too great for him he worships her;
He adores her as his regent of desire,
He yields to her as the mover of his will,
He burns the incense of his nights and days
Offering his life, a splendour of sacrifice.
. . .
He leans on her for all he does and is:
He builds on her largesses his proud fortunate days
And trails his peacock-plumaged joy of life
And suns in the glory of her passing smile.
. . .
Happy, inert, he lies beneath her feet:
His breast he offers for her cosmic dance
Of which our lives are the quivering theatre,
And none could bear but for his strength within,
Yet none would leave because of his delight.
[p. 61-62, 63]
* * *
His works, his thoughts have been devised by her,
His being is a mirror vast of hers:
Active, inspired by her he speaks and moves;
His deeds obey her heart’s unspoken demands:
[p. 63]
* * *
His consciousness is a babe upon her knees,
Her endless space is the playground of his thoughts;
. . .
To reign she spurs him. He takes up her powers;
He has harnessed her to the yoke of her own law.
His face of human thought puts on a crown.
. . .
To obey she feigns, she follows her creature’s lead:
For him she was made, lives only for his use.
But conquering her, then is he most her slave;
He is her dependent, all his means are hers;
Nothing without her he can, she rules him still.
At last he wakes to a memory of Self:
He sees within the face of deity,
The Godhead breaks out through the human mould:
Her highest heights she unmasks and is his mate.
. . .
Obedient to World-Nature’s dumb control,
Driven by his own formidable Power,
His chosen partner in a titan game,
Her will he has made the master of his fate,
. . .
He revels in her, a swimmer in her sea,
A tireless amateur of her world-delight,
He rejoices in her every thought and act
And gives consent to all that she can wish;
[p. 64, 65, 66]
* * *
The master of existence lurks in us
And plays at hide-and-seek with his own Force;
In Nature’s instrument loiters secret God.
The Immanent lives in man as in his house;
He has made the universe his pastime’s field,
A vast gymnasium of his works of might.
[p. 66]
* * *
Then in a figure of divinity
The Maker shall recast us and impose
A plan of godhead on the mortal’s mould
Lifting our finite minds to his infinite,
Touching the moment with eternity.
[p. 67]
* * *
This transfiguration is earth’s due to heaven:
A mutual debt binds man to the Supreme:
His nature we must put on as he put ours;
We are sons of God and must be even as he:
His human portion, we must grow divine.
Our life is a paradox with God for key.
[p. 67]
* * *
For the key is hid and by the Inconscient kept;
The secret God beneath the threshold dwells.
[p. 68]
* * *
He is the explorer and the mariner
On a secret inner ocean without bourne:
He is the adventurer and cosmologist
Of a magic earth’s obscure geography.
[p. 69]
* * *
This is the sailor on the flow of Time,
. . .
He in a petty coastal traffic plies,
His pay doled out from port to neighbour port,
Content with his safe round’s unchanging course,
He hazards not the new and the unseen.
. . .
On a commissioned keel his merchant hull
Serves the world’s commerce in the riches of Time
Severing the foam of a great land-locked sea
To reach unknown harbour lights in distant climes
And open markets for life’s opulent arts,
Rich bales, carved statuettes, hued canvases,
And jewelled toys brought for an infant’s play
[p. 69, 70]
* * *
Or passing through a gate of pillar-rocks,
. . .
He leaves the last lands, crosses the ultimate seas,
He turns to eternal things his symbol quest;
Life changes for him its time-constructed scenes,
Its images veiling infinity.
[p. 70]
* * *
Earth’s borders recede and the terrestrial air
Hangs round him no longer its translucent veil.
. . .
The eyes of mortal body plunge their gaze
Into Eyes that look upon eternity.
[p. 70-71]
* * *
A greater world Time’s traveller must explore.
At last he hears a chanting on the heights
And the far speaks and the unknown grows near:
He crosses the boundaries of the unseen
And passes over the edge of mortal sight
To a new vision of himself and things.
[p. 71]
* * *
He is a spirit in an unfinished world
That knows him not and cannot know itself:
The surface symbol of his goalless quest
Takes deeper meanings to his inner view;
His is a search of darkness for the light,
Of mortal life for immortality.
In the vessel of an earthly embodiment
Over the narrow rails of limiting sense
He looks out on the magic waves of Time
Where mind like a moon illumines the world’s dark.
There is limned ever retreating from the eyes,
As if in a tenuous misty dream-light drawn,
The outline of a dim mysterious shore.
A sailor on the Inconscient’s fathomless sea,
He voyages through a starry world of thought
On Matter’s deck to a spiritual sun.
Across the noise and multitudinous cry,
Across the rapt unknowable silences,
Through a strange mid-world under supernal skies,
Beyond earth’s longitudes and latitudes,
His goal is fixed outside all present maps.
[p. 71]
* * *
But none learns whither through the unknown he sails
Or what secret mission the great Mother gave.
In the hidden strength of her omnipotent Will,
Driven by her breath across life’s tossing deep,
Through the thunder’s roar and through the windless hush,
Through fog and mist where nothing more is seen,
He carries her sealed orders in his breast.
[p. 71-72]
* * *
Late will he know, opening the mystic script,
Whether to a blank port in the Unseen
He goes or, armed with her fiat, to discover
A new mind and body in the city of God
And enshrine the Immortal in his glory’s house
And make the finite one with Infinity.
[p. 72]
* * *
A power is on him from her occult force
That ties him to his own creation’s fate,
And never can the mighty traveller rest
And never can the mystic voyage cease
Till the nescient dusk is lifted from man’s soul
And the morns of God have overtaken his night.
[p. 72]
* * *
As long as Nature lasts, he too is there,
For this is sure that he and she are one.
[p. 72]
* * *
This constant will she covered with her sport,
To evoke a person in the impersonal Void,
With the Truth-Light strike earth’s massive roots of trance,
Wake a dumb self in the inconscient depths
And raise a lost power from its python sleep
That the eyes of the Timeless might look out from Time
And the world manifest the unveiled Divine.
[p. 72-73]
* * *
For this he left his white infinity
And laid on the Spirit the burden of the flesh,
That Godhead’s seed might flower in mindless Space.
[p. 73]

End of Book 1 Canto 4

[p. 44-45]


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