Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Ten All Cantos
The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto One

The Dream Twilight of the Ideal

[Savitri B-10 C-01 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01]


All still was darkness dread and desolate;

There was no change nor any hope of change.

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

In this black dream which was a house of Void,

A walk to Nowhere in a land of Nought,

Ever they drifted without aim or goal;

Gloom led to worse gloom, depth to an emptier depth,

In some positive Non-being's purposeless Vast

Through formless wastes dumb and unknowable.

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

An ineffectual beam of suffering light

Through the despairing darkness dogged their steps

Like the remembrance of a glory lost;

Even while it grew, it seemed unreal there,

Yet haunted Nihil's chill stupendous realm,

Unquenchable, perpetual, lonely, null,

A pallid ghost of some dead eternity.

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

It was as if she must pay now her debt,

Her vain presumption to exist and think,

To some brilliant Maya that conceived her soul.

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

This most she must absolve with endless pangs,

Her deep original sin, the will to be

And the sin last, greatest, the spiritual pride,

That, made of dust, equalled itself with heaven,

Its scorn of the worm writhing in the mud,

Condemned ephemeral, born from Nature's dream,

Refusal of the transient creature's role,

The claim to be a living fire of God,

The will to be immortal and divine.

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

In that tremendous darkness heavy and bare

She atoned for all since the first act whence sprang

The error of the consciousness of Time,

The rending of the Inconscient's seal of sleep,

The primal and unpardoned revolt that broke

The peace and silence of the Nothingness

Which was before a seeming universe

Appeared in a vanity of imagined Space

And life arose engendering grief and pain:

A great Negation was the Real's face

Prohibiting the vain process of Time:

And when there is no world, no creature more,

When Time's intrusion has been blotted out,

It shall last, unbodied, saved from thought, at peace.

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

Accursed in what had been her godhead source,

Condemned to live for ever empty of bliss,

Her immortality her chastisement,

Her spirit, guilty of being, wandered doomed,

Moving for ever through eternal Night.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-07]

But Maya is a veil of the Absolute;

A Truth occult has made this mighty world:

The Eternal's wisdom and self-knowledge act

In ignorant Mind and in the body's steps.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-08]

The Inconscient is the Superconscient's sleep.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-09]

An unintelligible Intelligence

Invents creation's paradox profound;

Spiritual thought is crammed in Matter's forms,

Unseen it throws out a dumb energy

And works a miracle by a machine.

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

All here is a mystery of contraries:

Darkness a magic of self-hidden Light,

Suffering some secret rapture's tragic mask

And death an instrument of perpetual life.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-11]

Although Death walks beside us on Life's road,

A dim bystander at the body's start

And a last judgment on man's futile works,

Other is the riddle of its ambiguous face:

Death is a stair, a door, a stumbling stride

The soul must take to cross from birth to birth,

A grey defeat pregnant with victory,

A whip to lash us towards our deathless state.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-12]

The inconscient world is the spirit's self-made room,

Eternal Night shadow of eternal Day.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-13]

Night is not our beginning nor our end;

She is the dark Mother in whose womb we have hid

Safe from too swift a waking to world-pain.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-14]

We came to her from a supernal Light,

By Light we live and to the Light we go.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-15]

Here in this seat of Darkness mute and lone,

In the heart of everlasting Nothingness

Light conquered now even by that feeble beam:

Its faint infiltration drilled the blind deaf mass;

Almost it changed into a glimmering sight

That housed the phantom of an aureate Sun

Whose orb pupilled the eye of Nothingness.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-16]

A golden fire came in and burned Night's heart;

Her dusky mindlessness began to dream;

The Inconscient conscious grew, Night felt and thought.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-17]

Assailed in the sovereign emptiness of its reign

The intolerant Darkness paled and drew apart

Till only a few black remnants stained that Ray.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-18]

But on a failing edge of dumb lost space

Still a great dragon body sullenly loomed;

Adversary of the slow struggling Dawn

Defending its ground of tortured mystery,

It trailed its coils through the dead martyred air

And curving fled down a grey slope of Time.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-01 F-19]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02]



There is a morning twilight of the gods;

Miraculous from sleep their forms arise

And God's long nights are justified by dawn.

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

There breaks a passion and splendour of new birth

And hue-winged visions stray across the lids,

Heaven's chanting heralds waken dim-eyed Space.

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


The dreaming deities look beyond the seen

And fashion in their thoughts the ideal worlds

Sprung from a limitless moment of desire

That once had lodged in some abysmal heart.

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


Passed was the heaviness of the eyeless dark

And all the sorrow of the night was dead:

Surprised by a blind joy with groping hands

Like one who wakes to find his dreams were true,

Into a happy misty twilit world

Where all ran after light and joy and love

She slipped; there far-off raptures drew more close

And deep anticipations of delight,

For ever eager to be grasped and held,

Were never grasped, yet breathed strange ecstasy.

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


A pearl-winged indistinctness fleeting swam,

An air that dared not suffer too much light.

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


Vague fields were there, vague pastures gleamed, vague trees,

Vague scenes dim-hearted in a drifting haze;

Vague cattle white roamed glimmering through the mist;

Vague spirits wandered with a bodiless cry,

Vague melodies touched the soul and fled pursued

Into harmonious distances unseized;

Forms subtly elusive and half-luminous powers

Wishing no goal for their unearthly course

Strayed happily through vague ideal lands,

Or floated without footing or their walk

Left steps of reverie on sweet memory's ground;

Or they paced to the mighty measure of their thoughts

Led by a low far chanting of the gods.

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


A ripple of gleaming wings crossed the far sky;

Birds like pale-bosomed imaginations flew

With low disturbing voices of desire,

And half-heard lowings drew the listening ear,

As if the Sun-god's brilliant kine were there

Hidden in mist and passing towards the sun.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-07]


These fugitive beings, these elusive shapes

Were all that claimed the eye and met the soul,

The natural inhabitants of that world.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-08]


But nothing there was fixed or stayed for long;

No mortal feet could rest upon that soil,

No breath of life lingered embodied there.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-09]


In that fine chaos joy fled dancing past

And beauty evaded settled line and form

And hid its sense in mysteries of hue;

Yet gladness ever repeated the same notes

And gave the sense of an enduring world;

There was a strange consistency of shapes,

And the same thoughts were constant passers-by

And all renewed unendingly its charm

Alluring ever the expectant heart

Like music that one always waits to hear,

Like the recurrence of a haunting rhyme.

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


One touched incessantly things never seized,

A skirt of worlds invisibly divine.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-11]


As if a trail of disappearing stars

There showered upon the floating atmosphere

Colours and lights and evanescent gleams

That called to follow into a magic heaven,

And in each cry that fainted on the ear

There was the voice of an unrealised bliss.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-12]


An adoration reigned in the yearning heart,

A spirit of purity, an elusive presence

Of faery beauty and ungrasped delight

Whose momentary and escaping thrill,

However unsubstantial to our flesh,

And brief even in imperishableness,

Much sweeter seemed than any rapture known

Earth or all-conquering heaven can ever give.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-13]


Heaven ever young and earth too firm and old

Delay the heart by immobility:

Their raptures of creation last too long,

Their bold formations are too absolute;

Carved by an anguish of divine endeavour

They stand up sculptured on the eternal hills,

Or quarried from the living rocks of God

Win immortality by perfect form.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-14]


They are too intimate with eternal things:

Vessels of infinite significances,

They are too clear, too great, too meaningful;

No mist or shadow soothes the vanquished sight,

No soft penumbra of incertitude.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-15]


These only touched a golden hem of bliss,

The gleaming shoulder of some godlike hope,

The flying feet of exquisite desires.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-16]


On a slow trembling brink between night and day

They shone like visitants from the morning star,

Satisfied beginnings of perfection, first

Tremulous imaginings of a heavenly world:

They mingle in a passion of pursuit,

Thrilled with a spray of joy too slight to tire.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-17]


All in this world was shadowed forth, not limned,

Like faces leaping on a fan of fire

Or shapes of wonder in a tinted blur,

Like fugitive landscapes painting silver mists.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-18]


Here vision fled back from the sight alarmed,

And sound sought refuge from the ear's surprise,

And all experience was a hasty joy.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-19]


The joys here snatched were half-forbidden things,

Timorous soul-bridals delicately veiled

As when a goddess' bosom dimly moves

To first desire and her white soul transfigured,

A glimmering Eden crossed by faery gleams,

Trembles to expectation's fiery wand,

But nothing is familiar yet with bliss.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-20]


All things in this fair realm were heavenly strange

In a fleeting gladness of untired delight,

In an insistency of magic change.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-21]


Past vanishing hedges, hurrying hints of fields,

Mid swift escaping lanes that fled her feet

Journeying she wished no end: as one through clouds

Travels upon a mountain ridge and hears

Arising to him out of hidden depths

Sound of invisible streams, she walked besieged

By the illusion of a mystic space,

A charm of bodiless touches felt and heard

A sweetness as of voices high and dim

Calling like travellers upon seeking winds

Melodiously with an alluring cry.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-22]


As if a music old yet ever new,

Moving suggestions on her heart-strings dwelt,

Thoughts that no habitation found, yet clung

With passionate repetition to her mind,

Desires that hurt not, happy only to live

Always the same and always unfulfilled

Sang in the breast like a celestial lyre.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-23]


Thus all could last yet nothing ever be.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-24]


In this beauty as of mind made visible,

Dressed in its rays of wonder Satyavan

Before her seemed the centre of its charm,

Head of her loveliness of longing dreams

And captain of the fancies of her soul.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-25]


Even the dreadful majesty of Death's face

And its sombre sadness could not darken nor slay

The intangible lustre of those fleeting skies.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-26]


The sombre Shadow sullen, implacable

Made beauty and laughter more imperative;

Enhanced by his grey, joy grew more bright and dear;

His dark contrast edging ideal sight

Deepened unuttered meanings to the heart;

Pain grew a trembling undertone of bliss

And transience immortality's floating hem,

A moment's robe in which she looked more fair,

Its antithesis sharpening her divinity.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-27]


A comrade of the Ray and Mist and Flame,

By a moon-bright face a brilliant moment drawn,

Almost she seemed a thought mid floating thoughts,

Seen hardly by a visionary mind

Amid the white inward musings of the soul.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-28]


Half-vanquished by the dream-happiness around,

Awhile she moved on an enchantment's soil,

But still remained possessor of her soul.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-29]


Above, her spirit in its mighty trance

Saw all, but lived for its transcendent task,

Immutable like a fixed eternal star.

