Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises




Book Two All Cantos
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]

Book 2 Canto 2

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises




Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto Two

The Kingdom of Subtle Matter

[Savitri B-02 C-02 Canto Name]

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



In the impalpable field of secret self,

This little outer being's vast support

Parted from vision by earth's solid fence,

He came into a magic crystal air

And found a life that lived not by the flesh,

A light that made visible immaterial things.

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

A fine degree in wonder's hierarchy,

The kingdom of subtle Matter's faery craft

Outlined against a sky of vivid hues,

Leaping out of a splendour-trance and haze,

The wizard revelation of its front.

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

A world of lovelier forms lies near to ours,

Where, undisguised by earth's deforming sight,

All shapes are beautiful and all things true.

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

In that lucent ambience mystically clear

The eyes were doors to a celestial sense,

Hearing was music and the touch a charm,

And the heart drew a deeper breath of power.

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

There dwell earth-nature's shining origins:

The perfect plans on which she moulds her works,

The distant outcomes of her travailing force,

Repose in a framework of established fate.

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

Attempted vainly now or won in vain,

Already were mapped and scheduled there the time

And figure of her future sovereignties

In the sumptuous lineaments traced by desire.

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

The golden issue of mind's labyrinth plots,

The riches unfound or still uncaught by our lives,

Unsullied by the attaint of mortal thought

Abide in that pellucid atmosphere.

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

Our vague beginnings are overtaken there,

Our middle terms sketched out in prescient lines,

Our finished ends anticipated live.

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

This brilliant roof of our descending plane,

Intercepting the free boon of heaven's air,

Admits small inrushes of a mighty breath

Or fragrant circuits through gold lattices;

It shields our ceiling of terrestrial mind

From deathless suns and the streaming of God's rain,

Yet canalises a strange irised glow,

And bright dews drip from the Immortal's sky.

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

A passage for the Powers that move our days,

Occult behind this grosser Nature's walls,

A gossamer marriage-hall of Mind with Form

Is hidden by a tapestry of dreams;

Heaven's meanings steal through it as through a veil,

Its inner sight sustains this outer scene.

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

A finer consciousness with happier lines,

It has a tact our touch cannot attain,

A purity of sense we never feel;

Its intercession with the eternal Ray

Inspires our transient earth's brief-lived attempts

At beauty and the perfect shape of things.

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

In rooms of the young divinity of power

And early play of the eternal Child

The embodiments of his outwinging thoughts

Laved in a bright everlasting wonder's tints

And lulled by whispers of that lucid air

Take dream-hued rest like birds on timeless trees

Before they dive to float on earth-time's sea.

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

All that here seems has lovelier semblance there.

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

Whatever our hearts conceive, our heads create,

Some high original beauty forfeiting,

Thence exiled here consents to an earthly tinge.

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

Whatever is here of visible charm and grace

Finds there its faultless and immortal lines;

All that is beautiful here is there divine.

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

Figures are there undreamed by mortal mind:

Bodies that have no earthly counterpart

Traverse the inner eye's illumined trance

And ravish the heart with their celestial tread

Persuading heaven to inhabit that wonder sphere.

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

The future's marvels wander in its gulfs;

Things old and new are fashioned in those depths:

A carnival of beauty crowds the heights

In that magic kingdom of ideal sight.

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

In its antechambers of splendid privacy

Matter and soul in conscious union meet

Like lovers in a lonely secret place:

In the clasp of a passion not yet unfortunate

They join their strength and sweetness and delight

And mingling make the high and low worlds one.

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

Intruder from the formless Infinite

Daring to break into the Inconscient's reign,

The spirit's leap towards body touches ground.

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

As yet unwrapped in earthly lineaments,

Already it wears outlasting death and birth,

Convincing the abyss by heavenly form,

A covering of its immortality

Alive to the lustre of the wearer's rank,

Fit to endure the rub of Change and Time.

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

A tissue mixed of the soul's radiant light

And Matter's substance of sign-burdened Force,—

Imagined vainly in our mind's thin air

An abstract phantasm mould of mental make,—

It feels what earthly bodies cannot feel

And is more real than this grosser frame.

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

After the falling of mortality's cloak

Lightened is its weight to heighten its ascent;

Refined to the touch of finer environments

It drops old patterned palls of denser stuff,

Cancels the grip of earth's descending pull

And bears the soul from world to higher world,

Till in the naked ether of the peaks

The spirit's simplicity alone is left,

The eternal being's first transparent robe.

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

But when it must come back to its mortal load

And the hard ensemble of earth's experience,

Then its return resumes that heavier dress.

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

For long before earth's solid vest was forged

By the technique of the atomic Void,

A lucent envelope of self-disguise

Was woven round the secret spirit in things.

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

The subtle realms from those bright sheaths are made.

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

This wonder-world with all its radiant boon

Of vision and inviolate happiness,

Only for expression cares and perfect form;

Fair on its peaks, it has dangerous nether planes;

Its light draws towards the verge of Nature's lapse;

It lends beauty to the terror of the gulfs

And fascinating eyes to perilous Gods,

Invests with grace the demon and the snake.

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

Its trance imposes earth's inconscience,

Immortal it weaves for us death's sombre robe

And authorises our mortality.

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

This medium serves a greater Consciousness:

A vessel of its concealed autocracy,

It is the subtle ground of Matter's worlds,

It is the immutable in their mutable forms,

In the folds of its creative memory

It guards the deathless type of perishing things:

Its lowered potencies found our fallen strengths;

Its thought invents our reasoned ignorance;

Its sense fathers our body's reflexes.

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

Our secret breath of untried mightier force,

The lurking sun of an instant's inner sight,

Its fine suggestions are a covert fount

For our iridescent rich imaginings

Touching things common with transfiguring hues

Till even earth's mud grows rich and warm with the skies

And a glory gleams from the soul's decadence.

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

Its knowledge is our error's starting-point;

Its beauty dons our mud-mask ugliness,

Its artist good begins our evil's tale.

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

A heaven of creative truths above,

A cosmos of harmonious dreams between,

A chaos of dissolving forms below,

It plunges lost in our inconscient base.

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

Out of its fall our denser Matter came.

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


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



Thus taken was God's plunge into the Night.

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

This fallen world became a nurse of souls

Inhabited by concealed divinity.

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

A Being woke and lived in the meaningless void,

A world-wide Nescience strove towards life and thought,

A Consciousness plucked out from mindless sleep.

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

All here is driven by an insentient will.

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

Thus fallen, inconscient, frustrate, dense, inert,

Sunk into inanimate and torpid drowse

Earth lay, a drudge of sleep, forced to create

By a subconscient yearning memory

Left from a happiness dead before she was born,

An alien wonder on her senseless breast.

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

This mire must harbour the orchid and the rose,

From her blind unwilling substance must emerge

A beauty that belongs to happier spheres.

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

This is the destiny bequeathed to her,

As if a slain god left a golden trust

To a blind force and an imprisoned soul.

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

An immortal godhead's perishable parts

She must reconstitute from fragments lost,

Reword from a document complete elsewhere

Her doubtful title to her divine Name.

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

A residue her sole inheritance,

All things she carries in her shapeless dust.

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

Her giant energy tied to petty forms

In the slow tentative motion of her power

With only frail blunt instruments for use,

She has accepted as her nature's need

And given to man as his stupendous work

A labour to the gods impossible.

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

A life living hardly in a field of death

Its portion claims of immortality;

A brute half-conscious body serves as means

A mind that must recover a knowledge lost

Held in stone grip by the world's inconscience,

And wearing still these countless knots of Law

A spirit bound stand up as Nature's king.

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

A mighty kinship is this daring's cause.

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

All we attempt in this imperfect world,

Looks forward or looks back beyond Time's gloss

To its pure idea and firm inviolate type

In an absolute creation's flawless skill.

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

To seize the absolute in shapes that pass,

To fix the eternal's touch in time-made things,

This is the law of all perfection here.

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

A fragment here is caught of heaven's design;

Else could we never hope for greater life

And ecstasy and glory could not be.

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

Even in the littleness of our mortal state,

Even in this prison-house of outer form,

A brilliant passage for the infallible Flame

Is driven through gross walls of nerve and brain,

A Splendour presses or a Power breaks through,

Earth's great dull barrier is removed awhile,

The inconscient seal is lifted from our eyes

And we grow vessels of creative might.

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

The enthusiasm of a divine surprise

Pervades our life, a mystic stir is felt,

A joyful anguish trembles in our limbs;

A dream of beauty dances through the heart,

A thought from the eternal Mind draws near,

Intimations cast from the Invisible

Awaking from Infinity's sleep come down,

Symbols of That which never yet was made.

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

But soon the inert flesh responds no more,

Then sinks the sacred orgy of delight,

The blaze of passion and the tide of power

Are taken from us and, though a glowing form

Abides astonishing earth, imagined supreme,

Too little of what was meant has left a trace.

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

Earth's eyes half-see, her forces half-create;

Her rarest works are copies of heaven's art.

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

A radiance of a golden artifice,

A masterpiece of inspired device and rule,

Her forms hide what they house and only mime

The unseized miracle of self-born shapes

That live for ever in the Eternal's gaze.

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

Here in a difficult half-finished world

Is a slow toiling of unconscious Powers;

Here is man's ignorant divining mind,

His genius born from an inconscient soil.

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

To copy on earth's copies is his art.

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

For when he strives for things surpassing earth,

Too rude the workman's tools, too crude his stuff,

And hardly with his heart's blood he achieves

His transient house of the divine Idea,

His figure of a Time-inn for the Unborn.

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

Our being thrills with high far memories

And would bring down their dateless meanings here,

But, too divine for earthly Nature's scheme,

Beyond our reach the eternal marvels blaze.

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

Absolute they dwell, unborn, immutable,

Immaculate in the Spirit's deathless air,

Immortal in a world of motionless Time

And an unchanging muse of deep self-space.

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

Only when we have climbed above ourselves,

A line of the Transcendent meets our road

And joins us to the timeless and the true;

It brings to us the inevitable word,

The godlike act, the thoughts that never die.

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

A ripple of light and glory wraps the brain,

And travelling down the moment's vanishing route

The figures of eternity arrive.

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

As the mind's visitors or the heart's guests

They espouse our mortal brevity awhile,

Or seldom in some rare delivering glimpse

Are caught by our vision's delicate surmise.

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

Although beginnings only and first attempts,

These glimmerings point to the secret of our birth

And the hidden miracle of our destiny.

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

What we are there and here on earth shall be

Is imaged in a contact and a call.

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

As yet earth's imperfection is our sphere,

Our nature's glass shows not our real self;

That greatness still abides held back within.

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

Earth's doubting future hides our heritage:

The Light now distant shall grow native here,

The Strength that visits us our comrade power;

The Ineffable shall find a secret voice,

The Imperishable burn through Matter's screen

Making this mortal body godhead's robe.

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

The Spirit's greatness is our timeless source

And it shall be our crown in endless Time.

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

A vast Unknown is round us and within;

All things are wrapped in the dynamic One:

A subtle link of union joins all life.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-34]

Thus all creation is a single chain:

We are not left alone in a closed scheme

Between a driving of inconscient Force

And an incommunicable Absolute.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-35]

Our life is a spur in a sublime soul-range,

Our being looks beyond its walls of mind

And it communicates with greater worlds;

There are brighter earths and wider heavens than ours.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-36]

There are realms where Being broods in its own depths;

It feels in its immense dynamic core

Its nameless, unformed, unborn potencies

Cry for expression in the unshaped Vast:

Ineffable beyond Ignorance and death,

The images of its everlasting Truth

Look out from a chamber of its self-rapt soul:

As if to its own inner witness gaze

The Spirit holds up its mirrored self and works,

The power and passion of its timeless heart,

The figures of its formless ecstasy,

The grandeurs of its multitudinous might.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-37]

Thence comes the mystic substance of our souls

Into the prodigy of our nature's birth,

There is the unfallen height of all we are

And dateless fount of all we hope to be.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-38]

On every plane the hieratic Power,

Initiate of unspoken verities,

Dreams to transcribe and make a part of life

In its own native style and living tongue

Some trait of the perfection of the Unborn,

Some vision seen in the omniscient Light,

Some far tone of the immortal rhapsodist Voice,

Some rapture of the all-creating Bliss,

Some form and plan of the Beauty unutterable.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-39]

Worlds are there nearer to those absolute realms,

Where the response to Truth is swift and sure

And spirit is not hampered by its frame

And hearts by sharp division seized and rent

And delight and beauty are inhabitants

And love and sweetness are the law of life.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-40]

A finer substance in a subtler mould

Embodies the divinity earth but dreams;

Its strength can overtake joy's running feet;

Overleaping the fixed hurdles set by Time,

The rapid net of an intuitive clasp

Captures the fugitive happiness we desire.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-41]

A Nature lifted by a larger breath,

Plastic and passive to the all-shaping Fire,

Answers the flaming Godhead's casual touch:

Immune from our inertia of response

It hears the word to which our hearts are deaf,

Adopts the seeing of immortal eyes

And, traveller on the roads of line and hue,

Pursues the spirit of beauty to its home.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-42]

Thus we draw near to the All-Wonderful

Following his rapture in things as sign and guide;

Beauty is his footprint showing us where he has passed,

Love is his heart-beats' rhythm in mortal breasts,

Happiness the smile on his adorable face.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-43]

A communion of spiritual entities,

A genius of creative Immanence,

Makes all creation deeply intimate:

A fourth dimension of aesthetic sense

Where all is in ourselves, ourselves in all,

To the cosmic wideness re-aligns our souls.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-44]

A kindling rapture joins the seer and seen;

The craftsman and the craft grown inly one

Achieve perfection by the magic throb

And passion of their close identity.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-45]

All that we slowly piece from gathered parts,

Or by long labour stumblingly evolve,

Is there self-born by its eternal right.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-46]

In us too the intuitive Fire can burn;

An agent Light, it is coiled in our folded hearts,

On the celestial levels is its home:

Descending, it can bring those heavens here.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-47]

But rarely burns the flame nor burns for long;

The joy it calls from those diviner heights

Brings brief magnificent reminiscences

And high splendid glimpses of interpreting thought,

But not the utter vision and delight.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-48]

A veil is kept, something is still held back,

Lest, captives of the beauty and the joy,

Our souls forget to the Highest to aspire.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-02 F-49]

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



In that fair subtle realm behind our own

The form is all, and physical gods are kings.

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

The inspiring Light plays in fine boundaries;

A faultless beauty comes by Nature's grace;

There liberty is perfection's guarantee:

Although the absolute Image lacks, the Word

Incarnate, the sheer spiritual ecstasy,

All is a miracle of symmetric charm,

A fantasy of perfect line and rule.

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

There all feel satisfied in themselves and whole,

A rich completeness is by limit made,

Marvel in an utter littleness abounds,

An intricate rapture riots in a small space:

Each rhythm is kin to its environment,

Each line is perfect and inevitable,

Each object faultlessly built for charm and use.

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

All is enamoured of its own delight.

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

Intact it lives of its perfection sure

In a heaven-pleased self-glad immunity;

Content to be, it has need of nothing more.

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

Here was not futile effort's broken heart:

Exempt from the ordeal and the test,

Empty of opposition and of pain,

It was a world that could not fear nor grieve.

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

It had no grace of error or defeat,

It had no room for fault, no power to fail.

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

Out of some packed self-bliss it drew at once

Its form-discoveries of the mute Idea

And the miracle of its rhythmic thoughts and acts,

Its clear technique of firm and rounded lives,

Its gracious people of inanimate shapes

And glory of breathing bodies like our own.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-08]

Amazed, his senses ravished with delight,

He moved in a divine, yet kindred world

Admiring marvellous forms so near to ours

Yet perfect like the playthings of a god,

Deathless in the aspect of mortality.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-09]

In their narrow and exclusive absolutes

The finite's ranked supremacies throned abide;

It dreams not ever of what might have been;

Only in boundaries can this absolute live.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-10]

In a supremeness bound to its own plan

Where all was finished and no widths were left,

No space for shadows of the immeasurable,

No room for the incalculable's surprise,

A captive of its own beauty and ecstasy,

In a magic circle wrought the enchanted Might.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-11]

The spirit stood back effaced behind its frame.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-12]

Admired for the bright finality of its lines

A blue horizon limited the soul;

Thought moved in luminous facilities,

The outer ideal's shallows its swim-range:

Life in its boundaries lingered satisfied

With the small happiness of the body's acts.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-13]

Assigned as Force to a bound corner-Mind,

Attached to the safe paucity of her room,

She did her little works and played and slept

And thought not of a greater work undone.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-14]

Forgetful of her violent vast desires,

Forgetful of the heights to which she rose,

Her walk was fixed within a radiant groove.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-15]

The beautiful body of a soul at ease,

Like one who laughs in sweet and sunlit groves,

Childlike she swung in her gold cradle of joy.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-16]

The spaces' call reached not her charmed abode,

She had no wings for wide and dangerous flight,

She faced no peril of sky or of abyss,

She knew no vistas and no mighty dreams,

No yearning for her lost infinitudes.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-17]

A perfect picture in a perfect frame,

This faery artistry could not keep his will:

Only a moment's fine release it gave;

A careless hour was spent in a slight bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-18]

Our spirit tires of being's surfaces,

Transcended is the splendour of the form;

It turns to hidden powers and deeper states.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-19]

So now he looked beyond for greater light.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-20]

His soul's peak-climb abandoning in its rear

This brilliant courtyard of the House of Days,

He left that fine material Paradise.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-21]

His destiny lay beyond in larger Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-02 S-03 F-22]


Book Two Canto Two End

The Kingdom of Subtle Matter

 [Savitri B-02 C-02 Canto End]


Book 2 Canto 3

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises




Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto Three

The Glory and the Fall of Life

[Savitri B-02 C-03 Canto Name]

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



An uneven broad ascent now lured his feet.

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

Answering a greater Nature's troubled call

He crossed the limits of embodied Mind

And entered wide obscure disputed fields

Where all was doubt and change and nothing sure,

A world of search and toil without repose.

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

As one who meets the face of the Unknown,

A questioner with none to give reply,

Attracted to a problem never solved,

Always uncertain of the ground he trod,

Always drawn on to an inconstant goal

He travelled through a land peopled by doubts

In shifting confines on a quaking base.

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

In front he saw a boundary ever unreached

And thought himself at each step nearer now,—

A far retreating horizon of mirage.

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

A vagrancy was there that brooked no home,

A journey of countless paths without a close.

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

Nothing he found to satisfy his heart;

A tireless wandering sought and could not cease.

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

There life is the manifest Incalculable,

A movement of unquiet seas, a long

And venturous leap of spirit into Space,

A vexed disturbance in the eternal Calm,

An impulse and passion of the Infinite.

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

Assuming whatever shape her fancy wills,

Escaped from the restraint of settled forms

She has left the safety of the tried and known.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-08]

Unshepherded by the fear that walks through Time,

Undaunted by Fate that dogs and Chance that springs,

She accepts disaster as a common risk;

Careless of suffering, heedless of sin and fall,

She wrestles with danger and discovery

In the unexplored expanses of the soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-09]

To be seemed only a long experiment,

The hazard of a seeking ignorant Force

That tries all truths and, finding none supreme,

Moves on unsatisfied, unsure of its end.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-10]

As saw some inner mind, so life was shaped:

From thought to thought she passed, from phase to phase,

Tortured by her own powers or proud and blest,

Now master of herself, now toy and slave.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-11]

A huge inconsequence was her action's law,

As if all possibility must be drained,

And anguish and bliss were pastimes of the heart.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-12]

In a gallop of thunder-hooved vicissitudes

She swept through the race-fields of Circumstance,

Or, swaying, she tossed between her heights and deeps,

Uplifted or broken on Time's inconstant wheel.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-13]

Amid a tedious crawl of drab desires

She writhed, a worm mid worms in Nature's mud,

Then, Titan-statured, took all earth for food,

Ambitioned the seas for robe, for crown the stars

And shouting strode from peak to giant peak,

Clamouring for worlds to conquer and to rule.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-14]

Then, wantonly enamoured of Sorrow's face,

She plunged into the anguish of the depths

And, wallowing, clung to her own misery.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-15]

In dolorous converse with her squandered self

She wrote the account of all that she had lost,

Or sat with grief as with an ancient friend.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-16]

A romp of violent raptures soon was spent,

Or she lingered tied to an inadequate joy

Missing the turns of fate, missing life's goal.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-17]

A scene was planned for all her numberless moods

Where each could be the law and way of life,

But none could offer a pure felicity;

Only a flickering zest they left behind

Or the fierce lust that brings a dead fatigue.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-18]

Amid her swift untold variety

Something remained dissatisfied, ever the same

And in the new saw only a face of the old,

For every hour repeated all the rest

And every change prolonged the same unease.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-19]

A spirit of her self and aim unsure,

Tired soon of too much joy and happiness,

She needs the spur of pleasure and of pain

And the native taste of suffering and unrest:

She strains for an end that never can she win.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-20]

A perverse savour haunts her thirsting lips:

For the grief she weeps which came from her own choice,

For the pleasure yearns that racked with wounds her breast;

Aspiring to heaven she turns her steps towards hell.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-21]

Chance she has chosen and danger for playfellows;

Fate's dreadful swing she has taken for cradle and seat.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-22]

Yet pure and bright from the Timeless was her birth,

A lost world-rapture lingers in her eyes,

Her moods are faces of the Infinite:

Beauty and happiness are her native right,

And endless Bliss is her eternal home.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-01 F-23]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02]



This now revealed its antique face of joy,

A sudden disclosure to the heart of grief

Tempting it to endure and long and hope.

