(S 1)
A SAD destroying cadence the voice sank;
It seemed to lead the advancing march of Life
Into some still original Inane.
(S 2)
But Savitri answered to almighty Death:
5 “O dark-browed sophist of the universe
Who veilst the Real with its own Idea,
Hiding with brute objects Nature’s living face,
Masking eternity with thy dance of death,
Thou hast woven the ignorant mind into a screen
10 And made of Thought error’s purveyor and scribe,
And a false witness of mind’s servant sense.
(S 3)
An aesthete of the sorrow of the world,
Champion of a harsh and sad philosophy
Thou hast used words to shutter out the Light
15 And called in Truth to vindicate a lie.
(S 4)
A lying reality is falsehood’s crown
And a perverted truth her richest gem.
(S 5)
O Death, thou speakest truth but truth that slays, EoS
I answer to thee with the Truth that saves.
(S 6)
20 A traveller new-discovering himself, EoS
One made of Matter’s world his starting-point,
He made of Nothingness his living-room
And Night a process of the eternal light
And death a spur towards immortality.
(S 7)
25 God wrapped his head from sight in Matter’s cowl, EoS
His consciousness dived into inconscient depths,
All-Knowledge seemed a huge dark Nescience;
Infinity wore a boundless zero’s form.
(S 8)
His abysms of bliss became insensible deeps,
30 Eternity a blank spiritual Vast.
(S 9)
Annulling an original nullity EoS
The Timeless took its ground in emptiness
And drew the figure of a universe,
That the spirit might adventure into Time
35 And wrestle with adamant Necessity
And the soul pursue a cosmic pilgrimage.
(S 10)
A spirit moved in black immensities
And built a Thought in ancient Nothingness;
A soul was lit in God’s tremendous Void,
40 A secret labouring glow of nascent fire.
(S 11)
In Nihil’s gulf his mighty Puissance wrought; EoS
She swung her formless motion into shapes,
Made Matter the body of the Bodiless.
(S 12)
Infant and dim the eternal Mights awoke. EoS
(S 13)
45 In inert Matter breathed a slumbering Life,
In a subconscient Life Mind lay asleep;
In waking Life it stretched its giant limbs
To shake from it the torpor of its drowse;
A senseless substance quivered into sense,
50 The world’s heart commenced to beat, its eyes to see,
In the crowded dumb vibrations of a brain
Thought fumbled in a ring to find itself,
Discovered speech and fed the new-born Word
That bridged with spans of light the world’s ignorance.
(S 14)
55 In waking Mind, the Thinker built his house.
(S 15)
A reasoning animal willed and planned and sought;
He stood erect among his brute compeers,
He built life new, measured the universe,
Opposed his fate and wrestled with unseen Powers,
60 Conquered and used the laws that rule the world,
And hoped to ride the heavens and reach the stars,
A master of his huge environment.
(S 16)
Now through Mind’s windows stares the demigod EoS
Hidden behind the curtains of man’s soul:
65 He has seen the Unknown, looked on Truth’s veilless face;
A ray has touched him from the eternal sun;
Motionless, voiceless in foreseeing depths,
He stands awake in Supernature’s light
And sees a glory of arisen wings
70 And sees the vast descending might of God.
(S 17)
“O Death, thou lookst on an unfinished world EoS
Assailed by thee and of its road unsure,
Peopled by imperfect minds and ignorant lives,
And sayest God is not and all is vain.
(S 18)
75 How shall the child already be the man?
(S 19)
Because he is infant, shall he never grow?
(S 20)
Because he is ignorant, shall he never learn?
(S 21)
In a small fragile seed a great tree lurks, EoS
In a tiny gene a thinking being is shut;
80 A little element in a little sperm,
It grows and is a conqueror and a sage.
(S 22)
Then wilt thou spew out, Death, God’s mystic truth,
Deny the occult spiritual miracle?
(S 23)
Still wilt thou say there is no spirit, no God?
(S 24)
85 A mute material Nature wakes and sees;
She has invented speech, unveiled a will.
(S 25)
Something there waits beyond towards which she strives,
Something surrounds her into which she grows:
To uncover the spirit, to change back into God,
90 To exceed herself is her transcendent task.
(S 26)
In God concealed the world began to be, EoS
Tardily it travels towards manifest God:
Our imperfection towards perfection toils,
The body is the chrysalis of a soul:
95 The infinite holds the finite in its arms,
Time travels towards revealed eternity.
(S 27)
A miracle structure of the eternal Mage, EoS
Matter its mystery hides from its own eyes,
A scripture written out in cryptic signs,
100 An occult document of the All-Wonderful’s art.
(S 28)
All here bears witness to his secret might,
In all we feel his presence and his power.
(S 29)
A blaze of his sovereign glory is the sun,
A glory is the gold and glimmering moon,
105 A glory is his dream of purple sky.
(S 30)
A march of his greatness are the wheeling stars.