[Savitri B-10 C-01 S-02 F-30]



Book Ten Canto One End

The Dream Twilight of the Ideal

[Savitri B-10 C-01 Canto End]


Book 10 Canto 2

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Ten
The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto Two

The Gospel of Death and Vanity of the Ideal

[Savitri B-10 C-02 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01]


Then pealed the calm inexorable voice:

Abolishing hope, cancelling life's golden truths,

Fatal its accents smote the trembling air.

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

That lovely world swam thin and frail, most like

Some pearly evanescent farewell gleam

On the faint verge of dusk in moonless eves.

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


“Prisoner of Nature, many-visioned spirit,

Thought's creature in the ideal's realm enjoying

Thy unsubstantial immortality

The subtle marvellous mind of man has feigned,

This is the world from which thy yearnings came.

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


When it would build eternity from the dust,

Man's thought paints images illusion rounds;

Prophesying glories it shall never see,

It labours delicately among its dreams.

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


Behold this fleeing of light-tasselled shapes,

Aerial raiment of unbodied gods;

A rapture of things that never can be born,

Hope chants to hope a bright immortal choir;

Cloud satisfies cloud, phantom to longing phantom

Leans sweetly, sweetly is clasped or sweetly chased.

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


This is the stuff from which the ideal is formed:

Its builder is thought, its base the heart's desire,

But nothing real answers to their call.

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


The ideal dwells not in heaven, nor on the earth,

A bright delirium of man's ardour of hope

Drunk with the wine of its own fantasy.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-07]


It is a brilliant shadow's dreamy trail.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-08]


Thy vision's error builds the azure skies,

Thy vision's error drew the rainbow's arch;

Thy mortal longing made for thee a soul.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-09]


This angel in thy body thou callst love,

Who shapes his wings from thy emotion's hues,

In a ferment of thy body has been born

And with the body that housed it it must die.

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


It is a passion of thy yearning cells,

It is flesh that calls to flesh to serve its lust;

It is thy mind that seeks an answering mind

And dreams awhile that it has found its mate;

It is thy life that asks a human prop

To uphold its weakness lonely in the world

Or feeds its hunger on another's life.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-11]


A beast of prey that pauses in its prowl,

It crouches under a bush in splendid flower

To seize a heart and body for its food:

This beast thou dreamst immortal and a god.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-12]


O human mind, vainly thou torturest

An hour's delight to stretch through infinity's

Long void and fill its formless, passionless gulfs,

Persuading the insensible Abyss

To lend eternity to perishing things,

And trickst the fragile movements of thy heart

With thy spirit's feint of immortality.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-13]


All here emerges born from Nothingness;

Encircled it lasts by the emptiness of Space,

Awhile upheld by an unknowing Force,

Then crumbles back into its parent Nought:

Only the mute Alone can for ever be.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-14]


In the Alone there is no room for love.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-15]


In vain to clothe love's perishable mud

Thou hast woven on the Immortals' borrowed loom

The ideal's gorgeous and unfading robe.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-16]


The ideal never yet was real made.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-17]


Imprisoned in form that glory cannot live;

Into a body shut it breathes no more.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-18]


Intangible, remote, for ever pure,

A sovereign of its own brilliant void,

Unwillingly it descends to earthly air

To inhabit a white temple in man's heart:

In his heart it shines rejected by his life.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-19]


Immutable, bodiless, beautiful, grand and dumb,

Immobile on its shining throne it sits;

Dumb it receives his offering and his prayer.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-20]


It has no voice to answer to his call,

No feet that move, no hands to take his gifts:

Aerial statue of the nude Idea,

Virgin conception of a bodiless god,

Its light stirs man the thinker to create

An earthly semblance of diviner things.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-21]


Its hued reflection falls upon man's acts;

His institutions are its cenotaphs,

He signs his dead conventions with its name;

His virtues don the Ideal's skiey robe

And a nimbus of the outline of its face:

He hides their littleness with the divine Name.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-22]


Yet insufficient is the bright pretence

To screen their indigent and earthy make:

Earth only is there and not some heavenly source.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-23]


If heavens there are they are veiled in their own light,

If a Truth eternal somewhere reigns unknown,

It burns in a tremendous void of God;

For truth shines far from the falsehoods of the world;

How can the heavens come down to unhappy earth

Or the eternal lodge in drifting time?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-24]


How shall the Ideal tread earth's dolorous soil

Where life is only a labour and a hope,

A child of Matter and by Matter fed,

A fire flaming low in Nature's grate,

A wave that breaks upon a shore in Time,

A journey's toilsome trudge with death for goal?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-25]


The Avatars have lived and died in vain,

Vain was the sage's thought, the prophet's voice;

In vain is seen the shining upward Way.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-26]


Earth lies unchanged beneath the circling sun;

She loves her fall and no omnipotence

Her mortal imperfections can erase,

Force on man's crooked ignorance Heaven's straight line

Or colonise a world of death with gods.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-27]


O traveller in the chariot of the Sun,

High priestess in thy holy fancy's shrine

Who with a magic ritual in earth's house

Worshippest ideal and eternal love,

What is this love thy thought has deified,

This sacred legend and immortal myth?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-28]


It is a conscious yearning of thy flesh,

It is a glorious burning of thy nerves,

A rose of dream-splendour petalling thy mind,

A great red rapture and torture of thy heart.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-29]


A sudden transfiguration of thy days,

It passes and the world is as before.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-30]


A ravishing edge of sweetness and of pain,

A thrill in its yearning makes it seem divine,

A golden bridge across the roar of the years,

A cord tying thee to eternity.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-31]


And yet how brief and frail! how soon is spent

This treasure wasted by the gods on man,

This happy closeness as of soul to soul,

This honey of the body's companionship,

This heightened joy, this ecstasy in the veins,

This strange illumination of the sense!

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-32]


If Satyavan had lived, love would have died;

But Satyavan is dead and love shall live

A little while in thy sad breast, until

His face and body fade on memory's wall

Where other bodies, other faces come.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-33]


When love breaks suddenly into the life

At first man steps into a world of the sun;

In his passion he feels his heavenly element:

But only a fine sunlit patch of earth

The marvellous aspect took of heaven's outburst;

The snake is there and the worm in the heart of the rose.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-34]


A word, a moment's act can slay the god;

Precarious is his immortality,

He has a thousand ways to suffer and die.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-35]


Love cannot live by heavenly food alone,

Only on sap of earth can it survive.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-36]


For thy passion was a sensual want refined,

A hunger of the body and the heart;

Thy want can tire and cease or turn elsewhere.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-37]


Or love may meet a dire and pitiless end

By bitter treason, or wrath with cruel wounds

Separate, or thy unsatisfied will to others

Depart when first love's joy lies stripped and slain:

A dull indifference replaces fire

Or an endearing habit imitates love:

An outward and uneasy union lasts

Or the routine of a life's compromise:

Where once the seed of oneness had been cast

Into a semblance of spiritual ground

By a divine adventure of heavenly powers

Two strive, constant associates without joy,

Two egos straining in a single leash,

Two minds divided by their jarring thoughts,

Two spirits disjoined, for ever separate.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-38]


Thus is the ideal falsified in man's world;

Trivial or sombre, disillusion comes,

Life's harsh reality stares at the soul:

Heaven's hour adjourned flees into bodiless Time.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-39]


Death saves thee from this and saves Satyavan:

He now is safe, delivered from himself;

He travels to silence and felicity.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-40]


Call him not back to the treacheries of earth

And the poor petty life of animal Man.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-41]


In my vast tranquil spaces let him sleep

In harmony with the mighty hush of death

Where love lies slumbering on the breast of peace.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-42]


And thou, go back alone to thy frail world:

Chastise thy heart with knowledge, unhood to see,

Thy nature raised into clear living heights,

The heaven-bird's view from unimagined peaks.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-43]


For when thou givest thy spirit to a dream

Soon hard necessity will smite thee awake:

Purest delight began and it must end.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-44]


Thou too shalt know, thy heart no anchor swinging,

Thy cradled soul moored in eternal seas.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-45]


Vain are the cycles of thy brilliant mind.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-46]


Renounce, forgetting joy and hope and tears,

Thy passionate nature in the bosom profound

Of a happy Nothingness and worldless Calm,

Delivered into my mysterious rest.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-47]


One with my fathomless Nihil all forget.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-48]


Forget thy fruitless spirit's waste of force,

Forget the weary circle of thy birth,

Forget the joy and the struggle and the pain,

The vague spiritual quest which first began

When worlds broke forth like clusters of fire-flowers,

And great burning thoughts voyaged through the sky of mind

And Time and its aeons crawled across the vasts

And souls emerged into mortality.”

