Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises




Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto One
The World-Stair

[Savitri B-02 C-01 Canto Name]

Play Section One
[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01]



Alone he moved watched by the infinity

Around him and the Unknowable above.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-01]

All could be seen that shuns the mortal eye,

All could be known the mind has never grasped;

All could be done no mortal will can dare.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-02]

A limitless movement filled a limitless peace.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-03]

In a profound existence beyond earth's

Parent or kin to our ideas and dreams

Where Space is a vast experiment of the soul,

In an immaterial substance linked to ours

In a deep oneness of all things that are,

The universe of the Unknown arose.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-04]

A self-creation without end or pause

Revealed the grandeurs of the Infinite:

It flung into the hazards of its play

A million moods, a myriad energies,

The world-shapes that are fancies of its Truth

And the formulas of the freedom of its Force.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-05]

It poured into the Ever-stable's flux

A bacchic rapture and revel of Ideas,

A passion and motion of everlastingness.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-06]

There rose unborn into the Unchanging's surge

Thoughts that abide in their deathless consequence,

Words that immortal last though fallen mute,

Acts that brought out from Silence its dumb sense,

Lines that convey the inexpressible.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-07]

The Eternal's stillness saw in unmoved joy

His universal Power at work display

In plots of pain and dramas of delight

The wonder and beauty of her will to be.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-08]

All, even pain, was the soul's pleasure here;

Here all experience was a single plan,

The thousandfold expression of the One.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-09]

All came at once into his single view;

Nothing escaped his vast intuitive sight,

Nothing drew near he could not feel as kin:

He was one spirit with that immensity.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-10]

Images in a supernal consciousness

Embodying the Unborn who never dies,

The structured visions of the cosmic Self

Alive with the touch of being's eternity

Looked at him like form-bound spiritual thoughts

Figuring the movements of the Ineffable.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-11]

Aspects of being donned world-outline; forms

That open moving doors on things divine,

Became familiar to his hourly sight;

The symbols of the Spirit's reality,

The living bodies of the Bodiless

Grew near to him, his daily associates.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-12]

The exhaustless seeings of the unsleeping Mind,

Letterings of its contact with the invisible,

Surrounded him with countless pointing signs;

The voices of a thousand realms of Life

Missioned to him her mighty messages.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-13]

The heaven-hints that invade our earthly lives,

The dire imaginations dreamed by Hell,

Which if enacted and experienced here

Our dulled capacity soon would cease to feel

Or our mortal frailty could not long endure,

Were set in their sublime proportions there.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-14]

There lived out in their self-born atmosphere,

They resumed their topless pitch and native power;

Their fortifying stress upon the soul

Bit deep into the ground of consciousness

The passion and purity of their extremes,

The absoluteness of their single cry

And the sovereign sweetness or violent poetry

Of their beautiful or terrible delight.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-15]

All thought can know or widest sight perceive

And all that thought and sight can never know,

All things occult and rare, remote and strange

Were near to heart's contact, felt by spirit-sense.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-16]

Asking for entry at his nature's gates

They crowded the widened spaces of his mind,

His self-discovery's flaming witnesses,

Offering their marvel and their multitude.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-17]

These now became new portions of himself,

The figures of his spirit's greater life,

The moving scenery of his large time-walk

Or the embroidered tissue of his sense:

These took the place of intimate human things

And moved as close companions of his thoughts,

Or were his soul's natural environment.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-18]

Tireless the heart's adventure of delight,

Endless the kingdoms of the Spirit's bliss,

Unnumbered tones struck from one harmony's strings;

Each to its wide-winged universal poise,

Its fathomless feeling of the All in one,

Brought notes of some perfection yet unseen,

Its single retreat into Truth's secrecies,

Its happy sidelight on the Infinite.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-19]

All was found there the Unique has dreamed and made

Tinging with ceaseless rapture and surprise

And an opulent beauty of passionate difference

The recurring beat that moments God in Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-20]

Only was missing the sole timeless Word

That carries eternity in its lonely sound,

The Idea self-luminous key to all ideas,

The integer of the Spirit's perfect sum

That equates the unequal All to the equal One,

The single sign interpreting every sign,

The absolute index to the Absolute.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-01 F-21]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02]



There walled apart by its own innerness

In a mystical barrage of dynamic light

He saw a lone immense high-curved world-pile

Erect like a mountain-chariot of the Gods

Motionless under an inscrutable sky.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-01]

As if from Matter's plinth and viewless base

To a top as viewless, a carved sea of worlds

Climbing with foam-maned waves to the Supreme

Ascended towards breadths immeasurable;

It hoped to soar into the Ineffable's reign:

A hundred levels raised it to the Unknown.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-02]

So it towered up to heights intangible

And disappeared in the hushed conscious Vast

As climbs a storeyed temple-tower to heaven

Built by the aspiring soul of man to live

Near to his dream of the Invisible.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-03]

Infinity calls to it as it dreams and climbs;

Its spire touches the apex of the world;

Mounting into great voiceless stillnesses

It marries the earth to screened eternities.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-04]

Amid the many systems of the One

Made by an interpreting creative joy

Alone it points us to our journey back

Out of our long self-loss in Nature's deeps;

Planted on earth it holds in it all realms:

It is a brief compendium of the Vast.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-05]

This was the single stair to being's goal.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-06]