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

Even in changing worlds bereft of peace,

In an air racked with sorrow and with fear

And while his feet trod on a soil unsafe,

He saw the image of a happier state.

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

In an architecture of hieratic Space

Circling and mounting towards creation's tops,

At a blue height which never was too high

For warm communion between body and soul,

As far as heaven, as near as thought and hope,

Glimmered the kingdom of a griefless life.

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

Above him in a new celestial vault

Other than the heavens beheld by mortal eyes,

As on a fretted ceiling of the gods,

An archipelago of laughter and fire,

Swam stars apart in a rippled sea of sky.

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

Towered spirals, magic rings of vivid hue

And gleaming spheres of strange felicity

Floated through distance like a symbol world.

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

On the trouble and the toil they could not share,

On the unhappiness they could not aid,

Impervious to life's suffering, struggle, grief,

Untarnished by its anger, gloom and hate,

Unmoved, untouched, looked down great visioned planes

Blissful for ever in their timeless right.

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

Absorbed in their own beauty and content,

Of their immortal gladness they live sure.

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

Apart in their self-glory plunged, remote

Burning they swam in a vague lucent haze,

An everlasting refuge of dream-light,

A nebula of the splendours of the gods

Made from the musings of eternity.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02 F-08]

Almost unbelievable by human faith,

Hardly they seemed the stuff of things that are.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02 F-09]

As through a magic television's glass

Outlined to some magnifying inner eye

They shone like images thrown from a far scene

Too high and glad for mortal lids to seize.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02 F-10]

But near and real to the longing heart

And to the body's passionate thought and sense

Are the hidden kingdoms of beatitude.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02 F-11]

In some close unattained realm which yet we feel,

Immune from the harsh clutch of Death and Time,

Escaping the search of sorrow and desire,

In bright enchanted safe peripheries

For ever wallowing in bliss they lie.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02 F-12]

In dream and trance and muse before our eyes,

Across a subtle vision's inner field,

Wide rapturous landscapes fleeting from the sight,

The figures of the perfect kingdom pass

And behind them leave a shining memory's trail.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02 F-13]

Imagined scenes or great eternal worlds,

Dream-caught or sensed, they touch our hearts with their depths;

Unreal-seeming, yet more real than life,

Happier than happiness, truer than things true,

If dreams these were or captured images,

Dream's truth made false earth's vain realities.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02 F-14]

In a swift eternal moment fixed there live

Or ever recalled come back to longing eyes

Calm heavens of imperishable Light,

Illumined continents of violet peace,

Oceans and rivers of the mirth of God

And griefless countries under purple suns.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-02 F-15]

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



This, once a star of bright remote idea

Or imagination's comet trail of dream,

Took now a close shape of reality.

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

The gulf between dream-truth, earth-fact was crossed,

The wonder-worlds of life were dreams no more;

His vision made all they unveiled its own:

Their scenes, their happenings met his eyes and heart

And smote them with pure loveliness and bliss.

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

A breathless summit region drew his gaze

Whose boundaries jutted into a sky of Self

And dipped towards a strange ethereal base.

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

The quintessence glowed of Life's supreme delight.

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

On a spiritual and mysterious peak

Only a miracle's high transfiguring line

Divided life from the formless Infinite

And sheltered Time against eternity.

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

Out of that formless stuff Time mints his shapes;

The Eternal's quiet holds the cosmic act:

The protean images of the World-Force

Have drawn the strength to be, the will to last

From a deep ocean of dynamic peace.

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

Inverting the spirit's apex towards life,

She spends the plastic liberties of the One

To cast in acts the dreams of her caprice,

His wisdom's call steadies her careless feet,

He props her dance upon a rigid base,

His timeless still immutability

Must standardise her creation's miracle.

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

Out of the Void's unseeing energies

Inventing the scene of a concrete universe,

By his thought she has fixed its paces, in its blind acts

She sees by flashes of his all-knowing Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-08]

At her will the inscrutable Supermind leans down

To guide her force that feels but cannot know,

Its breath of power controls her restless seas

And life obeys the governing Idea.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-09]

At her will, led by a luminous Immanence

The hazardous experimenting Mind

Pushes its way through obscure possibles

Mid chance formations of an unknowing world.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-10]

Our human ignorance moves towards the Truth

That Nescience may become omniscient,

Transmuted instincts shape to divine thoughts,

Thoughts house infallible immortal sight

And Nature climb towards God's identity.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-11]

The Master of the worlds self-made her slave

Is the executor of her fantasies:

She has canalised the seas of omnipotence;

She has limited by her laws the Illimitable.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-12]

The Immortal bound himself to do her works;

He labours at the tasks her Ignorance sets,

Hidden in the cape of our mortality.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-13]

The worlds, the forms her goddess fancy makes

Have lost their origin on unseen heights:

Even severed, straying from their timeless source,

Even deformed, obscure, accursed and fallen,—

Since even fall has its perverted joy

And nothing she leaves out that serves delight,—

These too can to the peaks revert or here

Cut out the sentence of the spirit's fall,

Recover their forfeited divinity.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-14]

At once caught in an eternal vision's sweep

He saw her pride and splendour of highborn zones

And her regions crouching in the nether deeps.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-15]

Above was a monarchy of unfallen self,

Beneath was the gloomy trance of the abyss,

An opposite pole or dim antipodes.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-16]

There were vasts of the glory of life's absolutes:

All laughed in a safe immortality

And an eternal childhood of the soul

Before darkness came and pain and grief were born

Where all could dare to be themselves and one

And Wisdom played in sinless innocence

With naked Freedom in Truth's happy sun.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-17]

There were worlds of her laughter and dreadful irony,

There were fields of her taste of toil and strife and tears;

Her head lay on the breast of amorous Death,

Sleep imitated awhile extinction's peace.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-18]

The light of God she has parted from his dark

To test the savour of bare opposites.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-19]

Here mingling in man's heart their tones and hues

Have woven his being's mutable design,

His life a forward-rippling stream in Time,

His nature's constant fixed mobility,

His soul a moving picture's changeful film,

His cosmos-chaos of personality.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-20]

The grand creatrix with her cryptic touch

Has turned to pathos and power being's self-dream,

Made a passion-play of its fathomless mystery.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-03 F-21]

Play Section Four
[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04]



But here were worlds lifted half-way to heaven.

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

The Veil was there but not the Shadowy Wall;

In forms not too remote from human grasp

Some passion of the inviolate purity

Broke through, a ray of the original Bliss.

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

Heaven's joys might have been earth's if earth were pure.

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

There could have reached our divinised sense and heart

Some natural felicity's bright extreme,

Some thrill of Supernature's absolutes:

All strengths could laugh and sport on earth's hard roads

And never feel her cruel edge of pain,

All love could play and nowhere Nature's shame.

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

But she has stabled her dreams in Matter's courts

And still her doors are barred to things supreme.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-05]

These worlds could feel God's breath visiting their tops;

Some glimmer of the Transcendent's hem was there.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-06]

Across the white aeonic silences

Immortal figures of embodied joy

Traversed wide spaces near to eternity's sleep.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-07]

Pure mystic voices in beatitude's hush

Appealed to Love's immaculate sweetnesses,

Calling his honeyed touch to thrill the worlds,

His blissful hands to seize on Nature's limbs,

His sweet intolerant might of union

To take all beings into his saviour arms,

Drawing to his pity the rebel and the waif

To force on them the happiness they refuse.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-08]

A chant hymeneal to the unseen Divine,

A flaming rhapsody of white desire

Lured an immortal music into the heart

And woke the slumbering ear of ecstasy.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-09]

A purer, fierier sense had there its home,

A burning urge no earthly limbs can hold;

One drew a large unburdened spacious breath

And the heart sped from beat to rapturous beat.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-10]

The voice of Time sang of the Immortal's joy;

An inspiration and a lyric cry,

The moments came with ecstasy on their wings;

Beauty unimaginable moved heaven-bare

Absolved from boundaries in the vasts of dream;

The cry of the Birds of Wonder called from the skies

To the deathless people of the shores of Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-11]

Creation leaped straight from the hands of God;

Marvel and rapture wandered in the ways.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-12]

Only to be was a supreme delight,

Life was a happy laughter of the soul

And Joy was king with Love for minister.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-13]

The spirit's luminousness was bodied there.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-14]

Life's contraries were lovers or natural friends

And her extremes keen edges of harmony:

Indulgence with a tender purity came

And nursed the god on her maternal breast:

There none was weak, so falsehood could not live;

Ignorance was a thin shade protecting light,

Imagination the free-will of Truth,

Pleasure a candidate for heaven's fire;

The intellect was Beauty's worshipper,

Strength was the slave of calm spiritual law,

Power laid its head upon the breasts of Bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-15]

There were summit-glories inconceivable,

Autonomies of Wisdom's still self-rule

And high dependencies of her virgin sun,

Illumined theocracies of the seeing soul

Throned in the power of the Transcendent's ray.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-16]

A vision of grandeurs, a dream of magnitudes

In sun-bright kingdoms moved with regal gait:

Assemblies, crowded senates of the gods,

Life's puissances reigned on seats of marble will,

High dominations and autocracies

And laurelled strengths and armed imperative mights.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-17]

All objects there were great and beautiful,

All beings wore a royal stamp of power.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-18]

There sat the oligarchies of natural Law,

Proud violent heads served one calm monarch brow:

All the soul's postures donned divinity.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-19]

There met the ardent mutual intimacies

Of mastery's joy and the joy of servitude

Imposed by Love on Love's heart that obeys

And Love's body held beneath a rapturous yoke.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-20]

All was a game of meeting kinglinesses.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-21]

For worship lifts the worshipper's bowed strength

Close to the god's pride and bliss his soul adores:

The ruler there is one with all he rules;

To him who serves with a free equal heart

Obedience is his princely training's school,

His nobility's coronet and privilege,

His faith is a high nature's idiom,

His service a spiritual sovereignty.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-22]

There were realms where Knowledge joined creative Power

In her high home and made her all his own:

The grand Illuminate seized her gleaming limbs

And filled them with the passion of his ray

Till all her body was its transparent house

And all her soul a counterpart of his soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-23]

Apotheosised, transfigured by wisdom's touch,

Her days became a luminous sacrifice;

An immortal moth in happy and endless fire,

She burned in his sweet intolerable blaze.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-24]

A captive Life wedded her conqueror.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-25]

In his wide sky she built her world anew;

She gave to mind's calm pace the motor's speed,

To thinking a need to live what the soul saw,

To living an impetus to know and see.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-26]

His splendour grasped her, her puissance to him clung;

She crowned the Idea a king in purple robes,

Put her magic serpent sceptre in Thought's grip,

Made forms his inward vision's rhythmic shapes

And her acts the living body of his will.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-27]

A flaming thunder, a creator flash,

His victor Light rode on her deathless Force;

A centaur's mighty gallop bore the god.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-28]

Life throned with mind, a double majesty.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-29]

Worlds were there of a happiness great and grave

And action tinged with dream, laughter with thought,

And passion there could wait for its desire

Until it heard the near approach of God.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-30]

Worlds were there of a childlike mirth and joy;

A carefree youthfulness of mind and heart

Found in the body a heavenly instrument;

It lit an aureate halo round desire

And freed the deified animal in the limbs

To divine gambols of love and beauty and bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-31]

On a radiant soil that gazed at heaven's smile

A swift life-impulse stinted not nor stopped:

It knew not how to tire; happy were its tears.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-32]

There work was play and play the only work,

The tasks of heaven a game of godlike might:

A celestial bacchanal for ever pure,

Unstayed by faintness as in mortal frames

Life was an eternity of rapture's moods:

Age never came, care never lined the face.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-33]

Imposing on the safety of the stars

A race and laughter of immortal strengths,

The nude god-children in their play-fields ran

Smiting the winds with splendour and with speed;

Of storm and sun they made companions,

Sported with the white mane of tossing seas,

Slew distance trampled to death under their wheels

And wrestled in the arenas of their force.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-34]

Imperious in their radiance like the suns

They kindled heaven with the glory of their limbs

Flung like a divine largess to the world.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-35]

A spell to force the heart to stark delight,

They carried the pride and mastery of their charm

As if Life's banner on the roads of Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-36]

Ideas were luminous comrades of the soul;

Mind played with speech, cast javelins of thought,

But needed not these instruments' toil to know;

Knowledge was Nature's pastime like the rest.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-37]

Investitured with the fresh heart's bright ray,

An early God-instinct's child inheritors,

Tenants of the perpetuity of Time

Still thrilling with the first creation's bliss,

They steeped existence in their youth of soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-38]

An exquisite and vehement tyranny,

The strong compulsion of their will to joy

Poured smiling streams of happiness through the world.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-39]

There reigned a breath of high immune content,

A fortunate gait of days in tranquil air,

A flood of universal love and peace.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-40]

A sovereignty of tireless sweetness lived

Like a song of pleasure on the lips of Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-41]

A large spontaneous order freed the will,

A sun-frank winging of the soul to bliss,

The breadth and greatness of the unfettered act

And the swift fire-heart's golden liberty.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-42]

There was no falsehood of soul-severance,

There came no crookedness of thought or word

To rob creation of its native truth;

All was sincerity and natural force.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-43]

There freedom was sole rule and highest law.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-44]

In a happy series climbed or plunged these worlds:

In realms of curious beauty and surprise,

In fields of grandeur and of titan power,

Life played at ease with her immense desires.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-45]

A thousand Edens she could build nor pause;

No bound was set to her greatness and to her grace

And to her heavenly variety.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-46]

Awake with a cry and stir of numberless souls,

Arisen from the breast of some deep Infinite,

Smiling like a new-born child at love and hope,

In her nature housing the Immortal's power,

In her bosom bearing the eternal Will,

No guide she needed but her luminous heart:

No fall debased the godhead of her steps,

No alien Night had come to blind her eyes.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-47]

There was no use for grudging ring or fence;

Each act was a perfection and a joy.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-48]

Abandoned to her rapid fancy's moods

And the rich coloured riot of her mind,

Initiate of divine and mighty dreams,

Magician builder of unnumbered forms

Exploring the measures of the rhythms of God,

At will she wove her wizard wonder-dance,

A Dionysian goddess of delight,

A Bacchant of creative ecstasy.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-04 F-49]

Play Section Five
[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05]


This world of bliss he saw and felt its call,

But found no way to enter into its joy;

Across the conscious gulf there was no bridge.

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

A darker air encircled still his soul

Tied to an image of unquiet life.

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

In spite of yearning mind and longing sense,

To a sad Thought by grey experience formed

And a vision dimmed by care and sorrow and sleep

All this seemed only a bright desirable dream

Conceived in a longing distance by the heart

Of one who walks in the shadow of earth-pain.

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

Although he once had felt the Eternal's clasp,

Too near to suffering worlds his nature lived,

And where he stood were entrances of Night.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-04]

Hardly, too close beset by the world's care,

Can the dense mould in which we have been made

Return sheer joy to joy, pure light to light.

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

For its tormented will to think and live

First to a mingled pain and pleasure woke

And still it keeps the habit of its birth:

A dire duality is our way to be.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-06]

In the crude beginnings of this mortal world

Life was not nor mind's play nor heart's desire.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-07]

When earth was built in the unconscious Void

And nothing was save a material scene,

Identified with sea and sky and stone

Her young gods yearned for the release of souls

Asleep in objects, vague, inanimate.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-08]

In that desolate grandeur, in that beauty bare,

In the deaf stillness, mid the unheeded sounds,

Heavy was the uncommunicated load

Of Godhead in a world that had no needs;

For none was there to feel or to receive.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-09]

This solid mass which brooked no throb of sense

Could not contain their vast creative urge:

Immersed no more in Matter's harmony,

The Spirit lost its statuesque repose.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-10]

In the uncaring trance it groped for sight,

Passioned for the movements of a conscious heart,

Famishing for speech and thought and joy and love,

In the dumb insensitive wheeling day and night

Hungered for the beat of yearning and response.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-11]

The poised inconscience shaken with a touch,

The intuitive Silence trembling with a name,

They cried to Life to invade the senseless mould

And in brute forms awake divinity.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-12]

A voice was heard on the mute rolling globe,

A murmur moaned in the unlistening Void.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-13]

A being seemed to breathe where once was none:

Something pent up in dead insentient depths,

Denied conscious existence, lost to joy,

Turned as if one asleep since dateless time.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-14]

Aware of its own buried reality,

Remembering its forgotten self and right,

It yearned to know, to aspire, to enjoy, to live.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-15]

Life heard the call and left her native light.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-16]

Overflowing from her bright magnificent plane

On the rigid coil and sprawl of mortal Space,

Here too the gracious great-winged Angel poured

Her splendour and her swiftness and her bliss,

Hoping to fill a fair new world with joy.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-17]

As comes a goddess to a mortal's breast

And fills his days with her celestial clasp,

She stooped to make her home in transient shapes;

In Matter's womb she cast the Immortal's fire,

In the unfeeling Vast woke thought and hope,

Smote with her charm and beauty flesh and nerve

And forced delight on earth's insensible frame.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-18]

Alive and clad with trees and herbs and flowers

Earth's great brown body smiled towards the skies,

Azure replied to azure in the sea's laugh;

New sentient creatures filled the unseen depths,

Life's glory and swiftness ran in the beauty of beasts,

Man dared and thought and met with his soul the world.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-19]

But while the magic breath was on its way,

Before her gifts could reach our prisoned hearts,

A dark ambiguous Presence questioned all.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-20]

The secret Will that robes itself with Night

And offers to spirit the ordeal of the flesh,

Imposed a mystic mask of death and pain.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-21]

Interned now in the slow and suffering years

Sojourns the winged and wonderful wayfarer

And can no more recall her happier state,

But must obey the inert Inconscient's law,

Insensible foundation of a world

In which blind limits are on beauty laid

And sorrow and joy as struggling comrades live.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-22]

A dim and dreadful muteness fell on her:

Abolished was her subtle mighty spirit

And slain her boon of child-god happiness,

And all her glory into littleness turned

And all her sweetness into a maimed desire.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-23]

To feed death with her works is here life's doom.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-24]

So veiled was her immortality that she seemed,

Inflicting consciousness on unconscious things,

An episode in an eternal death,

A myth of being that must for ever cease.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-25]

Such was the evil mystery of her change.

[Savitri B-02 C-03 S-05 F-26]


Book Two Canto Three End

The Glory and the Fall of Life

[Savitri B-02 C-03 Canto End]


Book 2 Canto 4

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises




Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto Four

The Kingdoms of the Little Life

[Savitri B-02 C-04 Canto Name]

Play Section One
[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01]


A quivering trepidant uncertain world

Born from that dolorous meeting and eclipse

Appeared in the emptiness where her feet had trod,

A quick obscurity, a seeking stir.

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

There was a writhing of half-conscious force

Hardly awakened from the Inconscient's sleep,

Tied to an instinct-driven Ignorance,

To find itself and find its hold on things.

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

Inheritor of poverty and loss,

Assailed by memories that fled when seized,

Haunted by a forgotten uplifting hope,

It strove with a blindness as of groping hands

To fill the aching and disastrous gap

Between earth-pain and the bliss from which Life fell.

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

A world that ever seeks for something missed,

Hunts for the joy that earth has failed to keep.

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

Too near to our gates its unappeased unrest

For peace to live on the inert solid globe:

It has joined its hunger to the hunger of earth,

It has given the law of craving to our lives,

It has made our spirit's need a fathomless gulf.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-05]

An Influence entered mortal night and day,

A shadow overcast the time-born race;

In the troubled stream where leaps a blind heart-pulse

And the nerve-beat of feeling wakes in sense

Dividing Matter's sleep from conscious Mind,

There strayed a call that knew not why it came.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-06]

A Power beyond earth's scope has touched the earth;

The repose that might have been can be no more;

A formless yearning passions in man's heart,

A cry is in his blood for happier things:

Else could he roam on a free sunlit soil

With the childlike pain-forgetting mind of beasts

Or live happy, unmoved, like flowers and trees.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-07]

The Might that came upon the earth to bless,

Has stayed on earth to suffer and aspire.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-08]

The infant laugh that rang through time is hushed:

Man's natural joy of life is overcast

And sorrow is his nurse of destiny.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-09]

The animal's thoughtless joy is left behind,

Care and reflection burden his daily walk;

He has risen to greatness and to discontent,

He is awake to the Invisible.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-10]

Insatiate seeker, he has all to learn:

He has exhausted now life's surface acts,

His being's hidden realms remain to explore.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-11]

He becomes a mind, he becomes a spirit and self;

In his fragile tenement he grows Nature's lord.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-12]

In him Matter wakes from its long obscure trance,

In him earth feels the Godhead drawing near.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-13]

An eyeless Power that sees no more its aim,

A restless hungry energy of Will,

Life cast her seed in the body's indolent mould;

It woke from happy torpor a blind Force

Compelling it to sense and seek and feel.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-14]

In the enormous labour of the Void

Perturbing with her dreams the vast routine

And dead roll of a slumbering universe

The mighty prisoner struggled for release.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-15]

Alive with her yearning woke the inert cell,

In the heart she kindled a fire of passion and need,

Amid the deep calm of inanimate things

Arose her great voice of toil and prayer and strife.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-16]

A groping consciousness in a voiceless world,

A guideless sense was given her for her road;

Thought was withheld and nothing now she knew,

But all the unknown was hers to feel and clasp.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-17]

Obeying the push of unborn things towards birth

Out of her seal of insentient life she broke:

In her substance of unthinking mute soul-strength

That cannot utter what its depths divine,

Awoke a blind necessity to know.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-18]

The chain that bound her she made her instrument;

Instinct was hers, the chrysalis of Truth,

And effort and growth and striving nescience.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-19]

Inflicting on the body desire and hope,

Imposing on inconscience consciousness,

She brought into Matter's dull tenacity

Her anguished claim to her lost sovereign right,

Her tireless search, her vexed uneasy heart,

Her wandering unsure steps, her cry for change.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-20]

Adorer of a joy without a name,

In her obscure cathedral of delight

To dim dwarf gods she offers secret rites.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-21]

But vain unending is the sacrifice,

The priest an ignorant mage who only makes

Futile mutations in the altar's plan

And casts blind hopes into a powerless flame.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-22]

A burden of transient gains weighs down her steps

And hardly under that load can she advance;

But the hours cry to her, she travels on

Passing from thought to thought, from want to want;

Her greatest progress is a deepened need.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-23]

Matter dissatisfies, she turns to Mind;

She conquers earth, her field, then claims the heavens.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-24]

Insensible, breaking the work she has done

The stumbling ages over her labour pass,

But still no great transforming light came down

And no revealing rapture touched her fall.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-25]

Only a glimmer sometimes splits mind's sky

Justifying the ambiguous providence

That makes of night a path to unknown dawns

Or a dark clue to some diviner state.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-26]

In Nescience began her mighty task,

In Ignorance she pursues the unfinished work,

For knowledge gropes, but meets not Wisdom's face.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-27]

Ascending slowly with unconscious steps,

A foundling of the Gods she wanders here

Like a child-soul left near the gates of Hell

Fumbling through fog in search of Paradise.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-01 F-28]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-02]



In this slow ascension he must follow her pace

Even from her faint and dim subconscious start:

So only can earth's last salvation come.

