Savitri Book Seven: The Book of Yoga
Canto Four: The Triple Soul-Forces
The Madonna of suffering, the Mother who suffers all in us and yet helps us keep hope and endure the journey, has revealed her truth to Savitri. But Savitri also notes how her power has turned in man into something distorted and tortuous. Instead of using the power of endurance to hope and climb, man turns it into a gospel of suffering and torture. He refuses to move and only blames and complains about his predicament. Savitri observes this and moves on, promising the Mother of grief divine that one day She shall return and transform her suffering into joy and peace.
She ceased, and like an echo from below
Answering her pathos of divine complaint
A voice of wrath took up the dire refrain,
A growl of thunder or roar of angry beast,
The beast that crouching growls within man’s depths,—
Voice of a tortured Titan once a God.
“I am the Man of Sorrows, I am he
Who is nailed on the wide cross of the universe;
To enjoy my agony God built the earth,
My passion he has made his drama’s theme.
He has sent me naked into his bitter world
And beaten me with his rods of grief and pain
That I might cry and grovel at his feet
And offer him worship with my blood and tears.
I am Prometheus under the vulture’s beak,
Man the discoverer of the undying fire,
In the flame he kindled burning like a moth;
I am the seeker who can never find,
I am the fighter who can never win,
I am the runner who never touched his goal:
Hell tortures me with the edges of my thought,
Heaven tortures me with the splendour of my dreams.
What profit have I of my animal birth;
What profit have I of my human soul?
I toil like the animal, like the animal die.
I am man the rebel, man the helpless serf;
Fate and my fellows cheat me of my wage.
I loosen with my blood my servitude’s seal
And shake from my aching neck the oppressor’s knees
Only to seat new tyrants on my back:
My teachers lesson me in slavery,
I am shown God’s stamp and my own signature
Upon the sorry contract of my fate.
I have loved, but none has loved me since my birth;
My fruit of works is given to other hands.
All that is left me is my evil thoughts,
My sordid quarrel against God and man,
Envy of the riches that I cannot share,
Hate of a happiness that is not mine.
I know my fate will ever be the same,
It is my nature’s work that cannot change:
I have loved for mine, not for the beloved’s sake,
I have lived for myself and not for others’ lives.
Each in himself is sole by Nature’s law.
So God has made his harsh and dreadful world,
So has he built the petty heart of man.
Only by force and ruse can man survive:
For pity is a weakness in his breast,
His goodness is a laxity in the nerves,
His kindness an investment for return,
His altruism is ego’s other face:
He serves the world that him the world may serve.
If once the Titan’s strength could wake in me,
If Enceladus from Etna could arise,
I then would reign the master of the world
And like a god enjoy man’s bliss and pain.
But God has taken from me the ancient Force.
There is a dull consent in my sluggish heart,
A fierce satisfaction with my special pangs
As if they made me taller than my kind;
Only by suffering can I excel.
I am the victim of titanic ills,
I am the doer of demoniac deeds;
I was made for evil, evil is my lot;
Evil I must be and by evil live;
Nought other can I do but be myself;
What Nature made me, that I must remain.
I suffer and toil and weep; I moan and hate.”
And Savitri heard the voice, the echo heard
And turning to her being of pity spoke:
“Madonna of suffering, Mother of grief divine,
Thou art a portion of my soul put forth
To bear the unbearable sorrow of the world.
Because thou art, men yield not to their doom,
But ask for happiness and strive with fate;
Because thou art, the wretched still can hope.
But thine is the power to solace, not to save.
One day I will return, a bringer of strength,
And make thee drink from the Eternal’s cup;
His streams of force shall triumph in thy limbs
And Wisdom’s calm control thy passionate heart.
Thy love shall be the bond of humankind,
Compassion the bright key of Nature’s acts:
Misery shall pass abolished from the earth;
The world shall be freed from the anger of the Beast,
From the cruelty of the Titan and his pain.
There shall be peace and joy for ever more.”
Savitri 505- 508
(line breaks added to emphasize separate movements)