Victory over Death, pp. 666-668 (SH 329)


In this passage we read about Savitri’s victory over Death, which symbolises the release of human soul from ignorance and pain.

 “I hail thee, almighty and victorious Death,
Thou grandiose Darkness of the Infinite.

O Void that makest room for all to be,
Hunger that gnawest at the universe
Consuming the cold remnants of the suns
And eatst the whole world with thy jaws of fire,
Waster of the energy that has made the stars,
Inconscience, carrier of the seeds of thought,
Nescience in which All-Knowledge sleeps entombed
And slowly emerges in its hollow breast
Wearing the mind’s mask of bright Ignorance.

Thou art my shadow and my instrument.

I have given thee thy awful shape of dread
And thy sharp sword of terror and grief and pain
To force the soul of man to struggle for light
On the brevity of his half-conscious days.

Thou art his spur to greatness in his works,
The whip to his yearning for eternal bliss,
His poignant need of immortality.

Live, Death, awhile, be still my instrument.

One day man too shall know thy fathomless heart
Of silence and the brooding peace of Night
And grave obedience to eternal Law
And the calm inflexible pity in thy gaze.

But now, O timeless Mightiness, stand aside
And leave the path of my incarnate Force.

Relieve the radiant God from thy black mask:
Release the soul of the world called Satyavan
Freed from thy clutch of pain and ignorance
That he may stand master of life and fate,
Man’s representative in the house of God,
The mate of Wisdom and the spouse of Light,
The eternal bridegroom of the eternal bride.”

She spoke; Death unconvinced resisted still,
Although he knew refusing still to know,
Although he saw refusing still to see.

Unshakable he stood claiming his right.

His spirit bowed; his will obeyed the law
Of its own nature binding even on Gods.

The Two opposed each other face to face.

His being like a huge fort of darkness towered;
Around it her light grew, an ocean’s siege.

Awhile the Shade survived defying heaven:
Assailing in front, oppressing from above,
A concrete mass of conscious power, he bore
The tyranny of her divine desire.

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.

Her mastering Word commanded every limb
And left no room for his enormous will
That seemed pushed out into some helpless space
And could no more re-enter but left him void.

He called to Night but she fell shuddering back,
He called to Hell but sullenly it retired:
He turned to the Inconscient for support,
From which he was born, his vast sustaining self;
It drew him back towards boundless vacancy
As if by himself to swallow up himself:
He called to his strength, but it refused his call.

His body was eaten by light, his spirit devoured.

At last he knew defeat inevitable
And left crumbling the shape that he had worn,
Abandoning hope to make man’s soul his prey
And force to be mortal the immortal spirit.

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.

(Savitri, pp. 666 – 668)

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