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At the Feet of The Mother

From Dawn to Greater Dawn, pp. 720-724 (SH 349)

The concluding pages of the epic.

For not for ourselves alone our spirits came
Out of the veil of the Unmanifest,
Out of the deep immense Unknowable
Upon the ignorant breast of dubious earth,
Into the ways of labouring, seeking men,
Two fires that burn towards that parent Sun,
Two rays that travel to the original Light.

To lead man’s soul towards truth and God we are born,
To draw the chequered scheme of mortal life
Into some semblance of the Immortal’s plan,
To shape it closer to an image of God,
A little nearer to the Idea divine.”[p.720]

She closed her arms about his breast and head
As if to keep him on her bosom worn
For ever through the journeying of the years.

So for a while they stood entwined, their kiss
And passion-tranced embrace a meeting-point
In their commingling spirits one for ever,
Two-souled, two-bodied for the joys of Time.

Then hand in hand they left that solemn place
Full now of mute unusual memories,
To the green distance of their sylvan home
Returning slowly through the forest’s heart.

Round them the afternoon to evening changed;
Light slipped down to the brightly sleeping verge,
And the birds came back winging to their nests,
And day and night leaned to each other’s arms.

    Now the dusk shadowy trees stood close around
Like dreaming spirits and, delaying night,
The grey-eyed pensive evening heard their steps,
And from all points the cries and movements came
Of the four-footed wanderers of the night
Approaching. Then a human rumour rose
Long alien to their solitary days,
Invading the charmed wilderness of leaves
Once sacred to secluded loneliness
With violent breaking of its virgin sleep.

Through the screened dusk it deepened still and there neared
Floating of many voices and the sound
Of many feet, till on their sight broke in
As if a coloured wave upon the eye
The brilliant strenuous crowded days of man.

Topped by a flaring multitude of lights
A great resplendent company arrived.

Life in its ordered tumult wavering came
Bringing its stream of unknown faces, thronged
With gold-fringed headdresses, gold-broidered robes,[p.721]
Glittering of ornaments, fluttering of hems,
Hundreds of hands parted the forest-boughs,
Hundreds of eyes searched the entangled glades.

Calm white-clad priests their grave-eyed sweetness brought,
Strong warriors in their glorious armour shone,
The proud-hooved steeds came trampling through the wood.

In front King Dyumatsena walked, no more
Blind, faltering-limbed, but his far-questing eyes
Restored to all their confidence in light
Took seeingly this imaged outer world;
Firmly he trod with monarch step the soil.

By him that queen and mother’s anxious face
Came changed from its habitual burdened look
Which in its drooping strength of tired toil
Had borne the fallen life of those she loved.

Her patient paleness wore a pensive glow
Like evening’s subdued gaze of gathered light
Departing, which foresees sunrise her child.

Sinking in quiet splendours of her sky,
She lives awhile to muse upon that hope,
The brilliance of her rich receding gleam
A thoughtful prophecy of lyric dawn.

Her eyes were first to find her children’s forms.

But at the vision of the beautiful twain
The air awoke perturbed with scaling cries,
And the swift parents hurrying to their child,—
Their cause of life now who had given him breath,—
Possessed him with their arms. Then tenderly
Cried Dyumatsena chiding Satyavan:
“The fortunate gods have looked on me today,
A kingdom seeking came and heaven’s rays.

But where wast thou? Thou hast tormented gladness
With fear’s dull shadow, O my child, my life.

What danger kept thee for the darkening woods?

Or how could pleasure in her ways forget
That useless orbs without thee are my eyes[p.722]
Which only for thy sake rejoice at light?

Not like thyself was this done, Savitri,
Who ledst not back thy husband to our arms,
Knowing with him beside me only is taste
In food and for his touch evening and morn
I live content with my remaining days.”

But Satyavan replied with smiling lips,
“Lay all on her; she is the cause of all.

With her enchantments she has twined me round.

Behold, at noon leaving this house of clay
I wandered in far-off eternities,
Yet still, a captive in her golden hands,
I tread your little hillock called green earth
And in the moments of your transient sun
Live glad among the busy works of men.”

Then all eyes turned their wondering looks where stood,
A deepening redder gold upon her cheeks,
With lowered lids the noble lovely child,
And one consenting thought moved every breast.

“What gleaming marvel of the earth or skies
Stands silently by human Satyavan
To mark a brilliance in the dusk of eve?

If this is she of whom the world has heard,
Wonder no more at any happy change.

Each easy miracle of felicity
Of her transmuting heart the alchemy is.”

Then one spoke there who seemed a priest and sage:
“O woman soul, what light, what power revealed,
Working the rapid marvels of this day,
Opens for us by thee a happier age?”

Her lashes fluttering upwards gathered in
To a vision which had scanned immortal things,
Rejoicing, human forms for their delight.

They claimed for their deep childlike motherhood
The life of all these souls to be her life,
Then falling veiled the light. Low she replied,[p.723]
“Awakened to the meaning of my heart
That to feel love and oneness is to live
And this the magic of our golden change,
Is all the truth I know or seek, O sage.”

Wondering at her and her too luminous words
Westward they turned in the fast-gathering night.

    From the entangling verges freed they came
Into a dimness of the sleeping earth
And travelled through her faint and slumbering plains.

Murmur and movement and the tread of men
Broke the night’s solitude; the neigh of steeds
Rose from that indistinct and voiceful sea
Of life and all along its marchings swelled
The rhyme of hooves, the chariot’s homeward voice.

Drawn by white manes upon a high-roofed car
In flare of the unsteady torches went
With linked hands Satyavan and Savitri,
Hearing a marriage march and nuptial hymn,
Where waited them the many-voiced human world.

Numberless the stars swam on their shadowy field
Describing in the gloom the ways of light.

Then while they skirted yet the southward verge,
Lost in the halo of her musing brows
Night, splendid with the moon dreaming in heaven
In silver peace, possessed her luminous reign.

She brooded through her stillness on a thought
Deep-guarded by her mystic folds of light,
And in her bosom nursed a greater dawn.[p.724]

(Savitri, pp. 720 – 724)

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