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

For so only could he know the obscure cause

Of all that holds us back and baffles God

In the jail-delivery of the imprisoned soul.

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

Along swift paths of fall through dangerous gates

He chanced into a grey obscurity

Teeming with instincts from the mindless gulfs

That pushed to wear a form and win a place.

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

Life here was intimate with Death and Night

And ate Death's food that she might breathe awhile;

She was their inmate and adopted waif.

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

Accepting subconscience, in dumb darkness' reign

A sojourner, she hoped not any more.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-02 F-05]

There far away from Truth and luminous thought

He saw the original seat, the separate birth

Of the dethroned, deformed and suffering Power.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-02 F-06]

An unhappy face of falsity made true,

A contradiction of our divine birth,

Indifferent to beauty and to light,

Parading she flaunted her animal disgrace

Unhelped by camouflage, brutal and bare,

An authentic image recognised and signed

Of her outcast force exiled from heaven and hope,

Fallen, glorying in the vileness of her state,

The grovel of a strength once half divine,

The graceless squalor of her beast desires,

The staring visage of her ignorance,

The naked body of her poverty.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-02 F-07]

Here first she crawled out from her cabin of mud

Where she had lain inconscient, rigid, mute:

Its narrowness and torpor held her still,

A darkness clung to her uneffaced by Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-02 F-08]

There neared no touch redeeming from above:

The upward look was alien to her sight,

Forgotten the fearless godhead of her walk;

Renounced was the glory and felicity,

The adventure in the dangerous fields of Time:

Hardly she availed, wallowing, to bear and live.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-02 F-09]

Play Section Three
[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03]



A wide unquiet mist of seeking Space,

A rayless region swallowed in vague swathes,

That seemed, unnamed, unbodied and unhoused,

A swaddled visionless and formless mind,

Asked for a body to translate its soul.

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

Its prayer denied, it fumbled after thought.

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

As yet not powered to think, hardly to live,

It opened into a weird and pigmy world

Where this unhappy magic had its source.

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

On dim confines where Life and Matter meet

He wandered among things half-seen, half-guessed,

Pursued by ungrasped beginnings and lost ends.

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

There life was born but died before it could live.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-05]

There was no solid ground, no constant drift;

Only some flame of mindless Will had power.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-06]

Himself was dim to himself, half-felt, obscure,

As if in a struggle of the Void to be.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-07]

In strange domains where all was living sense

But mastering thought was not nor cause nor rule,

Only a crude child-heart cried for toys of bliss,

Mind flickered, a disordered infant glow,

And random shapeless energies drove towards form

And took each wisp-fire for a guiding sun.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-08]

This blindfold force could place no thinking step;

Asking for light she followed darkness' clue.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-09]

An inconscient Power groped towards consciousness,

Matter smitten by Matter glimmered to sense,

Blind contacts, slow reactions beat out sparks

Of instinct from a cloaked subliminal bed,

Sensations crowded, dumb substitutes for thought,

Perception answered Nature's wakening blows

But still was a mechanical response,

A jerk, a leap, a start in Nature's dream,

And rude unchastened impulses jostling ran

Heedless of every motion but their own

And, darkling, clashed with darker than themselves,

Free in a world of settled anarchy.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-10]

The need to exist, the instinct to survive

Engrossed the tense precarious moment's will

And an unseeing desire felt out for food.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-11]

The gusts of Nature were the only law,

Force wrestled with force, but no result remained:

Only were achieved a nescient grasp and drive

And feelings and instincts knowing not their source,

Sense-pleasures and sense-pangs soon caught, soon lost,

And the brute motion of unthinking lives.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-12]

It was a vain unnecessary world

Whose will to be brought poor and sad results

And meaningless suffering and a grey unease.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-13]

Nothing seemed worth the labour to become.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-03 F-14]

Play Section Four
[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04]



But judged not so his spirit's wakened eye.

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

As shines a solitary witness star

That burns apart, Light's lonely sentinel,

In the drift and teeming of a mindless Night,

A single thinker in an aimless world

Awaiting some tremendous dawn of God,

He saw the purpose in the works of Time.

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

Even in that aimlessness a work was done

Pregnant with magic will and change divine.

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

The first writhings of the cosmic serpent Force

Uncoiled from the mystic ring of Matter's trance;

It raised its head in the warm air of life.

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

It could not cast off yet Night's stiffening sleep

Or wear as yet mind's wonder-flecks and streaks,

Put on its jewelled hood the crown of soul

Or stand erect in the blaze of spirit's sun.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-05]

As yet were only seen foulness and force,

The secret crawl of consciousness to light

Through a fertile slime of lust and battening sense,

Beneath the body's crust of thickened self

A tardy fervent working in the dark,

The turbid yeast of Nature's passionate change,

Ferment of the soul's creation out of mire.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-06]

A heavenly process donned this grey disguise,

A fallen ignorance in its covert night

Laboured to achieve its dumb unseemly work,

A camouflage of the Inconscient's need

To release the glory of God in Nature's mud.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-07]

His sight, spiritual in embodying orbs,

Could pierce through the grey phosphorescent haze

And scan the secrets of the shifting flux

That animates these mute and solid cells

And leads the thought and longing of the flesh

And the keen lust and hunger of its will.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-08]

This too he tracked along its hidden stream

And traced its acts to a miraculous fount.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-09]

A mystic Presence none can probe nor rule,

Creator of this game of ray and shade

In this sweet and bitter paradoxical life,

Asks from the body the soul's intimacies

And by the swift vibration of a nerve

Links its mechanic throbs to light and love.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-10]

It summons the spirit's sleeping memories

Up from subconscient depths beneath Time's foam;

Oblivious of their flame of happy truth,

Arriving with heavy eyes that hardly see,

They come disguised as feelings and desires,

Like weeds upon the surface float awhile

And rise and sink on a somnambulist tide.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-11]

Impure, degraded though her motions are,

Always a heaven-truth broods in life's deeps;

In her obscurest members burns that fire.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-12]

A touch of God's rapture in creation's acts,

A lost remembrance of felicity

Lurks still in the dumb roots of death and birth,

The world's senseless beauty mirrors God's delight.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-13]

That rapture's smile is secret everywhere;

It flows in the wind's breath, in the tree's sap,

Its hued magnificence blooms in leaves and flowers.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-14]

When life broke through its half-drowse in the plant

That feels and suffers but cannot move or cry,

In beast and in winged bird and thinking man

It made of the heart's rhythm its music's beat;

It forced the unconscious tissues to awake

And ask for happiness and earn the pang

And thrill with pleasure and laughter of brief delight,

And quiver with pain and crave for ecstasy.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-15]

Imperative, voiceless, ill-understood,

Too far from light, too close to being's core,

Born strangely in Time from the eternal Bliss,

It presses on heart's core and vibrant nerve;

Its sharp self-seeking tears our consciousness;

Our pain and pleasure have that sting for cause:

Instinct with it, but blind to its true joy

The soul's desire leaps out towards passing things.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-16]

All Nature's longing drive none can resist,

Comes surging through the blood and quickened sense;

An ecstasy of the infinite is her cause.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-17]

It turns in us to finite loves and lusts,

The will to conquer and have, to seize and keep,

To enlarge life's room and scope and pleasure's range,

To battle and overcome and make one's own,

The hope to mix one's joy with others' joy,

A yearning to possess and be possessed,

To enjoy and be enjoyed, to feel, to live.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-18]

Here was its early brief attempt to be,

Its rapid end of momentary delight

Whose stamp of failure haunts all ignorant life.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-19]

Inflicting still its habit on the cells

The phantom of a dark and evil start

Ghostlike pursues all that we dream and do.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-20]

Although on earth are firm established lives,

A working of habit or a sense of law,

A steady repetition in the flux,

Yet are its roots of will ever the same;

These passions are the stuff of which we are made.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-21]

This was the first cry of the awaking world.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-22]

It clings around us still and clamps the god.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-23]

Even when reason is born and soul takes form,

In beast and reptile and in thinking man

It lasts and is the fount of all their life.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-24]

This too was needed that breath and living might be.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-25]

The spirit in a finite ignorant world

Must rescue so its prisoned consciousness

Forced out in little jets at quivering points

From the Inconscient's sealed infinitude.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-26]

Then slowly it gathers mass, looks up at Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-27]

This Nature lives tied to her origin,

A clutch of nether force is on her still;

Out of unconscious depths her instincts leap;

A neighbour is her life to insentient Nought.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-28]

Under this law an ignorant world was made.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-29]

In the enigma of the darkened Vasts,

In the passion and self-loss of the Infinite

When all was plunged in the negating Void,

Non-Being's night could never have been saved

If Being had not plunged into the dark

Carrying with it its triple mystic cross.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-30]

Invoking in world-time the timeless truth,

Bliss changed to sorrow, knowledge made ignorant,

God's force turned into a child's helplessness

Can bring down heaven by their sacrifice.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-31]

A contradiction founds the base of life:

The eternal, the divine Reality

Has faced itself with its own contraries;

Being became the Void and Conscious-Force

Nescience and walk of a blind Energy

And Ecstasy took the figure of world-pain.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-32]

In a mysterious dispensation's law

A Wisdom that prepares its far-off ends

Planned so to start her slow aeonic game.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-33]

A blindfold search and wrestle and fumbling clasp

Of a half-seen Nature and a hidden Soul,

A game of hide-and-seek in twilit rooms,

A play of love and hate and fear and hope

Continues in the nursery of mind

Its hard and heavy romp of self-born twins.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-34]

At last the struggling Energy can emerge

And meet the voiceless Being in wider fields;

Then can they see and speak and, breast to breast,

In a larger consciousness, a clearer light,

The Two embrace and strive and each know each

Regarding closer now the playmate's face.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-35]

Even in these formless coilings he could feel

Matter's response to an infant stir of soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-36]

In Nature he saw the mighty Spirit concealed,

Watched the weak birth of a tremendous Force,

Pursued the riddle of Godhead's tentative pace,

Heard the faint rhythms of a great unborn Muse.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-04 F-37]

Play Section Five
[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05]



Then came a fierier breath of waking Life,

And there arose from the dim gulf of things

The strange creations of a thinking sense,

Existences half-real and half-dream.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-01]

A life was there that hoped not to survive:

Beings were born who perished without trace,

Events that were a formless drama's limbs

And actions driven by a blind creature will.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-02]

A seeking Power found out its road to form,

Patterns were built of love and joy and pain

And symbol figures for the moods of Life.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-03]

An insect hedonism fluttered and crawled

And basked in a sunlit Nature's surface thrills,

And dragon raptures, python agonies

Crawled in the marsh and mire and licked the sun.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-04]

Huge armoured strengths shook a frail quaking ground,

Great puissant creatures with a dwarfish brain,

And pigmy tribes imposed their small life-drift.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-05]

In a dwarf model of humanity

Nature now launched the extreme experience

And master-point of her design's caprice,

Luminous result of her half-conscious climb

On rungs twixt her sublimities and grotesques

To massive from infinitesimal shapes,

To a subtle balancing of body and soul,

To an order of intelligent littleness.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-06]

Around him in the moment-beats of Time

The kingdom of the animal self arose,

Where deed is all and mind is still half-born

And the heart obeys a dumb unseen control.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-07]

The Force that works by the light of Ignorance,

Her animal experiment began,

Crowding with conscious creatures her world-scheme;

But to the outward only were they alive,

Only they replied to touches and surfaces

And to the prick of need that drove their lives.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-08]

A body that knew not its own soul within,

There lived and longed, had wrath and joy and grief;

A mind was there that met the objective world

As if a stranger or enemy at its door:

Its thoughts were kneaded by the shocks of sense;

It captured not the spirit in the form,

It entered not the heart of what it saw;

It looked not for the power behind the act,

It studied not the hidden motive in things

Nor strove to find the meaning of it all.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-09]

Beings were there who wore a human form;

Absorbed they lived in the passion of the scene,

But knew not who they were or why they lived:

Content to breathe, to feel, to sense, to act,

Life had for them no aim save Nature's joy

And the stimulus and delight of outer things;

Identified with the spirit's outward shell,

They worked for the body's wants, they craved no more.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-10]

The veiled spectator watching from their depths

Fixed not his inward eye upon himself

Nor turned to find the author of the plot,

He saw the drama only and the stage.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-11]

There was no brooding stress of deeper sense,

The burden of reflection was not borne:

Mind looked on Nature with unknowing eyes,

Adored her boons and feared her monstrous strokes.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-12]

It pondered not on the magic of her laws,

It thirsted not for the secret wells of Truth,

But made a register of crowding facts

And strung sensations on a vivid thread:

It hunted and it fled and sniffed the winds,

Or slothed inert in sunshine and soft air:

It sought the engrossing contacts of the world,

But only to feed the surface sense with bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-13]

These felt life's quiver in the outward touch,

They could not feel behind the touch the soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-14]

To guard their form of self from Nature's harm,

To enjoy and to survive was all their care.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-15]

The narrow horizon of their days was filled

With things and creatures that could help and hurt:

The world's values hung upon their little self.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-16]

Isolated, cramped in the vast unknown,

To save their small lives from surrounding Death

They made a tiny circle of defence

Against the siege of the huge universe:

They preyed upon the world and were its prey,

But never dreamed to conquer and be free.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-17]

Obeying the World-Power's hints and firm taboos

A scanty part they drew from her rich store;

There was no conscious code and no life-plan:

The patterns of thinking of a little group

Fixed a traditional behaviour's law.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-18]

Ignorant of soul save as a wraith within,

Tied to a mechanism of unchanging lives

And to a dull usual sense and feeling's beat,

They turned in grooves of animal desire.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-19]

In walls of stone fenced round they worked and warred,

Did by a banded selfishness a small good

Or wrought a dreadful wrong and cruel pain

On sentient lives and thought they did no ill.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-20]

Ardent from the sack of happy peaceful homes

And gorged with slaughter, plunder, rape and fire,

They made of human selves their helpless prey,

A drove of captives led to lifelong woe,

Or torture a spectacle made and holiday,

Mocking or thrilled by their torn victims' pangs;

Admiring themselves as titans and as gods

Proudly they sang their high and glorious deeds

And praised their victory and their splendid force.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-21]

An animal in the instinctive herd

Pushed by life impulses, forced by common needs,

Each in his own kind saw his ego's glass;

All served the aim and action of the pack.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-22]

Those like himself, by blood or custom kin,

To him were parts of his life, his adjunct selves,

His personal nebula's constituent stars,

Satellite companions of his solar I.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-23]

A master of his life's environment,

A leader of a huddled human mass

Herding for safety on a dangerous earth,

He gathered them round him as if minor Powers

To make a common front against the world,

Or, weak and sole on an indifferent earth,

As a fortress for his undefended heart,

Or else to heal his body's loneliness.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-24]

In others than his kind he sensed a foe,

An alien unlike force to shun and fear,

A stranger and adversary to hate and slay.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-25]

Or he lived as lives the solitary brute;

At war with all he bore his single fate.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-26]

Absorbed in the present act, the fleeting days,

None thought to look beyond the hour's gains,

Or dreamed to make this earth a fairer world,

Or felt some touch divine surprise his heart.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-27]

The gladness that the fugitive moment gave,

The desire grasped, the bliss, the experience won,

Movement and speed and strength were joy enough

And bodily longings shared and quarrel and play,

And tears and laughter and the need called love.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-28]

In war and clasp these life-wants joined the All-Life,

Wrestlings of a divided unity

Inflicting mutual grief and happiness

In ignorance of the Self for ever one.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-29]

Arming its creatures with delight and hope

A half-awakened Nescience struggled there

To know by sight and touch the outside of things.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-30]

Instinct was formed; in memory's crowded sleep

The past lived on as in a bottomless sea:

Inverting into half-thought the quickened sense

She felt around for truth with fumbling hands,

Clutched to her the little she could reach and seize

And put aside in her subconscient cave.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-31]

So must the dim being grow in light and force

And rise to his higher destiny at last,

Look up to God and round at the universe,

And learn by failure and progress by fall

And battle with environment and doom,

By suffering discover his deep soul

And by possession grow to his own vasts.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-32]

Half-way she stopped and found her path no more.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-33]

Still nothing was achieved but to begin,

Yet finished seemed the circle of her force.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-34]

Only she had beaten out sparks of ignorance;

Only the life could think and not the mind,

Only the sense could feel and not the soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-35]

Only was lit some heat of the flame of Life,

Some joy to be, some rapturous leaps of sense.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-36]

All was an impetus of half-conscious Force,

A spirit sprawling drowned in dense life-foam,

A vague self grasping at the shape of things.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-37]

Behind all moved seeking for vessels to hold

A first raw vintage of the grapes of God,

On earth's mud a spilth of the supernal Bliss,

Intoxicating the stupefied soul and mind

A heady wine of rapture dark and crude,

Dim, uncast yet into spiritual form,

Obscure inhabitant of the world's blind core,

An unborn godhead's will, a mute Desire.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-05 F-38]

Play Section Six
[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06]



A third creation now revealed its face.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-01]

A mould of body's early mind was made.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-02]

A glint of light kindled the obscure World-Force;

It dowered a driven world with the seeing Idea

And armed the act with thought's dynamic point:

A small thinking being watched the works of Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-03]

A difficult evolution from below

Called a masked intervention from above;

Else this great, blind inconscient universe

Could never have disclosed its hidden mind,

Or even in blinkers worked in beast and man

The Intelligence that devised the cosmic scheme.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-04]

At first he saw a dim obscure mind-power

Moving concealed by Matter and dumb life.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-05]

A current thin, it streamed in life's vast flow

Tossing and drifting under a drifting sky

Amid the surge and glimmering tremulous wash,

Released in splash of sense and feeling's waves.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-06]

In the deep midst of an insentient world

Its huddled waves and foam of consciousness ran

Pressing and eddying through a narrow strait,

Carrying experience in its crowded pace.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-07]

It flowed emerging into upper light

From the deep pool of its subliminal birth

To reach some high existence still unknown.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-08]

There was no thinking self, aim there was none:

All was unorganised stress and seekings vague.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-09]

Only to the unstable surface rose

Sensations, stabs and edges of desire

And passion's leaps and brief emotion's cries,

A casual colloquy of flesh with flesh,

A murmur of heart to longing wordless heart,

Glimmerings of knowledge with no shape of thought

And jets of subconscious will or hunger's pulls.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-10]

All was dim sparkle on a foaming top:

It whirled around a drifting shadow-self

On an inconscient flood of Force in Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-11]

Then came the pressure of a seeing Power

That drew all into a dancing turbid mass

Circling around a single luminous point,

Centre of reference in a conscious field,

Figure of a unitary Light within.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-12]

It lit the impulse of the half-sentient flood,

Even an illusion gave of fixity

As if a sea could serve as a firm soil.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-13]

That strange observing Power imposed its sight.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-14]

It forced on flux a limit and a shape,

It gave its stream a lower narrow bank,

Drew lines to snare the spirit's formlessness.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-15]

It fashioned the life-mind of bird and beast,

The answer of the reptile and the fish,

The primitive pattern of the thoughts of man.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-16]

A finite movement of the Infinite

Came winging its way through a wide air of Time;

A march of knowledge moved in Nescience

And guarded in the form a separate soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-17]

Its right to be immortal it reserved,

But built a wall against the siege of death

And threw a hook to clutch eternity.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-18]

A thinking entity appeared in Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-19]

A little ordered world broke into view

Where being had prison-room for act and sight,

A floor to walk, a clear but scanty range.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-20]

An instrument-personality was born,

And a restricted clamped intelligence

Consented to confine in narrow bounds

Its seeking; it tied the thought to visible things,

Prohibiting the adventure of the Unseen

And the soul's tread through unknown infinities.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-21]

A reflex reason, Nature-habit's glass

Illumined life to know and fix its field,

Accept a dangerous ignorant brevity

And the inconclusive purpose of its walk

And profit by the hour's precarious chance

In the allotted boundaries of its fate.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-22]

A little joy and knowledge satisfied

This little being tied into a knot

And hung on a bulge of its environment,

A little curve cut off in measureless Space,

A little span of life in all vast Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-23]

A thought was there that planned, a will that strove,

But for small aims within a narrow scope,

Wasting unmeasured toil on transient things.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-24]

It knew itself a creature of the mud;

It asked no larger law, no loftier aim;

It had no inward look, no upward gaze.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-25]

A backward scholar on logic's rickety bench

Indoctrinated by the erring sense,

It took appearance for the face of God,

For casual lights the marching of the suns,

For heaven a starry strip of doubtful blue;

Aspects of being feigned to be the whole.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-26]

There was a voice of busy interchange,

A market-place of trivial thoughts and acts:

A life soon spent, a mind the body's slave

Here seemed the brilliant crown of Nature's work,

And tiny egos took the world as means

To sate awhile dwarf lusts and brief desires,

In a death-closed passage saw life's start and end

As though a blind alley were creation's sign,

As if for this the soul had coveted birth

In the wonderland of a self-creating world

And the opportunities of cosmic Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-27]

This creature passionate only to survive,

Fettered to puny thoughts with no wide range

And to the body's needs and pangs and joys,

This fire growing by its fuel's death,

Increased by what it seized and made its own:

It gathered and grew and gave itself to none.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-28]

Only it hoped for greatness in its den

And pleasure and victory in small fields of power

And conquest of life-room for self and kin,

An animal limited by its feeding-space.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-29]

It knew not the Immortal in its house;

It had no greater deeper cause to live.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-30]

In limits only it was powerful;

Acute to capture truth for outward use,

Its knowledge was the body's instrument;

Absorbed in the little works of its prison-house

It turned around the same unchanging points

In the same circle of interest and desire,

But thought itself the master of its jail.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-31]

Although for action, not for wisdom made,

Thought was its apex—or its gutter's rim:

It saw an image of the external world

And saw its surface self, but knew no more.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-32]

Out of a slow confused embroiled self-search

Mind grew to a clarity cut out, precise,

A gleam enclosed in a stone ignorance.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-33]

In this bound thinking's narrow leadership

Tied to the soil, inspired by common things,

Attached to a confined familiar world,

Amid the multitude of her motived plots,

Her changing actors and her million masks,

Life was a play monotonously the same.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-34]

There were no vast perspectives of the spirit,

No swift invasions of unknown delight,

No golden distances of wide release.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-35]

This petty state resembled our human days

But fixed to eternity of changeless type,

A moment's movement doomed to last through Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-36]

Existence bridge-like spanned the inconscient gulfs,

A half-illumined building in a mist,

Which from a void of Form arose to sight

And jutted out into a void of Soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-37]

A little light in a great darkness born,

Life knew not where it went nor whence it came.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-38]

Around all floated still the nescient haze.

