Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Four All Cantos
The Book of Birth and Quest

Canto One
The Birth and Childhood of the Flame

[Savitri B-04 C-01 Canto Name]


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


A Maenad of the cycles of desire

Around a Light she must not dare to touch,

Hastening towards a far-off unknown goal

Earth followed the endless journey of the Sun.

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


A mind but half-awake in the swing of the void

On the bosom of Inconscience dreamed out life

And bore this finite world of thought and deed

Across the immobile trance of the Infinite.

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


A vast immutable silence with her ran:

Prisoner of speed upon a jewelled wheel,

She communed with the mystic heart in Space.

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


Amid the ambiguous stillness of the stars

She moved towards some undisclosed event

And her rhythm measured the long whirl of Time.

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


In ceaseless motion round the purple rim

Day after day sped by like coloured spokes,

And through a glamour of shifting hues of air

The seasons drew in linked significant dance

The symbol pageant of the changing year.

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


Across the burning languor of the soil

Paced Summer with his pomp of violent noons

And stamped his tyranny of torrid light

And the blue seal of a great burnished sky.

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


Next through its fiery swoon or clotted knot

Rain-tide burst in upon torn wings of heat,

Startled with lightnings air's unquiet drowse,

Lashed with life-giving streams the torpid soil,

Overcast with flare and sound and storm-winged dark

The star-defended doors of heaven's dim sleep,

Or from the gold eye of her paramour

Covered with packed cloud-veils the earth's brown face.

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


Armies of revolution crossed the time-field,

The clouds' unending march besieged the world,

Tempests' pronunciamentos claimed the sky

And thunder drums announced the embattled gods.

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


A traveller from unquiet neighbouring seas,

The dense-maned monsoon rode neighing through earth's hours:

Thick now the emissary javelins:

Enormous lightnings split the horizon's rim

And, hurled from the quarters as from contending camps,

Married heaven's edges steep and bare and blind:

A surge and hiss and onset of huge rain,

The long straight sleet-drift, clamours of winged storm-charge,

Throngs of wind-faces, rushing of wind-feet

Hurrying swept through the prone afflicted plains:

Heaven's waters trailed and dribbled through the drowned land.

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


Then all was a swift stride, a sibilant race,

Or all was tempest's shout and water's fall.

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


A dimness sagged on the grey floor of day,

Its dingy sprawling length joined morn to eve,

Wallowing in sludge and shower it reached black dark.

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


Day a half darkness wore as its dull dress.

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


Light looked into dawn's tarnished glass and met

Its own face there, twin to a half-lit night's:

Downpour and drip and seeping mist swayed all

And turned dry soil to bog and reeking mud:

Earth was a quagmire, heaven a dismal block.

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


None saw through dank drenched weeks the dungeon sun.

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


Even when no turmoil vexed air's sombre rest,

Or a faint ray glimmered through weeping clouds

As a sad smile gleams veiled by returning tears,

All promised brightness failed at once denied

Or, soon condemned, died like a brief-lived hope.

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


Then a last massive deluge thrashed dead mire

And a subsiding mutter left all still,

Or only the muddy creep of sinking floods

Or only a whisper and green toss of trees.

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


Earth's mood now changed; she lay in lulled repose,

The hours went by with slow contented tread:

A wide and tranquil air remembered peace,

Earth was the comrade of a happy sun.

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


A calmness neared as of the approach of God,

A light of musing trance lit soil and sky

And an identity and ecstasy

Filled meditation's solitary heart.

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


A dream loitered in the dumb mind of Space,

Time opened its chambers of felicity,

An exaltation entered and a hope:

An inmost self looked up to a heavenlier height,

An inmost thought kindled a hidden flame

And the inner sight adored an unseen sun.

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


Three thoughtful seasons passed with shining tread

And scanning one by one the pregnant hours

Watched for a flame that lurked in luminous depths,

The vigil of some mighty birth to come.

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


Autumn led in the glory of her moons

And dreamed in the splendour of her lotus pools

And Winter and Dew-time laid their calm cool hands

On Nature's bosom still in a half sleep

And deepened with hues of lax and mellow ease

The tranquil beauty of the waning year.

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


Then Spring, an ardent lover, leaped through leaves

And caught the earth-bride in his eager clasp;

His advent was a fire of irised hues,

His arms were a circle of the arrival of joy.

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


His voice was a call to the Transcendent's sphere

Whose secret touch upon our mortal lives

Keeps ever new the thrill that made the world,

Remoulds an ancient sweetness to new shapes

And guards intact unchanged by death and Time

The answer of our hearts to Nature's charm

And keeps for ever new, yet still the same,

The throb that ever wakes to the old delight

And beauty and rapture and the joy to live.

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


His coming brought the magic and the spell;

At his touch life's tired heart grew glad and young;

He made joy a willing prisoner in her breast.

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


His grasp was a young god's upon earth's limbs:

Changed by the passion of his divine outbreak

He made her body beautiful with his kiss.

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


Impatient for felicity he came,

High-fluting with the coïl's happy voice,

His peacock turban trailing on the trees;

His breath was a warm summons to delight,

The dense voluptuous azure was his gaze.

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


A soft celestial urge surprised the blood

Rich with the instinct of God's sensuous joys;

Revealed in beauty, a cadence was abroad

Insistent on the rapture-thrill in life:

Immortal movements touched the fleeting hours.

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


A godlike packed intensity of sense

Made it a passionate pleasure even to breathe;

All sights and voices wove a single charm.

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


The life of the enchanted globe became

A storm of sweetness and of light and song,

A revel of colour and of ecstasy,

A hymn of rays, a litany of cries:

A strain of choral priestly music sang

And, swung on the swaying censer of the trees,

A sacrifice of perfume filled the hours.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-01 F-29]


Asocas burned in crimson spots of flame,

Pure like the breath of an unstained desire

White jasmines haunted the enamoured air,

Pale mango-blossoms fed the liquid voice

Of the love-maddened coïl, and the brown bee

Muttered in fragrance mid the honey-buds.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-01 F-30]


The sunlight was a great god's golden smile.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-01 F-31]


All Nature was at beauty's festival.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-01 F-32]


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


In this high signal moment of the gods

Answering earth's yearning and her cry for bliss,

A greatness from our other countries came.

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


A silence in the noise of earthly things

Immutably revealed the secret Word,

A mightier influx filled the oblivious clay:

A lamp was lit, a sacred image made.

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


A mediating ray had touched the earth

Bridging the gulf between man's mind and God's;

Its brightness linked our transience to the Unknown.

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


A spirit of its celestial source aware

Translating heaven into a human shape

Descended into earth's imperfect mould

And wept not fallen to mortality,

But looked on all with large and tranquil eyes.

