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At the Feet of The Mother

The Enigma called Man, pp. 336-338 (SH 173)

Savitri Class in Hindi with Alok Pandey
Savitri Book Three: The Book of Divine Mother, Canto Four : The Vision and the Boon

What follows next is a deep understanding of what man is, what his problem is, what his challenges are, what his strength and possibilities yet may be? Man is a depot of contraries. Himself in bonds he dreams of freedom; himself imperfect he aspires for a perfect world. This is so because man has a double nature. On the one side he has something in him that has descended from the heights, the immortal soul. On the other hand he inherits the animal nature and the unconsciousness of the earth in which he is born with a body and mind.


The Enigma’s knot is tied in humankind.
A lightning from the heights that think and plan,
Ploughing the air of life with vanishing trails,
Man, sole awake in an unconscious world,
Aspires in vain to change the cosmic dream.
Arrived from some half-luminous Beyond
He is a stranger in the mindless vasts;
A traveller in his oft-shifting home
Amid the tread of many infinities,
He has pitched a tent of life in desert Space.
Heaven’s fixed regard beholds him from above,
In the house of Nature a perturbing guest,
A voyager twixt Thought’s inconstant shores,
A hunter of unknown and beautiful Powers,
A nomad of the far mysterious Light,
In the wide ways a little spark of God.

As if this is not enough he is besieged by cosmic forces on all sides, – forces that help and hinder, forces that prevent his aspirations from being realized, forces that wait for him for a moment of unconsciousness to drag him into abysses of despair and darkness.

Against his spirit all is in dire league,
A Titan influence stops his Godward gaze.
Around him hungers the unpitying Void,
The eternal Darkness seeks him with her hands,
Inscrutable Energies drive him and deceive,
Immense implacable deities oppose.
An inert Soul and a somnambulist Force
Have made a world estranged from life and thought;
The Dragon of the dark foundations keeps
Unalterable the law of Chance and Death;
On his long way through Time and Circumstance
The grey-hued riddling nether shadow-Sphinx,
Her dreadful paws upon the swallowing sands,
Awaits him armed with the soul-slaying word:
Across his path sits the dim camp of Night.
His day is a moment in perpetual Time;
He is the prey of the minutes and the hours.

He is indeed a strange creature, a cross breed between Heaven and Earth which he is meant to bridge. His being is shot through and through with paradoxes and mutually opposing tendencies.

Assailed on earth and unassured of heaven,
Descended here unhappy and sublime,
A link between the demigod and the beast,
He knows not his own greatness nor his aim;
He has forgotten why he has come and whence.
His spirit and his members are at war;
His heights break off too low to reach the skies,
His mass is buried in the animal mire.
A strange antinomy is his nature’s rule.
A riddle of opposites is made his field:
Freedom he asks but needs to live in bonds,
He has need of darkness to perceive some light
And need of grief to feel a little bliss;
He has need of death to find a greater life.
All sides he sees and turns to every call;
He has no certain light by which to walk;
His life is a blind-man’s-buff, a hide-and-seek;
He seeks himself and from himself he runs;
Meeting himself, he thinks it other than he.
Always he builds, but finds no constant ground,
Always he journeys, but nowhere arrives;
He would guide the world, himself he cannot guide;
He would save his soul, his life he cannot save.
The light his soul had brought his mind has lost;
All he has learned is soon again in doubt;
A sun to him seems the shadow of his thoughts,
Then all is shadow again and nothing true:

He knows not who he is and what the world is. His very knowledge is an ignorance. He knows not where he comes from and where he goes to. Though perpetually baffled in his efforts he still aspires for Love and Beauty and Truth. He yet seeks for an ideal world and hopes to bridge the Heaven and Earth by his longings and dreams.

Unknowing what he does or whither he tends
He fabricates signs of the Real in Ignorance.
He has hitched his mortal error to Truth’s star.
Wisdom attracts him with her luminous masks,
But never has he seen the face behind:
A giant Ignorance surrounds his lore.
Assigned to meet the cosmic mystery
In the dumb figure of a material world,
His passport of entry false and his personage,
He is compelled to be what he is not;
He obeys the Inconscience he had come to rule
And sinks in Matter to fulfil his soul.
Awakened from her lower driven forms
The Earth-Mother gave her forces to his hands
And painfully he guards the heavy trust;
His mind is a lost torch-bearer on her roads.
Illumining breath to think and plasm to feel,
He labours with his slow and sceptic brain
Helped by the reason’s vacillating fires,
To make his thought and will a magic door
For knowledge to enter the darkness of the world
And love to rule a realm of strife and hate.
A mind impotent to reconcile heaven and earth
And tied to Matter with a thousand bonds,
He lifts himself to be a conscious god.

Yet even in his heights there is the touch of mortal things and the breath of transience mars his days. His body and brain do not measure the hopes and aspirations of his soul. This is the great challenge of man, – a limiting nature holding within it as a captive in its net a limitless soul.

Even when a glory of wisdom crowns his brow,
When mind and spirit shed a grandiose ray
To exalt this product of the sperm and gene,
This alchemist’s miracle from plasm and gas,
And he who shared the animal’s run and crawl
Lifts his thought-stature to the Immortal’s heights,
His life still keeps the human middle way;
His body he resigns to death and pain,
Abandoning Matter, his too heavy charge.
A thaumaturge sceptic of miracles,
A spirit left sterile of its occult power
By an unbelieving brain and credulous heart,
He leaves the world to end where it began:
His work unfinished he claims a heavenly prize.
Thus has he missed creation’s absolute.
Half-way he stops his star of destiny:

[Savitri: 336 – 338]

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If you use power to show that you possess it, it becomes so full of falsehood and untruth that finally it disappears.