[Savitri B-02 C-04 S-06 F-39]


Book Two Canto Four End

The Kingdoms of the Little Life

[Savitri B-02 C-04 Canto End]

Book 2 Canto 5

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises




Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto Five

The Godheads of the Little Life

[Savitri B-02 C-05 Canto Name]

Play Section One
[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01]



A fixed and narrow power with rigid forms,

He saw the empire of the little life,

An unhappy corner in eternity.

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

It lived upon the margin of the Idea

Protected by Ignorance as in a shell.

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

Then, hoping to learn the secret of this world

He peered across its scanty fringe of sight,

To disengage from its surface-clear obscurity

The Force that moved it and the Idea that made,

Imposing smallness on the Infinite,

The ruling spirit of its littleness,

The divine law that gave it right to be,

Its claim on Nature and its need in Time.

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

He plunged his gaze into the siege of mist

That held this ill-lit straitened continent

Ringed with the skies and seas of ignorance

And kept it safe from Truth and Self and Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-04]

As when a searchlight stabs the Night's blind breast

And dwellings and trees and figures of men appear

As if revealed to an eye in Nothingness,

All lurking things were torn out of their veils

And held up in his vision's sun-white blaze.

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

A busy restless uncouth populace

Teemed in their dusky unnoted thousands there.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-06]

In a mist of secrecy wrapping the world-scene

The little deities of Time's nether act

Who work remote from Heaven's controlling eye,

Plotted, unknown to the creatures whom they move,

The small conspiracies of this petty reign

Amused with the small contrivings, the brief hopes

And little eager steps and little ways

And reptile wallowings in the dark and dust,

And the crouch and ignominy of creeping life.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-07]

A trepidant and motley multitude,

A strange pell-mell of magic artisans,

Was seen moulding the plastic clay of life,

An elfin brood, an elemental kind.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-08]

Astonished by the unaccustomed glow,

As if immanent in the shadows started up

Imps with wry limbs and carved beast visages,

Sprite-prompters goblin-wizened or faery-small,

And genii fairer but unsouled and poor

And fallen beings, their heavenly portion lost,

And errant divinities trapped in Time's dust.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-09]

Ignorant and dangerous wills but armed with power,

Half-animal, half-god their mood, their shape.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-10]

Out of the greyness of a dim background

Their whispers come, an inarticulate force,

Awake in mind an echoing thought or word,

To their sting of impulse the heart's sanction draw,

And in that little Nature do their work

And fill its powers and creatures with unease.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-11]

Its seed of joy they curse with sorrow's fruit,

Put out with error's breath its scanty lights

And turn its surface truths to falsehood's ends,

Its small emotions spur, its passions drive

To the abyss or through the bog and mire:

Or else with a goad of hard dry lusts they prick,

While jogs on devious ways that nowhere lead

Life's cart finding no issue from ignorance.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-12]

To sport with good and evil is their law;

Luring to failure and meaningless success,

All models they corrupt, all measures cheat,

Make knowledge a poison, virtue a pattern dull

And lead the endless cycles of desire

Through semblances of sad or happy chance

To an inescapable fatality.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-13]

All by their influence is enacted there.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-14]

Nor there alone is their empire or their role:

Wherever are soulless minds and guideless lives

And in a small body self is all that counts,

Wherever love and light and largeness lack,

These crooked fashioners take up their task.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-15]

To all half-conscious worlds they extend their reign.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-16]

Here too these godlings drive our human hearts,

Our nature's twilight is their lurking-place:

Here too the darkened primitive heart obeys

The veiled suggestions of a hidden Mind

That dogs our knowledge with misleading light

And stands between us and the Truth that saves.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-17]

It speaks to us with the voices of the Night:

Our darkened lives to greater darkness move;

Our seekings listen to calamitous hopes.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-18]

A structure of unseeing thoughts is built

And reason used by an irrational Force.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-19]

This earth is not alone our teacher and nurse;

The powers of all the worlds have entrance here.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-20]

In their own fields they follow the wheel of law

And cherish the safety of a settled type;

On earth out of their changeless orbit thrown

Their law is kept, lost their fixed form of things.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-21]

Into a creative chaos they are cast

Where all asks order but is driven by Chance;

Strangers to earth-nature, they must learn earth's ways,

Aliens or opposites, they must unite:

They work and battle and with pain agree:

These join, those part, all parts and joins anew,

But never can we know and truly live

Till all have found their divine harmony.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-22]

Our life's uncertain way winds circling on,

Our mind's unquiet search asks always light,

Till they have learned their secret in their source,

In the light of the Timeless and its spaceless home,

In the joy of the Eternal sole and one.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-23]

But now the Light supreme is far away:

Our conscious life obeys the Inconscient's laws;

To ignorant purposes and blind desires

Our hearts are moved by an ambiguous force;

Even our mind's conquests wear a battered crown.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-24]

A slowly changing order binds our will.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-25]

This is our doom until our souls are free.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-26]

A mighty Hand then rolls mind's firmaments back,

Infinity takes up the finite's acts

And Nature steps into the eternal Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-27]

Then only ends this dream of nether life.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-01 F-28]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02]



At the outset of this enigmatic world

Which seems at once an enormous brute machine

And a slow unmasking of the spirit in things,

In this revolving chamber without walls

In which God sits impassive everywhere

As if unknown to himself and by us unseen

In a miracle of inconscient secrecy,

Yet is all here his action and his will.

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

In this whirl and sprawl through infinite vacancy

The Spirit became Matter and lay in the whirl,

A body sleeping without sense or soul.

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

A mass phenomenon of visible shapes

Supported by the silence of the Void

Appeared in the eternal Consciousness

And seemed an outward and insensible world.

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

There was none there to see and none to feel;

Only the miraculous Inconscient,

A subtle wizard skilled, was at its task.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-04]

Inventing ways for magical results,

Managing creation's marvellous device,

Marking mechanically dumb wisdom's points,

Using the unthought inevitable Idea,

It did the works of God's intelligence

Or wrought the will of some supreme Unknown.

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

Still consciousness was hidden in Nature's womb,

Unfelt was the Bliss whose rapture dreamed the worlds.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-06]

Being was an inert substance driven by Force.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-07]

At first was only an etheric Space:

Its huge vibrations circled round and round

Housing some unconceived initiative:

Upheld by a supreme original Breath

Expansion and contraction's mystic act

Created touch and friction in the void,

Into abstract emptiness brought clash and clasp:

Parent of an expanding universe

In a matrix of disintegrating force,

By spending it conserved an endless sum.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-08]

On the hearth of Space it kindled a viewless Fire

That, scattering worlds as one might scatter seeds,

Whirled out the luminous order of the stars.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-09]

An ocean of electric Energy

Formlessly formed its strange wave-particles

Constructing by their dance this solid scheme,

Its mightiness in the atom shut to rest;

Masses were forged or feigned and visible shapes;

Light flung the photon's swift revealing spark

And showed, in the minuteness of its flash

Imaged, this cosmos of apparent things.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-10]

Thus has been made this real impossible world,

An obvious miracle or convincing show.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-11]

Or so it seems to man's audacious mind

Who seats his thought as the arbiter of truth,

His personal vision as impersonal fact,

As witnesses of an objective world

His erring sense and his instruments' artifice.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-12]

Thus must he work life's tangible riddle out

In a doubtful light, by error seize on Truth

And slowly part the visage and the veil.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-13]

Or else, forlorn of faith in mind and sense,

His knowledge a bright body of ignorance,

He sees in all things strangely fashioned here

The unwelcome jest of a deceiving Force,

A parable of Maya and her might.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-14]

This vast perpetual motion caught and held

In the mysterious and unchanging change

Of the persistent movement we call Time

And ever renewing its recurrent beat,

These mobile rounds that stereotype a flux,

These static objects in the cosmic dance

That are but Energy's self-repeating whorls

Prolonged by the spirit of the brooding Void,

Awaited life and sense and waking Mind.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-15]

A little the Dreamer changed his pose of stone.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-16]

But when the Inconscient's scrupulous work was done

And Chance coerced by fixed immutable laws,

A scene was set for Nature's conscious play.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-17]

Then stirred the Spirit's mute immobile sleep;

The Force concealed broke dumbly, slowly out.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-18]

A dream of living woke in Matter's heart,

A will to live moved the Inconscient's dust,

A freak of living startled vacant Time,

Ephemeral in a blank eternity,

Infinitesimal in a dead Infinite.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-19]

A subtler breath quickened dead Matter's forms;

The world's set rhythm changed to a conscious cry;

A serpent Power twinned the insensible Force.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-20]

Islands of living dotted lifeless Space

And germs of living formed in formless air.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-21]

A Life was born that followed Matter's law,

Ignorant of the motives of its steps;

Ever inconstant, yet for ever the same,

It repeated the paradox that gave it birth:

Its restless and unstable stabilities

Recurred incessantly in the flow of Time

And purposeful movements in unthinking forms

Betrayed the heavings of an imprisoned Will.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-22]

Waking and sleep lay locked in mutual arms;

Helpless and indistinct came pleasure and pain

Trembling with the first faint thrills of a World-Soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-23]

A strength of life that could not cry or move,

Yet broke into beauty signing some deep delight:

An inarticulate sensibility,

Throbs of the heart of an unknowing world,

Ran through its somnolent torpor and there stirred

A vague uncertain thrill, a wandering beat,

A dim unclosing as of secret eyes.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-24]

Infant self-feeling grew and birth was born.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-25]

A godhead woke but lay with dreaming limbs;

Her house refused to open its sealed doors.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-26]

Insentient to our eyes that only see

The form, the act and not the imprisoned God,

Life hid in her pulse occult of growth and power

A consciousness with mute stifled beats of sense,

A mind suppressed that knew not yet of thought,

An inert spirit that could only be.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-27]

At first she raised no voice, no motion dared:

Charged with world-power, instinct with living force,

Only she clung with her roots to the safe earth,

Thrilled dumbly to the shocks of ray and breeze

And put out tendril fingers of desire;

The strength in her yearning for sun and light

Felt not the embrace that made her breathe and live;

Absorbed she dreamed content with beauty and hue.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-28]

At last the charmed Immensity looked forth:

Astir, vibrant, hungering, she groped for mind;

Then slowly sense quivered and thought peered out;

She forced the reluctant mould to grow aware.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-29]

The magic was chiselled of a conscious form;

Its tranced vibrations rhythmed a quick response,

And luminous stirrings prompted brain and nerve,

Awoke in Matter spirit's identity

And in a body lit the miracle

Of the heart's love and the soul's witness gaze.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-30]

Impelled by an unseen Will there could break out

Fragments of some vast impulse to become

And vivid glimpses of a secret self,

And the doubtful seeds and force of shapes to be

Awoke from the inconscient swoon of things.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-31]

An animal creation crept and ran

And flew and called between the earth and sky,

Hunted by death but hoping still to live

And glad to breathe if only for a while.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-32]

Then man was moulded from the original brute.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-33]

A thinking mind had come to lift life's moods,

The keen-edged tool of a Nature mixed and vague,

An intelligence half-witness, half-machine.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-34]

This seeming driver of her wheel of works

Missioned to motive and record her drift

And fix its law on her inconstant powers,

This master-spring of a delicate enginery,

Aspired to enlighten its user and refine

Lifting to a vision of the indwelling Power

The absorbed mechanic's crude initiative:

He raised his eyes; Heaven-light mirrored a Face.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-35]

Amazed at the works wrought in her mystic sleep,

She looked upon the world that she had made:

Wondering now seized the great automaton;

She paused to understand her self and aim,

Pondering she learned to act by conscious rule,

A visioned measure guided her rhythmic steps;

Thought bordered her instincts with a frame of will

And lit with the idea her blinded urge.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-36]

On her mass of impulses, her reflex acts,

On the Inconscient's pushed or guided drift

And mystery of unthinking accurate steps

She stuck the specious image of a self,

A living idol of disfigured spirit;

On Matter's acts she imposed a patterned law;

She made a thinking body from chemic cells

And moulded a being out of a driven force.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-37]

To be what she was not inflamed her hope:

She turned her dream towards some high Unknown;

A breath was felt below of One supreme.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-38]

An opening looked up to spheres above

And coloured shadows limned on mortal ground

The passing figures of immortal things;

A quick celestial flash could sometimes come:

The illumined soul-ray fell on heart and flesh

And touched with semblances of ideal light

The stuff of which our earthly dreams are made.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-39]

A fragile human love that could not last,

Ego's moth-wings to lift the seraph soul,

Appeared, a surface glamour of brief date

Extinguished by a scanty breath of Time;

Joy that forgot mortality for a while

Came, a rare visitor who left betimes,

And made all things seem beautiful for an hour,

Hopes that soon fade to drab realities

And passions that crumble to ashes while they blaze

Kindled the common earth with their brief flame.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-40]

A creature insignificant and small

Visited, uplifted by an unknown Power,

Man laboured on his little patch of earth

For means to last, to enjoy, to suffer and die.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-41]

A spirit that perished not with the body and breath

Was there like a shadow of the Unmanifest

And stood behind the little personal form

But claimed not yet this earthly embodiment.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-42]

Assenting to Nature's long slow-moving toil,

Watching the works of his own Ignorance,

Unknown, unfelt the mighty Witness lives

And nothing shows the Glory that is here.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-43]

A Wisdom governing the mystic world,

A Silence listening to the cry of Life,

It sees the hurrying crowd of moments stream

Towards the still greatness of a distant hour.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-02 F-44]

Play Section Three
[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03]



This huge world unintelligibly turns

In the shadow of a mused Inconscience;

It hides a key to inner meanings missed,

It locks in our hearts a voice we cannot hear.

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

An enigmatic labour of the spirit,

An exact machine of which none knows the use,

An art and ingenuity without sense,

This minute elaborate orchestrated life

For ever plays its motiveless symphonies.

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

The mind learns and knows not, turning its back to truth;

It studies surface laws by surface thought,

Life's steps surveys and Nature's process sees,

Not seeing for what she acts or why we live;

It marks her tireless care of just device,

Her patient intricacy of fine detail,

The ingenious spirit's brave inventive plan

In her great futile mass of endless works,

Adds purposeful figures to her purposeless sum,

Its gabled storeys piles, its climbing roofs

On the close-carved foundations she has laid,

Imagined citadels reared in mythic air

Or mounts a stair of dream to a mystic moon:

Transient creations point and hit the sky:

A world-conjecture's scheme is laboured out

On the dim floor of mind's incertitude,

Or painfully built a fragmentary whole.

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

Impenetrable, a mystery recondite

Is the vast plan of which we are a part;

Its harmonies are discords to our view

Because we know not the great theme they serve.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-04]

Inscrutable work the cosmic agencies.

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

Only the fringe of a wide surge we see;

Our instruments have not that greater light,

Our will tunes not with the eternal Will,

Our heart's sight is too blind and passionate.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-06]

Impotent to share in Nature's mystic tact,

Inapt to feel the pulse and core of things,

Our reason cannot sound life's mighty sea

And only counts its waves and scans its foam;

It knows not whence these motions touch and pass,

It sees not whither sweeps the hurrying flood:

Only it strives to canalise its powers

And hopes to turn its course to human ends:

But all its means come from the Inconscient's store.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-07]

Unseen here act dim huge world-energies

And only trickles and currents are our share.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-08]

Our mind lives far off from the authentic Light

Catching at little fragments of the Truth

In a small corner of infinity,

Our lives are inlets of an ocean's force.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-09]

Our conscious movements have sealed origins

But with those shadowy seats no converse hold;

No understanding binds our comrade parts;

Our acts emerge from a crypt our minds ignore.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-10]

Our deepest depths are ignorant of themselves;

Even our body is a mystery shop;

As our earth's roots lurk screened below our earth,

So lie unseen our roots of mind and life.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-11]

Our springs are kept close hid beneath, within;

Our souls are moved by powers behind the wall.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-12]

In the subterranean reaches of the spirit

A puissance acts and recks not what it means;

Using unthinking monitors and scribes,

It is the cause of what we think and feel.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-13]

The troglodytes of the subconscious Mind,

Ill-trained slow stammering interpreters

Only of their small task's routine aware

And busy with the record in our cells,

Concealed in the subliminal secrecies

Mid an obscure occult machinery,

Capture the mystic Morse whose measured lilt

Transmits the messages of the cosmic Force.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-14]

A whisper falls into life's inner ear

And echoes from the dun subconscient caves,

Speech leaps, thought quivers, the heart vibrates, the will

Answers and tissue and nerve obey the call.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-15]

Our lives translate these subtle intimacies;

All is the commerce of a secret Power.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-16]

A thinking puppet is the mind of life:

Its choice is the work of elemental strengths

That know not their own birth and end and cause

And glimpse not the immense intent they serve.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-17]

In this nether life of man drab-hued and dull,

Yet filled with poignant small ignoble things,

The conscious Doll is pushed a hundred ways

And feels the push but not the hands that drive.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-18]

For none can see the masked ironic troupe

To whom our figure-selves are marionettes,

Our deeds unwitting movements in their grasp,

Our passionate strife an entertainment's scene.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-19]

Ignorant themselves of their own fount of strength

They play their part in the enormous whole.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-20]

Agents of darkness imitating light,

Spirits obscure and moving things obscure,

Unwillingly they serve a mightier Power.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-21]

Ananke's engines organising Chance,

Channels perverse of a stupendous Will,

Tools of the Unknown who use us as their tools,

Invested with power in Nature's nether state,

Into the actions mortals think their own

They bring the incoherencies of Fate,

Or make a doom of Time's slipshod caprice

And toss the lives of men from hand to hand

In an inconsequent and devious game.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-22]

Against all higher truth their stuff rebels;

Only to Titan force their will lies prone.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-23]

Inordinate their hold on human hearts,

In all our nature's turns they intervene.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-24]

Insignificant architects of low-built lives

And engineers of interest and desire,

Out of crude earthiness and muddy thrills

And coarse reactions of material nerve

They build our huddled structures of self-will

And the ill-lighted mansions of our thought,

Or with the ego's factories and marts

Surround the beautiful temple of the soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-25]

Artists minute of the hues of littleness,

They set the mosaic of our comedy

Or plan the trivial tragedy of our days,

Arrange the deed, combine the circumstance

And the fantasia of the moods costume.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-26]

These unwise prompters of man's ignorant heart

And tutors of his stumbling speech and will,

Movers of petty wraths and lusts and hates

And changeful thoughts and shallow emotion's starts,

These slight illusion-makers with their masks,

Painters of the decor of a dull-hued stage

And nimble scene-shifters of the human play,

Ever are busy with this ill-lit scene.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-27]

Ourselves incapable to build our fate

Only as actors speak and strut our parts

Until the piece is done and we pass off

Into a brighter Time and subtler Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-28]

Thus they inflict their little pigmy law

And curb the mounting slow uprise of man,

Then his too scanty walk with death they close.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-03 F-29]

