THE MOTHER’S SAVITRI: Book 11 Canto 1


The Mother Reads Selections from Savitri by Sri Aurobindo

 

Book 11. The Book of Everlasting Day

Canto 1. The Eternal Day: The Soul’s Choice and the Supreme Consummation

A MARVELLOUS sun looked down from ecstasy’s skies
On worlds of deathless bliss, perfection’s home,
. . .
God’s everlasting day surrounded her,
Domains appeared of sempiternal light
Invading all Nature with the Absolute’s joy.
[p. 671]
. . .
Arisen beneath a triple mystic heaven
The seven immortal earths were seen sublime:
Homes of the blest released from death and sleep
Where grief can never come nor any pang
[p. 672]
. . .
Eternal mountains ridge on gleaming ridge
Whose lines were graved as on a sapphire plate
And etched the borders of heaven’s lustrous noon
Climbed like piled temple stairs and from their heads
Of topless meditation heard below
The approach of a blue pilgrim multitude
And listened to a great arriving voice
Of the wide travel hymn of timeless seas.
. . .
In cities cut like gems of conscious stone
And wonderful pastures and on gleaming coasts
Bright forms were seen, eternity’s luminous tribes.
Above her rhythming godheads whirled the spheres,
Rapt mobile fixities here blindly sought
By the huge erring orbits of our stars.
[p. 673]
. . .
Immortal harmonies filled her listening ear;
A great spontaneous utterance of the heights
On titan wings of rhythmic grandeur borne,
Poured from some deep spiritual heart of sound
Strains trembling with the secrets of the gods.
[p. 674]
. . .
In the harmony of an original sight
. . .
She saw all Nature marvellous without fault.
[p. 675]
. . .
Endless aspired the climbing of those heavens;
Realm upon realm received her soaring view.
. . .
Immune she beheld the strong immortals’ seats
Who live for a celestial joy and rule
The middle regions of the unfading Ray.
Great forms of deities sat in deathless tiers,
Eyes of an unborn gaze towards her leaned
Through a transparency of crystal fire.
. . .
The golden-bosomed Apsara goddesses,
[p. 676]
. . .
Whirled linked in moonlit revels of the heart.
. . .
Wind-haired Gundhurvas chanted to the ear
The odes that shape the universal thought,
The lines that tear the veil from Deity’s face,
The rhythms that bring the sounds of wisdom’s sea.
. . .
Worlds of an infinite reach crowned Nature’s stir.
[p. 677]
. . .
Sunlight the soul’s vision and moonlight its dream.
. . .
Into those heights her spirit went floating up
[p. 678]
. . .
A secret splendour rose revealed to sight
Where once the vast embodied Void had stood.
Night the dim mask had grown a wonderful face.
The vague infinity was slain whose gloom
Had outlined from the terrible Unknown
The obscure disastrous figure of a god,
. . .
As if the choric calyx of a flower
Aerial, visible on music’s waves,
A lotus of light-petalled ecstasy
Took shape out of the tremulous heart of things.
[p. 679]
. . .
Death’s sombre cowl was cast from Nature’s brow;
There lightened on her the godhead’s lurking love.
All grace and glory and all divinity
Were here collected in a single form;
All worshipped eyes looked through his from one face;
He bore all godheads in his grandiose limbs.
. . .
In him the fourfold Being bore its crown
That wears the mystery of a nameless Name,
. . .
Spirit and seer and thinker of things seen,
Virat, who lights his camp-fires in the suns
And the star-entangled ether is his hold,
Expressed himself with Matter for his speech:
[p. 680]
. . .
In him shadows his form the Golden Child
Who in the Sun-capped Vast cradles his birth:
Hiranyagarbha, author of thoughts and dream,
. . .
Armed with the golden speech, the diamond eye,
His is the vision and the prophecy:
. . .
A third spirit stood behind, their hidden cause,
A mass of superconscience closed in light,
Creator of things in his all-knowing sleep.
[p. 681]
. . .
His slumber is an Almightiness in things,
Awake, he is the Eternal and Supreme.
Above was the brooding bliss of the Infinite,
Its omniscient and omnipotent repose,
Its immobile silence absolute and alone.
[p. 682]
. . .
He seemed the wideness of a boundless sky,
He seemed the passion of a sorrowless earth,
He seemed the burning of a world-wide sun.
Two looked upon each other, Soul saw Soul.