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


One had returned from the transcendent planes

And bore anew the load of mortal breath,

Who had striven of old with our darkness and our pain;

She took again her divine unfinished task:

Survivor of death and the aeonic years,

Once more with her fathomless heart she fronted Time.

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


Again there was renewed, again revealed

The ancient closeness by earth-vision veiled,

The secret contact broken off in Time,

A consanguinity of earth and heaven,

Between the human portion toiling here

And an as yet unborn and limitless Force.

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


Again the mystic deep attempt began,

The daring wager of the cosmic game.

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


For since upon this blind and whirling globe

Earth-plasm first quivered with the illumining mind

And life invaded the material sheath

Afflicting Inconscience with the need to feel,

Since in Infinity's silence woke a word,

A Mother-wisdom works in Nature's breast

To pour delight on the heart of toil and want

And press perfection on life's stumbling powers,

Impose heaven-sentience on the obscure abyss

And make dumb Matter conscious of its God.

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


Although our fallen minds forget to climb,

Although our human stuff resists or breaks,

She keeps her will that hopes to divinise clay;

Failure cannot repress, defeat o'erthrow;

Time cannot weary her nor the Void subdue,

The ages have not made her passion less;

No victory she admits of Death or Fate.

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


Always she drives the soul to new attempt;

Always her magical infinitude

Forces to aspire the inert brute elements;

As one who has all infinity to waste,

She scatters the seed of the Eternal's strength

On a half-animate and crumbling mould,

Plants heaven's delight in the heart's passionate mire,

Pours godhead's seekings into a bare beast frame,

Hides immortality in a mask of death.

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


Once more that Will put on an earthly shape.

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


A Mind empowered from Truth's immutable seat

Was framed for vision and interpreting act

And instruments were sovereignly designed

To express divinity in terrestrial signs.

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


Outlined by the pressure of this new descent

A lovelier body formed than earth had known.

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


As yet a prophecy only and a hint,

The glowing arc of a charmed unseen whole,

It came into the sky of mortal life

Bright like the crescent horn of a gold moon

Returning in a faint illumined eve.

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


At first glimmering like an unshaped idea

Passive she lay sheltered in wordless sleep,

Involved and drowned in Matter's giant trance,

An infant heart of the deep-caved world-plan

In cradle of divine inconscience rocked

By the universal ecstasy of the suns.

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


Some missioned Power in the half-wakened frame

Nursed a transcendent birth's dumb glorious seed

For which this vivid tenement was made.

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


But soon the link of soul with form grew sure;

Flooded was the dim cave with slow conscient light,

The seed grew into a delicate marvellous bud,

The bud disclosed a great and heavenly bloom.

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


At once she seemed to found a mightier race.

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


Arrived upon the strange and dubious globe

The child remembering inly a far home

Lived guarded in her spirit's luminous cell,

Alone mid men in her diviner kind.

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


Even in her childish movements could be felt

The nearness of a light still kept from earth,

Feelings that only eternity could share,

Thoughts natural and native to the gods.

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


As needing nothing but its own rapt flight

Her nature dwelt in a strong separate air

Like a strange bird with large rich-coloured breast

That sojourns on a secret fruited bough,

Lost in the emerald glory of the woods

Or flies above divine unreachable tops.

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


Harmoniously she impressed the earth with heaven.

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


Aligned to a swift rhythm of sheer delight

And singing to themselves her days went by;

Each minute was a throb of beauty's heart;

The hours were tuned to a sweet-toned content

Which asked for nothing, but took all life gave

Sovereignly as her nature's inborn right.

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


Near was her spirit to its parent Sun,

The Breath within to the eternal joy.

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


The first fair life that breaks from Nature's swoon,

Mounts in a line of rapture to the skies;

Absorbed in its own happy urge it lives,

Sufficient to itself, yet turned to all:

It has no seen communion with its world,

No open converse with surrounding things.

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


There is a oneness native and occult

That needs no instruments and erects no form;

In unison it grows with all that is.

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


All contacts it assumes into its trance,

Laugh-tossed consents to the wind's kiss and takes

Transmutingly the shocks of sun and breeze:

A blissful yearning riots in its leaves,

A magic passion trembles in its blooms,

Its boughs aspire in hushed felicity.

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


An occult godhead of this beauty is cause,

The spirit and intimate guest of all this charm,

This sweetness's priestess and this reverie's muse.

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


Invisibly protected from our sense

The Dryad lives drenched in a deeper ray

And feels another air of storms and calms

And quivers inwardly with mystic rain.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-29]


This at a heavenlier height was shown in her.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-30]


Even when she bent to meet earth's intimacies

Her spirit kept the stature of the gods;

It stooped but was not lost in Matter's reign.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-31]


A world translated was her gleaming mind,

And marvel-mooned bright crowding fantasies

Fed with spiritual sustenance of dreams

The ideal goddess in her house of gold.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-32]


Aware of forms to which our eyes are closed,

Conscious of nearnesses we cannot feel,

The Power within her shaped her moulding sense

In deeper figures than our surface types.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-33]


An invisible sunlight ran within her veins

And flooded her brain with heavenly brilliances

That woke a wider sight than earth could know.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-34]


Outlined in the sincerity of that ray

Her springing childlike thoughts were richly turned

Into luminous patterns of her soul's deep truth,

And from her eyes she cast another look

On all around her than man's ignorant view.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-35]


All objects were to her shapes of living selves

And she perceived a message from her kin

In each awakening touch of outward things.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-36]


Each was a symbol power, a vivid flash

In the circuit of infinities half-known;

Nothing was alien or inanimate,

Nothing without its meaning or its call.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-37]


For with a greater Nature she was one.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-38]


As from the soil sprang glory of branch and flower,

As from the animal's life rose thinking man,

A new epiphany appeared in her.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-39]


A mind of light, a life of rhythmic force,

A body instinct with hidden divinity

Prepared an image of the coming god;

And when the slow rhyme of the expanding years

And the rich murmurous swarm-work of the days

Had honey-packed her sense and filled her limbs,

Accomplishing the moon-orb of her grace,

Self-guarded in the silence of her strength

Her solitary greatness was not less.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-40]


Nearer the godhead to the surface pressed,

A sun replacing childhood's nebula

Sovereign in a blue and lonely sky.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-41]


Upward it rose to grasp the human scene:

The strong Inhabitant turned to watch her field.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-42]


A lovelier light assumed her spirit brow

And sweet and solemn grew her musing gaze;

Celestial-human deep warm slumbrous fires

Woke in the long fringed glory of her eyes

Like altar-burnings in a mysteried shrine.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-43]


Out of those crystal windows gleamed a will

That brought a large significance to life.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-44]