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-01 F-49]


Play Section Two
[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02]


But Savitri replied to the dark Power:

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


“A dangerous music now thou findst, O Death,

Melting thy speech into harmonious pain,

And flut'st alluringly to tired hopes

Thy falsehoods mingled with sad strains of truth.

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


But I forbid thy voice to slay my soul.

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


My love is not a hunger of the heart,

My love is not a craving of the flesh;

It came to me from God, to God returns.

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


Even in all that life and man have marred,

A whisper of divinity still is heard,

A breath is felt from the eternal spheres.

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


Allowed by Heaven and wonderful to man

A sweet fire-rhythm of passion chants to love.

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


There is a hope in its wild infinite cry;

It rings with callings from forgotten heights,

And when its strains are hushed to high-winged souls

In their empyrean, its burning breath

Survives beyond, the rapturous core of suns

That flame for ever pure in skies unseen,

A voice of the eternal Ecstasy.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-07]


One day I shall behold my great sweet world

Put off the dire disguises of the gods,

Unveil from terror and disrobe from sin.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-08]


Appeased we shall draw near our mother's face,

We shall cast our candid souls upon her lap;

Then shall we clasp the ecstasy we chase,

Then shall we shudder with the long-sought god,

Then shall we find Heaven's unexpected strain.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-09]


Not only is there hope for godheads pure;

The violent and darkened deities

Leaped down from the one breast in rage to find

What the white gods had missed: they too are safe;

A mother's eyes are on them and her arms

Stretched out in love desire her rebel sons.

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


One who came love and lover and beloved

Eternal, built himself a wondrous field

And wove the measures of a marvellous dance.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-11]


There in its circles and its magic turns

Attracted he arrives, repelled he flees.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-12]


In the wild devious promptings of his mind

He tastes the honey of tears and puts off joy

Repenting, and has laughter and has wrath,

And both are a broken music of the soul

Which seeks out reconciled its heavenly rhyme.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-13]


Ever he comes to us across the years

Bearing a new sweet face that is the old.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-14]


His bliss laughs to us or it calls concealed

Like a far-heard unseen entrancing flute

From moonlit branches in the throbbing woods,

Tempting our angry search and passionate pain.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-15]


Disguised the Lover seeks and draws our souls.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-16]


He named himself for me, grew Satyavan.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-17]


For we were man and woman from the first,

The twin souls born from one undying fire.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-18]


Did he not dawn on me in other stars?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-19]


How has he through the thickets of the world

Pursued me like a lion in the night

And come upon me suddenly in the ways

And seized me with his glorious golden leap!

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-20]


Unsatisfied he yearned for me through time,

Sometimes with wrath and sometimes with sweet peace

Desiring me since first the world began.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-21]


He rose like a wild wave out of the floods

And dragged me helpless into seas of bliss.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-22]


Out of my curtained past his arms arrive;

They have touched me like the soft persuading wind,

They have plucked me like a glad and trembling flower,

And clasped me happily burned in ruthless flame.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-23]


I too have found him charmed in lovely forms

And run delighted to his distant voice

And pressed to him past many dreadful bars.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-24]


If there is a yet happier greater god,

Let him first wear the face of Satyavan

And let his soul be one with him I love;

So let him seek me that I may desire.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-25]


For only one heart beats within my breast

And one god sits there throned.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-26]


Advance, O Death,

Beyond the phantom beauty of this world;

For of its citizens I am not one.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-27]


I cherish God the Fire, not God the Dream.”

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-28]


But Death once more inflicted on her heart

The majesty of his calm and dreadful voice:

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-29]


“A bright hallucination are thy thoughts.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-30]


A prisoner haled by a spiritual cord,

Of thy own sensuous will the ardent slave,

Thou sendest eagle-poised to meet the sun

Words winged with the red splendour of thy heart.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-31]


But knowledge dwells not in the passionate heart;

The heart's words fall back unheard from Wisdom's throne.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-32]


Vain is thy longing to build heaven on earth.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-33]


Artificer of Ideal and Idea,

Mind, child of Matter in the womb of Life,

To higher levels persuades his parents' steps:

Inapt, they follow ill the daring guide.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-34]


But Mind, a glorious traveller in the sky,

Walks lamely on the earth with footsteps slow;

Hardly he can mould the life's rebellious stuff,

Hardly can he hold the galloping hooves of sense:

His thoughts look straight into the very heavens;

They draw their gold from a celestial mine,

His acts work painfully a common ore.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-35]


All thy high dreams were made by Matter's mind

To solace its dull work in Matter's jail,

Its only house where it alone seems true.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-36]


A solid image of reality

Carved out of being to prop the works of Time,

Matter on the firm earth sits strong and sure.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-37]


It is the first-born of created things,

It stands the last when mind and life are slain,

And if it ended all would cease to be.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-38]


All else is only its outcome or its phase:

Thy soul is a brief flower by the gardener Mind

Created in thy matter's terrain plot;

It perishes with the plant on which it grows,

For from earth's sap it draws its heavenly hue:

Thy thoughts are gleams that pass on Matter's verge,

Thy life a lapsing wave on Matter's sea.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-39]


A careful steward of Truth's limited means,

Treasuring her founded facts from the squandering Power,

It tethers mind to the tent-posts of sense,

To a leaden grey routine clamps Life's caprice

And ties all creatures with the cords of Law.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-40]


A vessel of transmuting alchemies,

A glue that sticks together mind and life,

If Matter fails, all crumbling cracks and falls.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-41]


All upon Matter stands as on a rock.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-42]


Yet this security and guarantor

Pressed for credentials an impostor proves:

A cheat of substance where no substance is,

An appearance and a symbol and a nought,

Its forms have no original right to birth:

Its aspect of a fixed stability

Is the cover of a captive motion's swirl,

An order of the steps of Energy's dance

Whose footmarks leave for ever the same signs,

A concrete face of unsubstantial Time,

A trickle dotting the emptiness of Space:

A stable-seeming movement without change,

Yet change arrives and the last change is death.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-43]


What seemed most real once, is Nihil's show.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-44]


Its figures are snares that trap and prison the sense;

The beginningless Void was its artificer:

Nothing is there but aspects limned by Chance

And seeming shapes of seeming Energy.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-45]


All by Death's mercy breathe and live awhile,

All think and act by the Inconscient's grace.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-46]


Addict of the roseate luxury of thy thoughts,

Turn not thy gaze within thyself to look

At visions in the gleaming crystal, Mind,

Close not thy lids to dream the forms of Gods.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-47]


At last to open thy eyes consent and see

The stuff of which thou and the world are made.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-48]


Inconscient in the dumb inconscient Void

Inexplicably a moving world sprang forth:

Awhile secure, happily insensible,

It could not rest content with its own truth.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-49]


For something on its nescient breast was born

Condemned to see and know, to feel and love,

It watched its acts, imagined a soul within;

It groped for truth and dreamed of Self and God.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-50]


When all unconscious was, then all was well.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-51]


I, Death, was king and kept my regal state,

Designing my unwilled, unerring plan,

Creating with a calm insentient heart.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-52]


In my sovereign power of unreality

Obliging nothingness to take a form,

Infallibly my blind unthinking force

Making by chance a fixity like fate's,

By whim the formulas of Necessity,

Founded on the hollow ground of the Inane

The sure bizarrerie of Nature's scheme.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-53]


I curved the vacant ether into Space;

A huge expanding and contracting Breath

Harboured the fires of the universe:

I struck out the supreme original spark

And spread its sparse ranked armies through the Inane,

Manufactured the stars from the occult radiances,

Marshalled the platoons of the invisible dance;

I formed earth's beauty out of atom and gas,

And built from chemic plasm the living man.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-54]


Then Thought came in and spoiled the harmonious world:

Matter began to hope and think and feel,

Tissue and nerve bore joy and agony.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-55]


The inconscient cosmos strove to learn its task;

An ignorant personal God was born in Mind

And to understand invented reason's law,

The impersonal Vast throbbed back to man's desire,

A trouble rocked the great world's blind still heart

And Nature lost her wide immortal calm.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-56]


Thus came this warped incomprehensible scene

Of souls emmeshed in life's delight and pain

And Matter's sleep and Mind's mortality,

Of beings in Nature's prison waiting death

And consciousness left in seeking ignorance

And evolution's slow arrested plan.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-57]


This is the world in which thou mov'st, astray

In the tangled pathways of the human mind,

In the issueless circling of thy human life,

Searching for thy soul and thinking God is here.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-58]


But where is room for soul or place for God

In the brute immensity of a machine?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-59]


A transient Breath thou takest for thy soul,

Born from a gas, a plasm, a sperm, a gene,

A magnified image of man's mind for God,

A shadow of thyself thrown upon Space.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-60]


Interposed between the upper and nether Void,

Thy consciousness reflects the world around

In the distorting mirror of Ignorance

Or upwards turns to catch imagined stars.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-61]