Then like an anthem from the heart’s lucent cave
A voice soared up whose magic sound could turn
The poignant weeping of the earth to sobs
Of rapture and her cry to spirit song:
[p. 683]
. . .
A smile came rippling out in her wide eyes,
[p. 685]
. . .
Then with a smile august as noonday heavens
The godhead of the vision wonderful:
“How shall earth-nature and man’s nature rise
To the celestial levels, yet earth abide?
[p. 688]
. . .
O Flame, withdraw into thy luminous self
Or else return to thy original might
On a seer-summit above thought and world;
[p. 691]
. . .
But Savitri answered to the radiant God:
“In vain thou temptst with solitary bliss
Two spirits saved out of a suffering world;
[p. 692]
. . .
Since God has made earth, earth must make in her God;
What hides within her breast she must reveal.
. . .
But the god answered to the woman’s heart:
“O living power of the incarnate Word,
[p. 693]
. . .
Arise upon a ladder of greater worlds
To the infinity where no world can be.
[p. 694]
. . .
Ascend, O soul, into thy timeless self;
Choose destiny’s curve and stamp thy will on Time.”
. . .
In an ineffable world she lived fulfilled.
An energy of the triune Infinite,
In a measureless Reality she dwelt,
[p. 695]
. . .
Around her some tremendous spirit lived,
Mysterious flame around a melting pearl,
And in the phantom of abolished Space
There was a voice unheard by ears that cried:
[p. 696]

“Choose, spirit, thy supreme choice not given again;
For now from my highest being looks at thee
The nameless formless peace where all things rest.
In a happy vast sublime cessation know,—
An immense extinction in eternity,
A point that disappears in the infinite,—
Felicity of the extinguished flame,
Last sinking of a wave in a boundless sea,
End of the trouble of thy wandering thoughts,
Close of the journeying of thy pilgrim soul.
Accept, O music, weariness of thy notes,
O stream, wide breaking of thy channel banks.”
The moments fell into eternity.
But someone yearned within a bosom unknown
And silently the woman’s heart replied:
“Thy peace, O Lord, a boon within to keep
Amid the roar and ruin of wild Time
For the magnificent soul of man on earth.
Thy calm, O Lord, that bears thy hands of joy.”
Limitless like ocean round a lonely isle
A second time the eternal cry arose:
“Wide open are the ineffable gates in front.
My spirit leans down to break the knot of earth,
Amorous of oneness without thought or sign
To cast down wall and fence, to strip heaven bare,
See with the large eye of infinity,
Unweave the stars and into silence pass.”
In an immense and world-destroying pause
She heard a million creatures cry to her.
Through the tremendous stillness of her thoughts
Immeasurably the woman’s nature spoke:
“Thy oneness, Lord, in many approaching hearts,
My sweet infinity of thy numberless souls.”
Mightily retreating like a sea in ebb
A third time swelled the great admonishing call:
“I spread abroad the refuge of my wings.
Out of its incommunicable deeps
My power looks forth of mightiest splendour, stilled
Into its majesty of sleep, withdrawn
Above the dreadful whirlings of the world.”
A sob of things was answer to the voice,
And passionately the woman’s heart replied:
“Thy energy, Lord, to seize on woman and man,
To take all things and creatures in their grief
And gather them into a mother’s arms.”
Solemn and distant like a seraph’s lyre
A last great time the warning sound was heard:
“I open the wide eye of solitude
To uncover the voiceless rapture of my bliss,
Where in a pure and exquisite hush it lies
Motionless in its slumber of ecstasy,
Resting from the sweet madness of the dance
Out of whose beat the throb of hearts was borne.”
Breaking the silence with appeal and cry
A hymn of adoration tireless climbed,
A music beat of winged uniting souls,
Then all the woman yearningly replied:
“Thy embrace which rends the living knot of pain,
Thy joy, O Lord, in which all creatures breathe,
Thy magic flowing waters of deep love,
Thy sweetness give to me for earth and men.”
Then after silence a still blissful cry
Began, such as arose from the Infinite
When the first whisperings of a strange delight
Imagined in its deep the joy to seek,
The passion to discover and to touch,
The enamoured laugh which rhymed the chanting worlds:
“O beautiful body of the incarnate Word,
Thy thoughts are mine, I have spoken with thy voice.
My will is thine, what thou hast chosen I choose.
All thou hast asked I give to earth and men.
All shall be written out in destiny’s book
By my trustee of thought and plan and act,
The executor of my will, eternal Time.