Holding her forehead's candid stainless space

Behind the student arch a noble power

Of wisdom looked from light on transient things.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-45]


A scout of victory in a vigil tower,

Her aspiration called high destiny down;

A silent warrior paced in her city of strength

Inviolate, guarding Truth's diamond throne.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-46]


A nectarous haloed moon her passionate heart

Loved all and spoke no word and made no sign,

But kept her bosom's rapturous secrecy

A blissful ardent moved and voiceless world.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-47]


Proud, swift and joyful ran the wave of life

Within her like a stream in Paradise.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-48]


Many high gods dwelt in one beautiful home;

Yet was her nature's orb a perfect whole,

Harmonious like a chant with many tones,

Immense and various like a universe.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-49]


The body that held this greatness seemed almost

An image made of heaven's transparent light.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-50]


Its charm recalled things seen in vision's hours,

A golden bridge spanning a faery flood,

A moon-touched palm-tree single by a lake

Companion of the wide and glimmering peace,

A murmur as of leaves in Paradise

Moving when feet of the Immortals pass,

A fiery halo over sleeping hills,

A strange and starry head alone in Night.

[Savitri B-04 C-01 S-02 F-51]



Book Four Canto One End

The Birth and Childhood of the Flame

[Savitri B-04 C-01 Canto End]


Book 4 Canto 2

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Four
The Book of Birth and Quest
[Savitri B-04 Book Name]

Canto Two

The Growth of the Flame

[Savitri B-04 C-02 Canto Name]


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


A land of mountains and wide sun-beat plains

And giant rivers pacing to vast seas,

A field of creation and spiritual hush,

Silence swallowing life's acts into the deeps,

Of thought's transcendent climb and heavenward leap,

A brooding world of reverie and trance,

Filled with the mightiest works of God and man,

Where Nature seemed a dream of the Divine

And beauty and grace and grandeur had their home,

Harboured the childhood of the incarnate Flame.

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


Over her watched millennial influences

And the deep godheads of a grandiose past

Looked on her and saw the future's godheads come

As if this magnet drew their powers unseen.

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


Earth's brooding wisdom spoke to her still breast;

Mounting from mind's last peaks to mate with gods,

Making earth's brilliant thoughts a springing-board

To dive into the cosmic vastnesses,

The knowledge of the thinker and the seer

Saw the unseen and thought the unthinkable,

Opened the enormous doors of the unknown,

Rent man's horizons into infinity.

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


A shoreless sweep was lent to the mortal's acts,

And art and beauty sprang from the human depths;

Nature and soul vied in nobility.

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


Ethics the human keyed to imitate heaven;

The harmony of a rich culture's tones

Refined the sense and magnified its reach

To hear the unheard and glimpse the invisible

And taught the soul to soar beyond things known,

Inspiring life to greaten and break its bounds,

Aspiring to the Immortals' unseen world.

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


Leaving earth's safety daring wings of Mind

Bore her above the trodden fields of thought

Crossing the mystic seas of the Beyond

To live on eagle heights near to the Sun.

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


There Wisdom sits on her eternal throne.

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


All her life's turns led her to symbol doors

Admitting to secret Powers that were her kin;

Adept of truth, initiate of bliss,

A mystic acolyte trained in Nature's school,

Aware of the marvel of created things

She laid the secrecies of her heart's deep muse

Upon the altar of the Wonderful;

Her hours were a ritual in a timeless fane;

Her acts became gestures of sacrifice.

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


Invested with a rhythm of higher spheres

The word was used as a hieratic means

For the release of the imprisoned spirit

Into communion with its comrade gods.

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


Or it helped to beat out new expressive forms

Of that which labours in the heart of life,

Some immemorial Soul in men and things,

Seeker of the unknown and the unborn

Carrying a light from the Ineffable

To rend the veil of the last mysteries.

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


Intense philosophies pointed earth to heaven

Or on foundations broad as cosmic Space

Upraised the earth-mind to superhuman heights.

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


Overpassing lines that please the outward eyes

But hide the sight of that which lives within

Sculpture and painting concentrated sense

Upon an inner vision's motionless verge,

Revealed a figure of the invisible,

Unveiled all Nature's meaning in a form,

Or caught into a body the Divine.

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


The architecture of the Infinite

Discovered here its inward-musing shapes

Captured into wide breadths of soaring stone:

Music brought down celestial yearnings, song

Held the merged heart absorbed in rapturous depths,

Linking the human with the cosmic cry;

The world-interpreting movements of the dance

Moulded idea and mood to a rhythmic sway

And posture; crafts minute in subtle lines

Eternised a swift moment's memory

Or showed in a carving's sweep, a cup's design

The underlying patterns of the unseen:

Poems in largeness cast like moving worlds

And metres surging with the ocean's voice

Translated by grandeurs locked in Nature's heart

But thrown now into a crowded glory of speech

The beauty and sublimity of her forms,

The passion of her moments and her moods

Lifting the human word nearer to the god's.

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


Man's eyes could look into the inner realms;

His scrutiny discovered number's law

And organised the motions of the stars,

Mapped out the visible fashioning of the world,

Questioned the process of his thoughts or made

A theorised diagram of mind and life.

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


These things she took in as her nature's food,

But these alone could fill not her wide Self:

A human seeking limited by its gains,

To her they seemed the great and early steps

Hazardous of a young discovering spirit

Which saw not yet by its own native light;

It tapped the universe with testing knocks

Or stretched to find truth mind's divining rod;

There was a growing out to numberless sides,

But not the widest seeing of the soul,

Not yet the vast direct immediate touch,

Nor yet the art and wisdom of the Gods.

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


A boundless knowledge greater than man's thought,

A happiness too high for heart and sense

Locked in the world and yearning for release

She felt in her; waiting as yet for form,

It asked for objects around which to grow

And natures strong to bear without recoil

The splendour of her native royalty,

Her greatness and her sweetness and her bliss,

Her might to possess and her vast power to love:

Earth made a stepping-stone to conquer heaven,

The soul saw beyond heaven's limiting boundaries,

Met a great light from the Unknowable

And dreamed of a transcendent action's sphere.

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


Aware of the universal Self in all

She turned to living hearts and human forms,

Her soul's reflections, complements, counterparts,

The close outlying portions of her being

Divided from her by walls of body and mind

Yet to her spirit bound by ties divine.

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


Overcoming invisible hedge and masked defence

And the loneliness that separates soul from soul,

She wished to make all one immense embrace

That she might house in it all living things

Raised into a splendid point of seeing light

Out of division's dense inconscient cleft,

And make them one with God and world and her.

