The Mother Reads Selections from Savitri by Sri Aurobindo


Book 10. The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto 4. The Dream Twilight of the Earthly Real

Once more arose the great destroying Voice:
. . .
“Behold the figures of this symbol realm,
Its solid outlines of creative dream
Inspiring the great concrete tasks of earth.
. . .
Where Nature changes not, man cannot change:
. . .
Hope not to call God down into his life:
How shalt thou bring the Everlasting here?
There is no house for him in hurrying Time.
[pp. 643; 644]
* * *

But Savitri answered to the sophist God:
. . .
If the chamber’s door is even a little ajar,
What then can hinder God from stealing in
Or who forbid his kiss on the sleeping soul?
Already God is near, the Truth is close:
. . .
A lonely freedom cannot satisfy
A heart that has grown one with every heart:
I am a deputy of the aspiring world,
My spirit’s liberty I ask for all.”
[pp. 647; 649]
* * *

Then rang again a deeper cry of Death.
. . .
Mighty art thou with the dread goddess filled,
To whom thou criedst at dawn in the dim woods.
Use not thy strength like the wild Titan souls!
Touch not the seated lines, the ancient laws,
Respect the calm of great established things.”
But Savitri replied to the huge god:
“What is the calm thou vauntst, O Law, O Death?
. . .
I trample on thy law with living feet;
For to arise in freedom I was born.
[pp. 649; 651; 652]
* * *

. . . Death replied to her,
“Why should the noble and immortal will
Stoop to the petty works of transient earth,
Freedom forgotten and the Eternal’s path?
. . .
She answered, “Straight I trample on the road
The strong hand hewed for me which planned our paths.
. . .
Freedom is this with ever seated soul,
Large in life’s limits, strong in Matter’s knots,
Building great stuff of action from the worlds
To make fine wisdom from coarse scattered strands
And love and beauty out of war and night,
The wager wonderful, the game divine.
[pp. 652; 653]
* * *

Immutable, Death’s denial met her cry:
. . .
All things hang here between God’s yes and no,
Two Powers real but to each other untrue,
Two consort stars in the mooned night of mind
That towards two opposite horizons gaze,
The white head and black tail of the mystic drake,
The swift and the lame foot, wing strong, wing broken
Sustaining the body of the uncertain world,
A great surreal dragon in the skies.
[pp. 654-655]
* * *

The Woman answered to the mighty Shade,
And as she spoke, mortality disappeared;
Her Goddess self grew visible in her eyes,
Light came a dream of heaven into her face.
[p. 656]
* * *

On summit Mind are radiant altitudes
Exposed to the lustre of Infinity,
Outskirts and dependences of the house of Truth,
. . .
A cosmic Thought spreads out its vastitudes;
Its smallest parts are here philosophies
Challenging with their detailed immensity,
[p. 659]
* * *

But higher still can climb the ascending light;
There are vasts of vision and eternal suns,
Oceans of an immortal luminousness,
Flame-hills assaulting heaven with their peaks,
[pp. 659-660]
* * *

A highest flight climbs to a deepest view:
In a wide opening of its native sky
Intuition’s lightnings range in a bright pack
Hunting all hidden truths out of their lairs,
. . .
Thought there has revelation’s sun-bright eyes;
The Word, a mighty and inspiring Voice,
Enters Truth’s inmost cabin of privacy
And tears away the veil from God and life.
[p. 660]
* * *

Then stretches the boundless finite’s last expanse,
The cosmic empire of the Overmind,
Time’s buffer state bordering Eternity,
Too vast for the experience of man’s soul:
All here gathers beneath one golden sky:
. . .
There is the Godhead’s universal gaze
And there the boundaries of immortal Mind:
. . .
In her glorious kingdom of eternal light
All-ruler, ruled by none, the Truth supreme,
Omnipotent, omniscient and alone,
In a golden country keeps her measureless house;
. . .
Transcending Time’s hours, transcending Timelessness,
The Mighty Mother sits in lucent calm
And holds the eternal Child upon her knees,
Attending the day when he shall speak to Fate.
. . .
There is a world of everlasting Light,
In the realms of the immortal Supermind
. . .
O Death, if thou couldst touch the Truth supreme
Thou wouldst grow suddenly wise and cease to be.
. . .
Then Death the last time answered Savitri:
. . .
O human claimant to immortality,
Reveal thy power, lay bare thy spirit’s force,
Then will I give back to thee Satyavan.
Or if the Mighty Mother is with thee,
Show me her face that I may worship her;
Let deathless eyes look into the eyes of Death,
An imperishable Force touching brute things
Transform earth’s death into immortal life.
. . .
And Savitri looked on Death and answered not.
. . .
A mighty transformation came on her.
. . .
A curve of the calm hauteur of far heaven
Descending into earth’s humility,
Her forehead’s span vaulted the Omniscient’s gaze,
Her eyes were two stars that watched the universe.
The Power that from her being’s summit reigned,
The Presence Chambered in lotus secrecy,
Came down and held the centre in her brow
. . .
It stirred in the lotus of her throat of song,
. . .
It glided into the lotus of her heart
. . .
It poured into a navel’s lotus depth,
. . .
Broke into the cave where coiled World-Energy sleeps
And smote the thousand-hooded serpent Force
That blazing towered and clasped the World-Self above,
. . .
Thus changed she waited for the Word to speak.
Eternity looked into the eyes of Death.
And Darkness saw God’s living Reality.
Then a Voice was heard that seemed the stillness’ self
. . .
“I hail thee almighty and victorious Death,
Thou grandiose Darkness of the Infinite.
. . .
Thou art my shadow and my instrument.
. . .
Relieve the radiant god from thy black mask;
Release the soul of the world called Satyavan
. . .
She spoke; Death unconvinced resisted still,
. . .
A pressure of intolerable force
Weighed on his unbowed head and stubborn breast;
Light like a burning tongue licked up his thoughts,
Light was a luminous torture in his heart,
Light coursed, a splendid agony, through his nerves;
His darkness muttered perishing in her blaze.
. . .
He called to his strength, but it refused his call.
His body was eaten by light, his spirit devoured.
. . .
Afar he fled shunning her dreaded touch
And refuge took in the retreating Night.
In the dream twilight of that symbol world
The dire universal Shadow disappeared
Vanishing into the Void from which it came.
As if deprived of its original cause,
The twilight realm passed fading from their souls,
And Satyavan and Savitri were alone.
But neither stirred: between those figures rose
A mute invisible and translucent wall.
In the long blank moment’s pause nothing could move:
All waited on the unknown inscrutable Will.
[pp. 660; 661; 663; 664; 665; 666; 667-668]

End of Book 10 Canto 04

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