But since thou hast refused my maimless Calm
And turned from my termless peace in which is expunged
The visage of Space, and the shape of Time is lost,
And from happy extinction of thy separate self
In my uncompanioned lone eternity,—
For not for thee the nameless worldless Nought,
Annihilation of thy living soul
And the end of thought and hope and life and love
In the blank measureless Unknowable,—
Because thou hast obeyed my timeless will
I lay my hands upon thy soul of flame,
I lay my hands upon thy heart of love,
I yoke thee to my power of work in Time.
Because thou hast obeyed my timeless will,
Because thou hast chosen to share earth’s struggle and fate
And leaned in pity over earth-bound men
And turned aside to help and yearned to save,
I bind by thy heart’s passion thy heart to mine
And lay my splendid yoke upon thy soul.
Now will I do in thee my marvellous works.
I will fasten thy nature with my cords of strength,
Subdue to my delight thy spirit’s limbs
And make thee a vivid knot of all my bliss,
And build in thee my proud and crystal home.
Thy days shall be my shafts of power and light,
Thy nights my starry mysteries of joy
And all my clouds lie tangled in thy hair
And all my springtides marry in thy mouth.
O Sun-Word, thou shalt raise the earth-soul to Light
And bring down God into the lives of men;
Earth shall be my work-chamber and my house,
My garden of life to plant a seed divine.
When all thy work in human time is done,
The mind of earth shall be a home of light,
The life of earth a tree growing towards heaven,
The body of earth a tabernacle of God.
Awakened from the mortal’s ignorance
Men shall be lit with the Eternal’s ray
And the glory of my sun-lift in their thoughts
And feel in their hearts the sweetness of my love
And in their acts my Power’s miraculous drive.
My will shall be the meaning of their days;
Living for me, by me, in me they shall live.
In the heart of my creation’s mystery
I will enact the drama of thy soul,
Inscribe the long romance of Thee and Me.
I will pursue thee across the century;
Thou shalt be hunted through the world by love,
Naked of ignorance’ protecting veil
And without covert from my radiant gods
No shape shall screen thee from my divine desire.
Nowhere shalt thou escape my living eyes.
In the nudity of thy discovered self
In a bare identity with all that is,
Disrobed of thy covering of humanity,
Divested of the dense veil of human thought,
Made one with every mind and body and heart,
Made one with all nature and with self and God,
Summing in thy single soul my mystic world
I will possess in thee my universe,
The universe find all I am in thee.
Thou shalt bear all things that all things may change,
Thou shalt fill all with my splendour and my bliss,
Thou shalt meet all with my transmuting soul.
Assailed by my infinitudes above,
And quivering in immensities below,
Pursued by me through my mind’s wall-less vast,
Oceanic with the surges of my life,
A swimmer lost between two leaping seas
By my outer pains and inner sweetnesses
Finding my joy in my opposite mysteries
Thou shalt respond to me from every nerve.
A vision shall compel thy coursing breath,
Thy heart shall drive thee on the wheel of works,
Thy mind shall urge thee through the flames of thought,
To meet me in the abyss and on the heights,
To feel me in the tempest and the calm
And love me in the noble and the vile,
In beautiful things and terrible desire.
The pains of hell shall be to thee my kiss,
The flowers of heaven persuade thee with my touch.
My fiercest masks shall my attractions bring.
Music shall find thee in the voice of swords,
Beauty pursue thee through the core of flame.
Thou shalt know me in the rolling of the spheres
And cross me in the atoms of the whirl.
The wheeling forces of my universe
Shall cry to thee the summons of my name.
Delight shall drop down from my nectarous moon,
My fragrance seize thee in the jasmine’s snare,
My eye shall look upon thee from the sun.
Mirror of Nature’s secret spirit made,
Thou shalt reflect my hidden heart of joy,
Thou shalt drink down my sweetness unalloyed
In my pure lotus-cup of starry brim.
My dreadful hands laid on thy bosom shall force
Thy being bathed in fiercest longings’ streams.
Thou shalt discover the one and quivering note
And cry, the harp of all my melodies,
And roll, my foaming wave in seas of love.
Even my disasters’ clutch shall be to thee
The ordeal of my rapture’s contrary shape:
In pain’s self shall smile on thee my secret face:
Thou shalt bear my ruthless beauty unabridged
Amid the world’s intolerable wrongs,
Trampled by the violent misdeeds of Time
Cry out to the ecstasy of my rapture’s touch.
All beings shall be to thy life my emissaries;
Drawn to me on the bosom of thy friend,
Compelled to meet me in thy enemy’s eyes,
My creatures shall demand me from thy heart.
Thou shalt not shrink from any brother soul.
Thou shalt be attracted helplessly to all.
Men seeing thee shall feel my hands of joy,
In sorrow’s pangs feel steps of the world’s delight,
Their life experience its tumultuous shock
In the mutual craving of two opposites.
Hearts touched by thy love shall answer to my call,
Discover the ancient music of the spheres
In the revealing accents of thy voice,
And nearer draw to me because thou art:
Enamoured of thy spirit’s loveliness
They shall embrace my body in thy soul,
Hear in thy life the beauty of my laugh,
Know the thrilled bliss with which I made the worlds.
All that thou hast, shall be for other’s bliss,
All that thou art, shall to my hands belong.
I will pour delight from thee as from a jar,
I will whirl thee as my chariot through the ways,
I will use thee as my sword and as my lyre,
I will play on thee my minstrelsies of thought.
And when thou art vibrant with all ecstasy,
And when thou livst one spirit with all things,
Then will I spare thee not my living fires,
But make thee a channel for my timeless force.
My hidden presence led thee unknowing on
From thy beginning in earth’s voiceless bosom
Through life and pain and time and will and death,
Through outer shocks and inner silences
Along the mystic roads of Space and Time
To the experience which all Nature hides.
Who hunts and seizes me, my captive grows:
This shalt thou henceforth learn from thy heart-beats.
For ever love, O beautiful slave of God!
O lasso of my rapture’s widening noose,
Become my cord of universal love.
The spirit ensnared by thee force to delight
Of creation’s oneness sweet and fathomless,
Compelled to embrace my myriad unities
And all my endless forms and divine souls.
O Mind, grow full of the eternal peace;
O Word, cry out the immortal litany:
Built is the golden tower, the flame-child born.
[pp. 696-702]