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


Only a few responded to her call:

Still fewer felt the screened divinity

And strove to mate its godhead with their own,

Approaching with some kinship to her heights.

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


Uplifted towards luminous secrecies

Or conscious of some splendour hidden above

They leaped to find her in a moment's flash,

Glimpsing a light in a celestial vast,

But could not keep the vision and the power

And fell back to life's dull ordinary tone.

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


A mind daring heavenly experiment,

Growing towards some largeness they felt near,

Testing the unknown's bound with eager touch

They still were prisoned by their human grain:

They could not keep up with her tireless step;

Too small and eager for her large-paced will,

Too narrow to look with the unborn Infinite's gaze

Their nature weary grew of things too great.

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


For even the close partners of her thoughts

Who could have walked the nearest to her ray,

Worshipped the power and light they felt in her

But could not match the measure of her soul.

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


A friend and yet too great wholly to know,

She walked in their front towards a greater light,

Their leader and queen over their hearts and souls,

One close to their bosoms, yet divine and far.

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


Admiring and amazed they saw her stride

Attempting with a godlike rush and leap

Heights for their human stature too remote

Or with a slow great many-sided toil

Pushing towards aims they hardly could conceive;

Yet forced to be the satellites of her sun

They moved unable to forego her light,

Desiring they clutched at her with outstretched hands

Or followed stumbling in the paths she made.

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


Or longing with their self of life and flesh

They clung to her for heart's nourishment and support:

The rest they could not see in visible light;

Vaguely they bore her inner mightiness.

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


Or bound by the senses and the longing heart,

Adoring with a turbid human love,

They could not grasp the mighty spirit she was

Or change by closeness to be even as she.

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


Some felt her with their souls and thrilled with her,

A greatness felt near yet beyond mind's grasp;

To see her was a summons to adore,

To be near her drew a high communion's force.

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


So men worship a god too great to know,

Too high, too vast to wear a limiting shape;

They feel a Presence and obey a might,

Adore a love whose rapture invades their breasts;

To a divine ardour quickening the heart-beats,

A law they follow greatening heart and life.

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


Opened to the breath is a new diviner air,

Opened to man is a freer, happier world:

He sees high steps climbing to Self and Light.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-29]


Her divine parts the soul's allegiance called:

It saw, it felt, it knew the deity.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-30]


Her will was puissant on their nature's acts,

Her heart's inexhaustible sweetness lured their hearts,

A being they loved whose bounds exceeded theirs;

Her measure they could not reach but bore her touch,

Answering with the flower's answer to the sun

They gave themselves to her and asked no more.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-31]


One greater than themselves, too wide for their ken,

Their minds could not understand nor wholly know,

Their lives replied to hers, moved at her words:

They felt a godhead and obeyed a call,

Answered to her lead and did her work in the world;

Their lives, their natures moved compelled by hers

As if the truth of their own larger selves

Put on an aspect of divinity

To exalt them to a pitch beyond their earth's.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-32]


They felt a larger future meet their walk;

She held their hands, she chose for them their paths:

They were moved by her towards great unknown things,

Faith drew them and the joy to feel themselves hers;

They lived in her, they saw the world with her eyes.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-33]


Some turned to her against their nature's bent;

Divided between wonder and revolt,

Drawn by her charm and mastered by her will,

Possessed by her, her striving to possess,

Impatient subjects, their tied longing hearts

Hugging the bonds close of which they most complained,

Murmured at a yoke they would have wept to lose,

The splendid yoke of her beauty and her love:

Others pursued her with life's blind desires

And claiming all of her as their lonely own,

Hastened to engross her sweetness meant for all.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-34]


As earth claims light for its lone separate need

Demanding her for their sole jealous clasp,

They asked from her movements bounded like their own

And to their smallness craved a like response.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-35]


Or they repined that she surpassed their grip,

And hoped to bind her close with longing's cords.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-36]


Or finding her touch desired too strong to bear

They blamed her for a tyranny they loved,

Shrank into themselves as from too bright a sun,

Yet hankered for the splendour they refused.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-37]


Angrily enamoured of her sweet passionate ray

The weakness of their earth could hardly bear,

They longed but cried out at the touch desired

Inapt to meet divinity so close,

Intolerant of a Force they could not house.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-38]


Some drawn unwillingly by her divine sway

Endured it like a sweet but alien spell;

Unable to mount to levels too sublime,

They yearned to draw her down to their own earth.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-39]


Or forced to centre round her their passionate lives,

They hoped to bind to their heart's human needs

Her glory and grace that had enslaved their souls.

[Savitri B-04 C-02 S-01 F-40]


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


But mid this world, these hearts that answered her call,

None could stand up her equal and her mate.

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


In vain she stooped to equal them with her heights,

Too pure that air was for small souls to breathe.

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


These comrade selves to raise to her own wide breadths

Her heart desired and fill with her own power

That a diviner Force might enter life,

A breath of Godhead greaten human time.

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


Although she leaned down to their littleness

Covering their lives with her strong passionate hands

And knew by sympathy their needs and wants

And dived in the shallow wave-depths of their lives

And met and shared their heart-beats of grief and joy

And bent to heal their sorrow and their pride,

Lavishing the might that was hers on her lone peak

To lift to it their aspiration's cry,

And though she drew their souls into her vast

And surrounded with the silence of her deeps

And held as the great Mother holds her own,

Only her earthly surface bore their charge

And mixed its fire with their mortality:

Her greater self lived sole, unclaimed, within.

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


Oftener in dumb Nature's stir and peace

A nearness she could feel serenely one;

The Force in her drew earth's subhuman broods;

And to her spirit's large and free delight

She joined the ardent-hued magnificent lives

Of animal and bird and flower and tree.

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


They answered to her with the simple heart.

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


In man a dim disturbing somewhat lives;

It knows but turns away from divine Light

Preferring the dark ignorance of the fall.

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


Among the many who came drawn to her

Nowhere she found her partner of high tasks,

The comrade of her soul, her other self

Who was made with her, like God and Nature, one.

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


Some near approached, were touched, caught fire, then failed,

Too great was her demand, too pure her force.

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


Thus lighting earth around her like a sun,

Yet in her inmost sky an orb aloof,

A distance severed her from those most close.

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


Puissant, apart her soul as the gods live.

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


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


As yet unlinked with the broad human scene,

In a small circle of young eager hearts,

Her being's early school and closed domain,

Apprentice in the business of earth-life,

She schooled her heavenly strain to bear its touch,

Content in her little garden of the gods

As blooms a flower in an unvisited place.

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


Earth nursed, unconscious still, the inhabiting flame,

Yet something deeply stirred and dimly knew;

There was a movement and a passionate call,

A rainbow dream, a hope of golden change;

Some secret wing of expectation beat,

A growing sense of something new and rare

And beautiful stole across the heart of Time.