(S 31)
His laughter of beauty breaks out in green trees,
His moments of beauty triumph in a flower;
The blue sea’s chant, the rivulet’s wandering voice
110 Are murmurs falling from the Eternal’s harp.
(S 32)
This world is God fulfilled in outwardness.
(S 33)
His ways challenge our reason and our sense;
By blind brute movements of an ignorant Force,
By means we slight as small, obscure or base,
115 A greatness founded upon little things,
He has built a world in the unknowing Void.
(S 34)
His forms he has massed from infinitesimal dust;
His marvels are built from insignificant things.
(S 35)
If mind is crippled, life untaught and crude, EoS
120 If brutal masks are there and evil acts,
They are incidents of his vast and varied plot,
His great and dangerous drama’s needed steps;
He makes with these and all his passion-play,
A play and yet no play but the deep scheme
125 Of a transcendent Wisdom finding ways
To meet her Lord in the shadow and the Night:
Above her is the vigil of the stars;
Watched by a solitary Infinitude
She embodies in dumb Matter the Divine,
130 In symbol minds and lives the Absolute.
(S 36)
A miracle-monger her mechanical craft;
Matter’s machine worked out the laws of thought,
Life’s engines served the labour of a soul:
The Mighty Mother her creation wrought,
135 A huge caprice self-bound by iron laws,
And shut God into an enigmatic world:
She lulled the Omniscient into nescient sleep,
Omnipotence on Inertia’s back she drove,
Trod perfectly with divine unconscious steps
140 The enormous circle of her wonder-works.
(S 37)
Immortality assured itself by death; EoS
The Eternal’s face was seen through drifts of Time.
(S 38)
His knowledge he disguised as Ignorance, EoS
His Good he sowed in Evil’s monstrous bed,
145 Made error a door by which Truth could enter in,
His plant of bliss watered with Sorrow’s tears.
(S 39)
A thousand aspects point back to the One; EoS
A dual Nature covered the Unique.
(S 40)
In this meeting of the Eternal’s mingling masques,
150 This tangle-dance of passionate contraries
Locking like lovers in a forbidden embrace
The quarrel of their lost identity,
Through this wrestle and wrangle of the extremes of Power
Earth’s million roads struggled towards deity.
(S 41)
155 All stumbled on behind a stumbling Guide, EoS
Yet every stumble is a needed pace
On unknown routes to an unknowable goal.
(S 42)
All blundered and straggled towards the One Divine.
(S 43)
As if transmuted by a titan spell
160 The eternal Powers assumed a dubious face:
Idols of an oblique divinity,
They wore the heads of animal or troll,
Assumed ears of the faun, the satyr’s hoof,
Or harboured the demoniac in their gaze:
165 A crooked maze they made of thinking mind,
They suffered a metamorphosis of the heart,
Admitting bacchant revellers from the Night
Into its sanctuary of delights,
As in a Dionysian masquerade.
(S 44)
170 On the highways, in the gardens of the world
They wallowed oblivious of their divine parts,
As drunkards of a dire Circean wine
Or a child who sprawls and sports in Nature’s mire.
(S 45)
Even wisdom, hewer of the roads of God, EoS
175 Is a partner in the deep disastrous game:
Lost is the pilgrim’s wallet and the scrip,
She fails to read the map and watch the star.
(S 46)
A poor self-righteous virtue is her stock
And reason’s pragmatic grope or abstract sight,
180 Or the technique of a brief hour’s success
She teaches, an usher in utility’s school.
(S 47)
On the ocean surface of vast Consciousness
Small thoughts in shoals are fished up into a net
But the great truths escape her narrow cast;
185 Guarded from vision by creation’s depths,
Obscure they swim in blind enormous gulfs
Safe from the little sounding leads of mind,
Too far for the puny diver’s shallow plunge.
(S 48)
Our mortal vision peers with ignorant eyes;
190 It has no gaze on the deep heart of things.
(S 49)
Our knowledge walks leaning on Error’s staff, EoS
A worshipper of false dogmas and false gods,
Or fanatic of a fierce intolerant creed
Or a seeker doubting every truth he finds,
195 A sceptic facing Light with adamant No
Or chilling the heart with dry ironic smile,
Acynic stamping out the god in man;
A darkness wallows in the paths of Time
Or lifts its giant head to blot the stars;
200 It makes a cloud of the interpreting mind
And intercepts the oracles of the Sun.
(S 50)
Yet Light is there; it stands at Nature’s doors:
It holds a torch to lead the traveller in.
(S 51)
It waits to be kindled in our secret cells;
205 It is a star lighting an ignorant sea,
A lamp upon our poop piercing the night.
