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At the Feet of The Mother

The Moment of Death, pp. 563-564

Opening Remarks
The moment arrives when the fatal stroke must fall upon Satyavan.

Satyavan wielded the axe
But Satyavan wielded a joyous axe.

Satyavan started cutting the tree with his axe.

He sang high snatches
He sang high snatches of a sage’s chant
That pealed of conquered death and demons slain,
And sometimes paused to cry to her sweet speech
Of love and mockery tenderer than love:
She like a pantheress leaped upon his words
And carried them into her cavern heart.

As Satyavan started cutting a branch of the tree, he sang the chants of a sage that hymned conquest over death and of demons slain. Sometimes he paused to speak to her sweetly of love and tender banters. Savitri leaped upon his words to treasure them in her inmost heart and soul.

His doom came
But as he worked, his doom upon him came.

But suddenly the moment of doom came to Satyavan even as he was working.

Violent pain
The violent and hungry hounds of pain
Travelled through his body biting as they passed
Silently, and all his suffering breath besieged
Strove to rend life’s strong heart-cords and be free.

Violent pangs of pain suddenly started gnawing at Satyavan like hungry hounds biting through his body, besieging his breath and striving to rend life’s strong heart strings.

Satyavan flings away the axe
Then helped, as if a beast had left its prey,
A moment in a wave of rich relief
Reborn to strength and happy ease he stood
Rejoicing and resumed his confident toil
But with less seeing strokes. Now the great woodsman
Hewed at him and his labour ceased: lifting
His arm he flung away the poignant axe
Far from him like an instrument of pain.

A momentary relief came and Satyavan confidently resumed his work as if strength had returned. He had slowed down and at that very moment Death, the great woodsman who cuts away the tree of life struck him and he stopped due to pain throwing away the axe as if it was the cause of his pain.

Satyavan cries to Savitri
She came to him in silent anguish and clasped,
And he cried to her, “Savitri, a pang
Cleaves through my head and breast as if the axe
Were piercing it and not the living branch.

Savitri came near to Satyavan clasping him in silent anguish. Satyavan cried to her that a pang is cleaving through his head and breast as if the axe were piercing it just as he had pierced with it a living branch.

Such agony
Such agony rends me as the tree must feel
When it is sundered and must lose its life.

Satyavan compared his agony to that of the agony the tree must be feeling when it is axed and loses its life.

Guard me with thy hands
Awhile let me lay my head upon thy lap
And guard me with thy hands from evil fate:
Perhaps because thou touchest, death may pass.”

Satyavan asked Savitri to lay his head upon her lap and guard him with her hands from adverse fate. He trusts that perhaps death may pass without hurting just because Savitri has touched him.

Closing Remarks
Thus the moment arrives after one full year from the day of the prophecy made by Narad about Satyavan’s death.

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