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


Then a faint whisper of her touched the soil,

Breathed like a hidden need the soul divines;

The eye of the great world discovered her

And wonder lifted up its bardic voice.

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


A key to a Light still kept in being's cave,

The sun-word of an ancient mystery's sense,

Her name ran murmuring on the lips of men

Exalted and sweet like an inspired verse

Struck from the epic lyre of rumour's winds

Or sung like a chanted thought by the poet Fame.

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


But like a sacred symbol's was that cult.

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


Admired, unsought, intangible to the grasp

Her beauty and flaming strength were seen afar

Like lightning playing with the fallen day,

A glory unapproachably divine.

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


No equal heart came close to join her heart,

No transient earthly love assailed her calm,

No hero passion had the strength to seize;

No eyes demanded her replying eyes.

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


A Power within her awed the imperfect flesh;

The self-protecting genius in our clay

Divined the goddess in the woman's shape

And drew back from a touch beyond its kind

The earth-nature bound in sense-life's narrow make.

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


The hearts of men are amorous of clay-kin

And bear not spirits lone and high who bring

Fire-intimations from the deathless planes

Too vast for souls not born to mate with heaven.

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


Whoever is too great must lonely live.

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


Adored he walks in mighty solitude;

Vain is his labour to create his kind,

His only comrade is the Strength within.

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


Thus was it for a while with Savitri.

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


All worshipped marvellingly, none dared to claim.

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


Her mind sat high pouring its golden beams,

Her heart was a crowded temple of delight.

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


A single lamp lit in perfection's house,

A bright pure image in a priestless shrine,

Midst those encircling lives her spirit dwelt,

Apart in herself until her hour of fate.

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


Book Four Canto Two End

The Growth of the Flame

[Savitri B-04 C-02 Canto End]



Book 4 Canto 3

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Four
The Book of Birth and Quest

Canto Three

The Call to the Quest

[Savitri B-04 C-03 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01]


A morn that seemed a new creation's front,

Bringing a greater sunlight, happier skies,

Came burdened with a beauty moved and strange

Out of the changeless origin of things.

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


An ancient longing struck again new roots:

The air drank deep of unfulfilled desire;

The high trees trembled with a wandering wind

Like souls that quiver at the approach of joy,

And in a bosom of green secrecy

For ever of its one love-note untired

A lyric coïl cried among the leaves.

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


Away from the terrestrial murmur turned

Where transient calls and answers mix their flood,

King Aswapati listened through the ray

To other sounds than meet the sense-formed ear.

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


On a subtle interspace which rings our life,

Unlocked were the inner spirit's trance-closed doors:

The inaudible strain in Nature could be caught;

Across this cyclic tramp of eager lives,

Across the deep urgency of present cares,

Earth's wordless hymn to the Ineffable

Arose from the silent heart of the cosmic Void;

He heard the voice repressed of unborn Powers

Murmuring behind the luminous bars of Time.

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


Again the mighty yearning raised its flame

That asks a perfect life on earth for men

And prays for certainty in the uncertain mind

And shadowless bliss for suffering human hearts

And Truth embodied in an ignorant world

And godhead divinising mortal forms.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-05]


A word that leaped from some far sky of thought,

Admitted by the cowled receiving scribe

Traversed the echoing passages of his brain

And left its stamp on the recording cells.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-06]


“O Force-compelled, Fate-driven earth-born race,

O petty adventurers in an infinite world

And prisoners of a dwarf humanity,

How long will you tread the circling tracks of mind

Around your little self and petty things?

But not for a changeless littleness were you meant,

Not for vain repetition were you built;

Out of the Immortal's substance you were made;

Your actions can be swift revealing steps,

Your life a changeful mould for growing gods.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-07]


A Seer, a strong Creator, is within,

The immaculate Grandeur broods upon your days,

Almighty powers are shut in Nature's cells.


A greater destiny waits you in your front:

This transient earthly being if he wills

Can fit his acts to a transcendent scheme.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-08]


He who now stares at the world with ignorant eyes

Hardly from the Inconscient's night aroused,

That look at images and not at Truth,

Can fill those orbs with an immortal's sight.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-09]


Yet shall the godhead grow within your hearts,

You shall awake into the spirit's air

And feel the breaking walls of mortal mind

And hear the message which left life's heart dumb

And look through Nature with sun-gazing lids

And blow your conch-shells at the Eternal's gate.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-10]


Authors of earth's high change, to you it is given

To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul

And touch the mighty Mother stark awake

And meet the Omnipotent in this house of flesh

And make of life the million-bodied One.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-11]


The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven;

The life you lead conceals the light you are.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-12]


Immortal Powers sweep flaming past your doors;

Far-off upon your tops the god-chant sounds

While to exceed yourselves thought's trumpets call,

Heard by a few, but fewer dare aspire,

The nympholepts of the ecstasy and the blaze.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-13]


An epic of hope and failure breaks earth's heart;

Her force and will exceed her form and fate.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-14]


A goddess in a net of transience caught,

Self-bound in the pastures of death she dreams of life,

Self-racked with the pains of hell aspires to joy,

And builds to hope her altars of despair,

Knows that one high step might enfranchise all

And, suffering, looks for greatness in her sons.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-15]


But dim in human hearts the ascending fire,

The invisible Grandeur sits unworshipped there;

Man sees the Highest in a limiting form

Or looks upon a Person, hears a Name.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-16]


He turns for little gains to ignorant Powers

Or kindles his altar lights to a demon face.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-17]


He loves the Ignorance fathering his pain.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-18]


A spell is laid upon his glorious strengths;

He has lost the inner Voice that led his thoughts,

And masking the oracular tripod seat

A specious Idol fills the marvel shrine.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-19]


The great Illusion wraps him in its veils,

The soul's deep intimations come in vain,

In vain is the unending line of seers,

The sages ponder in unsubstantial light,

The poets lend their voice to outward dreams,

A homeless fire inspires the prophet tongues.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-20]


Heaven's flaming lights descend and back return,

The luminous Eye approaches and retires;

Eternity speaks, none understands its word;

Fate is unwilling and the Abyss denies;

The Inconscient's mindless waters block all done.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-21]


Only a little lifted is Mind's screen;

The Wise who know see but one half of Truth,

The strong climb hardly to a low-peaked height,

The hearts that yearn are given one hour to love.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-22]


His tale half told, falters the secret Bard;

The gods are still too few in mortal forms.”