(S 52)
As knowledge grows Light flames up from within: EoS
It is a shining warrior in the mind,
An eagle of dreams in the divining heart,
210 An armour in the fight, a bow of God.
(S 53)
Then larger dawns arrive and Wisdom’s pomps EoS
Cross through the being’s dim half-lighted fields;
Philosophy climbs up Thought’s cloud-bank peaks
And Science tears out Nature’s occult powers,
215 Enormous djinns who serve a dwarf’s small needs,
Exposes the sealed minutiae of her art
And conquers her by her own captive force.
(S 54)
On heights unreached by mind’s most daring soar,
Upon a dangerous edge of failing Time
220 The soul draws back into its deathless Self;
Man’s knowledge becomes God’s supernal Ray.
(S 55)
There is the mystic realm whence leaps the power
Whose fire burns in the eyes of seer and sage;
A lightning flash of visionary sight,
225 It plays upon an inward verge of mind:
Thought silenced gazes into a brilliant Void.
(S 56)
A voice comes down from mystic unseen peaks:
A cry of splendour from a mouth of storm,
It is the voice that speaks to night’s profound,
230 It is the thunder and the flaming call.
(S 57)
Above the planes that climb from nescient earth,
A hand is lifted towards the Invisible’s realm,
Beyond the superconscient’s blinding line
And plucks away the screens of the Unknown;
235 A spirit within looks into the Eternal’s eyes.
(S 58)
It hears the Word to which our hearts were deaf, EoS
It sees through the blaze in which our thoughts grew blind;
It drinks from the naked breasts of glorious Truth,
It learns the secrets of eternity.
(S 59)
240 Thus all was plunged into the riddling Night,
Thus all is raised to meet a dazzling Sun.
(S 60)
O Death, this is the mystery of thy reign.
(S 61)
In earth’s anomalous and magic field
Carried in its aimless journey by the sun
245 Mid the forced marches of the great dumb stars,
A darkness occupied the fields of God,
And Matter’s world was governed by thy shape.
(S 62)
Thy mask has covered the Eternal’s face, EoS
The Bliss that made the world has fallen asleep.
(S 63)
250 Abandoned in the Vast she slumbered on:
An evil transmutation overtook
Her members till she knew herself no more.
(S 64)
Only through her creative slumber flit
Frail memories of the joy and beauty meant
255 Under the sky’s blue laugh mid green-scarfed trees
And happy squanderings of scents and hues,
In the field of the golden promenade of the sun
And the vigil of the dream-light of the stars,
Amid high meditating heads of hills,
260 On the bosom of voluptuous rain-kissed earth
And by the sapphire tumblings of the sea.
(S 65)
But now the primal innocence is lost
And Death and Ignorance govern the mortal world
And Nature’s visage wears a greyer hue.
(S 66)
265 Earth still has kept her early charm and grace, EoS
The grandeur and the beauty still are hers,
But veiled is the divine Inhabitant.
(S 67)
The souls of men have wandered from the Light
And the great Mother turns away her face.
(S 68)
270 The eyes of the creatrix Bliss are closed
And sorrow’s touch has found her in her dreams.
(S 69)
As she turns and tosses on her bed of Void,
Because she cannot wake and find herself
And cannot build again her perfect shape,
275 Oblivious of her nature and her state,
Forgetting her instinct of felicity,
Forgetting to create a world of joy,
She weeps and makes her creatures’ eyes to weep;
Testing with sorrow’s edge her children’s breasts,
280 She spends on life’s vain waste of hope and toil
The poignant luxury of grief and tears.
(S 70)
In the nightmare change of her half-conscious dream,
Tortured herself and torturing by her touch,
She comes to our hearts and bodies and our lives
285 Wearing a hard and cruel mask of pain.
(S 71)
Our nature twisted by the abortive birth EoS
Returns wry answers to life’s questioning shocks,
An acrid relish finds in the world’s pangs,
Drinks the sharp wine of grief’s perversity.
(S 72)
290 A curse is laid on the pure joy of life: EoS
Delight, God’s sweetest sign and Beauty’s twin,
Dreaded by aspiring saint and austere sage,
Is shunned, a dangerous and ambiguous cheat,
A specious trick of an infernal Power
295 It tempts the soul to its self-hurt and fall.
(S 73)
A puritan God made pleasure a poisonous fruit, EoS
Or red drug in the market-place of Death,
And sin the child of Nature’s ecstasy.
(S 74)
Yet every creature hunts for happiness,
300 Buys with harsh pangs or tears by violence
From the dull breast of the inanimate globe
Some fragment or some broken shard of bliss.
(S 75)
Even joy itself becomes a poisonous draught; EoS
Its hunger is made a dreadful hook of Fate.
(S 76)
305 All means are held good to catch a single beam,
Eternity sacrificed for a moment’s bliss:
Yet for joy and not for sorrow earth was made
And not as a dream in endless suffering Time.
(S 77)
Although God made the world for his delight, EoS
310 An ignorant Power took charge and seemed his Will
And Death’s deep falsity has mastered Life.
(S 78)
All grew a play of Chance simulating Fate.