Or if a half-Truth is playing with the earth

Throwing its light on a dark shadowy ground,

It touches only and leaves a luminous smudge.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-62]


Immortality thou claimest for thy spirit,

But immortality for imperfect man,

A god who hurts himself at every step,

Would be a cycle of eternal pain.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-63]


Wisdom and love thou claimest as thy right;

But knowledge in this world is error's mate,

A brilliant procuress of Nescience,

And human love a posturer on earth-stage

Who imitates with verve a faery dance.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-64]


An extract pressed from hard experience,

Man's knowledge casked in the barrels of Memory

Has the harsh savour of a mortal draught:

A sweet secretion from the erotic glands

Flattering and torturing the burning nerves,

Love is a honey and poison in the breast

Drunk by it as the nectar of the gods.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-65]


Earth's human wisdom is no great-browed power,

And love no gleaming angel from the skies;

If they aspire beyond earth's dullard air,

Arriving sunwards with frail waxen wings,

How high could reach that forced unnatural flight?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-66]


But not on earth can divine wisdom reign

And not on earth can divine love be found;

Heaven-born, only in heaven can they live;

Or else there too perhaps they are shining dreams.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-67]


Nay, is not all thou art and doest a dream?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-68]


Thy mind and life are tricks of Matter's force.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-69]


If thy mind seems to thee a radiant sun,

If thy life runs a swift and glorious stream,

This is the illusion of thy mortal heart

Dazzled by a ray of happiness or light.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-70]


Impotent to live by their own right divine,

Convinced of their brilliant unreality,

When their supporting ground is cut away,

These children of Matter into Matter die.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-71]


Even Matter vanishes into Energy's vague

And Energy is a motion of old Nought.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-72]


How shall the Ideal's unsubstantial hues

Be painted stiff on earth's vermilion blur,

A dream within a dream come doubly true?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-73]


How shall the will-o'-the-wisp become a star?

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-74]


The Ideal is a malady of thy mind,

A bright delirium of thy speech and thought,

A strange wine of beauty lifting thee to false sight.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-75]


A noble fiction of thy yearnings made,

Thy human imperfection it must share:

Its forms in Nature disappoint the heart,

And never shall it find its heavenly shape

And never can it be fulfilled in Time.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-76]


O soul misled by the splendour of thy thoughts,

O earthly creature with thy dream of heaven,

Obey, resigned and still, the earthly law.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-77]


Accept the brief light that falls upon thy days;

Take what thou canst of Life's permitted joy;

Submitting to the ordeal of fate's scourge

Suffer what thou must of toil and grief and care.

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-78]


There shall approach silencing thy passionate heart

My long calm night of everlasting sleep:

There into the hush from which thou cam'st retire.”

[Savitri B-10 C-02 S-02 F-79]



Book Ten Canto Two

The Gospel of Death and Vanity of the Ideal

[Savitri B-10 C-02 Canto End]




Book 10 Canto 3

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Ten

The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto Three

The Debate of Love and Death

[Savitri B-10 C-03 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01]


A sad destroying cadence the voice sank;

It seemed to lead the advancing march of Life

Into some still original Inane.

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

But Savitri answered to almighty Death:

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

“O dark-browed sophist of the universe

Who veilst the Real with its own Idea,

Hiding with brute objects Nature's living face,

Masking eternity with thy dance of death,

Thou hast woven the ignorant mind into a screen

And made of Thought error's purveyor and scribe,

And a false witness of mind's servant sense.

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

An aesthete of the sorrow of the world,

Champion of a harsh and sad philosophy

Thou hast used words to shutter out the Light

And called in Truth to vindicate a lie.

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

A lying reality is falsehood's crown

And a perverted truth her richest gem.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-05]

O Death, thou speakest truth but truth that slays,

I answer to thee with the Truth that saves.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-06]

A traveller new-discovering himself,

One made of Matter's world his starting-point,

He made of Nothingness his living-room

And Night a process of the eternal light

And death a spur towards immortality.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-07]

God wrapped his head from sight in Matter's cowl,

His consciousness dived into inconscient depths,

All-Knowledge seemed a huge dark Nescience;

Infinity wore a boundless zero's form.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-08]

His abysms of bliss became insensible deeps,

Eternity a blank spiritual Vast.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-09]

Annulling an original nullity

The Timeless took its ground in emptiness

And drew the figure of a universe,

That the spirit might adventure into Time

And wrestle with adamant Necessity

And the soul pursue a cosmic pilgrimage.

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

A spirit moved in black immensities

And built a Thought in ancient Nothingness;

A soul was lit in God's tremendous Void,

A secret labouring glow of nascent fire.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-11]

In Nihil's gulf his mighty Puissance wrought;

She swung her formless motion into shapes,

Made Matter the body of the Bodiless.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-12]

Infant and dim the eternal Mights awoke.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-13]

In inert Matter breathed a slumbering Life,

In a subconscient Life Mind lay asleep;

In waking Life it stretched its giant limbs

To shake from it the torpor of its drowse;

A senseless substance quivered into sense,

The world's heart commenced to beat, its eyes to see,

In the crowded dumb vibrations of a brain

Thought fumbled in a ring to find itself,

Discovered speech and fed the new-born Word

That bridged with spans of light the world's ignorance.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-14]

In waking Mind, the Thinker built his house.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-15]

A reasoning animal willed and planned and sought;

He stood erect among his brute compeers,

He built life new, measured the universe,

Opposed his fate and wrestled with unseen Powers,

Conquered and used the laws that rule the world,

And hoped to ride the heavens and reach the stars,

A master of his huge environment.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-16]

Now through Mind's windows stares the demigod

Hidden behind the curtains of man's soul:

He has seen the Unknown, looked on Truth's veilless face;

A ray has touched him from the eternal sun;

Motionless, voiceless in foreseeing depths,

He stands awake in Supernature's light

And sees a glory of arisen wings

And sees the vast descending might of God.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-17]

“O Death, thou lookst on an unfinished world

Assailed by thee and of its road unsure,

Peopled by imperfect minds and ignorant lives,

And sayest God is not and all is vain.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-18]

How shall the child already be the man?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-19]

Because he is infant, shall he never grow?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-20]

Because he is ignorant, shall he never learn?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-21]

In a small fragile seed a great tree lurks,

In a tiny gene a thinking being is shut;

A little element in a little sperm,

It grows and is a conqueror and a sage.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-22]

Then wilt thou spew out, Death, God's mystic truth,

Deny the occult spiritual miracle?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-23]

Still wilt thou say there is no spirit, no God?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-24]

A mute material Nature wakes and sees;

She has invented speech, unveiled a will.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-25]

Something there waits beyond towards which she strives,

Something surrounds her into which she grows:

To uncover the spirit, to change back into God,

To exceed herself is her transcendent task.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-26]

In God concealed the world began to be,

Tardily it travels towards manifest God:

Our imperfection towards perfection toils,

The body is the chrysalis of a soul:

The infinite holds the finite in its arms,

Time travels towards revealed eternity.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-27]

A miracle structure of the eternal Mage,

Matter its mystery hides from its own eyes,

A scripture written out in cryptic signs,

An occult document of the All-Wonderful's art.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-28]

All here bears witness to his secret might,

In all we feel his presence and his power.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-29]

A blaze of his sovereign glory is the sun,

A glory is the gold and glimmering moon,

A glory is his dream of purple sky.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-30]

A march of his greatness are the wheeling stars.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-31]

His laughter of beauty breaks out in green trees,

His moments of beauty triumph in a flower;

The blue sea's chant, the rivulet's wandering voice

Are murmurs falling from the Eternal's harp.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-32]

This world is God fulfilled in outwardness.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-33]

His ways challenge our reason and our sense;

By blind brute movements of an ignorant Force,

By means we slight as small, obscure or base,

A greatness founded upon little things,

He has built a world in the unknowing Void.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-34]

His forms he has massed from infinitesimal dust;

His marvels are built from insignificant things.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-35]

If mind is crippled, life untaught and crude,

If brutal masks are there and evil acts,

They are incidents of his vast and varied plot,

His great and dangerous drama's needed steps;

He makes with these and all his passion-play,

A play and yet no play but the deep scheme

Of a transcendent Wisdom finding ways

To meet her Lord in the shadow and the Night:

Above her is the vigil of the stars;

Watched by a solitary Infinitude

She embodies in dumb Matter the Divine,

In symbol minds and lives the Absolute.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-36]

A miracle-monger her mechanical craft;

Matter's machine worked out the laws of thought,

Life's engines served the labour of a soul:

The Mighty Mother her creation wrought,

A huge caprice self-bound by iron laws,

And shut God into an enigmatic world:

She lulled the Omniscient into nescient sleep,

Omnipotence on Inertia's back she drove,

Trod perfectly with divine unconscious steps

The enormous circle of her wonder-works.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-37]

Immortality assured itself by death;

The Eternal's face was seen through drifts of Time.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-38]

His knowledge he disguised as Ignorance,

His Good he sowed in Evil's monstrous bed,

Made error a door by which Truth could enter in,

His plant of bliss watered with Sorrow's tears.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-39]

A thousand aspects point back to the One;

A dual Nature covered the Unique.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-01 F-40]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02]



In this meeting of the Eternal's mingling masques,

This tangle-dance of passionate contraries

Locking like lovers in a forbidden embrace

The quarrel of their lost identity,

Through this wrestle and wrangle of the extremes of Power

Earth's million roads struggled towards deity.