Play Section Four
[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04]



This is the ephemeral creature's daily life.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-01]

As long as the human animal is lord

And a dense nether nature screens the soul,

As long as intellect's outward-gazing sight

Serves earthy interest and creature joys,

An incurable littleness pursues his days.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-02]

Ever since consciousness was born on earth,

Life is the same in insect, ape and man,

Its stuff unchanged, its way the common route.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-03]

If new designs, if richer details grow

And thought is added and more tangled cares,

If little by little it wears a brighter face,

Still even in man the plot is mean and poor.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-04]

A gross content prolongs his fallen state;

His small successes are failures of the soul,

His little pleasures punctuate frequent griefs:

Hardship and toil are the heavy price he pays

For the right to live and his last wages death.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-05]

An inertia sunk towards inconscience,

A sleep that imitates death is his repose.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-06]

A puny splendour of creative force

Is made his spur to fragile human works

Which yet outlast their brief creator's breath.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-07]

He dreams sometimes of the revels of the gods

And sees the Dionysian gesture pass,—

A leonine greatness that would tear his soul

If through his failing limbs and fainting heart

The sweet and joyful mighty madness swept:

Trivial amusements stimulate and waste

The energy given to him to grow and be.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-08]

His little hour is spent in little things.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-09]

A brief companionship with many jars,

A little love and jealousy and hate,

A touch of friendship mid indifferent crowds

Draw his heart-plan on life's diminutive map.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-10]

If something great awakes, too frail his pitch

To reveal its zenith tension of delight,

His thought to eternise its ephemeral soar,

Art's brilliant gleam is a pastime for his eyes,

A thrill that smites the nerves is music's spell.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-11]

Amidst his harassed toil and welter of cares,

Pressed by the labour of his crowding thoughts,

He draws sometimes around his aching brow

Nature's calm mighty hands to heal his life-pain.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-12]

He is saved by her silence from his rack of self;

In her tranquil beauty is his purest bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-13]

A new life dawns, he looks out from vistas wide;

The Spirit's breath moves him but soon retires:

His strength was not made to hold that puissant guest.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-14]

All dulls down to convention and routine

Or a fierce excitement brings him vivid joys:

His days are tinged with the red hue of strife

And lust's hot glare and passion's crimson stain;

Battle and murder are his tribal game.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-15]

Time has he none to turn his eyes within

And look for his lost self and his dead soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-16]

His motion on too short an axis wheels;

He cannot soar but creeps on his long road

Or if, impatient of the trudge of Time,

He would make a splendid haste on Fate's slow road,

His heart that runs soon pants and tires and sinks;

Or he walks ever on and finds no end.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-17]

Hardly a few can climb to greater life.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-18]

All tunes to a low scale and conscious pitch.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-19]

His knowledge dwells in the house of Ignorance;

His force nears not even once the Omnipotent,

Rare are his visits of heavenly ecstasy.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-20]

The bliss which sleeps in things and tries to wake,

Breaks out in him in a small joy of life:

This scanty grace is his persistent stay;

It lightens the burden of his many ills

And reconciles him to his little world.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-21]

He is satisfied with his common average kind;

Tomorrow's hopes and his old rounds of thought,

His old familiar interests and desires

He has made into a thick and narrowing hedge

Defending his small life from the Invisible;

His being's kinship to infinity

He has shut away from him into inmost self,

Fenced off the greatnesses of hidden God.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-22]

His being was formed to play a trivial part

In a little drama on a petty stage;

In a narrow plot he has pitched his tent of life

Beneath the wide gaze of the starry Vast.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-23]

He is the crown of all that has been done:

Thus is creation's labour justified;

This is the world's result, Nature's last poise!

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-24]

And if this were all and nothing more were meant,

If what now seems were the whole of what must be,

If this were not a stade through which we pass

On our road from Matter to eternal Self,

To the Light that made the worlds, the Cause of things,

Well might interpret our mind's limited view

Existence as an accident in Time,

Illusion or phenomenon or freak,

The paradox of a creative Thought

Which moves between unreal opposites,

Inanimate Force struggling to feel and know,

Matter that chanced to read itself by Mind,

Inconscience monstrously engendering soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-25]

At times all looks unreal and remote:

We seem to live in a fiction of our thoughts

Pieced from sensation's fanciful traveller's tale,

Or caught on the film of the recording brain,

A figment or circumstance in cosmic sleep.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-26]

A somnambulist walking under the moon,

An image of ego treads through an ignorant dream

Counting the moments of a spectral Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-27]

In a false perspective of effect and cause,

Trusting to a specious prospect of world-space,

It drifts incessantly from scene to scene,

Whither it knows not, to what fabulous verge.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-28]

All here is dreamed or doubtfully exists,

But who the dreamer is and whence he looks

Is still unknown or only a shadowy guess.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-29]

Or the world is real but ourselves too small,

Insufficient for the mightiness of our stage.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-30]

A thin life-curve crosses the titan whirl

Of the orbit of a soulless universe,

And in the belly of the sparse rolling mass

A mind looks out from a small casual globe

And wonders what itself and all things are.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-31]

And yet to some interned subjective sight

That strangely has formed in Matter's sightless stuff,

A pointillage minute of little self

Takes figure as world-being's conscious base.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-32]

Such is our scene in the half-light below.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-33]

This is the sign of Matter's infinite,

This the weird purport of the picture shown

To Science the giantess, measurer of her field,

As she pores on the record of her close survey

And mathematises her huge external world,

To Reason bound within the circle of sense,

Or in Thought's broad impalpable Exchange

A speculator in tenuous vast ideas,

Abstractions in the void her currency

We know not with what firm values for its base.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-34]

Only religion in this bankruptcy

Presents its dubious riches to our hearts

Or signs unprovisioned cheques on the Beyond:

Our poverty shall there have its revenge.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-35]

Our spirits depart discarding a futile life

Into the blank unknown or with them take

Death's passport into immortality.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-04 F-36]

Play Section Five
[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05]



Yet was this only a provisional scheme,

A false appearance sketched by limiting sense,

Mind's insufficient self-discovery,

An early attempt, a first experiment.

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

This was a toy to amuse the infant earth;

But knowledge ends not in these surface powers

That live upon a ledge in the Ignorance

And dare not look into the dangerous depths

Or to stare upward measuring the Unknown.

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

There is a deeper seeing from within

And, when we have left these small purlieus of mind,

A greater vision meets us on the heights

In the luminous wideness of the spirit's gaze.

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

At last there wakes in us a witness Soul

That looks at truths unseen and scans the Unknown;

Then all assumes a new and marvellous face:

The world quivers with a God-light at its core,

In Time's deep heart high purposes move and live,

Life's borders crumble and join infinity.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-04]

This broad, confused, yet rigid scheme becomes

A magnificent imbroglio of the Gods,

A game, a work ambiguously divine.

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

Our seekings are short-lived experiments

Made by a wordless and inscrutable Power

Testing its issues from inconscient Night

To meet its luminous self of Truth and Bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-06]

It peers at the Real through the apparent form;

It labours in our mortal mind and sense;

Amid the figures of the Ignorance,

In the symbol pictures drawn by word and thought,

It seeks the truth to which all figures point;

It looks for the source of Light with vision's lamp;

It works to find the Doer of all works,

The unfelt Self within who is the guide,

The unknown Self above who is the goal.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-07]

All is not here a blinded Nature's task:

A Word, a Wisdom watches us from on high,

A Witness sanctioning her will and works,

An Eye unseen in the unseeing vast;

There is an Influence from a Light above,

There are thoughts remote and sealed eternities;

A mystic motive drives the stars and suns.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-08]

In this passage from a deaf unknowing Force

To struggling consciousness and transient breath

A mighty Supernature waits on Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-09]

The world is other than we now think and see,

Our lives a deeper mystery than we have dreamed;

Our minds are starters in the race to God,

Our souls deputed selves of the Supreme.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-10]

Across the cosmic field through narrow lanes

Asking a scanty dole from Fortune's hands

And garbed in beggar's robes there walks the One.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-11]

Even in the theatre of these small lives

Behind the act a secret sweetness breathes,

An urge of miniature divinity.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-12]

A mystic passion from the wells of God

Flows through the guarded spaces of the soul;

A force that helps supports the suffering earth,

An unseen nearness and a hidden joy.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-13]

There are muffled throbs of laughter's undertones,

The murmur of an occult happiness,

An exultation in the depths of sleep,

A heart of bliss within a world of pain.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-14]

An Infant nursed on Nature's covert breast,

An Infant playing in the magic woods,

Fluting to rapture by the spirit's streams,

Awaits the hour when we shall turn to his call.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-15]

In this investiture of fleshly life

A soul that is a spark of God survives

And sometimes it breaks through the sordid screen

And kindles a fire that makes us half-divine.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-16]

In our body's cells there sits a hidden Power

That sees the unseen and plans eternity,

Our smallest parts have room for deepest needs;

There too the golden Messengers can come:

A door is cut in the mud wall of self;

Across the lowly threshold with bowed heads

Angels of ecstasy and self-giving pass,

And lodged in an inner sanctuary of dream

The makers of the image of deity live.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-17]

Pity is there and fire-winged sacrifice,

And flashes of sympathy and tenderness

Cast heaven-lights from the heart's secluded shrine.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-18]

A work is done in the deep silences;

A glory and wonder of spiritual sense,

A laughter in beauty's everlasting space

Transforming world-experience into joy,

Inhabit the mystery of the untouched gulfs;

Lulled by Time's beats eternity sleeps in us.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-19]

In the sealed hermetic heart, the happy core,

Unmoved behind this outer shape of death

The eternal Entity prepares within

Its matter of divine felicity,

Its reign of heavenly phenomenon.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-20]

Even in our sceptic mind of ignorance

A foresight comes of some immense release,

Our will lifts towards it slow and shaping hands.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-21]

Each part in us desires its absolute.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-22]

Our thoughts covet the everlasting Light,

Our strength derives from an omnipotent Force,

And since from a veiled God-joy the worlds were made

And since eternal Beauty asks for form

Even here where all is made of being's dust,

Our hearts are captured by ensnaring shapes,

Our very senses blindly seek for bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-23]

Our error crucifies Reality

To force its birth and divine body here,

Compelling, incarnate in a human form

And breathing in limbs that one can touch and clasp,

Its Knowledge to rescue an ancient Ignorance,

Its saviour light the inconscient universe.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-24]

And when that greater Self comes sea-like down

To fill this image of our transience,

All shall be captured by delight, transformed:

In waves of undreamed ecstasy shall roll

Our mind and life and sense and laugh in a light

Other than this hard limited human day,

The body's tissues thrill apotheosised,

Its cells sustain bright metamorphosis.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-25]

This little being of Time, this shadow soul,

This living dwarf-figurehead of darkened spirit

Out of its traffic in petty dreams shall rise.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-26]

Its shape of person and its ego-face

Divested of this mortal travesty,

Like a clay troll kneaded into a god

New-made in the image of the eternal Guest,

It shall be caught to the breast of a white Force

And, flaming with the paradisal touch

In a rose-fire of sweet spiritual grace,

In the red passion of its infinite change,

Quiver, awake, and shudder with ecstasy.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-27]

As if reversing a deformation's spell,

Released from the black magic of the Night,

Renouncing servitude to the dim Abyss,

It shall learn at last who lived within unseen,

And seized with marvel in the adoring heart

To the enthroned Child-Godhead kneel aware,

Trembling with beauty and delight and love.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-28]

But first the spirit's ascent we must achieve

Out of the chasm from which our nature rose.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-29]

The soul must soar sovereign above the form

And climb to summits beyond mind's half-sleep;

Our hearts we must inform with heavenly strength,

Surprise the animal with the occult god.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-30]

Then kindling the gold tongue of sacrifice,

Calling the powers of a bright hemisphere,

We shall shed the discredit of our mortal state,

Make the abysm a road for Heaven's descent,

Acquaint our depths with the supernal Ray

And cleave the darkness with the mystic Fire.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-05 F-31]

Play Section Six
[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-06]



Adventuring once more in the natal mist

Across the dangerous haze, the pregnant stir,

He through the astral chaos shore a way

Mid the grey faces of its demon gods,

Questioned by whispers of its flickering ghosts,

Besieged by sorceries of its fluent force.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-06 F-01]

As one who walks unguided through strange fields

Tending he knows not where nor with what hope,

He trod a soil that failed beneath his feet

And journeyed in stone strength to a fugitive end.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-06 F-02]

His trail behind him was a vanishing line

Of glimmering points in a vague immensity;

A bodiless murmur travelled at his side

In the wounded gloom complaining against light.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-06 F-03]

A huge obstruction its immobile heart,

The watching opacity multiplied as he moved

Its hostile mass of dead and staring eyes;

The darkness glimmered like a dying torch.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-06 F-04]

Around him an extinguished phantom glow

Peopled with shadowy and misleading shapes

The vague Inconscient's dark and measureless cave.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-06 F-05]

His only sunlight was his spirit's flame.

[Savitri B-02 C-05 S-06 F-06]


Book Two Canto Five End

The Godheads of the Little Life

[Savitri B-02 C-05 Canto End]



Book 2 Canto 6

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises




Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto Six

The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life

 [Savitri B-02 C-06 Canto Name]

Play Section One
[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01]



As one who between dim receding walls

Towards the far gleam of a tunnel's mouth,

Hoping for light, walks now with freer pace

And feels approach a breath of wider air,

So he escaped from that grey anarchy.

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

Into an ineffectual world he came,

A purposeless region of arrested birth

Where being from non-being fled and dared

To live but had no strength long to abide.

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

Above there gleamed a pondering brow of sky

Tormented, crossed by wings of doubtful haze

Adventuring with a voice of roaming winds

And crying for a direction in the void

Like blind souls looking for the selves they lost

And wandering through unfamiliar worlds;

Wings of vague questioning met the query of Space.

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

After denial dawned a dubious hope,

A hope of self and form and leave to live

And the birth of that which never yet could be,

And joy of the mind's hazard, the heart's choice,

Grace of the unknown and hands of sudden surprise

And a touch of sure delight in unsure things:

To a strange uncertain tract his journey came

Where consciousness played with unconscious self

And birth was an attempt or episode.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-04]

A charm drew near that could not keep its spell,

An eager Power that could not find its way,

A Chance that chose a strange arithmetic

But could not bind with it the forms it made,

A multitude that could not guard its sum

Which less than zero grew and more than one.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-05]

Arriving at a large and shadowy sense

That cared not to define its fleeting drift,

Life laboured in a strange and mythic air

Denuded of her sweet magnificent suns.

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

In worlds imagined, never yet made true,

A lingering glimmer on creation's verge,

One strayed and dreamed and never stopped to achieve:

To achieve would have destroyed that magic Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-07]

The marvels of a twilight wonderland

Full of a beauty strangely, vainly made,

A surge of fanciful realities,

Dim tokens of a Splendour sealed above,

Awoke the passion of the eyes' desire,

Compelled belief on the enamoured thought

And drew the heart but led it to no goal.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-08]

A magic flowed as if of moving scenes

That kept awhile their fugitive delicacy

Of sparing lines limned by an abstract art

In a rare scanted light with faint dream-brush

On a silver background of incertitude.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-09]

An infant glow of heavens near to morn,

A fire intense conceived but never lit,

Caressed the air with ardent hints of day.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-10]

The perfect longing for imperfection's charm,

The illumined caught by the snare of Ignorance,

Ethereal creatures drawn by body's lure

To that region of promise, beating invisible wings,

Came hungry for the joy of finite life

But too divine to tread created soil

And share the fate of perishable things.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-11]

The Children of the unembodied Gleam

Arisen from a formless thought in the soul

And chased by an imperishable desire,

Traversed the field of the pursuing gaze.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-12]

A Will that unpersisting failed, worked there:

Life was a search but finding never came.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-13]

There nothing satisfied, but all allured,

Things seemed to be that never wholly are,

Images were seen that looked like living acts

And symbols hid the sense they claimed to show,

Pale dreams grew real to the dreamer's eyes.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-14]

The souls came there that vainly strive for birth,

And spirits entrapped might wander through all time,

Yet never find the truth by which they live.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-15]

All ran like hopes that hunt a lurking chance;

Nothing was solid, nothing felt complete:

All was unsafe, miraculous and half-true.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-16]

It seemed a realm of lives that had no base.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-01 F-17]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02]


Then dawned a greater seeking, broadened sky,

A journey under wings of brooding Force.

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

First came the kingdom of the morning star:

A twilight beauty trembled under its spear

And the throb of promise of a wider Life.

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

Then slowly rose a great and doubting sun

And in its light she made of self a world.

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

A spirit was there that sought for its own deep self,

Yet was content with fragments pushed in front

And parts of living that belied the whole

But, pieced together, might one day be true.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-04]

Yet something seemed to be achieved at last.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-05]

A growing volume of the will-to-be,

A text of living and a graph of force,

A script of acts, a song of conscious forms

Burdened with meanings fugitive from thought's grasp

And crowded with undertones of life's rhythmic cry,

Could write itself on the hearts of living things.

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

In an outbreak of the might of secret Spirit,

In Life and Matter's answer of delight,

Some face of deathless beauty could be caught

That gave immortality to a moment's joy,

Some word that could incarnate highest Truth

Leaped out from a chance tension of the soul,

Some hue of the Absolute could fall on life,

Some glory of knowledge and intuitive sight,

Some passion of the rapturous heart of Love.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-07]

A hierophant of the bodiless Secrecy

Interned in an unseen spiritual sheath,

The Will that pushes sense beyond its scope

To feel the light and joy intangible,

Half found its way into the Ineffable's peace,

Half captured a sealed sweetness of desire

That yearned from a bosom of mysterious Bliss,

Half manifested veiled Reality.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-08]

A soul not wrapped into its cloak of mind

Could glimpse the true sense of a world of forms;

Illumined by a vision in the thought,

Upbuoyed by the heart's understanding flame,

It could hold in the conscious ether of the spirit

The divinity of a symbol universe.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-09]

This realm inspires us with our vaster hopes;

Its forces have made landings on our globe,

Its signs have traced their pattern in our lives:

It lends a sovereign movement to our fate,

Its errant waves motive our life's high surge.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-10]

All that we seek for is prefigured there

And all we have not known nor ever sought

Which yet one day must be born in human hearts

That the Timeless may fulfil itself in things.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-11]

Incarnate in the mystery of the days,

Eternal in an unclosed Infinite,

A mounting endless possibility

Climbs high upon a topless ladder of dream

For ever in the Being's conscious trance.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-12]

All on that ladder mounts to an unseen end.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-13]

An Energy of perpetual transience makes

The journey from which no return is sure,

The pilgrimage of Nature to the Unknown.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-14]

As if in her ascent to her lost source

She hoped to unroll all that could ever be,

Her high procession moves from stage to stage,

A progress leap from sight to greater sight,

A process march from form to ampler form,

A caravan of the inexhaustible

Formations of a boundless Thought and Force.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-15]

Her timeless Power that lay once on the lap

Of a beginningless and endless Calm,

Now severed from the Spirit's immortal bliss,

Erects the type of all the joys she has lost;

Compelling transient substance into shape,

She hopes by the creative act's release

To o'erleap sometimes the gulf she cannot fill,

To heal awhile the wound of severance,

Escape from the moment's prison of littleness

And meet the Eternal's wide sublimities

In the uncertain time-field portioned here.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-16]

Almost she nears what never can be attained;

She shuts eternity into an hour

And fills a little soul with the Infinite;

The Immobile leans to the magic of her call;

She stands on a shore in the Illimitable,

Perceives the formless Dweller in all forms

And feels around her infinity's embrace.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-17]

Her task no ending knows; she serves no aim

But labours driven by a nameless Will

That came from some unknowable formless Vast.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-18]

This is her secret and impossible task

To catch the boundless in a net of birth,

To cast the spirit into physical form,

To lend speech and thought to the Ineffable;

She is pushed to reveal the ever Unmanifest.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-19]

Yet by her skill the impossible has been done:

She follows her sublime irrational plan,

Invents devices of her magic art

To find new bodies for the Infinite

And images of the Unimaginable;

She has lured the Eternal into the arms of Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-20]

Even now herself she knows not what she has done.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-21]

For all is wrought beneath a baffling mask:

A semblance other than its hidden truth

The aspect wears of an illusion's trick,

A feigned time-driven unreality,

The unfinished creation of a changing soul

In a body changing with the inhabitant.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-22]

Insignificant her means, infinite her work;

On a great field of shapeless consciousness

In little finite strokes of mind and sense

An endless Truth she endlessly unfolds;

A timeless mystery works out in Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-23]

The greatness she has dreamed her acts have missed,

Her labour is a passion and a pain,

A rapture and pang, her glory and her curse;

And yet she cannot choose but labours on;

Her mighty heart forbids her to desist.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-24]

As long as the world lasts her failure lives

Astonishing and foiling Reason's gaze,

A folly and a beauty unspeakable,

A superb madness of the will to live,

A daring, a delirium of delight.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-25]

This is her being's law, its sole resource;

She sates, though satisfaction never comes,

Her hungry will to lavish everywhere

Her many-imaged fictions of the Self

And thousand fashions of one Reality.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-26]

A world she made touched by truth's fleeing hem,

A world cast into a dream of what it seeks,

An icon of truth, a conscious mystery's shape.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-27]

It lingered not like the earth-mind hemmed in

In solid barriers of apparent fact;

It dared to trust the dream-mind and the soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-28]

A hunter of spiritual verities

Still only thought or guessed or held by faith,

It seized in imagination and confined

A painted bird of paradise in a cage.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-29]

