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At the Feet of The Mother

The Divine Laboratory (LP18)

Sri Aurobindo’s life through his poems. Today’s talk touches upon the period from 1926 to the 1938 when the Ashram was being consolidated.

Vain, they have said, is the anguish of man and his labour diurnal,
Vainly his caravans cross through the desert of Time to the Eternal.
Thick and persistent the night confronts all his luminous longings;
Dire death’s sickle mows like a harvest his hosts and his throngings.
Even if all life has failed, must it therefore be failure for ever?
Are not the ages before us still for a grander endeavour?
Have we not Beauty around in a dangerous world but enthralling,
Courage inciting our steps and Thought to infinity calling?

Mute stands she, lonely on the topmost stair,
An image of magnificent despair;
The grandeur of a sorrowful surmise
Wakes in the largeness of her glorious eyes.
In her beauty’s dumb significant pose I find
The tragedy of her mysterious mind.
Yet is she stately, grandiose, full of grace.
A musing mask is her immobile face.
Her tail is up like an unconquered flag;
Its dignity knows not the right to wag.
An animal creature wonderfully human,
A charm and miracle of fur-footed Brahman,
Whether she is spirit, woman or a cat,
Is now the problem I am wondering at

I have wrapped the wide world in my wider self
And Time and Space my spirit’s seeing are.
I am the god and demon, ghost and elf,
I am the wind’s speed and the blazing star.
All Nature is the nursling of my care,
I am the struggle and the eternal rest;
The world’s joy thrilling runs through me, I bear
The sorrow of millions in my lonely breast.
I have learned a close identity with all,
Yet am by nothing bound that I become;
Carrying in me the universe’s call
I mount to my imperishable home.
I pass beyond Time and life on measureless wings,
Yet still am one with born and unborn things.

Now I have borne Thy presence and Thy light,
Eternity assumes me and I am
A vastness of tranquillity and flame,
My heart a deep Atlantic of delight.
My life is a moving moment of Thy might
Carrying Thy vision’s sacred oriflamme
Inscribed with the white glory of Thy name
In the unborn silence of the Infinite.
My body is a jar of radiant peace,
The days a line across my timelessness,
My mind is made a voiceless breadth of Thee,
A lyre of muteness and a luminous sea;
Yet in each cell I feel Thy fire embrace,
A brazier of the seven ecstasies.

I contain the wide world in my soul’s embrace:
In me Arcturus and Belphegor burn.
To whatsoever living form I turn
I see my own body with another face.
All eyes that look on me are my sole eyes;
The one heart that beats within all breasts is mine.
The world’s happiness flows through me like wine,
Its million sorrows are my agonies.
Yet all its acts are only waves that pass
Upon my surface; inly for ever still,
Unborn I sit, timeless, intangible:
All things are shadows in my tranquil glass.
My vast transcendence holds the cosmic whirl;
I am hid in it as in the sea a pearl.

All Nature is taught in radiant ways to move,
All beings are in myself embraced.
O fiery boundless Heart of joy and love,
How art thou beating in a mortal’s breast!
It is Thy rapture flaming through my nerves
And all my cells and atoms thrill with Thee;
My body Thy vessel is and only serves
As a living wine-cup of Thy ecstasy.
I am a centre of Thy golden light
And I its vast and vague circumference;
Thou art my soul great, luminous and white
And Thine my mind and will and glowing sense.
Thy spirit’s infinite breath I feel in me;
My life is a throb of Thy eternity.

I made an assignation with the Night;
In the abyss was fixed our rendezvous:
In my breast carrying God’s deathless light
I came her dark and dangerous heart to woo.
I left the glory of the illumined Mind
And the calm rapture of the divinised soul
And travelled through a vastness dim and blind
To the grey shore where her ignorant waters roll.
I walk by the chill wave through the dull slime
And still that weary journeying knows no end;
Lost is the lustrous godhead beyond Time,
There comes no voice of the celestial Friend.
And yet I know my footprints’ track shall be
A pathway towards Immortality.

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