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

All stumbled on behind a stumbling Guide,

Yet every stumble is a needed pace

On unknown routes to an unknowable goal.

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

All blundered and straggled towards the One Divine.

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

As if transmuted by a titan spell

The eternal Powers assumed a dubious face:

Idols of an oblique divinity,

They wore the heads of animal or troll,

Assumed ears of the faun, the satyr's hoof,

Or harboured the demoniac in their gaze:

A crooked maze they made of thinking mind,

They suffered a metamorphosis of the heart,

Admitting bacchant revellers from the Night

Into its sanctuary of delights,

As in a Dionysian masquerade.

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

On the highways, in the gardens of the world

They wallowed oblivious of their divine parts,

As drunkards of a dire Circean wine

Or a child who sprawls and sports in Nature's mire.

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

Even wisdom, hewer of the roads of God,

Is a partner in the deep disastrous game:

Lost is the pilgrim's wallet and the scrip,

She fails to read the map and watch the star.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-06]

A poor self-righteous virtue is her stock

And reason's pragmatic grope or abstract sight,

Or the technique of a brief hour's success

She teaches, an usher in utility's school.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-07]

On the ocean surface of vast Consciousness

Small thoughts in shoals are fished up into a net

But the great truths escape her narrow cast;

Guarded from vision by creation's depths,

Obscure they swim in blind enormous gulfs

Safe from the little sounding leads of mind,

Too far for the puny diver's shallow plunge.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-08]

Our mortal vision peers with ignorant eyes;

It has no gaze on the deep heart of things.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-09]

Our knowledge walks leaning on Error's staff,

A worshipper of false dogmas and false gods,

Or fanatic of a fierce intolerant creed

Or a seeker doubting every truth he finds,

A sceptic facing Light with adamant No

Or chilling the heart with dry ironic smile,

A cynic stamping out the god in man;

A darkness wallows in the paths of Time

Or lifts its giant head to blot the stars;

It makes a cloud of the interpreting mind

And intercepts the oracles of the Sun.

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

Yet Light is there; it stands at Nature's doors:

It holds a torch to lead the traveller in.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-11]

It waits to be kindled in our secret cells;

It is a star lighting an ignorant sea,

A lamp upon our poop piercing the night.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-12]

As knowledge grows Light flames up from within:

It is a shining warrior in the mind,

An eagle of dreams in the divining heart,

An armour in the fight, a bow of God.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-13]

Then larger dawns arrive and Wisdom's pomps

Cross through the being's dim half-lighted fields;

Philosophy climbs up Thought's cloud-bank peaks

And Science tears out Nature's occult powers,

Enormous djinns who serve a dwarf's small needs,

Exposes the sealed minutiae of her art

And conquers her by her own captive force.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-14]

On heights unreached by mind's most daring soar,

Upon a dangerous edge of failing Time

The soul draws back into its deathless Self;

Man's knowledge becomes God's supernal Ray.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-15]

There is the mystic realm whence leaps the power

Whose fire burns in the eyes of seer and sage;

A lightning flash of visionary sight,

It plays upon an inward verge of mind:

Thought silenced gazes into a brilliant Void.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-16]

A voice comes down from mystic unseen peaks:

A cry of splendour from a mouth of storm,

It is the voice that speaks to night's profound,

It is the thunder and the flaming call.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-17]

Above the planes that climb from nescient earth,

A hand is lifted towards the Invisible's realm,

Beyond the superconscient's blinding line

And plucks away the screens of the Unknown;

A spirit within looks into the Eternal's eyes.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-18]

It hears the Word to which our hearts were deaf,

It sees through the blaze in which our thoughts grew blind;

It drinks from the naked breasts of glorious Truth,

It learns the secrets of eternity.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-19]

Thus all was plunged into the riddling Night,

Thus all is raised to meet a dazzling Sun.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-20]

O Death, this is the mystery of thy reign.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-21]

In earth's anomalous and magic field

Carried in its aimless journey by the sun

Mid the forced marches of the great dumb stars,

A darkness occupied the fields of God,

And Matter's world was governed by thy shape.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-22]

Thy mask has covered the Eternal's face,

The Bliss that made the world has fallen asleep.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-23]

Abandoned in the Vast she slumbered on:

An evil transmutation overtook

Her members till she knew herself no more.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-24]

Only through her creative slumber flit

Frail memories of the joy and beauty meant

Under the sky's blue laugh mid green-scarfed trees

And happy squanderings of scents and hues,

In the field of the golden promenade of the sun

And the vigil of the dream-light of the stars,

Amid high meditating heads of hills,

On the bosom of voluptuous rain-kissed earth

And by the sapphire tumblings of the sea.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-25]

But now the primal innocence is lost

And Death and Ignorance govern the mortal world

And Nature's visage wears a greyer hue.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-26]

Earth still has kept her early charm and grace,

The grandeur and the beauty still are hers,

But veiled is the divine Inhabitant.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-27]

The souls of men have wandered from the Light

And the great Mother turns away her face.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-28]

The eyes of the creatrix Bliss are closed

And sorrow's touch has found her in her dreams.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-29]

As she turns and tosses on her bed of Void,

Because she cannot wake and find herself

And cannot build again her perfect shape,

Oblivious of her nature and her state,

Forgetting her instinct of felicity,

Forgetting to create a world of joy,

She weeps and makes her creatures' eyes to weep;

Testing with sorrow's edge her children's breasts,

She spends on life's vain waste of hope and toil

The poignant luxury of grief and tears.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-30]

In the nightmare change of her half-conscious dream,

Tortured herself and torturing by her touch,

She comes to our hearts and bodies and our lives

Wearing a hard and cruel mask of pain.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-31]

Our nature twisted by the abortive birth

Returns wry answers to life's questioning shocks,

An acrid relish finds in the world's pangs,

Drinks the sharp wine of grief's perversity.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-32]

A curse is laid on the pure joy of life:

Delight, God's sweetest sign and Beauty's twin,

Dreaded by aspiring saint and austere sage,

Is shunned, a dangerous and ambiguous cheat,

A specious trick of an infernal Power

It tempts the soul to its self-hurt and fall.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-33]

A puritan God made pleasure a poisonous fruit,

Or red drug in the market-place of Death,

And sin the child of Nature's ecstasy.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-34]

Yet every creature hunts for happiness,

Buys with harsh pangs or tears by violence

From the dull breast of the inanimate globe

Some fragment or some broken shard of bliss.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-35]

Even joy itself becomes a poisonous draught;

Its hunger is made a dreadful hook of Fate.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-36]

All means are held good to catch a single beam,

Eternity sacrificed for a moment's bliss:

Yet for joy and not for sorrow earth was made

And not as a dream in endless suffering Time.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-37]

Although God made the world for his delight,

An ignorant Power took charge and seemed his Will

And Death's deep falsity has mastered Life.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-38]

All grew a play of Chance simulating Fate.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-02 F-39]

Play Section Three
[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03]



“A secret air of pure felicity

Deep like a sapphire heaven our spirits breathe;

Our hearts and bodies feel its obscure call,

Our senses grope for it and touch and lose.

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

If this withdrew, the world would sink in the Void;

If this were not, nothing could move or live.

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

A hidden Bliss is at the root of things.

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

A mute Delight regards Time's countless works:

To house God's joy in things Space gave wide room,

To house God's joy in self our souls were born.

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

This universe an old enchantment guards;

Its objects are carved cups of World-Delight

Whose charmed wine is some deep soul's rapture-drink:

The All-Wonderful has packed heaven with his dreams,

He has made blank ancient Space his marvel-house;

He spilled his spirit into Matter's signs:

His fires of grandeur burn in the great sun,

He glides through heaven shimmering in the moon;

He is beauty carolling in the fields of sound;

He chants the stanzas of the odes of Wind;

He is silence watching in the stars at night;

He wakes at dawn and calls from every bough,

Lies stunned in the stone and dreams in flower and tree.

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

Even in this labour and dolour of Ignorance,

On the hard perilous ground of difficult earth,

In spite of death and evil circumstance

A will to live persists, a joy to be.

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

There is a joy in all that meets the sense,

A joy in all experience of the soul,

A joy in evil and a joy in good,

A joy in virtue and a joy in sin:

Indifferent to the threat of Karmic law,

Joy dares to grow upon forbidden soil,

Its sap runs through the plant and flowers of Pain:

It thrills with the drama of fate and tragic doom,

It tears its food from sorrow and ecstasy,

On danger and difficulty whets its strength;

It wallows with the reptile and the worm

And lifts its head, an equal of the stars;

It shares the faeries' dance, dines with the gnome:

It basks in the light and heat of many suns,

The sun of Beauty and the sun of Power

Flatter and foster it with golden beams;

It grows towards the Titan and the God.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-06]

On earth it lingers drinking its deep fill,

Through the symbol of her pleasure and her pain,

Of the grapes of Heaven and the flowers of the Abyss,

Of the flame-stabs and the torment-craft of Hell

And dim fragments of the glory of Paradise.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-07]

In the small paltry pleasures of man's life,

In his petty passions and joys it finds a taste,

A taste in tears and torture of broken hearts,

In the crown of gold and in the crown of thorns,

In life's nectar of sweetness and its bitter wine.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-08]

All being it explores for unknown bliss,

Sounds all experience for things new and strange.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-09]

Life brings into the earthly creature's days

A tongue of glory from a brighter sphere:

It deepens in his musings and his Art,

It leaps at the splendour of some perfect word,

It exults in his high resolves and noble deeds,

Wanders in his errors, dares the abyss's brink,

It climbs in his climbings, wallows in his fall.