This greater life is enamoured of the Unseen;

It calls to some highest Light beyond its reach,

It can feel the Silence that absolves the soul;

It feels a saviour touch, a ray divine:

Beauty and good and truth its godheads are.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-30]

It is near to heavenlier heavens than earth's eyes see,

A direr darkness than man's life can bear:

It has kinship with the demon and the god.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-31]

A strange enthusiasm has moved its heart;

It hungers for heights, it passions for the supreme.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-32]

It hunts for the perfect word, the perfect shape,

It leaps to the summit thought, the summit light.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-33]

For by the form the Formless is brought close

And all perfection fringes the Absolute.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-34]

A child of heaven who never saw his home,

Its impetus meets the eternal at a point:

It can only near and touch, it cannot hold;

It can only strain towards some bright extreme:

Its greatness is to seek and to create.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-35]

On every plane, this Greatness must create.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-36]

On earth, in heaven, in hell she is the same;

Of every fate she takes her mighty part.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-37]

A guardian of the fire that lights the suns,

She triumphs in her glory and her might:

Opposed, oppressed she bears God's urge to be born:

The spirit survives upon non-being's ground,

World-force outlasts world-disillusion's shock:

Dumb, she is still the Word, inert the Power.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-38]

Here fallen, a slave of death and ignorance,

To things deathless she is driven to aspire

And moved to know even the Unknowable.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-39]

Even nescient, null, her sleep creates a world.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-40]

When most unseen, most mightily she works;

Housed in the atom, buried in the clod,

Her quick creative passion cannot cease.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-41]

Inconscience is her long gigantic pause,

Her cosmic swoon is a stupendous phase:

Time-born, she hides her immortality;

In death, her bed, she waits the hour to rise.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-42]

Even with the Light denied that sent her forth

And the hope dead she needed for her task,

Even when her brightest stars are quenched in Night,

Nourished by hardship and calamity

And with pain for her body's handmaid, masseuse, nurse,

Her tortured invisible spirit continues still

To toil though in darkness, to create though with pangs;

She carries crucified God upon her breast.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-43]

In chill insentient depths where joy is none,

Immured, oppressed by the resisting Void

Where nothing moves and nothing can become,

Still she remembers, still invokes the skill

The Wonder-worker gave her at her birth,

Imparts to drowsy formlessness a shape,

Reveals a world where nothing was before.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-44]

In realms confined to a prone circle of death,

To a dark eternity of Ignorance,

A quiver in an inert inconscient mass,

Or imprisoned in immobilised whorls of Force,

By Matter's blind compulsion deaf and mute

She refuses motionless in the dust to sleep.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-45]

Then, for her rebel waking's punishment

Given only hard mechanic Circumstance

As the enginery of her magic craft,

She fashions godlike marvels out of mud;

In the plasm she sets her dumb immortal urge,

Helps the live tissue to think, the closed sense to feel,

Flashes through the frail nerves poignant messages,

In a heart of flesh miraculously loves,

To brute bodies gives a soul, a will, a voice.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-46]

Ever she summons as by a sorcerer's wand

Beings and shapes and scenes innumerable,

Torch-bearers of her pomps through Time and Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-47]

This world is her long journey through the night,

The suns and planets lamps to light her road,

Our reason is the confidante of her thoughts,

Our senses are her vibrant witnesses.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-48]

There drawing her signs from things half true, half false,

She labours to replace by realised dreams

The memory of her lost eternity.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-49]

These are her deeds in this huge world-ignorance:

Till the veil is lifted, till the night is dead,

In light or dark she keeps her tireless search;

Time is her road of endless pilgrimage.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-50]

One mighty passion motives all her works.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-51]

Her eternal Lover is her action's cause;

For him she leaped forth from the unseen Vasts

To move here in a stark unconscious world.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-52]

Its acts are her commerce with her hidden Guest,

His moods she takes for her heart's passionate moulds;

In beauty she treasures the sunlight of his smile.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-53]

Ashamed of her rich cosmic poverty,

She cajoles with her small gifts his mightiness,

Holds with her scenes his look's fidelity

And woos his large-eyed wandering thoughts to dwell

In figures of her million-impulsed Force.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-54]

Only to attract her veiled companion

And keep him close to her breast in her world-cloak

Lest from her arms he turn to his formless peace,

Is her heart's business and her clinging care.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-55]

Yet when he is most near, she feels him far.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-56]

For contradiction is her nature's law.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-57]

Although she is ever in him and he in her,

As if unaware of the eternal tie,

Her will is to shut God into her works

And keep him as her cherished prisoner

That never they may part again in Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-58]

A sumptuous chamber of the spirit's sleep

At first she made, a deep interior room,

Where he slumbers as if a forgotten guest.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-59]

But now she turns to break the oblivious spell,

Awakes the sleeper on the sculptured couch;

She finds again the Presence in the form

And in the light that wakes with him recovers

A meaning in the hurry and trudge of Time,

And through this mind that once obscured the soul

Passes a glint of unseen deity.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-60]

Across a luminous dream of spirit-space

She builds creation like a rainbow bridge

Between the original Silence and the Void.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-61]

A net is made of the mobile universe;

She weaves a snare for the conscious Infinite.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-62]

A knowledge is with her that conceals its steps

And seems a mute omnipotent Ignorance.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-63]

A might is with her that makes wonders true;

The incredible is her stuff of common fact.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-64]

Her purposes, her workings riddles prove;

Examined, they grow other than they were,

Explained, they seem yet more inexplicable.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-65]

Even in our world a mystery has reigned

Earth's cunning screen of trivial plainness hides;

Her larger levels are of sorceries made.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-66]

There the enigma shows its splendid prism,

There is no deep disguise of commonness;

Occult, profound comes all experience,

Marvel is ever new, miracle divine.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-67]

There is a screened burden, a mysterious touch,

There is a secrecy of hidden sense.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-68]

Although no earthen mask weighs on her face,

Into herself she flees from her own sight.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-69]

All forms are tokens of some veiled idea

Whose covert purpose lurks from mind's pursuit,

Yet is a womb of sovereign consequence.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-70]

There every thought and feeling is an act,

And every act a symbol and a sign,

And every symbol hides a living power.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-71]

A universe she builds from truths and myths,

But what she needed most she cannot build;

All shown is a figure or copy of the Truth,

But the Real veils from her its mystic face.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-72]

All else she finds, there lacks eternity;

All is sought out, but missed the Infinite.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-02 F-73]

Play Section Three
[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03]



A consciousness lit by a Truth above

Was felt; it saw the light but not the Truth:

It caught the Idea and built from it a world;

It made an Image there and called it God.

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

Yet something true and inward harboured there.

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

The beings of that world of greater life,

Tenants of a larger air and freer space,

Live not by the body or in outward things:

A deeper living was their seat of self.

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

In that intense domain of intimacy

Objects dwell as companions of the soul;

The body's actions are a minor script,

The surface rendering of a life within.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-04]

All forces are Life's retinue in that world

And thought and body as her handmaids move.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-05]

The universal widenesses give her room:

All feel the cosmic movement in their acts

And are the instruments of her cosmic might.

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

Or their own self they make their universe.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-07]

In all who have risen to a greater Life,

A voice of unborn things whispers to the ear,

To their eyes visited by some high sunlight

Aspiration shows the image of a crown:

To work out a seed that she has thrown within,

To achieve her power in them her creatures live.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-08]

Each is a greatness growing towards the heights

Or from his inner centre oceans out;

In circling ripples of concentric power

They swallow, glutted, their environment.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-09]

Even of that largeness many a cabin make;

In narrower breadths and briefer vistas pent

They live content with some small greatness won.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-10]

To rule the little empire of themselves,

To be a figure in their private world

And make the milieu's joys and griefs their own

And satisfy their life-motives and life-wants

Is charge enough and office for this strength,

A steward of the Person and his fate.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-11]

This was transition-line and starting-point,

A first immigration into heavenliness,

For all who cross into that brilliant sphere:

These are the kinsmen of our earthly race;

This region borders on our mortal state.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-12]

This wider world our greater movements gives,

Its strong formations build our growing selves;

Its creatures are our brighter replicas,

Complete the types we only initiate

And are securely what we strive to be.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-13]

As if thought-out eternal characters,

Entire, not pulled as we by contrary tides,

They follow the unseen leader in the heart,

Their lives obey the inner nature's law.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-14]

There is kept grandeur's store, the hero's mould;

The soul is the watchful builder of its fate;

None is a spirit indifferent and inert;

They choose their side, they see the god they adore.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-15]

A battle is joined between the true and false,

A pilgrimage sets out to the divine Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-16]

For even Ignorance there aspires to know

And shines with the lustre of a distant star;

There is a knowledge in the heart of sleep

And Nature comes to them as a conscious force.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-17]

An ideal is their leader and their king:

Aspiring to the monarchy of the sun

They call in Truth for their high government,

Hold her incarnate in their daily acts

And fill their thoughts with her inspired voice

And shape their lives into her breathing form,

Till in her sun-gold godhead they too share.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-18]

Or to the truth of Darkness they subscribe;

Whether for Heaven or Hell they must wage war:

Warriors of Good, they serve a shining cause

Or are Evil's soldiers in the pay of Sin.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-19]

For evil and good an equal tenure keep

Wherever Knowledge is Ignorance's twin.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-20]

All powers of Life towards their godhead tend

In the wideness and the daring of that air,

Each builds its temple and expands its cult,

And Sin too there is a divinity.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-21]

Affirming the beauty and splendour of her law

She claims life as her natural domain,

Assumes the world's throne or dons the papal robe:

Her worshippers proclaim her sacred right.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-22]

A red-tiaraed Falsehood they revere,

Worship the shadow of a crooked God,

Admit the black Idea that twists the brain

Or lie with the harlot Power that slays the soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-23]

A mastering virtue statuesques the pose,

Or a Titan passion goads to a proud unrest:

At Wisdom's altar they are kings and priests

Or their life a sacrifice to an idol of Power.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-24]

Or Beauty shines on them like a wandering star;

Too far to reach, passionate they follow her light;

In Art and life they catch the All-Beautiful's ray

And make the world their radiant treasure house:

Even common figures are with marvel robed;

A charm and greatness locked in every hour

Awakes the joy which sleeps in all things made.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-25]

A mighty victory or a mighty fall,

A throne in heaven or a pit in hell,

The dual Energy they have justified

And marked their souls with her tremendous seal:

Whatever Fate may do to them they have earned;

Something they have done, something they have been, they live.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-26]

There Matter is soul's result and not its cause.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-27]

In a contrary balance to earth's truth of things

The gross weighs less, the subtle counts for more;

On inner values hangs the outer plan.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-28]

As quivers with the thought the expressive word,

As yearns the act with the passion of the soul

This world's apparent sensible design

Looks vibrant back to some interior might.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-29]

A Mind not limited by external sense

Gave figures to the spirit's imponderables,

The world's impacts without channels registered

And turned into the body's concrete thrill

The vivid workings of a bodiless Force;

Powers here subliminal that act unseen

Or in ambush crouch waiting behind the wall

Came out in front uncovering their face.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-30]

The occult grew there overt, the obvious kept

A covert turn and shouldered the unknown;

The unseen was felt and jostled visible shapes.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-31]

In the communion of two meeting minds

Thought looked at thought and had no need of speech;

Emotion clasped emotion in two hearts,

They felt each other's thrill in the flesh and nerves

Or melted each in each and grew immense

As when two houses burn and fire joins fire:

Hate grappled hate and love broke in on love,

Will wrestled with will on mind's invisible ground;

Others' sensations passing through like waves

Left quivering the subtle body's frame,

Their anger rushed galloping in brute attack,

A charge of trampling hooves on shaken soil;

One felt another's grief invade the breast,

Another's joy exulting ran through the blood:

Hearts could draw close through distance, voices near

That spoke upon the shore of alien seas.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-32]

There beat a throb of living interchange:

Being felt being even when afar

And consciousness replied to consciousness.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-33]

And yet the ultimate oneness was not there.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-34]

There was a separateness of soul from soul:

An inner wall of silence could be built,

An armour of conscious might protect and shield;

The being could be closed in and solitary;

One could remain apart in self, alone.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-35]

Identity was not yet nor union's peace.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-36]

All was imperfect still, half-known, half-done:

The miracle of Inconscience overpassed,

The miracle of the Superconscient still,

Unknown, self-wrapped, unfelt, unknowable,

Looked down on them, origin of all they were.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-37]

As forms they came of the formless Infinite,

As names lived of a nameless Eternity.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-38]

The beginning and the end were there occult;

A middle term worked unexplained, abrupt:

They were words that spoke to a vast wordless Truth,

They were figures crowding an unfinished sum.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-39]

None truly knew himself or knew the world

Or the Reality living there enshrined:

Only they knew what Mind could take and build

Out of the secret Supermind's huge store.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-40]

A darkness under them, a bright Void above,

Uncertain they lived in a great climbing Space;

By mysteries they explained a Mystery,

A riddling answer met the riddle of things.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-41]

As he moved in this ether of ambiguous life,

Himself was soon a riddle to himself;

As symbols he saw all and sought their sense.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-03 F-42]

Play Section Four
[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04]




Across the leaping springs of death and birth

And over shifting borders of soul-change,

A hunter on the spirit's creative track,

He followed in life's fine and mighty trails

Pursuing her sealed formidable delight

In a perilous adventure without close.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-01]

At first no aim appeared in those large steps:

Only the wide source he saw of all things here

Looking towards a wider source beyond.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-02]

For as she drew away from earthly lines,

A tenser drag was felt from the Unknown,

A higher context of delivering thought

Drove her towards marvel and discovery;

There came a high release from pettier cares,

A mightier image of desire and hope,

A vaster formula, a greater scene.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-03]

Ever she circled towards some far-off Light:

Her signs still covered more than they revealed;

But tied to some immediate sight and will

They lost their purport in the joy of use,

Till stripped of their infinite meaning they became

A cipher gleaming with unreal sense.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-04]

Armed with a magical and haunted bow

She aimed at a target kept invisible

And ever deemed remote though always near.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-05]

As one who spells illumined characters,

The key-book of a crabbed magician text,

He scanned her subtle tangled weird designs

And the screened difficult theorem of her clues,

Traced in the monstrous sands of desert Time

The thread beginnings of her titan works,

Watched her charade of action for some hint,

Read the No-gestures of her silhouettes,

And strove to capture in their burdened drift

The dance-fantasia of her sequences

Escaping into rhythmic mystery,

A glimmer of fugitive feet on fleeing soil.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-06]

In the labyrinth pattern of her thoughts and hopes

And the byways of her intimate desires,

In the complex corners crowded with her dreams

And rounds crossed by an intrigue of irrelevant rounds,

A wanderer straying amid fugitive scenes,

He lost its signs and chased each failing guess.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-07]

Ever he met key-words, ignorant of their key.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-08]

A sun that dazzled its own eye of sight,

A luminous enigma's brilliant hood

Lit the dense purple barrier of thought's sky:

A dim large trance showed to the night her stars.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-09]

As if sitting near an open window's gap,

He read by lightning-flash on crowding flash

Chapters of her metaphysical romance

Of the soul's search for lost Reality

And her fictions drawn from spirit's authentic fact,

Her caprices and conceits and meanings locked,

Her rash unseizable freaks and mysteried turns.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-10]

The magnificent wrappings of her secrecy

That fold her desirable body out of sight,

The strange significant forms woven on her robe,

Her meaningful outlines of the souls of things

He saw, her false transparencies of thought-hue,

Her rich brocades with imaged fancies sewn

And mutable masks and broideries of disguise.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-11]

A thousand baffling faces of the Truth

Looked at him from her forms with unknown eyes

And wordless mouths unrecognisable,

Spoke from the figures of her masquerade,

Or peered from the recondite magnificence

And subtle splendour of her draperies.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-12]

In sudden scintillations of the Unknown,

Inexpressive sounds became veridical,

Ideas that seemed unmeaning flashed out truth;

Voices that came from unseen waiting worlds

Uttered the syllables of the Unmanifest

To clothe the body of the mystic Word,

And wizard diagrams of the occult Law

Sealed some precise unreadable harmony,

Or used hue and figure to reconstitute

The herald blazon of Time's secret things.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-13]

In her green wildernesses and lurking depths,

In her thickets of joy where danger clasps delight,

He glimpsed the hidden wings of her songster hopes,

A glimmer of blue and gold and scarlet fire.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-14]

In her covert lanes, bordering her chance field-paths

And by her singing rivulets and calm lakes

He found the glow of her golden fruits of bliss

And the beauty of her flowers of dream and muse.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-15]

As if a miracle of heart's change by joy

He watched in the alchemist radiance of her suns

The crimson outburst of one secular flower

On the tree-of-sacrifice of spiritual love.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-16]

In the sleepy splendour of her noons he saw,

A perpetual repetition through the hours,

Thought's dance of dragonflies on mystery's stream

That skim but never test its murmurs' race,

And heard the laughter of her rose desires

Running as if to escape from longed-for hands,

Jingling sweet anklet-bells of fantasy.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-17]

Amidst live symbols of her occult power

He moved and felt them as close real forms:

In that life more concrete than the lives of men

Throbbed heart-beats of the hidden reality:

Embodied was there what we but think and feel,

Self-framed what here takes outward borrowed shapes.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-18]

A comrade of Silence on her austere heights

Accepted by her mighty loneliness,

He stood with her on meditating peaks

Where life and being are a sacrament

Offered to the Reality beyond,

And saw her loose into infinity

Her hooded eagles of significance,

Messengers of Thought to the Unknowable.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-19]

Identified in soul-vision and soul-sense,

Entering into her depths as into a house,

All he became that she was or longed to be,

He thought with her thoughts and journeyed with her steps,

Lived with her breath and scanned all with her eyes

That so he might learn the secret of her soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-20]

A witness overmastered by his scene,

He admired her splendid front of pomp and play

And the marvels of her rich and delicate craft,

And thrilled to the insistence of her cry;

Impassioned he bore the sorceries of her might,

Felt laid on him her abrupt mysterious will,

Her hands that knead fate in their violent grasp,

Her touch that moves, her powers that seize and drive.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-21]

But this too he saw, her soul that wept within,

Her seekings vain that clutch at fleeing truth,

Her hopes whose sombre gaze mates with despair,

The passion that possessed her longing limbs,

The trouble and rapture of her yearning breasts,

Her mind that toils unsatisfied with its fruits,

Her heart that captures not the one Beloved.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-22]

Always he met a veiled and seeking Force,

An exiled goddess building mimic heavens,

A Sphinx whose eyes look up to a hidden Sun.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-04 F-23]

Play Section Five
[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05]



Ever he felt near a spirit in her forms:

Its passive presence was her nature's strength;

This sole is real in apparent things,

Even upon earth the spirit is life's key,

But her solid outsides nowhere bear its trace.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-01]

Its stamp on her acts is undiscoverable.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-02]

A pathos of lost heights is its appeal.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-03]

Only sometimes is caught a shadowy line

That seems a hint of veiled reality.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-04]

Life stared at him with vague confused outlines

Offering a picture the eyes could not keep,

A story that was yet not written there.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-05]

As in a fragmentary half-lost design

Life's meanings fled from the pursuing eye.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-06]

Life's visage hides life's real self from sight;

Life's secret sense is written within, above.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-07]

The thought that gives it sense lives far beyond;

It is not seen in its half-finished design.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-08]

In vain we hope to read the baffling signs

Or find the word of the half-played charade.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-09]

Only in that greater life a cryptic thought

Is found, is hinted some interpreting word

That makes the earth-myth a tale intelligible.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-10]

Something was seen at last that looked like truth.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-11]

In a half-lit air of hazardous mystery

The eye that looks at the dark half of truth

Made out an image mid a vivid blur

And peering through a mist of subtle tints

He saw a half-blind chained divinity

Bewildered by the world in which he moved,

Yet conscious of some light prompting his soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-12]

Attracted to strange far-off shimmerings,

Led by the fluting of a distant Player

He sought his way amid life's laughter and call

And the index chaos of her myriad steps

Towards some total deep infinitude.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-13]

Around crowded the forest of her signs:

At hazard he read by arrow-leaps of Thought

That hit the mark by guess or luminous chance,

Her changing coloured road-lights of idea

And her signals of uncertain swift event,

The hieroglyphs of her symbol pageantries

And her landmarks in the tangled paths of Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-14]

In her mazes of approach and of retreat

To every side she draws him and repels,

But drawn too near escapes from his embrace;

All ways she leads him but no way is sure.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-15]

Allured by the many-toned marvel of her chant,

Attracted by the witchcraft of her moods

And moved by her casual touch to joy and grief,

He loses himself in her but wins her not.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-16]

A fugitive paradise smiles at him from her eyes:

He dreams of her beauty made for ever his,

He dreams of his mastery her limbs shall bear,

He dreams of the magic of her breasts of bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-17]

In her illumined script, her fanciful

Translation of God's pure original text,

He thinks to read the Scripture Wonderful,

Hieratic key to unknown beatitudes.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-18]

But the Word of Life is hidden in its script,

The chant of Life has lost its divine note.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-19]

Unseen, a captive in a house of sound,

The spirit lost in the splendour of a dream

Listens to a thousand-voiced illusion's ode.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-20]

A delicate weft of sorcery steals the heart

Or a fiery magic tints her tones and hues,

Yet they but wake a thrill of transient grace;

A vagrant march struck by the wanderer Time,

They call to a brief unsatisfied delight

Or wallow in ravishments of mind and sense,

But miss the luminous answer of the soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-21]

A blind heart-throb that reaches joy through tears,

A yearning towards peaks for ever unreached,

An ecstasy of unfulfilled desire

Track the last heavenward climbings of her voice.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-22]

Transmuted are past suffering's memories

Into an old sadness's sweet escaping trail:

Turned are her tears to gems of diamond pain,

Her sorrow into a magic crown of song.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-23]

Brief are her snatches of felicity

That touch the surface, then escape or die:

A lost remembrance echoes in her depths,

A deathless longing is hers, a veiled self's call;

A prisoner in the mortal's limiting world,

A spirit wounded by life sobs in her breast;

A cherished suffering is her deepest cry.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-24]

A wanderer on forlorn despairing routes,

Along the roads of sound a frustrate voice

Forsaken cries to a forgotten bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-25]

Astray in the echo caverns of Desire,

It guards the phantoms of a soul's dead hopes

And keeps alive the voice of perished things

Or lingers upon sweet and errant notes

Hunting for pleasure in the heart of pain.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-26]

A fateful hand has touched the cosmic chords

And the intrusion of a troubled strain

Covers the inner music's hidden key

That guides unheard the surface cadences.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-27]

Yet is it joy to live and to create

And joy to love and labour though all fails,

And joy to seek though all we find deceives

And all on which we lean betrays our trust;

Yet something in its depths was worth the pain,

A passionate memory haunts with ecstasy's fire.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-28]

Even grief has joy hidden beneath its roots:

For nothing is truly vain the One has made:

In our defeated hearts God's strength survives

And victory's star still lights our desperate road;

Our death is made a passage to new worlds.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-29]

This to Life's music gives its anthem swell.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-30]

To all she lends the glory of her voice;

Heaven's raptures whisper to her heart and pass,

Earth's transient yearnings cry from her lips and fade.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-31]

Alone the God-given hymn escapes her art

That came with her from her spiritual home

But stopped half-way and failed, a silent word

Awake in some deep pause of waiting worlds,

A murmur suspended in eternity's hush:

But no breath comes from the supernal peace:

A sumptuous interlude occupies the ear

And the heart listens and the soul consents;

An evanescent music it repeats

Wasting on transience Time's eternity.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-32]

A tremolo of the voices of the hours

Oblivious screens the high intended theme

The self-embodying spirit came to play

On the vast clavichord of Nature-Force.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-33]

Only a mighty murmur here and there

Of the eternal Word, the blissful Voice

Or Beauty's touch transfiguring heart and sense,

A wandering splendour and a mystic cry,

Recalls the strength and sweetness heard no more.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-05 F-34]

Play Section Six
[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06]



Here is the gap, here stops or sinks life's force;

This deficit paupers the magician's skill:

This want makes all the rest seem thin and bare.