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-23]


The Voice withdrew into its hidden skies.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-24]


But like a shining answer from the gods

Approached through sun-bright spaces Savitri.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-25]


Advancing amid tall heaven-pillaring trees,

Apparelled in her flickering-coloured robe

She seemed, burning towards the eternal realms,

A bright moved torch of incense and of flame

That from the sky-roofed temple-soil of earth

A pilgrim hand lifts in an invisible shrine.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-26]


There came the gift of a revealing hour:

He saw through depths that reinterpret all,

Limited not now by the dull body's eyes,

New-found through an arch of clear discovery,

This intimation of the world's delight,

This wonder of the divine Artist's make

Carved like a nectar-cup for thirsty gods,

This breathing Scripture of the Eternal's joy,

This net of sweetness woven of aureate fire.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-27]


Transformed the delicate image-face became

A deeper Nature's self-revealing sign,

A gold-leaf palimpsest of sacred births,

A grave world-symbol chiselled out of life.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-28]


Her brow, a copy of clear unstained heavens,

Was meditation's pedestal and defence,

The very room and smile of musing Space,

Its brooding line infinity's symbol curve.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-29]


Amid her tresses' cloudy multitude

Her long eyes shadowed as by wings of Night

Under that moon-gold forehead's dreaming breadth

Were seas of love and thought that held the world;

Marvelling at life and earth they saw truths far.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-30]


A deathless meaning filled her mortal limbs;

As in a golden vase's poignant line

They seemed to carry the rhythmic sob of bliss

Of earth's mute adoration towards heaven

Released in beauty's cry of living form

Towards the perfection of eternal things.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-31]


Transparent grown the ephemeral living dress

Bared the expressive deity to his view.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-32]


Escaped from surface sight and mortal sense

The seizing harmony of its shapes became

The strange significant icon of a Power

Renewing its inscrutable descent

Into a human figure of its works

That stood out in life's bold abrupt relief

On the soil of the evolving universe,

A godhead sculptured on a wall of thought,

Mirrored in the flowing hours and dimly shrined

In Matter as in a cathedral cave.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-33]


Annulled were the transient values of the mind,

The body's sense renounced its earthly look;

Immortal met immortal in their gaze.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-34]


Awaked from the close spell of daily use

That hides soul-truth with the outward form's disguise,

He saw through the familiar cherished limbs

The great and unknown spirit born his child.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-35]


An impromptu from the deeper sight within,

Thoughts rose in him that knew not their own scope.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-36]


Then to those large and brooding depths whence Love

Regarded him across the straits of mind,

He spoke in sentences from the unseen Heights.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-37]


For the hidden prompters of our speech sometimes

Can use the formulas of a moment's mood

To weigh unconscious lips with words from Fate:

A casual passing phrase can change our life.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-38]


“O spirit, traveller of eternity,

Who cam'st from the immortal spaces here

Armed for the splendid hazard of thy life

To set thy conquering foot on Chance and Time,

The moon shut in her halo dreams like thee.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-39]


A mighty Presence still defends thy frame.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-40]


Perhaps the heavens guard thee for some great soul,

Thy fate, thy work are kept somewhere afar.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-41]


Thy spirit came not down a star alone.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-42]


O living inscription of the beauty of love

Missalled in aureate virginity,

What message of heavenly strength and bliss in thee

Is written with the Eternal's sun-white script,

One shall discover and greaten with it his life

To whom thou loosenest thy heart's jewelled strings.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-43]


O rubies of silence, lips from which there stole

Low laughter, music of tranquillity,

Star-lustrous eyes awake in sweet large night

And limbs like fine-linked poems made of gold

Stanzaed to glimmering curves by artist gods,

Depart where love and destiny call your charm.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-44]


Venture through the deep world to find thy mate.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-45]


For somewhere on the longing breast of earth,

Thy unknown lover waits for thee the unknown.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-46]


Thy soul has strength and needs no other guide

Than One who burns within thy bosom's powers.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-47]


There shall draw near to meet thy approaching steps

The second self for whom thy nature asks,

He who shall walk until thy body's end

A close-bound traveller pacing with thy pace,

The lyrist of thy soul's most intimate chords

Who shall give voice to what in thee is mute.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-48]


Then shall you grow like vibrant kindred harps,

One in the beats of difference and delight,

Responsive in divine and equal strains,

Discovering new notes of the eternal theme.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-49]


One force shall be your mover and your guide,

One light shall be around you and within;

Hand in strong hand confront Heaven's question, life:

Challenge the ordeal of the immense disguise.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-50]


Ascend from Nature to divinity's heights;

Face the high gods, crowned with felicity,

Then meet a greater god, thy self beyond Time.”

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-51]


This word was seed of all the thing to be:

A hand from some Greatness opened her heart's locked doors

And showed the work for which her strength was born.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-52]


As when the mantra sinks in Yoga's ear,

Its message enters stirring the blind brain

And keeps in the dim ignorant cells its sound;

The hearer understands a form of words

And, musing on the index thought it holds,

He strives to read it with the labouring mind,

But finds bright hints, not the embodied truth:

Then, falling silent in himself to know

He meets the deeper listening of his soul:

The Word repeats itself in rhythmic strains:

Thought, vision, feeling, sense, the body's self

Are seized unutterably and he endures

An ecstasy and an immortal change;

He feels a Wideness and becomes a Power,

All knowledge rushes on him like a sea:

Transmuted by the white spiritual ray

He walks in naked heavens of joy and calm,

Sees the God-face and hears transcendent speech:

An equal greatness in her life was sown.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-53]


Accustomed scenes were now an ended play:

Moving in muse amid familiar powers,

Touched by new magnitudes and fiery signs,

She turned to vastnesses not yet her own;

Allured her heart throbbed to unknown sweetnesses;

The secrets of an unseen world were close.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-54]


The morn went up into a smiling sky;

Cast from its sapphire pinnacle of trance

Day sank into the burning gold of eve;

The moon floated, a luminous waif through heaven

And sank below the oblivious edge of dream;

Night lit the watch-fires of eternity.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-55]


Then all went back into mind's secret caves;

A darkness stooping on the heaven-bird's wings

Sealed in her senses from external sight

And opened the stupendous depths of sleep.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-56]


When the pale dawn slipped through Night's shadowy guard,

Vainly the new-born light desired her face;

The palace woke to its own emptiness;

The sovereign of its daily joys was far;

Her moonbeam feet tinged not the lucent floors:

The beauty and divinity were gone.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-57]


Delight had fled to search the spacious world.

[Savitri B-04 C-03 S-01 F-58]


Book Four Canto Three End

The Call to the Quest

[Savitri B-04 C-03 End]




Book 4 Canto 4

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Four
The Book of Birth and Quest

Canto Four

The Quest

[Savitri B-04 C-04 Canto Name]


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


The world-ways opened before Savitri.

