Audio recording of the Savitri Study Class with Alok Pandey. Book 4, Canto 3.
Aswapati contemplates upon the deeper possibility of man and the challenge implied in the task. But there is Savitri who has come to change the fixed scheme of things and bring in the New World dreamed of by Aswapati.
Authors of earth’s high change, to you it is given
To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul
And touch the mighty Mother stark awake
And meet the Omnipotent in this house of flesh
And make of life the million-bodied One.
The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven;
The life you lead conceals the light you are.
Immortal Powers sweep flaming past your doors;
Far-off upon your tops the god-chant sounds
While to exceed yourselves thought’s trumpets call,
Heard by a few, but fewer dare aspire,
The nympholepts of the ecstasy and the blaze.
An epic of hope and failure breaks earth’s heart;
Her force and will exceed her form and fate.
A goddess in a net of transience caught,
Self-bound in the pastures of death she dreams of life,
Self-racked with the pains of hell aspires to joy,
And builds to hope her altars of despair,
Knows that one high step might enfranchise all
And, suffering, looks for greatness in her sons.
But dim in human hearts the ascending fire,
The invisible Grandeur sits unworshipped there;
Man sees the Highest in a limiting form
Or looks upon a Person, hears a Name.
He turns for little gains to ignorant Powers
Or kindles his altar lights to a demon face.
He loves the Ignorance fathering his pain.
A spell is laid upon his glorious strengths;
He has lost the inner Voice that led his thoughts,
And masking the oracular tripod seat
A specious Idol fills the marvel shrine.
The great Illusion wraps him in its veils,
The soul’s deep intimations come in vain,
In vain is the unending line of seers,
The sages ponder in unsubstantial light,
The poets lend their voice to outward dreams,
A homeless fire inspires the prophet tongues.
Heaven’s flaming lights descend and back return,
The luminous Eye approaches and retires;
Eternity speaks, none understands its word;
Fate is unwilling and the Abyss denies;
The Inconscient’s mindless waters block all done.
Only a little lifted is Mind’s screen;
The Wise who know see but one half of Truth,
The strong climb hardly to a low-peaked height,
The hearts that yearn are given one hour to love.
His tale half told, falters the secret Bard;
The gods are still too few in mortal forms.”
The Voice withdrew into its hidden skies.
But like a shining answer from the gods
Approached through sun-bright spaces Savitri.
Advancing amid tall heaven-pillaring trees,
Apparelled in her flickering-coloured robe
She seemed, burning towards the eternal realms,
A bright moved torch of incense and of flame
That from the sky-roofed temple-soil of earth
A pilgrim hand lifts in an invisible shrine.
There came the gift of a revealing hour:
He saw through depths that reinterpret all,
Limited not now by the dull body’s eyes,
New-found through an arch of clear discovery,
This intimation of the world’s delight,
This wonder of the divine Artist’s make
Carved like a nectar-cup for thirsty gods,
This breathing Scripture of the Eternal’s joy,
This net of sweetness woven of aureate fire.
Transformed the delicate image-face became
A deeper Nature’s self-revealing sign,
A gold-leaf palimpsest of sacred births,
A grave world-symbol chiselled out of life.
Her brow, a copy of clear unstained heavens,
Was meditation’s pedestal and defence,
The very room and smile of musing Space,
Its brooding line infinity’s symbol curve.
Amid her tresses’ cloudy multitude
Her long eyes shadowed as by wings of Night
Under that moon-gold forehead’s dreaming breadth
Were seas of love and thought that held the world;
Marvelling at life and earth they saw truths far.
A deathless meaning filled her mortal limbs;
As in a golden vase’s poignant line
They seemed to carry the rhythmic sob of bliss
Of earth’s mute adoration towards heaven
Released in beauty’s cry of living form
Towards the perfection of eternal things.
Transparent grown the ephemeral living dress
Bared the expressive deity to his view.
Escaped from surface sight and mortal sense
The seizing harmony of its shapes became
The strange significant icon of a Power
Renewing its inscrutable descent
Into a human figure of its works
That stood out in life’s bold abrupt relief
On the soil of the evolving universe,