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

Angel and demon brides his chamber share,

Possessors or competitors for life's heart.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-11]

To the enjoyer of the cosmic scene

His greatness and his littleness equal are,

His magnanimity and meanness hues

Cast on some neutral background of the gods:

The Artist's skill he admires who planned it all.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-12]

But not for ever endures this danger game:

Beyond the earth, but meant for delivered earth,

Wisdom and joy prepare their perfect crown;

Truth superhuman calls to thinking man.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-13]

At last the soul turns to eternal things,

In every shrine it cries for the clasp of God.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-14]

Then is there played the crowning Mystery,

Then is achieved the longed-for miracle.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-15]

Immortal Bliss her wide celestial eyes

Opens on the stars, she stirs her mighty limbs;

Time thrills to the sapphics of her amour-song

And Space fills with a white beatitude.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-16]

Then leaving to its grief the human heart,

Abandoning speech and the name-determined realms,

Through a gleaming far-seen sky of wordless thought,

Through naked thought-free heavens of absolute sight,

She climbs to the summits where the unborn Idea

Remembering the future that must be

Looks down upon the works of labouring Force,

Immutable above the world it made.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-17]

In the vast golden laughter of Truth's sun

Like a great heaven-bird on a motionless sea

Is poised her winged ardour of creative joy

On the still deep of the Eternal's peace.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-18]

This was the aim, this the supernal Law,

Nature's allotted task when beauty-drenched

In dim mist-waters of inconscient sleep,

Out of the Void this grand creation rose,—

For this the Spirit came into the Abyss

And charged with its power Matter's unknowing force,

In Night's bare session to cathedral Light,

In Death's realm repatriate immortality.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-19]

A mystic slow transfiguration works.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-20]

All our earth starts from mud and ends in sky,

And Love that was once an animal's desire,

Then a sweet madness in the rapturous heart,

An ardent comradeship in the happy mind,

Becomes a wide spiritual yearning's space.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-21]

A lonely soul passions for the Alone,

The heart that loved man thrills to the love of God,

A body is his chamber and his shrine.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-22]

Then is our being rescued from separateness;

All is itself, all is new-felt in God:

A Lover leaning from his cloister's door

Gathers the whole world into his single breast.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-23]

Then shall the business fail of Night and Death:

When unity is won, when strife is lost

And all is known and all is clasped by Love

Who would turn back to ignorance and pain?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-24]

“O Death, I have triumphed over thee within;

I quiver no more with the assault of grief;

A mighty calmness seated deep within

Has occupied my body and my sense:

It takes the world's grief and transmutes to strength,

It makes the world's joy one with the joy of God.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-25]

My love eternal sits throned on God's calm;

For Love must soar beyond the very heavens

And find its secret sense ineffable;

It must change its human ways to ways divine,

Yet keep its sovereignty of earthly bliss.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-26]


O Death, not for my heart's sweet poignancy

Nor for my happy body's bliss alone

I have claimed from thee the living Satyavan,

But for his work and mine, our sacred charge.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-27]


Our lives are God's messengers beneath the stars;

To dwell under death's shadow they have come

Tempting God's light to earth for the ignorant race,

His love to fill the hollow in men's hearts,

His bliss to heal the unhappiness of the world.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-28]


For I, the woman, am the force of God,

He the Eternal's delegate soul in man.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-29]


My will is greater than thy law, O Death;

My love is stronger than the bonds of Fate:

Our love is the heavenly seal of the Supreme.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-30]


I guard that seal against thy rending hands.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-31]


Love must not cease to live upon the earth;

For Love is the bright link twixt earth and heaven,

Love is the far Transcendent's angel here;

Love is man's lien on the Absolute.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-03 F-32]


Play Section Four
[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04]



But to the woman Death the god replied,

With the ironic laughter of his voice

Discouraging the labour of the stars:

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


“Even so men cheat the Truth with splendid thoughts.

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


Thus wilt thou hire the glorious charlatan, Mind,

To weave from his Ideal's gossamer air

A fine raiment for thy body's nude desires

And thy heart's clutching greedy passion clothe?

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


Daub not the web of life with magic hues:

Make rather thy thought a plain and faithful glass

Reflecting Matter and mortality,

And know thy soul a product of the flesh,

A made-up self in a constructed world.

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


Thy words are large murmurs in a mystic dream.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-05]


For how in the soiled heart of man could dwell

The immaculate grandeur of thy dream-built God,

Or who can see a face and form divine

In the naked two-legged worm thou callest man?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-06]


O human face, put off mind-painted masks:

The animal be, the worm that Nature meant;

Accept thy futile birth, thy narrow life.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-07]


For truth is bare like stone and hard like death;

Bare in the bareness, hard with truth's hardness live.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-08]


But Savitri replied to the dire God:

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-09]


“Yes, I am human. Yet shall man by me,

Since in humanity waits his hour the God,

Trample thee down to reach the immortal heights,

Transcending grief and pain and fate and death.

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


Yes, my humanity is a mask of God:

He dwells in me, the mover of my acts,

Turning the great wheel of his cosmic work.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-11]


I am the living body of his light,

I am the thinking instrument of his power,

I incarnate Wisdom in an earthly breast,

I am his conquering and unslayable will.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-12]


The formless Spirit drew in me its shape;

In me are the Nameless and the secret Name.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-13]


Death from the incredulous Darkness sent its cry:

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-14]


“O priestess in Imagination's house,

Persuade first Nature's fixed immutable laws

And make the impossible thy daily work.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-15]


How canst thou force to wed two eternal foes?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-16]


Irreconcilable in their embrace

They cancel the glory of their pure extremes:

An unhappy wedlock maims their stunted force.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-17]


How shall thy will make one the true and false?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-18]


Where Matter is all, there Spirit is a dream:

If all are the Spirit, Matter is a lie,

And who was the liar who forged the universe?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-19]


The Real with the unreal cannot mate.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-20]


He who would turn to God, must leave the world;

He who would live in the Spirit, must give up life;

He who has met the Self, renounces self.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-21]


The voyagers of the million routes of mind

Who have travelled through Existence to its end,

Sages exploring the world-ocean's vasts,

Have found extinction the sole harbour safe.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-22]


Two only are the doors of man's escape,

Death of his body Matter's gate to peace,

Death of his soul his last felicity.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-23]


In me all take refuge, for I, Death, am God.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-24]


But Savitri replied to mighty Death:

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-25]


“My heart is wiser than the Reason's thoughts,

My heart is stronger than thy bonds, O Death.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-26]


It sees and feels the one Heart beat in all,

It feels the high Transcendent's sunlike hands,

It sees the cosmic Spirit at its work;

In the dim Night it lies alone with God.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-27]


My heart's strength can carry the grief of the universe

And never falter from its luminous track,

Its white tremendous orbit through God's peace.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-28]


It can drink up the sea of All-Delight

And never lose the white spiritual touch,

The calm that broods in the deep Infinite.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-29]


He said,

 “Art thou indeed so strong, O heart,

O soul, so free?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-30]


And canst thou gather then

Bright pleasure from my wayside flowering boughs,

Yet falter not from thy hard journey's goal,

Meet the world's dangerous touch and never fall?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-31]


Show me thy strength and freedom from my laws.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-32]


But Savitri answered,

“Surely I shall find

Among the green and whispering woods of Life

Close-bosomed pleasures, only mine since his,

Or mine for him, because our joys are one.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-33]


And if I linger, Time is ours and God's,

And if I fall, is not his hand near mine?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-34]


All is a single plan; each wayside act

Deepens the soul's response, brings nearer the goal.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-35]


Death the contemptuous Nihil answered her:

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-36]


“So prove thy absolute force to the wise gods,

By choosing earthly joy!

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-37]


For self demand

And yet from self and its gross masks live free.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-38]


Then will I give thee all thy soul desires,

All the brief joys earth keeps for mortal hearts.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-39]


Only the one dearest wish that outweighs all,

Hard laws forbid and thy ironic fate.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-40]


My will once wrought remains unchanged through Time,

And Satyavan can never again be thine.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-41]


But Savitri replied to the vague Power:

“If the eyes of Darkness can look straight at Truth,

Look in my heart and, knowing what I am,

Give what thou wilt or what thou must, O Death.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-42]


Nothing I claim but Satyavan alone.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-43]


There was a hush as if of doubtful fates.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-44]


As one disdainful still who yields a point

Death bowed his sovereign head in cold assent:

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-45]


“I give to thee, saved from death and poignant fate

Whatever once the living Satyavan

Desired in his heart for Savitri.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-46]


Bright noons I give thee and unwounded dawns,

Daughters of thy own shape in heart and mind,

Fair hero sons and sweetness undisturbed

Of union with thy husband dear and true.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-47]


And thou shalt harvest in thy joyful house

Felicity of thy surrounded eves.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-48]


Love shall bind by thee many gathered hearts.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-49]


The opposite sweetness in thy days shall meet

Of tender service to thy life's desired

And loving empire over all thy loved,

Two poles of bliss made one, O Savitri.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-50]


Return, O child, to thy forsaken earth.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-51]


But Savitri replied,

“Thy gifts resist.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-52]


Earth cannot flower if lonely I return.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-53]


Then Death sent forth once more his angry cry,

As chides a lion his escaping prey:

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-54]


“What knowst thou of earth's rich and changing life

Who thinkst that one man dead all joy must cease?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-55]


Hope not to be unhappy till the end:

For grief dies soon in the tired human heart;

Soon other guests the empty chambers fill.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-56]


A transient painting on a holiday's floor

Traced for a moment's beauty love was made.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-57]


Or if a voyager on the eternal trail,

Its objects fluent change in its embrace

Like waves to a swimmer upon infinite seas.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-04 F-58]


Play Section Five
[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05]



But Savitri replied to the vague god,

“Give me back Satyavan, my only lord.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-01]


Thy thoughts are vacant to my soul that feels

The deep eternal truth in transient things.”