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


At first a strangeness of new brilliant scenes

Peopled her mind and kept her body's gaze.

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


But as she moved across the changing earth

A deeper consciousness welled up in her:

A citizen of many scenes and climes,

Each soil and country it had made its home;

It took all clans and peoples for her own,

Till the whole destiny of mankind was hers.

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


These unfamiliar spaces on her way

Were known and neighbours to a sense within,

Landscapes recurred like lost forgotten fields,

Cities and rivers and plains her vision claimed

Like slow-recurring memories in front,

The stars at night were her past's brilliant friends,

The winds murmured to her of ancient things

And she met nameless comrades loved by her once.

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


All was a part of old forgotten selves:

Vaguely or with a flash of sudden hints

Her acts recalled a line of bygone power,

Even her motion's purpose was not new:

Traveller to a prefigured high event,

She seemed to her remembering witness soul

To trace again a journey often made.

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


A guidance turned the dumb revolving wheels

And in the eager body of their speed

The dim-masked hooded godheads rode who move

Assigned to man immutably from his birth,

Receivers of the inner and outer law,

At once the agents of his spirit's will

And witnesses and executors of his fate.

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


Inexorably faithful to their task,

They hold his nature's sequence in their guard

Carrying the unbroken thread old lives have spun.

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


Attendants on his destiny's measured walk

Leading to joys he has won and pains he has called,

Even in his casual steps they intervene.

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


Nothing we think or do is void or vain;

Each is an energy loosed and holds its course.

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


The shadowy keepers of our deathless past

Have made our fate the child of our own acts,

And from the furrows laboured by our will

We reap the fruit of our forgotten deeds.

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


But since unseen the tree that bore this fruit

And we live in a present born from an unknown past,

They seem but parts of a mechanic Force

To a mechanic mind tied by earth's laws;

Yet are they instruments of a Will supreme,

Watched by a still all-seeing Eye above.

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


A prescient architect of Fate and Chance

Who builds our lives on a foreseen design

The meaning knows and consequence of each step

And watches the inferior stumbling powers.

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


Upon her silent heights she was aware

Of a calm Presence throned above her brows

Who saw the goal and chose each fateful curve;

It used the body for its pedestal;

The eyes that wandered were its searchlight fires,

The hands that held the reins its living tools;

All was the working of an ancient plan,

A way proposed by an unerring Guide.

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


Across wide noons and glowing afternoons,

She met with Nature and with human forms

And listened to the voices of the world;

Driven from within she followed her long road,

Mute in the luminous cavern of her heart,

Like a bright cloud through the resplendent day.

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


At first her path ran far through peopled tracts:

Admitted to the lion eye of States

And theatres of the loud act of man,

Her carven chariot with its fretted wheels

Threaded through clamorous marts and sentinel towers

Past figured gates and high dream-sculptured fronts

And gardens hung in the sapphire of the skies,

Pillared assembly halls with armoured guards,

Small fanes where one calm Image watched man's life

And temples hewn as if by exiled gods

To imitate their lost eternity.

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


Often from gilded dusk to argent dawn,

Where jewel-lamps flickered on frescoed walls

And the stone lattice stared at moonlit boughs,

Half-conscious of the tardy listening night

Dimly she glided between banks of sleep

At rest in the slumbering palaces of kings.

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


Hamlet and village saw the fate-wain pass,

Homes of a life bent to the soil it ploughs

For sustenance of its short and passing days

That, transient, keep their old repeated course,

Unchanging in the circle of a sky

Which alters not above our mortal toil.

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


Away from this thinking creature's burdened hours

To free and griefless spaces now she turned

Not yet perturbed by human joys and fears.

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


Here was the childhood of primaeval earth,

Here timeless musings large and glad and still,

Men had forborne as yet to fill with cares,

Imperial acres of the eternal sower

And wind-stirred grass-lands winking in the sun:

Or mid green musing of woods and rough-browed hills,

In the grove's murmurous bee-air humming wild

Or past the long lapsing voice of silver floods

Like a swift hope journeying among its dreams

Hastened the chariot of the golden bride.

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


Out of the world's immense unhuman past

Tract-memories and ageless remnants came,

Domains of light enfeoffed to antique calm

Listened to the unaccustomed sound of hooves

And large immune entangled silences

Absorbed her into emerald secrecy

And slow hushed wizard nets of fiery bloom

Environed with their coloured snare her wheels.

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


The strong importunate feet of Time fell soft

Along these lonely ways, his titan pace

Forgotten and his stark and ruinous rounds.

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


The inner ear that listens to solitude,

Leaning self-rapt unboundedly could hear

The rhythm of the intenser wordless Thought

That gathers in the silence behind life,

And the low sweet inarticulate voice of earth

In the great passion of her sun-kissed trance

Ascended with its yearning undertone.

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


Afar from the brute noise of clamorous needs

The quieted all-seeking mind could feel,

At rest from its blind outwardness of will,

The unwearied clasp of her mute patient love

And know for a soul the mother of our forms.

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


This spirit stumbling in the fields of sense,

This creature bruised in the mortar of the days

Could find in her broad spaces of release.

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


Not yet was a world all occupied by care.

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


The bosom of our mother kept for us still

Her austere regions and her musing depths,

Her impersonal reaches lonely and inspired

And the mightinesses of her rapture haunts.

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


Muse-lipped she nursed her symbol mysteries

And guarded for her pure-eyed sacraments

The valley clefts between her breasts of joy,

Her mountain altars for the fires of dawn

And nuptial beaches where the ocean couched

And the huge chanting of her prophet woods.

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


Fields had she of her solitary mirth,

Plains hushed and happy in the embrace of light,

Alone with the cry of birds and hue of flowers,

And wildernesses of wonder lit by her moons

And grey seer-evenings kindling with the stars

And dim movement in the night's infinitude.