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

A half-sight draws the horizon of her acts:

Her depths remember what she came to do,

But the mind has forgotten or the heart mistakes:

In Nature's endless lines is lost the God.

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

In knowledge to sum up omniscience,

In action to erect the Omnipotent,

To create her Creator here was her heart's conceit,

To invade the cosmic scene with utter God.

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

Toiling to transform the still far Absolute

Into an all-fulfilling epiphany,

Into an utterance of the Ineffable,

She would bring the glory here of the Absolute's force,

Change poise into creation's rhythmic swing,

Marry with a sky of calm a sea of bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-04]

A fire to call eternity into Time,

Make body's joy as vivid as the soul's,

Earth she would lift to neighbourhood with heaven,

Labours life to equate with the Supreme

And reconcile the Eternal and the Abyss.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-05]

Her pragmatism of the transcendent Truth

Fills silence with the voices of the gods,

But in the cry the single Voice is lost.

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

For Nature's vision climbs beyond her acts.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-07]

A life of gods in heaven she sees above,

A demigod emerging from an ape

Is all she can in our mortal element.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-08]

Here the half-god, the half-titan are her peak:

This greater life wavers twixt earth and sky.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-09]

A poignant paradox pursues her dreams:

Her hooded energy moves an ignorant world

To look for a joy her own strong clasp puts off:

In her embrace it cannot turn to its source.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-10]

Immense her power, endless her act's vast drive,

Astray is its significance and lost.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-11]

Although she carries in her secret breast

The law and journeying curve of all things born

Her knowledge partial seems, her purpose small;

On a soil of yearning tread her sumptuous hours.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-12]

A leaden Nescience weighs the wings of Thought,

Her power oppresses the being with its garbs,

Her actions prison its immortal gaze.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-13]

A sense of limit haunts her masteries

And nowhere is assured content or peace:

For all the depth and beauty of her work

A wisdom lacks that sets the spirit free.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-14]

An old and faded charm had now her face

And palled for him her quick and curious lore;

His wide soul asked a deeper joy than hers.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-15]

Out of her daedal lines he sought escape;

But neither gate of horn nor ivory

He found nor postern of spiritual sight,

There was no issue from that dreamlike space.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-16]

Our being must move eternally through Time;

Death helps us not, vain is the hope to cease;

A secret Will compels us to endure.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-17]

Our life's repose is in the Infinite;

It cannot end, its end is Life supreme.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-18]

Death is a passage, not the goal of our walk:

Some ancient deep impulsion labours on:

Our souls are dragged as with a hidden leash,

Carried from birth to birth, from world to world,

Our acts prolong after the body's fall

The old perpetual journey without pause.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-19]

No silent peak is found where Time can rest.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-20]

This was a magic stream that reached no sea.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-21]

However far he went, wherever turned,

The wheel of works ran with him and outstripped;

Always a farther task was left to do.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-22]

A beat of action and a cry of search

For ever grew in that unquiet world;

A busy murmur filled the heart of Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-23]

All was contrivance and unceasing stir.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-24]

A hundred ways to live were tried in vain:

A sameness that assumed a thousand forms

Strove to escape from its long monotone

And made new things that soon were like the old.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-25]

A curious decoration lured the eye

And novel values furbished ancient themes

To cheat the mind with the idea of change.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-26]

A different picture that was still the same

Appeared upon the cosmic vague background.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-27]

Only another labyrinthine house

Of creatures and their doings and events,

A city of the traffic of bound souls,

A market of creation and her wares,

Was offered to the labouring mind and heart.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-28]

A circuit ending where it first began

Is dubbed the forward and eternal march

Of progress on perfection's unknown road.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-29]

Each final scheme leads to a sequel plan.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-30]

Yet every new departure seems the last,

Inspired evangel, theory's ultimate peak,

Proclaiming a panacea for all Time's ills

Or carrying thought in its ultimate zenith flight

And trumpeting supreme discovery;

Each brief idea, a structure perishable,

Publishes the immortality of its rule,

Its claim to be the perfect form of things,

Truth's last epitome, Time's golden best.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-31]

But nothing has been achieved of infinite worth:

A world made ever anew, never complete,

Piled always half-attempts on lost attempts

And saw a fragment as the eternal Whole.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-32]

In the aimless mounting total of things done

Existence seemed a vain necessity's act,

A wrestle of eternal opposites

In a clasped antagonism's close-locked embrace,

A play without denouement or idea,

A hunger march of lives without a goal,

Or, written on a bare blackboard of Space,

A futile and recurring sum of souls,

A hope that failed, a light that never shone,

The labour of an unaccomplished Force

Tied to its acts in a dim eternity.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-33]

There is no end or none can yet be seen:

Although defeated, life must struggle on;

Always she sees a crown she cannot grasp;

Her eyes are fixed beyond her fallen state.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-34]

There quivers still within her breast and ours

A glory that was once and is no more,

Or there calls to us from some unfulfilled beyond

A greatness yet unreached by the halting world.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-35]

In a memory behind our mortal sense

A dream persists of larger happier air

Breathing around free hearts of joy and love,

Forgotten by us, immortal in lost Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-36]

A ghost of bliss pursues her haunted depths;

For she remembers still, though now so far,

Her realm of golden ease and glad desire

And the beauty and strength and happiness that were hers

In the sweetness of her glowing paradise,

In her kingdom of immortal ecstasy

Half-way between God's silence and the Abyss.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-37]

This knowledge in our hidden parts we keep;

Awake to a vague mystery's appeal,

We meet a deep unseen Reality

Far truer than the world's face of present truth:

We are chased by a self we cannot now recall

And moved by a Spirit we must still become.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-38]

As one who has lost the kingdom of his soul,

We look back to some god-phase of our birth

Other than this imperfect creature here

And hope in this or a diviner world

To recover yet from Heaven's patient guard

What by our mind's forgetfulness we miss,

Our being's natural felicity,

Our heart's delight we have exchanged for grief,

The body's thrill we bartered for mere pain,

The bliss for which our mortal nature yearns

As yearns an obscure moth to blazing Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-39]

Our life is a march to a victory never won.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-40]

This wave of being longing for delight,

This eager turmoil of unsatisfied strengths,

These long far files of forward-striving hopes

Lift worshipping eyes to the blue Void called heaven

Looking for the golden Hand that never came,

The advent for which all creation waits,

The beautiful visage of Eternity

That shall appear upon the roads of Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-41]

Yet still to ourselves we say rekindling faith,

“Oh, surely one day he shall come to our cry,

One day he shall create our life anew

And utter the magic formula of peace

And bring perfection to the scheme of things.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-42]

One day he shall descend to life and earth,

Leaving the secrecy of the eternal doors,

Into a world that cries to him for help,

And bring the truth that sets the spirit free,

The joy that is the baptism of the soul,

The strength that is the outstretched arm of Love.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-43]

One day he shall lift his beauty's dreadful veil,

Impose delight on the world's beating heart

And bare his secret body of light and bliss.”

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-44]

But now we strain to reach an unknown goal:

There is no end of seeking and of birth,

There is no end of dying and return;

The life that wins its aim asks greater aims,

The life that fails and dies must live again;

Till it has found itself it cannot cease.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-45]

All must be done for which life and death were made.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-46]

But who shall say that even then is rest?

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-47]

Or there repose and action are the same

In the deep breast of God's supreme delight.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-48]

In a high state where ignorance is no more,

Each movement is a wave of peace and bliss,

Repose God's motionless creative force,

Action a ripple in the Infinite

And birth a gesture of Eternity.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-49]

A sun of transfiguration still can shine

And Night can bare its core of mystic light;

The self-cancelling, self-afflicting paradox

Into a self-luminous mystery might change,

The imbroglio into a joyful miracle.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-50]

Then God could be visible here, here take a shape;

Disclosed would be the spirit's identity;

Life would reveal her true immortal face.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-51]

But now a termless labour is her fate:

In its recurrent decimal of events

Birth, death are a ceaseless iteration's points;

The old question-mark margins each finished page,

Each volume of her effort's history.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-52]

A limping Yes through the aeons journeys still

Accompanied by an eternal No.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-53]

All seems in vain, yet endless is the game.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-54]

Impassive turns the ever-circling Wheel,

Life has no issue, death brings no release.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-55]

A prisoner of itself the being lives

And keeps its futile immortality;

Extinction is denied, its sole escape.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-56]

An error of the gods has made the world.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-57]

Or indifferent the Eternal watches Time.

[Savitri B-02 C-06 S-06 F-58]


Book Two Canto Six End

The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life

[Savitri B-02 C-06 Canto End]

Book 2 Canto 7

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises




Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto Seven

The Descent into Night

 [Savitri B-02 C-07 Canto Name]

Play Section One
[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01]



A mind absolved from life, made calm to know,

A heart divorced from the blindness and the pang,

The seal of tears, the bond of ignorance,

He turned to find that wide world-failure's cause.

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

Away he looked from Nature's visible face

And sent his gaze into the viewless Vast,

The formidable unknown Infinity,

Asleep behind the endless coil of things,

That carries the universe in its timeless breadths

And the ripples of its being are our lives.

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

The worlds are built by its unconscious Breath

And Matter and Mind are its figures or its powers,

Our waking thoughts the output of its dreams.

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

The veil was rent that covers Nature's depths:

He saw the fount of the world's lasting pain

And the mouth of the black pit of Ignorance;

The evil guarded at the roots of life

Raised up its head and looked into his eyes.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-04]

On a dim bank where dies subjective Space,

From a stark ridge overlooking all that is,

A tenebrous awakened Nescience,

Her wide blank eyes wondering at Time and Form,

Stared at the inventions of the living Void

And the Abyss whence our beginnings rose.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-05]

Behind appeared a grey carved mask of Night

Watching the birth of all created things.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-06]

A hidden Puissance conscious of its force,

A vague and lurking Presence everywhere,

A contrary Doom that threatens all things made,

A Death figuring as the dark seed of life,

Seemed to engender and to slay the world.

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

Then from the sombre mystery of the gulfs

And from the hollow bosom of the Mask

Something crept forth that seemed a shapeless Thought.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-08]

A fatal Influence upon creatures stole

Whose lethal touch pursued the immortal spirit,

On life was laid the haunting finger of death

And overcast with error, grief and pain

The soul's native will for truth and joy and light.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-09]

A deformation coiled that claimed to be

The being's very turn, Nature's true drive.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-10]

A hostile and perverting Mind at work

In every corner ensconced of conscious life

Corrupted Truth with her own formulas;

Interceptor of the listening of the soul,

Afflicting knowledge with the hue of doubt

It captured the oracles of the occult gods,

Effaced the signposts of Life's pilgrimage,

Cancelled the firm rock-edicts graved by Time,

And on the foundations of the cosmic Law

Erected its bronze pylons of misrule.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-11]

Even Light and Love by that cloaked danger's spell

Turned from the brilliant nature of the gods

To fallen angels and misleading suns,

Became themselves a danger and a charm,

A perverse sweetness, heaven-born malefice:

Its power could deform divinest things.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-12]

A wind of sorrow breathed upon the world;

All thought with falsehood was besieged, all act

Stamped with defect or with frustration's sign,

All high attempt with failure or vain success,

But none could know the reason of his fall.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-13]

The grey Mask whispered and, though no sound was heard,

Yet in the ignorant heart a seed was sown

That bore black fruit of suffering, death and bale.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-14]

Out of the chill steppes of a bleak Unseen

Invisible, wearing the Night's grey mask,

Arrived the shadowy dreadful messengers,

Invaders from a dangerous world of power,

Ambassadors of evil's absolute.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-15]

In silence the inaudible voices spoke,

Hands that none saw planted the fatal grain,

No form was seen, yet a dire work was done,

An iron decree in crooked uncials written

Imposed a law of sin and adverse fate.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-16]

Life looked at him with changed and sombre eyes:

Her beauty he saw and the yearning heart in things

That with a little happiness is content,

Answering to a small ray of truth or love;

He saw her gold sunlight and her far blue sky,

Her green of leaves and hue and scent of flowers

And the charm of children and the love of friends

And the beauty of women and kindly hearts of men,

But saw too the dreadful Powers that drive her moods

And the anguish she has strewn upon her ways,

Fate waiting on the unseen steps of men

And her evil and sorrow and last gift of death.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-17]

A breath of disillusion and decadence

Corrupting watched for Life's maturity

And made to rot the full grain of the soul:

Progress became a purveyor of Death.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-18]

A world that clung to the law of a slain Light

Cherished the putrid corpses of dead truths,

Hailed twisted forms as things free, new and true,

Beauty from ugliness and evil drank

Feeling themselves guests at a banquet of the gods

And tasted corruption like a high-spiced food.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-19]

A darkness settled on the heavy air;

It hunted the bright smile from Nature's lips

And slew the native confidence in her heart

And put fear's crooked look into her eyes.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-20]

The lust that warps the spirit's natural good

Replaced by a manufactured virtue and vice

The frank spontaneous impulse of the soul:

Afflicting Nature with the dual's lie,

Their twin values whetted a forbidden zest,

Made evil a relief from spurious good,

The ego battened on righteousness and sin

And each became an instrument of Hell.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-21]

In rejected heaps by a monotonous road

The old simple delights were left to lie

On the wasteland of life's descent to Night.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-22]

All glory of life was dimmed, tarnished with doubt;

All beauty ended in an aging face;

All power was dubbed a tyranny cursed by God

And Truth a fiction needed by the mind:

The chase of joy was now a tired hunt;

All knowledge was left a questioning Ignorance.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-01 F-23]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02]



As from a womb obscure he saw emerge

The body and visage of a dark Unseen

Hidden behind the fair outsides of life.

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

Its dangerous commerce is our suffering's cause.

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

Its breath is a subtle poison in men's hearts;

All evil starts from that ambiguous face.

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

A peril haunted now the common air;

The world grew full of menacing Energies,

And wherever turned for help or hope his eyes,

In field and house, in street and camp and mart

He met the prowl and stealthy come and go

Of armed disquieting bodied Influences.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-04]

A march of goddess figures dark and nude

Alarmed the air with grandiose unease;

Appalling footsteps drew invisibly near,

Shapes that were threats invaded the dream-light,

And ominous beings passed him on the road

Whose very gaze was a calamity:

A charm and sweetness sudden and formidable,

Faces that raised alluring lips and eyes

Approached him armed with beauty like a snare,

But hid a fatal meaning in each line

And could in a moment dangerously change.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-05]

But he alone discerned that screened attack.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-06]

A veil upon the inner vision lay,

A force was there that hid its dreadful steps;

All was belied, yet thought itself the truth;

All were beset but knew not of the siege:

For none could see the authors of their fall.

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

Aware of some dark wisdom still withheld

That was the seal and warrant of this strength,

He followed the track of dim tremendous steps

Returning to the night from which they came.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-08]

A tract he reached unbuilt and owned by none:

There all could enter but none stay for long.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-09]

It was a no man's land of evil air,

A crowded neighbourhood without one home,

A borderland between the world and hell.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-10]

There unreality was Nature's lord:

It was a space where nothing could be true,

For nothing was what it had claimed to be:

A high appearance wrapped a specious void.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-11]

Yet nothing would confess its own pretence

Even to itself in the ambiguous heart:

A vast deception was the law of things;

Only by that deception they could live.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-12]

An unsubstantial Nihil guaranteed

The falsehood of the forms this Nature took

And made them seem awhile to be and live.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-13]

A borrowed magic drew them from the Void;

They took a shape and stuff that was not theirs

And showed a colour that they could not keep,

Mirrors to a phantasm of reality.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-14]

Each rainbow brilliance was a splendid lie;

A beauty unreal graced a glamour face.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-15]

Nothing could be relied on to remain:

Joy nurtured tears and good an evil proved,

But never out of evil one plucked good:

Love ended early in hate, delight killed with pain,

Truth into falsity grew and death ruled life.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-16]

A Power that laughed at the mischiefs of the world,

An irony that joined the world's contraries

And flung them into each other's arms to strive,

Put a sardonic rictus on God's face.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-17]

Aloof, its influence entered everywhere

And left a cloven hoof-mark on the breast;

A twisted heart and a strange sombre smile

Mocked at the sinister comedy of life.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-18]

Announcing the advent of a perilous Form

An ominous tread softened its dire footfall

That none might understand or be on guard;

None heard until a dreadful grasp was close.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-19]

Or else all augured a divine approach,

An air of prophecy felt, a heavenly hope,

Listened for a gospel, watched for a new star.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-20]

The Fiend was visible but cloaked in light;

He seemed a helping angel from the skies:

He armed untruth with Scripture and the Law;

He deceived with wisdom, with virtue slew the soul

And led to perdition by the heavenward path.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-21]

A lavish sense he gave of power and joy,

And, when arose the warning from within,

He reassured the ear with dulcet tones

Or took the mind captive in its own net;

His rigorous logic made the false seem true.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-22]

Amazing the elect with holy lore

He spoke as with the very voice of God.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-23]

The air was full of treachery and ruse;

Truth-speaking was a stratagem in that place;

Ambush lurked in a smile and peril made

Safety its cover, trust its entry's gate:

Falsehood came laughing with the eyes of truth;

Each friend might turn an enemy or spy,

The hand one clasped ensleeved a dagger's stab

And an embrace could be Doom's iron cage.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-24]

Agony and danger stalked their trembling prey

And softly spoke as to a timid friend:

Attack sprang suddenly vehement and unseen;

Fear leaped upon the heart at every turn

And cried out with an anguished dreadful voice;

It called for one to save but none came near.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-25]

All warily walked, for death was ever close;

Yet caution seemed a vain expense of care,

For all that guarded proved a deadly net,

And when after long suspense salvation came

And brought a glad relief disarming strength,

It served as a smiling passage to worse fate.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-26]

There was no truce and no safe place to rest;

One dared not slumber or put off one's arms:

It was a world of battle and surprise.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-27]

All who were there lived for themselves alone;

All warred against all, but with a common hate

Turned on the mind that sought some higher good;

Truth was exiled lest she should dare to speak

And hurt the heart of darkness with her light

Or bring her pride of knowledge to blaspheme

The settled anarchy of established things.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-02 F-28]

Play Section Three
[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03]



Then the scene changed, but kept its dreadful core:

Altering its form the life remained the same.

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

A capital was there without a State:

It had no ruler, only groups that strove.

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

He saw a city of ancient Ignorance

Founded upon a soil that knew not Light.

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

There each in his own darkness walked alone:

Only they agreed to differ in Evil's paths,

To live in their own way for their own selves

Or to enforce a common lie and wrong;

There Ego was lord upon his peacock seat

And Falsehood sat by him, his mate and queen:

The world turned to them as Heaven to Truth and God.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-04]

Injustice justified by firm decrees

The sovereign weights of Error's legalised trade,

But all the weights were false and none the same;

Ever she watched with her balance and a sword,

Lest any sacrilegious word expose

The sanctified formulas of her old misrule.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-05]

In high professions wrapped self-will walked wide

And licence stalked prating of order and right:

There was no altar raised to Liberty;

True freedom was abhorred and hunted down:

Harmony and tolerance nowhere could be seen;

Each group proclaimed its dire and naked Law.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-06]

A frame of ethics knobbed with scriptural rules

Or a theory passionately believed and praised

A table seemed of high Heaven's sacred code.