“Descend to life with him thy heart desires.
O Satyavan, O luminous Savitri,
I sent you forth of old beneath the stars,
A dual power of God in an ignorant world,
In a hedged creation shut from limitless self,
Bringing down God to the insentient glow,
Lifting earth-beings to immortality.
[p. 702]
. . .
There is an infinite truth, an absolute power.
The spirit’s mightiness shall cast off its mask;
Its greatness shall be felt shaping the world’s course.
It shall be seen in its own veilless beams,
A star rising from the Inconscient’s night,
A sun climbing to Supernature’s peak.
[p. 704]
. . .
All then shall change, a magic order come
Overtopping this mechanical universe.
A mightier race shall inhabit the mortal’s world.
On Nature’s luminous tops, on the Spirit’s ground,
The superman shall reign as king of life,
[p. 705]
. . .
But first high Truth must set her feet on earth
And man aspire to the Eternal’s light
And all his members feel the Spirit’s touch
And all his life obey an inner Force.
This too shall be; for a new life shall come,
[p. 708]
. . .
Nature shall live to manifest secret God,
The Spirit shall take up the human play,
This earthly life become the life divine.”
The measure of that subtle music ceased.
Down with a hurried swimming floating lapse
Through unseen worlds and bottomless spaces forced
Sank like a star the soul of Savitri.
. . .
Pursuing her in her fall, implacably sweet,
A face was over her which seemed a youth’s,
Symbol of all the beauty eyes see not,
Crowned as with peacock plumes of gorgeous hue
Framing a sapphire, whose heart-disturbing smile
Insatiably attracted to delight,
Voluptuous to the embraces of her soul.
Changed in its shape, yet rapturously the same,
It grew a woman’s dark and beautiful
Like a mooned night with drifting star-gemmed clouds,
A shadowy glory and a stormy depth,
Turbulent in will and terrible in love.
Eyes in which Nature’s blind ecstatic life
Sprang from some spirit’s passionate content,
Missioned her to the whirling dance of earth.
. . .
She kept within her strong embosoming soul
Like a flower hidden in the heart of spring
The soul of Satyavan drawn down by her
Inextricably in that mighty lapse.
Invisible heavens in a thronging flight
Soared past her as she fell. Then all, the blind
And near attraction of the earth compelled
Fearful rapidities of downward bliss.
. . .
Then from a timeless plane that watches Time,
A Spirit gazed out upon destiny,
. . .
The prophet moment covered limitless space
And cast into the heart of hurrying Time
A diamond light of the Eternal’s peace,
A crimson seed of God’s felicity;
A glance from the gaze fell of undying Love.
[pp. 710-712]

End of Book 11 Canto 01

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