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


August, exulting in her Maker's eye,

She felt her nearness to him in earth's breast,

Conversed still with a Light behind the veil,

Still communed with Eternity beyond.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-29]


A few and fit inhabitants she called

To share the glad communion of her peace;

The breadth, the summit were their natural home.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-30]


The strong king-sages from their labour done,

Freed from the warrior tension of their task,

Came to her serene sessions in these wilds;

The strife was over, the respite lay in front.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-31]


Happy they lived with birds and beasts and flowers

And sunlight and the rustle of the leaves,

And heard the wild winds wandering in the night,

Mused with the stars in their mute constant ranks,

And lodged in the mornings as in azure tents,

And with the glory of the noons were one.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-32]


Some deeper plunged; from life's external clasp

Beckoned into a fiery privacy

In the soul's unprofaned star-white recess

They sojourned with an everliving Bliss;

A Voice profound in the ecstasy and the hush

They heard, beheld an all-revealing Light.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-33]


All time-made difference they overcame;

The world was fibred with their own heart-strings;

Close drawn to the heart that beats in every breast,

They reached the one self in all through boundless love.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-34]


Attuned to Silence and to the world-rhyme,

They loosened the knot of the imprisoning mind;

Achieved was the wide untroubled witness gaze,

Unsealed was Nature's great spiritual eye;

To the height of heights rose now their daily climb:

Truth leaned to them from her supernal realm;

Above them blazed eternity's mystic suns.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-35]


Nameless the austere ascetics without home

Abandoning speech and motion and desire

Aloof from creatures sat absorbed, alone,

Immaculate in tranquil heights of self

On concentration's luminous voiceless peaks,

World-naked hermits with their matted hair

Immobile as the passionless great hills

Around them grouped like thoughts of some vast mood

Awaiting the Infinite's behest to end.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-36]


The seers attuned to the universal Will,

Content in Him who smiles behind earth's forms,

Abode ungrieved by the insistent days.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-37]


About them like green trees girdling a hill

Young grave disciples fashioned by their touch,

Trained to the simple act and conscious word,

Greatened within and grew to meet their heights.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-38]


Far-wandering seekers on the Eternal's path

Brought to these quiet founts their spirit's thirst

And spent the treasure of a silent hour

Bathed in the purity of the mild gaze

That, uninsistent, ruled them from its peace,

And by its influence found the ways of calm.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-39]


The Infants of the monarchy of the worlds,

The heroic leaders of a coming time,

King-children nurtured in that spacious air

Like lions gambolling in sky and sun

Received half-consciously their godlike stamp:

Formed in the type of the high thoughts they sang

They learned the wide magnificence of mood

That makes us comrades of the cosmic urge,

No longer chained to their small separate selves,

Plastic and firm beneath the eternal hand,

Met Nature with a bold and friendly clasp

And served in her the Power that shapes her works.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-40]


One-souled to all and free from narrowing bonds,

Large like a continent of warm sunshine

In wide equality's impartial joy,

These sages breathed for God's delight in things.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-41]


Assisting the slow entries of the gods,

Sowing in young minds immortal thoughts they lived,

Taught the great Truth to which man's race must rise

Or opened the gates of freedom to a few.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-42]


Imparting to our struggling world the Light

They breathed like spirits from Time's dull yoke released,

Comrades and vessels of the cosmic Force,

Using a natural mastery like the sun's:

Their speech, their silence was a help to earth.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-43]


A magic happiness flowed from their touch;

Oneness was sovereign in that sylvan peace,

The wild beast joined in friendship with its prey;

Persuading the hatred and the strife to cease

The love that flows from the one Mother's breast

Healed with their hearts the hard and wounded world.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-44]


Others escaped from the confines of thought

To where Mind motionless sleeps waiting Light's birth,

And came back quivering with a nameless Force,

Drunk with a wine of lightning in their cells;

Intuitive knowledge leaping into speech,

Seized, vibrant, kindling with the inspired word,

Hearing the subtle voice that clothes the heavens,

Carrying the splendour that has lit the suns,

They sang Infinity's names and deathless powers

In metres that reflect the moving worlds,

Sight's sound-waves breaking from the soul's great deeps.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-45]


Some lost to the person and his strip of thought

In a motionless ocean of impersonal Power,

Sat mighty, visioned with the Infinite's light,

Or, comrades of the everlasting Will,

Surveyed the plan of past and future Time.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-46]


Some winged like birds out of the cosmic sea

And vanished into a bright and featureless Vast:

Some silent watched the universal dance,

Or helped the world by world-indifference.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-47]


Some watched no more merged in a lonely Self,

Absorbed in the trance from which no soul returns,

All the occult world-lines for ever closed,

The chains of birth and person cast away:

Some uncompanioned reached the Ineffable.

[Savitri B-04 C-04 S-01 F-48]


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


As floats a sunbeam through a shady place,

The golden virgin in her carven car

Came gliding among meditation's seats.

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


Often in twilight mid returning troops

Of cattle thickening with their dust the shades

When the loud day had slipped below the verge,

Arriving in a peaceful hermit grove

She rested drawing round her like a cloak

Its spirit of patient muse and potent prayer.

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


Or near to a lion river's tawny mane

And trees that worshipped on a praying shore,

A domed and templed air's serene repose

Beckoned to her hurrying wheels to stay their speed.

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


In the solemnity of a space that seemed

A mind remembering ancient silences,

Where to the heart great bygone voices called

And the large liberty of brooding seers

Had left the long impress of their soul's scene,

Awake in candid dawn or darkness mooned,

To the still touch inclined the daughter of Flame

Drank in hushed splendour between tranquil lids

And felt the kinship of eternal calm.

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


But morn broke in reminding her of her quest

And from low rustic couch or mat she rose

And went impelled on her unfinished way

And followed the fateful orbit of her life

Like a desire that questions silent gods

Then passes starlike to some bright Beyond.

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


Thence to great solitary tracts she came,

Where man was a passer-by towards human scenes

Or sole in Nature's vastness strove to live

And called for help to ensouled invisible Powers,

Overwhelmed by the immensity of his world

And unaware of his own infinity.

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


The earth multiplied to her a changing brow

And called her with a far and nameless voice.

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


The mountains in their anchorite solitude,

The forests with their multitudinous chant

Disclosed to her the masked divinity's doors.

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


On dreaming plains, an indolent expanse,

The death-bed of a pale enchanted eve

Under the glamour of a sunken sky,

Impassive she lay as at an age's end,

Or crossed an eager pack of huddled hills

Lifting their heads to hunt a lairlike sky,

Or travelled in a strange and empty land

Where desolate summits camped in a weird heaven,

Mute sentinels beneath a drifting moon,

Or wandered in some lone tremendous wood

Ringing for ever with the crickets' cry

Or followed a long glistening serpent road

Through fields and pastures lapped in moveless light

Or reached the wild beauty of a desert space

Where never plough was driven nor herd had grazed

And slumbered upon stripped and thirsty sands

Amid the savage wild-beast night's appeal.

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


Still unaccomplished was the fateful quest;

Still she found not the one predestined face

For which she sought amid the sons of men.

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


A grandiose silence wrapped the regal day:

The months had fed the passion of the sun

And now his burning breath assailed the soil.

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


The tiger heats prowled through the fainting earth;

All was licked up as by a lolling tongue.

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


The spring winds failed; the sky was set like bronze.

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


Book Four Canto Four End

The Quest

[Savitri B-04 C-04 Canto End]


Book Four End
[Savitri B-04 Book End]