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At the Feet of The Mother


The Mother Reads Selections from Savitri by Sri Aurobindo


Book 5. The Book of Love

Canto 3. Satyavan and Savitri

Thus Satyavan spoke first to Savitri:
. . .
How art thou named among the sons of men?
. . .
I have heard strange voices cross the ether’s waves,
The centaur’s wizard song has thrilled my ear;
I glimpsed the Apsaras bathing in the pools
And saw the wood-nymphs peering through the leaves;
The winds have shown to me their trampling lords,
I have beheld the princes of the Sun
Burning in thousand-pillared homes of light.
So now my mind could dream and my heart fear
. . .
Thou drov’st thy horses from the Thunderer’s worlds.
[pp. 400; 401]
* * *
Musing she answered: “I am Savitri,
Princess of Madra. Who art thou? What name
Musical on earth expresses thee to men?
What trunk of kings watered by fortunate streams
Has flowered at last upon one happy branch?
[pp. 402-403]
* * *
And Satyavan replied to Savitri:
“In days when yet his sight looked clear on life,
King Dyumathsena once, the Shalwa, reigned
. . .
Heaven’s brilliant gods recalled their careless gifts,
Took from blank eyes their glad and helping ray
. . .
He sojourns in two solitudes, within
And in the solemn rustle of the woods.
Son of that king, I, Satyavan, have lived
Contented, for not yet of thee aware,
In my high peopled loneliness of spirit
[p. 403]
* * *
A visioned spell pursued my boyhood’s hours,
. . .
The neighing pride of rapid life that roams
Wind-maned through our pastures, on my seeing mood
Cast shapes of swiftness; trooping spotted deer
Against the vesper sky became a song
Of evening to the silence of the soul.
I caught for some eternal eye the sudden
Kingfisher flashing to a darkling pool;
A slow swan silvering the azure lake,
A shape of magic whiteness, sailed through dream;
. . .
Pranked butterflies, the conscious flowers of air,
The brilliant long bills in their vivid dress,
The peacock scattering on the breeze his moons
Painted my memory like a frescoed wall.
[pp. 404-405]
* * *
I glimpsed the presence of the One in all.
But still there lacked the last transcendent power
. . .
I shall feel the World-Mother in thy golden limbs
And hear her wisdom in thy sacred voice.
[pp. 405-406]
* * *
“Speak more to me, speak more, O Satyavan,
Speak of thyself and all thou art within;
. . .
Speak till a light shall come into my heart
And my moved mortal mind shall understand
What all the deathless being in me feels.
It knows that thou art he my spirit has sought
Amidst earth’s thronging visages and forms
Across the golden spaces of my life.”
[p. 406]
* * *
And Satyavan like a replying harp
To the insistent calling of a flute
Answered her questioning and let stream to her
His heart in many-coloured waves of speech:
“O golden princess, perfect Savitri,
. . .
Wilt thou not make this mortal bliss thy sphere?
Descend, O Happiness, with thy moon-gold feet,
Enrich earth’s floors upon whose sleep we lie.
[pp. 406; 408]
* * *
“O Satyavan, I have heard thee and I know;
I know that thou and only thou art he.”
Then down she came from her high carven car
Descending with a soft and faltering haste;
. . .
Her gleaming feet upon the green gold sward
Scattered a memory of wandering beams
And lightly pressed the unspoken desire of earth
Cherished in her too brief passing by the soil.
[p. 409]
* * *
Then flitting like pale brilliant moths her hands
Took from the sylvan verge’s sunlit arms
A load of their jewel faces’ clustering swarms,
Companions of the spring-time and the breeze.
A candid garland set with simple forms
Her rapid fingers taught a flower song
The stanzaed movement of a marriage hymn.
[p. 409]
* * *
A sacrament of joy in treasuring palms
She brought, flower-symbol of her offered life,
Then with raised hands that trembled a little now
At the very closeness that her soul desired,
This bond of sweetness, their bright union’s sign,
She laid on the bosom coveted by her love.
[p. 409]
* * *
As if inclined before some gracious god
Who has out of his mist of greatness shone
To fill with beauty his adorer’s hours,
She bowed and touched his feet with worshipping hands;
. . .
And made her body the room of his delight,
Her beating heart a remembrancer of bliss.
[p. 410]
* * *
He bent to her and took into his own
Their married yearning joined like folded hopes;
[p. 410]
* * *
As if a whole rich world suddenly possessed,
Wedded to all he had been became himself,
An inexhaustible joy made his alone,
He gathered all Savitri into his clasp.
[p. 410]
* * *
Then down the narrow path where their lives had met
He led and showed to her her future world,
Love’s refuge and corner of happy solitude.
. . .
Once more she mounted on the carven car
And under the ardour of a fiery noon
Less bright than the splendour of her thoughts and dreams
She sped swift-reined, swift-hearted but still saw
In still lucidities of sight’s inner world
[pp. 411; 412]

End of Book 5 Canto 3

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