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


Death answered her,

“Return and try thy soul!

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


Soon shalt thou find appeased that other men

On lavish earth have beauty, strength and truth,

And when thou hast half forgotten, one of these

Shall wind himself around thy heart that needs

Some human answering heart against thy breast;

For who, being mortal, can dwell glad alone?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-04]


Then Satyavan shall glide into the past,

A gentle memory pushed away from thee

By new love and thy children's tender hands,

Till thou shalt wonder if thou lov'dst at all.

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


Such is the life earth's travail has conceived,

A constant stream that never is the same.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-06]


But Savitri replied to mighty Death:

“O dark ironic critic of God's work,

Thou mockst the mind and body's faltering search

For what the heart holds in a prophet hour

And the immortal spirit shall make its own.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-07]


Mine is a heart that worshipped, though forsaken,

The image of the god its love adored;

I have burned in flame to travel in his steps.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-08]


Are we not they who bore vast solitude

Seated upon the hills alone with God?

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-09]


Why dost thou vainly strive with me, O Death,

A mind delivered from all twilight thoughts,

To whom the secrets of the gods are plain?

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


For now at last I know beyond all doubt,

The great stars burn with my unceasing fire

And life and death are both its fuel made.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-11]


Life only was my blind attempt to love:

Earth saw my struggle, heaven my victory;

All shall be seized, transcended; there shall kiss

Casting their veils before the marriage fire

The eternal bridegroom and eternal bride.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-12]


The heavens accept our broken flights at last.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-13]


On our life's prow that breaks the waves of Time

No signal light of hope has gleamed in vain.”

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-14]


She spoke; the boundless members of the god

As if by secret ecstasy assailed,

Shuddered in silence as obscurely stir

Ocean's dim fields delivered to the moon.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-15]


Then lifted up as by a sudden wind

Around her in that vague and glimmering world

The twilight trembled like a bursting veil.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-16]


Thus with armed speech the great opponents strove.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-17]


Around those spirits in the glittering mist

A deepening half-light fled with pearly wings

As if to reach some far ideal Morn.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-18]


Outlined her thoughts flew through the gleaming haze

Mingling bright-pinioned with its lights and veils

And all her words like dazzling jewels were caught

Into the glow of a mysterious world,

Or tricked in the rainbow shifting of its hues

Like echoes swam fainting into far sound.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-19]


All utterance, all mood must there become

An unenduring tissue sewn by mind

To make a gossamer robe of beautiful change.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-20]


Intent upon her silent will she walked

On the dim grass of vague unreal plains,

A floating veil of visions in her front,

A trailing robe of dreams behind her feet.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-21]


But now her spirit's flame of conscient force

Retiring from a sweetness without fruit

Called back her thoughts from speech to sit within

In a deep room in meditation's house.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-22]


For only there could dwell the soul's firm truth:

Imperishable, a tongue of sacrifice,

It flamed unquenched upon the central hearth

Where burns for the high houselord and his mate

The homestead's sentinel and witness fire

From which the altars of the gods are lit.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-23]


All still compelled went gliding on unchanged,

Still was the order of these worlds reversed:

The mortal led, the god and spirit obeyed

And she behind was leader of their march

And they in front were followers of her will.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-24]


Onward they journeyed through the drifting ways

Vaguely companioned by the glimmering mists.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-25]


But faster now all fled as if perturbed

Escaping from the clearness of her soul.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-26]


A heaven-bird upon jewelled wings of wind

Borne like a coloured and embosomed fire,

By spirits carried in a pearl-hued cave,

On through the enchanted dimness moved her soul.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-27]


Death walked in front of her and Satyavan,

In the dark front of Death, a failing star.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-28]


Above was the unseen balance of his fate.

[Savitri B-10 C-03 S-05 F-29]



Book Ten Canto Three End

The Debate of Love and Death

[Savitri B-10 C-03 Canto End]


Book 10 Canto 4

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Ten
The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto Four

The Dream Twilight of the Earthly Real

[Savitri B-10 C-04 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01]


There came a slope that slowly downward sank;

It slipped towards a stumbling grey descent.

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

The dim-heart marvel of the ideal was lost;

Its crowding wonder of bright delicate dreams

And vague half-limned sublimities she had left:

Thought fell towards lower levels; hard and tense

It passioned for some crude reality.

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

The twilight floated still but changed its hues

And heavily swathed a less delightful dream;

It settled in tired masses on the air;

Its symbol colours tuned with duller reds

And almost seemed a lurid mist of day.

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

A straining taut and dire besieged her heart;

Heavy her sense grew with a dangerous load,

And sadder, greater sounds were in her ears,

And through stern breakings of the lambent glare

Her vision caught a hurry of driving plains

And cloudy mountains and wide tawny streams,

And cities climbed in minarets and towers

Towards an unavailing changeless sky:

Long quays and ghauts and harbours white with sails

Challenged her sight awhile and then were gone.

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

Amidst them travailed toiling multitudes

In ever shifting perishable groups,

A foiled cinema of lit shadowy shapes

Enveloped in the grey mantle of a dream.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-05]

Imagining meanings in life's heavy drift,

They trusted in the uncertain environment

And waited for death to change their spirit's scene.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-06]

A savage din of labour and a tramp

Of armoured life and the monotonous hum

Of thoughts and acts that ever were the same,

As if the dull reiterated drone

Of a great brute machine, beset her soul,—

A grey dissatisfied rumour like a ghost

Of the moaning of a loud unquiet sea.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-07]

A huge inhuman cyclopean voice,

A Babel-builders' song towering to heaven,

A throb of engines and the clang of tools

Brought the deep undertone of labour's pain.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-08]

As when pale lightnings tear a tortured sky,

High overhead a cloud-rimmed series flared

Chasing like smoke from a red funnel driven,

The forced creations of an ignorant Mind:

Drifting she saw like pictured fragments flee

Phantoms of human thought and baffled hopes,

The shapes of Nature and the arts of man,

Philosophies and disciplines and laws,

And the dead spirit of old societies,

Constructions of the Titan and the worm.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-09]

As if lost remnants of forgotten light,

Before her mind there fled with trailing wings

Dimmed revelations and delivering words,

Emptied of their mission and their strength to save,

The messages of the evangelist gods,

Voices of prophets, scripts of vanishing creeds.

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

Each in its hour eternal claimed went by:

Ideals, systems, sciences, poems, crafts

Tireless there perished and again recurred,

Sought restlessly by some creative Power;

But all were dreams crossing an empty vast.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-11]

Ascetic voices called of lonely seers

On mountain summits or by river banks

Or from the desolate heart of forest glades

Seeking heaven's rest or the spirit's worldless peace,

Or in bodies motionless like statues, fixed

In tranced cessations of their sleepless thought

Sat sleeping souls, and this too was a dream.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-12]

All things the past has made and slain were there,

Its lost forgotten forms that once had lived,

And all the present loves as new-revealed

And all the hopes the future brings had failed

Already, caught and spent in efforts vain,

Repeated fruitlessly age after age.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-13]

Unwearied all returned insisting still

Because of joy in the anguish of pursuit

And joy to labour and to win and lose

And joy to create and keep and joy to kill.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-14]

The rolling cycles passed and came again,

Brought the same toils and the same barren end,

Forms ever new and ever old, the long

Appalling revolutions of the world.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-01 F-15]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02]



Once more arose the great destroying Voice:

Across the fruitless labour of the worlds

His huge denial's all-defeating might

Pursued the ignorant march of dolorous Time.

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

“Behold the figures of this symbol realm,

Its solid outlines of creative dream

Inspiring the great concrete tasks of earth.

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

In its motion-parable of human life

Here thou canst trace the outcome Nature gives

To the sin of being and the error in things

And the desire that compels to live

And man's incurable malady of hope.

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

In an immutable order's hierarchy

Where Nature changes not, man cannot change:

Ever he obeys her fixed mutation's law;

In a new version of her oft-told tale

In ever-wheeling cycles turns the race.

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

His mind is pent in circling boundaries:

For mind is man, beyond thought he cannot soar.

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

If he could leave his limits he would be safe:

He sees but cannot mount to his greater heavens;

Even winged, he sinks back to his native soil.

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

He is a captive in his net of mind

And beats soul-wings against the walls of life.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-07]

In vain his heart lifts up its yearning prayer,

Peopling with brilliant Gods the formless Void;

Then disappointed to the Void he turns

And in its happy nothingness asks release,

The calm Nirvana of his dream of self:

The Word in silence ends, in Nought the name.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-08]

Apart amid the mortal multitudes,

He calls the Godhead incommunicable

To be the lover of his lonely soul

Or casts his spirit into its void embrace.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-09]

Or he finds his copy in the impartial All;

He imparts to the Immobile his own will,

Attributes to the Eternal wrath and love

And to the Ineffable lends a thousand names.