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

A formal practice mailed and iron-shod

Gave to a rude and ruthless warrior kind

Drawn from the savage bowels of the earth

A proud stern poise of harsh nobility,

A civic posture rigid and formidable.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-08]

But all their private acts belied the pose:

Power and utility were their Truth and Right,

An eagle rapacity clawed its coveted good,

Beaks pecked and talons tore all weaker prey.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-09]

In their sweet secrecy of pleasant sins

Nature they obeyed and not a moralist God.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-10]

Inconscient traders in bundles of contraries,

They did what in others they would persecute;

When their eyes looked upon their fellow's vice,

An indignation flamed, a virtuous wrath;

Oblivious of their own deep-hid offence,

Moblike they stoned a neighbour caught in sin.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-11]

A pragmatist judge within passed false decrees,

Posed worst iniquities on equity's base,

Reasoned ill actions just, sanctioned the scale

Of the merchant ego's interest and desire.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-12]

Thus was a balance kept, the world could live.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-13]

A zealot fervour pushed their ruthless cults,

All faith not theirs bled scourged as heresy;

They questioned, captived, tortured, burned or smote

And forced the soul to abandon right or die.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-14]

Amid her clashing creeds and warring sects

Religion sat upon a blood-stained throne.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-15]

A hundred tyrannies oppressed and slew

And founded unity upon fraud and force.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-16]

Only what seemed was prized as real there:

The ideal was a cynic ridicule's butt;

Hooted by the crowd, mocked by enlightened wits,

Spiritual seeking wandered outcasted,—

A dreamer's self-deceiving web of thought

Or mad chimaera deemed or hypocrite's fake,

Its passionate instinct trailed through minds obscure

Lost in the circuits of the Ignorance.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-17]

A lie was there the truth and truth a lie.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-18]

Here must the traveller of the upward Way—

For daring Hell's kingdoms winds the heavenly route—

Pause or pass slowly through that perilous space,

A prayer upon his lips and the great Name.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-19]

If probed not all discernment's keen spear-point,

He might stumble into falsity's endless net.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-20]

Over his shoulder often he must look back

Like one who feels on his neck an enemy's breath;

Else stealing up behind a treasonous blow

Might prostrate cast and pin to unholy soil,

Pierced through his back by Evil's poignant stake.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-21]

So might one fall on the Eternal's road

Forfeiting the spirit's lonely chance in Time

And no news of him reach the waiting gods,

Marked “missing” in the register of souls,

His name the index of a failing hope,

The position of a dead remembered star.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-22]

Only were safe who kept God in their hearts:

Courage their armour, faith their sword, they must walk,

The hand ready to smite, the eye to scout,

Casting a javelin regard in front,

Heroes and soldiers of the army of Light.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-23]

Hardly even so, the grisly danger past,

Released into a calmer purer air,

They dared at length to breathe and smile once more.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-24]

Once more they moved beneath a real sun.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-25]

Though Hell claimed rule, the spirit still had power.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-26]

This No-man's-land he passed without debate;

Him the heights missioned, him the Abyss desired:

None stood across his way, no voice forbade.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-27]

For swift and easy is the downward path,

And now towards the Night was turned his face.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-03 F-28]

Play Section Four
[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04]



A greater darkness waited, a worse reign,

If worse can be where all is evil's extreme;

Yet to the cloaked the uncloaked is naked worst.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-01]

There God and Truth and the supernal Light

Had never been or else had power no more.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-02]

As when one slips in a deep moment's trance

Over mind's border into another world,

He crossed a boundary whose stealthy trace

Eye could not see but only the soul feel.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-03]

Into an armoured fierce domain he came

And saw himself wandering like a lost soul

Amid grimed walls and savage slums of Night.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-04]

Around him crowded grey and squalid huts

Neighbouring proud palaces of perverted Power,

Inhuman quarters and demoniac wards.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-05]

A pride in evil hugged its wretchedness;

A misery haunting splendour pressed those fell

Dun suburbs of the cities of dream-life.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-06]

There Life displayed to the spectator soul

The shadow depths of her strange miracle.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-07]

A strong and fallen goddess without hope,

Obscured, deformed by some dire Gorgon spell,

As might a harlot empress in a bouge,

Nude, unashamed, exulting she upraised

Her evil face of perilous beauty and charm

And, drawing panic to a shuddering kiss

Twixt the magnificence of her fatal breasts,

Allured to their abyss the spirit's fall.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-08]

Across his field of sight she multiplied

As on a scenic film or moving plate

The implacable splendour of her nightmare pomps.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-09]

On the dark background of a soulless world

She staged between a lurid light and shade

Her dramas of the sorrow of the depths

Written on the agonised nerves of living things:

Epics of horror and grim majesty,

Wry statues spat and stiffened in life's mud,

A glut of hideous forms and hideous deeds

Paralysed pity in the hardened breast.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-10]

In booths of sin and night-repairs of vice

Styled infamies of the body's concupiscence

And sordid imaginations etched in flesh,

Turned lust into a decorative art:

Abusing Nature's gift her pervert skill

Immortalised the sown grain of living death,

In a mud goblet poured the bacchic wine,

To a satyr gave the thyrsus of a god.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-11]

Impure, sadistic, with grimacing mouths,

Grey foul inventions gruesome and macabre

Came televisioned from the gulfs of Night.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-12]

Her craft ingenious in monstrosity,

Impatient of all natural shape and poise,

A gape of nude exaggerated lines,

Gave caricature a stark reality,

And art-parades of weird distorted forms,

And gargoyle masques obscene and terrible

Trampled to tormented postures the torn sense.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-13]

An inexorable evil's worshipper,

She made vileness great and sublimated filth;

A dragon power of reptile energies

And strange epiphanies of grovelling Force

And serpent grandeurs couching in the mire

Drew adoration to a gleam of slime.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-14]

All Nature pulled out of her frame and base

Was twisted into an unnatural pose:

Repulsion stimulated inert desire;

Agony was made a red-spiced food for bliss,

Hatred was trusted with the work of lust

And torture took the form of an embrace;

A ritual anguish consecrated death;

Worship was offered to the Undivine.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-15]

A new aesthesis of Inferno's art

That trained the mind to love what the soul hates,

Imposed allegiance on the quivering nerves

And forced the unwilling body to vibrate.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-16]

Too sweet and too harmonious to excite

In this regime that soiled the being's core,

Beauty was banned, the heart's feeling dulled to sleep

And cherished in their place sensation's thrills;

The world was probed for jets of sense-appeal.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-17]

Here cold material intellect was the judge

And needed sensual prick and jog and lash

That its hard dryness and dead nerves might feel

Some passion and power and acrid point of life.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-18]

A new philosophy theorised evil's rights,

Gloried in the shimmering rot of decadence,

Or gave to a python Force persuasive speech

And armed with knowledge the primaeval brute.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-19]

Over life and Matter only brooding bowed,

Mind changed to the image of a rampant beast;

It scrambled into the pit to dig for truth

And lighted its search with the subconscient's flares.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-20]

Thence bubbling rose sullying the upper air,

The filth and festering secrets of the Abyss:

This it called positive fact and real life.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-21]

This now composed the fetid atmosphere.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-22]

A wild-beast passion crept from secret Night

To watch its prey with fascinating eyes:

Around him like a fire with sputtering tongues

There lolled and laughed a bestial ecstasy;

The air was packed with longings brute and fierce;

Crowding and stinging in a monstrous swarm

Pressed with a noxious hum into his mind

Thoughts that could poison Nature's heavenliest breath,

Forcing reluctant lids assailed the sight

Acts that revealed the mystery of Hell.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-23]

All that was there was on this pattern made.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-04 F-24]

Play Section Five
[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05]




A race possessed inhabited those parts.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-01]

A force demoniac lurking in man's depths

That heaves suppressed by the heart's human law,

Awed by the calm and sovereign eyes of Thought,

Can in a fire and earthquake of the soul

Arise and, calling to its native night,

Overthrow the reason, occupy the life

And stamp its hoof on Nature's shaking ground:

This was for them their being's flaming core.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-02]

A mighty energy, a monster god,

Hard to the strong, implacable to the weak,

It stared at the harsh unpitying world it made

With the stony eyelids of its fixed idea.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-03]

Its heart was drunk with a dire hunger's wine,

In others' suffering felt a thrilled delight

And of death and ruin the grandiose music heard.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-04]

To have power, to be master, was sole virtue and good:

It claimed the whole world for Evil's living room,

Its party's grim totalitarian reign

The cruel destiny of breathing things.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-05]

All on one plan was shaped and standardised

Under a dark dictatorship's breathless weight.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-06]

In street and house, in councils and in courts

Beings he met who looked like living men

And climbed in speech upon high wings of thought

But harboured all that is subhuman, vile

And lower than the lowest reptile's crawl.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-07]

The reason meant for nearness to the gods

And uplift to heavenly scale by the touch of mind

Only enhanced by its enlightening ray

Their inborn nature's wry monstrosity.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-08]

Often, a familiar visage studying

Joyfully encountered at some dangerous turn,

Hoping to recognise a look of light,

His vision warned by the spirit's inward eye

Discovered suddenly Hell's trademark there,

Or saw with the inner sense that cannot err,

In the semblance of a fair or virile form

The demon and the goblin and the ghoul.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-09]

An insolence reigned of cold stone-hearted strength

Mighty, obeyed, approved by the Titan's law,

The huge laughter of a giant cruelty

And fierce glad deeds of ogre violence.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-10]

In that wide cynic den of thinking beasts

One looked in vain for a trace of pity or love;

There was no touch of sweetness anywhere,

But only Force and its acolytes, greed and hate:

There was no help for suffering, none to save,

None dared resist or speak a noble word.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-11]

Armed with the aegis of tyrannic Power,

Signing the edicts of her dreadful rule

And using blood and torture as a seal,

Darkness proclaimed her slogans to the world.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-12]

A servile blinkered silence hushed the mind

Or only it repeated lessons taught,

While mitred, holding the good shepherd's staff,

Falsehood enthroned on awed and prostrate hearts

The cults and creeds that organise living death

And slay the soul on the altar of a lie.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-13]

All were deceived or served their own deceit;

Truth in that stifling atmosphere could not live.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-14]

There wretchedness believed in its own joy

And fear and weakness hugged their abject depths;

All that is low and sordid-thoughted, base,

All that is drab and poor and miserable,

Breathed in a lax content its natural air

And felt no yearning of divine release:

Arrogant, gibing at more luminous states

The people of the gulfs despised the sun.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-15]

A barriered autarchy excluded light;

Fixed in its will to be its own grey self,

It vaunted its norm unique and splendid type:

It soothed its hunger with a plunderer's dream;

Flaunting its cross of servitude like a crown,

It clung to its dismal harsh autonomy.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-16]

A bull-throat bellowed with its brazen tongue;

Its hard and shameless clamour filling Space

And threatening all who dared to listen to truth

Claimed the monopoly of the battered ear;

A deafened acquiescence gave its vote,

And braggart dogmas shouted in the night

Kept for the fallen soul once deemed a god

The pride of its abysmal absolute.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-05 F-17]

Play Section Six
[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06]



A lone discoverer in these menacing realms

Guarded like termite cities from the sun,

Oppressed mid crowd and tramp and noise and flare,

Passing from dusk to deeper dangerous dusk,

He wrestled with powers that snatched from mind its light

And smote from him their clinging influences.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-01]

Soon he emerged in a dim wall-less space.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-02]

For now the peopled tracts were left behind;

He walked between wide banks of failing eve.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-03]

Around him grew a gaunt spiritual blank,

A threatening waste, a sinister loneliness

That left mind bare to an unseen assault,

An empty page on which all that willed could write

Stark monstrous messages without control.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-04]

A travelling dot on downward roads of Dusk

Mid barren fields and barns and straggling huts

And a few crooked and phantasmal trees,

He faced a sense of death and conscious void.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-05]

But still a hostile Life unseen was there

Whose deathlike poise resisting light and truth

Made living a bleak gap in nullity.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-06]

He heard the grisly voices that deny;

Assailed by thoughts that swarmed like spectral hordes,

A prey to the staring phantoms of the gloom

And terror approaching with its lethal mouth,

Driven by a strange will down ever down,

The sky above a communiqué of Doom,

He strove to shield his spirit from despair,

But felt the horror of the growing Night

And the Abyss rising to claim his soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-07]

Then ceased the abodes of creatures and their forms

And solitude wrapped him in its voiceless folds.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-08]

All vanished suddenly like a thought expunged;

His spirit became an empty listening gulf

Void of the dead illusion of a world:

Nothing was left, not even an evil face.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-09]

He was alone with the grey python Night.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-10]

A dense and nameless Nothing conscious, mute,

Which seemed alive but without body or mind,

Lusted all beings to annihilate

That it might be for ever nude and sole.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-11]

As in a shapeless beast's intangible jaws,

Gripped, strangled by that lusting viscous blot,

Attracted to some black and giant mouth

And swallowing throat and a huge belly of doom,

His being from its own vision disappeared

Drawn towards depths that hungered for its fall.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-12]

A formless void oppressed his struggling brain,

A darkness grim and cold benumbed his flesh,

A whispered grey suggestion chilled his heart;

Haled by a serpent-force from its warm home

And dragged to extinction in bleak vacancy

Life clung to its seat with cords of gasping breath;

Lapped was his body by a tenebrous tongue.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-13]

Existence smothered travailed to survive;

Hope strangled perished in his empty soul,

Belief and memory abolished died

And all that helps the spirit in its course.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-14]

There crawled through every tense and aching nerve

Leaving behind its poignant quaking trail

A nameless and unutterable fear.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-15]

As a sea nears a victim bound and still,

The approach alarmed his mind for ever dumb

Of an implacable eternity

Of pain inhuman and intolerable.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-16]

This he must bear, his hope of heaven estranged;

He must ever exist without extinction's peace

In a slow suffering Time and tortured Space,

An anguished nothingness his endless state.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-17]

A lifeless vacancy was now his breast,

And in the place where once was luminous thought,

Only remained like a pale motionless ghost

An incapacity for faith and hope

And the dread conviction of a vanquished soul

Immortal still but with its godhead lost,

Self lost and God and touch of happier worlds.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-18]

But he endured, stilled the vain terror, bore

The smothering coils of agony and affright;

Then peace returned and the soul's sovereign gaze.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-19]

To the blank horror a calm Light replied:

Immutable, undying and unborn,

Mighty and mute the Godhead in him woke

And faced the pain and danger of the world.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-20]

He mastered the tides of Nature with a look:

He met with his bare spirit naked Hell.

[Savitri B-02 C-07 S-06 F-21]



Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
[Savitri B-02 Book Name]

Book Two Canto Seven End

The Descent into Night

[Savitri B-02 C-07 Canto End]



Book 2 Canto 8

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Two
The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto Eight

The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness

 [Savitri B-02 C-08 Canto Name]

Play Section One
[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01]


Then could he see the hidden heart of Night:

The labour of its stark unconsciousness

Revealed the endless terrible Inane.

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

A spiritless blank Infinity was there;

A Nature that denied the eternal Truth

In the vain braggart freedom of its thought

Hoped to abolish God and reign alone.

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

There was no sovereign Guest, no witness Light;

Unhelped it would create its own bleak world.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-03]

Its large blind eyes looked out on demon acts,

Its deaf ears heard the untruth its dumb lips spoke;

Its huge misguided fancy took vast shapes,

Its mindless sentience quivered with fierce conceits;

Engendering a brute principle of life

Evil and pain begot a monstrous soul.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-04]

The Anarchs of the formless depths arose,

Great Titan beings and demoniac powers,

World-egos racked with lust and thought and will,

Vast minds and lives without a spirit within:

Impatient architects of error's house,

Leaders of the cosmic ignorance and unrest

And sponsors of sorrow and mortality

Embodied the dark Ideas of the Abyss.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-05]

A shadow substance into emptiness came,

Dim forms were born in the unthinking Void

And eddies met and made an adverse Space

In whose black folds Being imagined Hell.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-06]

His eyes piercing the triple-plated gloom

Identified their sight with its blind stare:

Accustomed to the unnatural dark, they saw

Unreality made real and conscious Night.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-07]

A violent, fierce and formidable world,

An ancient womb of huge calamitous dreams,

Coiled like a larva in the obscurity

That keeps it from the spear-points of Heaven's stars.

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

It was the gate of a false Infinite,

An eternity of disastrous absolutes,

An immense negation of spiritual things.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-09]

All once self-luminous in the spirit's sphere

Turned now into their own dark contraries:

Being collapsed into a pointless void

That yet was a zero parent of the worlds;

Inconscience swallowing up the cosmic Mind

Produced a universe from its lethal sleep;

Bliss into black coma fallen, insensible,

Coiled back to itself and God's eternal joy

Through a false poignant figure of grief and pain

Still dolorously nailed upon a cross

Fixed in the soil of a dumb insentient world

Where birth was a pang and death an agony,

Lest all too soon should change again to bliss.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-10]

Thought sat, a priestess of Perversity,

On her black tripod of the triune Snake

Reading by opposite signs the eternal script,

A sorceress reversing life's God-frame.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-11]

In darkling aisles with evil eyes for lamps

And fatal voices chanting from the apse,

In strange infernal dim basilicas

Intoning the magic of the unholy Word,

The ominous profound Initiate

Performed the ritual of her Mysteries.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-12]

There suffering was Nature's daily food

Alluring to the anguished heart and flesh,

And torture was the formula of delight,

Pain mimicked the celestial ecstasy.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-13]

There Good, a faithless gardener of God,

Watered with virtue the world's upas-tree

And, careful of the outward word and act,

Engrafted his hypocrite blooms on native ill.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-14]

All high things served their nether opposite:

The forms of Gods sustained a demon cult;

Heaven's face became a mask and snare of Hell.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-15]

There in the heart of vain phenomenon,

In an enormous action's writhen core

He saw a Shape illimitable and vague

Sitting on Death who swallows all things born.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-16]

A chill fixed face with dire and motionless eyes,

Her dreadful trident in her shadowy hand

Outstretched, she pierced all creatures with one fate.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-01 F-17]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02]




When nothing was save Matter without soul

And a spiritless hollow was the heart of Time,

Then Life first touched the insensible Abyss;

Awaking the stark Void to hope and grief

Her pallid beam smote the unfathomed Night

In which God hid himself from his own view.

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

In all things she sought their slumbering mystic truth,

The unspoken Word that inspires unconscious forms;

She groped in his deeps for an invisible Law,

Fumbled in the dim subconscient for his mind

And strove to find a way for spirit to be.

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

But from the Night another answer came.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-03]

A seed was in that nether matrix cast,

A dumb unprobed husk of perverted truth,

A cell of an insentient infinite.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-04]

A monstrous birth prepared its cosmic form

In Nature's titan embryo, Ignorance.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-05]

Then in a fatal and stupendous hour

Something that sprang from the stark Inconscient's sleep

Unwillingly begotten by the mute Void,

Lifted its ominous head against the stars;

Overshadowing earth with its huge body of Doom

It chilled the heavens with the menace of a face.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-06]

A nameless Power, a shadowy Will arose

Immense and alien to our universe.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-07]

In the inconceivable Purpose none can gauge

A vast Non-Being robed itself with shape,

The boundless Nescience of the unconscious depths

Covered eternity with nothingness.

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

A seeking Mind replaced the seeing Soul:

Life grew into a huge and hungry death,

The Spirit's bliss was changed to cosmic pain.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-09]

Assuring God's self-cowled neutrality

A mighty opposition conquered Space.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-10]

A sovereign ruling falsehood, death and grief,

It pressed its fierce hegemony on the earth;

Disharmonising the original style

Of the architecture of her fate's design,

It falsified the primal cosmic Will

And bound to struggle and dread vicissitudes

The long slow process of the patient Power.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-11]

Implanting error in the stuff of things

It made an Ignorance of the all-wise Law;

It baffled the sure touch of life's hid sense,

Kept dumb the intuitive guide in Matter's sleep,

Deformed the insect's instinct and the brute's,

Disfigured man's thought-born humanity.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-12]

A shadow fell across the simple Ray:

Obscured was the Truth-light in the cavern heart

That burns unwitnessed in the altar crypt

Behind the still velamen's secrecy

Companioning the Godhead of the shrine.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-13]

Thus was the dire antagonist Energy born

Who mimes the eternal Mother's mighty shape

And mocks her luminous infinity

With a grey distorted silhouette in the Night.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-14]

Arresting the passion of the climbing soul,

She forced on life a slow and faltering pace;

Her hand's deflecting and retarding weight

Is laid on the mystic evolution's curve:

The tortuous line of her deceiving mind

The Gods see not and man is impotent;

Oppressing the God-spark within the soul

She forces back to the beast the human fall.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-15]

Yet in her formidable instinctive mind

She feels the One grow in the heart of Time

And sees the Immortal shine through the human mould.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-16]

Alarmed for her rule and full of fear and rage

She prowls around each light that gleams through the dark

Casting its ray from the spirit's lonely tent,

Hoping to enter with fierce stealthy tread

And in the cradle slay the divine Child.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-17]

Incalculable are her strength and ruse;

Her touch is a fascination and a death;

She kills her victim with his own delight;

Even Good she makes a hook to drag to Hell.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-18]

For her the world runs to its agony.

[Savitri B-02 C-08 S-02 F-19]