Savitri Study Class with Dr Alok Pandey, Book 7 Canto 1
Savitri readily accepts the new life and the challenge it brings to her. She carries within her breast the will of the gods, her strength can bear the burden of her fate. The seasons pass and like all things turn joy into grief as the moment of fugitive happiness passes. This is the truth that Savitri realizes, the sheer impermanence of all things here. This realization often brings a state of vairagya, a detachment from human life, from creation taking it to be futile. Savitri too undergoes this.
All put behind her that was once her life,
All welcomed that henceforth was his and hers,
She abode with Satyavan in the wild woods:
Priceless she deemed her joy so close to death;
Apart with love she lived for love alone.
As if self-poised above the march of days,
Her immobile spirit watched the haste of Time,
A statue of passion and invincible force,
An absolutism of sweet imperious will,
A tranquillity and a violence of the gods
Indomitable and immutable.
At first to her beneath the sapphire heavens
The sylvan solitude was a gorgeous dream,
An altar of the summer’s splendour and fire,
A sky-topped flower-hung palace of the gods
And all its scenes a smile on rapture’s lips
And all its voices bards of happiness.
There was a chanting in the casual wind,
There was a glory in the least sunbeam;
Night was a chrysoprase on velvet cloth,
A nestling darkness or a moonlit deep;
Day was a purple pageant and a hymn,
A wave of the laughter of light from morn to eve.
His absence was a dream of memory,
His presence was the empire of a god.
A fusing of the joys of earth and heaven,
A tremulous blaze of nuptial rapture passed,
A rushing of two spirits to be one,
A burning of two bodies in one flame.
Opened were gates of unforgettable bliss:
Two lives were locked within an earthly heaven
And fate and grief fled from that fiery hour.
But soon now failed the summer’s ardent breath
And throngs of blue-black clouds crept through the sky
And rain fled sobbing over the dripping leaves
And storm became the forest’s titan voice.
Then listening to the thunder’s fatal crash
And the fugitive pattering footsteps of the showers
And the long unsatisfied panting of the wind
And sorrow muttering in the sound-vexed night,
The grief of all the world came near to her.
Night’s darkness seemed her future’s ominous face.
The shadow of her lover’s doom arose
And fear laid hands upon her mortal heart.
The moments swift and ruthless raced; alarmed
Her thoughts, her mind remembered Narad’s date.
A trembling moved accountant of her riches,
She reckoned the insufficient days between:
A dire expectancy knocked at her breast;
Dreadful to her were the footsteps of the hours:
Grief came, a passionate stranger to her gate:
Banished when in his arms, out of her sleep
It rose at morn to look into her face.
Vainly she fled into abysms of bliss
From her pursuing foresight of the end.
The more she plunged into love that anguish grew;
Her deepest grief from sweetest gulfs arose.
Remembrance was a poignant pang, she felt
Each day a golden leaf torn cruelly out
From her too slender book of love and joy.
Thus swaying in strong gusts of happiness
And swimming in foreboding’s sombre waves
And feeding sorrow and terror with her heart,—
For now they sat among her bosom’s guests
Or in her inner chamber paced apart,—
Her eyes stared blind into the future’s night.
Out of her separate self she looked and saw,
Moving amid the unconscious faces loved,
In mind a stranger though in heart so near,
The ignorant smiling world go happily by
Upon its way towards an unknown doom
And wondered at the careless lives of men.
Sri Aurobindo: Savitri: 467 – 469
[Breaks are added to emphasize separate movements]