A summary of the stages of the spirit,

Its copy of the cosmic hierarchies

Refashioned in our secret air of self

A subtle pattern of the universe.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-07]

It is within, below, without, above.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-08]

Acting upon this visible Nature's scheme

It wakens our earth-matter's heavy doze

To think and feel and to react to joy;

It models in us our diviner parts,

Lifts mortal mind into a greater air,

Makes yearn this life of flesh to intangible aims,

Links the body's death with immortality's call:

Out of the swoon of the Inconscience

It labours towards a superconscient Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-09]

If earth were all and this were not in her,

Thought could not be nor life-delight's response:

Only material forms could then be her guests

Driven by an inanimate world-force.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-10]

Earth by this golden superfluity

Bore thinking man and more than man shall bear;

This higher scheme of being is our cause

And holds the key to our ascending fate;

It calls out of our dense mortality

The conscious spirit nursed in Matter's house.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-11]

The living symbol of these conscious planes,

Its influences and godheads of the unseen,

Its unthought logic of Reality's acts

Arisen from the unspoken truth in things,

Have fixed our inner life's slow-scaled degrees.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-12]

Its steps are paces of the soul's return

From the deep adventure of material birth,

A ladder of delivering ascent

And rungs that Nature climbs to deity.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-13]

Once in the vigil of a deathless gaze

These grades had marked her giant downward plunge,

The wide and prone leap of a godhead's fall.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-14]

Our life is a holocaust of the Supreme.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-15]

The great World-Mother by her sacrifice

Has made her soul the body of our state;

Accepting sorrow and unconsciousness

Divinity's lapse from its own splendours wove

The many-patterned ground of all we are.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-16]

An idol of self is our mortality.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-17]

Our earth is a fragment and a residue;

Her power is packed with the stuff of greater worlds

And steeped in their colour-lustres dimmed by her drowse;

An atavism of higher births is hers,

Her sleep is stirred by their buried memories

Recalling the lost spheres from which they fell.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-18]

Unsatisfied forces in her bosom move;

They are partners of her greater growing fate

And her return to immortality;

They consent to share her doom of birth and death;

They kindle partial gleams of the All and drive

Her blind laborious spirit to compose

A meagre image of the mighty Whole.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-19]

The calm and luminous Intimacy within

Approves her work and guides the unseeing Power.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-20]

His vast design accepts a puny start.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-21]

An attempt, a drawing half-done is the world's life;

Its lines doubt their concealed significance,

Its curves join not their high intended close.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-22]

Yet some first image of greatness trembles there,

And when the ambiguous crowded parts have met

The many-toned unity to which they moved,

The Artist's joy shall laugh at reason's rules;

The divine intention suddenly shall be seen,

The end vindicate intuition's sure technique.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-23]

A graph shall be of many meeting worlds,

A cube and union-crystal of the gods;

A Mind shall think behind Nature's mindless mask,

A conscious Vast fill the old dumb brute Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-24]

This faint and fluid sketch of soul called man

Shall stand out on the background of long Time

A glowing epitome of eternity,

A little point reveal the infinitudes.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-25]

A Mystery's process is the universe.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-26]

At first was laid a strange anomalous base,

A void, a cipher of some secret Whole,

Where zero held infinity in its sum

And All and Nothing were a single term,

An eternal negative, a matrix Nought:

Into its forms the Child is ever born

Who lives for ever in the vasts of God.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-27]

A slow reversal's movement then took place:

A gas belched out from some invisible Fire,

Of its dense rings were formed these million stars;

Upon earth's new-born soil God's tread was heard.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-28]

Across the thick smoke of earth's ignorance

A Mind began to see and look at forms

And groped for knowledge in the nescient Night:

Caught in a blind stone-grip Force worked its plan

And made in sleep this huge mechanical world,

That Matter might grow conscious of its soul

And like a busy midwife the life-power

Deliver the zero carrier of the All.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-29]

Because eternal eyes turned on earth's gulfs

The lucent clarity of a pure regard

And saw a shadow of the Unknowable

Mirrored in the Inconscient's boundless sleep,

Creation's search for self began its stir.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-30]

A spirit dreamed in the crude cosmic whirl,

Mind flowed unknowing in the sap of life

And Matter's breasts suckled the divine Idea.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-31]

A miracle of the Absolute was born;

Infinity put on a finite soul,

All ocean lived within a wandering drop,

A time-made body housed the Illimitable.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-32]

To live this Mystery out our souls came here.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-02 F-33]

Play Section Three
[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-03]



A Seer within who knows the ordered plan

Concealed behind our momentary steps,

Inspires our ascent to viewless heights

As once the abysmal leap to earth and life.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-03 F-01]

His call had reached the Traveller in Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-03 F-02]

Apart in an unfathomed loneliness,

He travelled in his mute and single strength

Bearing the burden of the world's desire.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-03 F-03]

A formless Stillness called, a nameless Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-03 F-04]

Above him was the white immobile Ray,

Around him the eternal Silences.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-03 F-05]

No term was fixed to the high-pitched attempt;

World after world disclosed its guarded powers,

Heaven after heaven its deep beatitudes,

But still the invisible Magnet drew his soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-03 F-06]

A figure sole on Nature's giant stair,

He mounted towards an indiscernible end

On the bare summit of created things.

[Savitri B-02 C-01 S-03 F-07]



Book Two Canto One End

The World-Stair

[Savitri B-02 C-01 Canto End]