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

Hope not to call God down into his life.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-11]

How shalt thou bring the Everlasting here?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-12]

There is no house for him in hurrying Time.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-13]

Vainly thou seekst in Matter's world an aim;

No aim is there, only a will to be.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-14]

All walk by Nature bound for ever the same.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-15]

Look on these forms that stay awhile and pass,

These lives that long and strive, then are no more,

These structures that have no abiding truth,

The saviour creeds that cannot save themselves,

But perish in the strangling hands of the years,

Discarded from man's thought, proved false by Time,

Philosophies that strip all problems bare

But nothing ever have solved since earth began,

And sciences omnipotent in vain

By which men learn of what the suns are made,

Transform all forms to serve their outward needs,

Ride through the sky and sail beneath the sea,

But learn not what they are or why they came;

These polities, architectures of man's brain,

That, bricked with evil and good, wall in man's spirit

And, fissured houses, palace at once and jail,

Rot while they reign and crumble before they crash;

These revolutions, demon or drunken god,

Convulsing the wounded body of mankind

Only to paint in new colours an old face;

These wars, carnage triumphant, ruin gone mad,

The work of centuries vanishing in an hour,

The blood of the vanquished and the victor's crown

Which men to be born must pay for with their pain,

The hero's face divine on satyr's limbs,

The demon's grandeur mixed with the demigod's,

The glory and the beasthood and the shame;

Why is it all, the labour and the din,

The transient joys, the timeless sea of tears,

The longing and the hoping and the cry,

The battle and the victory and the fall,

The aimless journey that can never pause,

The waking toil, the incoherent sleep,

Song, shouts and weeping, wisdom and idle words,

The laughter of men, the irony of the gods?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-16]

Where leads the march, whither the pilgrimage?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-17]

Who keeps the map of the route or planned each stage?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-18]

Or else self-moved the world walks its own way,

Or nothing is there but only a Mind that dreams:

The world is a myth that happened to come true,

A legend told to itself by conscious Mind,

Imaged and played on a feigned Matter's ground

On which it stands in an unsubstantial Vast.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-19]

Mind is the author, spectator, actor, stage:

Mind only is and what it thinks is seen.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-20]

If Mind is all, renounce the hope of bliss;

If Mind is all, renounce the hope of Truth.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-21]

For Mind can never touch the body of Truth

And Mind can never see the soul of God;

Only his shadow it grasps nor hears his laugh

As it turns from him to the vain seeming of things.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-22]

Mind is a tissue woven of light and shade

Where right and wrong have sewn their mingled parts;

Or Mind is Nature's marriage of convenance

Between truth and falsehood, between joy and pain:

This struggling pair no court can separate.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-23]

Each thought is a gold coin with bright alloy

And error and truth are its obverse and reverse:

This is the imperial mintage of the brain

And of this kind is all its currency.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-24]

Think not to plant on earth the living Truth

Or make of Matter's world the home of God;

Truth comes not there but only the thought of Truth,

God is not there but only the name of God.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-25]

If Self there is it is bodiless and unborn;

It is no one and it is possessed by none.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-26]

On what shalt thou then build thy happy world?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-27]

Cast off thy life and mind, then art thou Self,

An all-seeing omnipresence stark, alone.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-28]

If God there is he cares not for the world;

All things he sees with calm indifferent gaze,

He has doomed all hearts to sorrow and desire,

He has bound all life with his implacable laws;

He answers not the ignorant voice of prayer.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-29]

Eternal while the ages toil beneath,

Unmoved, untouched by aught that he has made,

He sees as minute details mid the stars

The animal's agony and the fate of man:

Immeasurably wise, he exceeds thy thought;

His solitary joy needs not thy love.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-30]

His truth in human thinking cannot dwell:

If thou desirest Truth, then still thy mind

For ever, slain by the dumb unseen Light.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-31]

Immortal bliss lives not in human air:

How shall the mighty Mother her calm delight

Keep fragrant in this narrow fragile vase,

Or lodge her sweet unbroken ecstasy

In hearts which earthly sorrow can assail

And bodies careless Death can slay at will?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-32]

Dream not to change the world that God has planned,

Strive not to alter his eternal law.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-33]

If heavens there are whose gates are shut to grief,

There seek the joy thou couldst not find on earth;

Or in the imperishable hemisphere

Where Light is native and Delight is king

And Spirit is the deathless ground of things,

Choose thy high station, child of Eternity.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-34]

If thou art Spirit and Nature is thy robe,

Cast off thy garb and be thy naked self

Immutable in its undying truth,

Alone for ever in the mute Alone.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-35]

Turn then to God, for him leave all behind;

Forgetting love, forgetting Satyavan,

Annul thyself in his immobile peace.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-36]

O soul, drown in his still beatitude.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-37]

For thou must die to thyself to reach God's height:

I, Death, am the gate of immortality.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-38]

But Savitri answered to the sophist God:

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-39]

“Once more wilt thou call Light to blind Truth's eyes,

Make Knowledge a catch of the snare of Ignorance

And the Word a dart to slay my living soul?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-40]

Offer, O King, thy boons to tired spirits

And hearts that could not bear the wounds of Time,

Let those who were tied to body and to mind,

Tear off those bonds and flee into white calm

Crying for a refuge from the play of God.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-41]

Surely thy boons are great since thou art He!

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-42]

But how shall I seek rest in endless peace

Who house the mighty Mother's violent force,

Her vision turned to read the enigmaed world,

Her will tempered in the blaze of Wisdom's sun

And the flaming silence of her heart of love?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-43]

The world is a spiritual paradox

Invented by a need in the Unseen,

A poor translation to the creature's sense

Of That which for ever exceeds idea and speech,

A symbol of what can never be symbolised,

A language mispronounced, misspelt, yet true.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-44]

Its powers have come from the eternal heights

And plunged into the inconscient dim Abyss

And risen from it to do their marvellous work.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-45]

The soul is a figure of the Unmanifest,

The mind labours to think the Unthinkable,

The life to call the Immortal into birth,

The body to enshrine the Illimitable.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-46]

The world is not cut off from Truth and God.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-47]

In vain thou hast dug the dark unbridgeable gulf,

In vain thou hast built the blind and doorless wall:

Man's soul crosses through thee to Paradise,

Heaven's sun forces its way through death and night;

Its light is seen upon our being's verge.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-48]

My mind is a torch lit from the eternal sun,

My life a breath drawn by the immortal Guest,

My mortal body is the Eternal's house.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-49]

Already the torch becomes the undying ray,

Already the life is the Immortal's force,

The house grows of the householder part and one.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-50]

How sayst thou Truth can never light the human mind

And Bliss can never invade the mortal's heart

Or God descend into the world he made?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-51]

If in the meaningless Void creation rose,

If from a bodiless Force Matter was born,

If Life could climb in the unconscious tree,

Its green delight break into emerald leaves

And its laughter of beauty blossom in the flower,

If sense could wake in tissue, nerve and cell

And Thought seize the grey matter of the brain,

And soul peep from its secrecy through the flesh,

How shall the nameless Light not leap on men,

And unknown powers emerge from Nature's sleep?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-52]

Even now hints of a luminous Truth like stars

Arise in the mind-mooned splendour of Ignorance;

Even now the deathless Lover's touch we feel:

If the chamber's door is even a little ajar,

What then can hinder God from stealing in

Or who forbid his kiss on the sleeping soul?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-53]

Already God is near, the Truth is close:

Because the dark atheist body knows him not,

Must the sage deny the Light, the seer his soul?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-54]

I am not bound by thought or sense or shape;

I live in the glory of the Infinite,

I am near to the Nameless and Unknowable,

The Ineffable is now my household mate.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-55]

But standing on Eternity's luminous brink

I have discovered that the world was He;

I have met Spirit with spirit, Self with self,

But I have loved too the body of my God.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-56]

I have pursued him in his earthly form.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-57]

A lonely freedom cannot satisfy

A heart that has grown one with every heart:

I am a deputy of the aspiring world,

My spirit's liberty I ask for all.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-02 F-58]

Play Section Three
[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03]


Then rang again a deeper cry of Death.

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

As if beneath its weight of sterile law

Oppressed by its own obstinate meaningless will,

Disdainful, weary and compassionate,

It kept no more its old intolerant sound,

But seemed like life's in her unnumbered paths

Toiling for ever and achieving nought

Because of birth and change, her mortal powers

By which she lasts, around the term-posts fixed

Turning of a wide circling aimless race

Whose course for ever speeds and is the same.

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

In its long play with Fate and Chance and Time

Assured of the game's vanity lost or won,

Crushed by its load of ignorance and doubt

Which knowledge seems to increase and growth to enlarge,

The earth-mind sinks and it despairs and looks

Old, weary and discouraged on its work.

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

Yet was all nothing then or vainly achieved?

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

Some great thing has been done, some light, some power

Delivered from the huge Inconscient's grasp:

It has emerged from night; it sees its dawns

Circling for ever though no dawn can stay.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-05]

This change was in the godhead's far-flung voice;

His form of dread was altered and admitted

Our transient effort at eternity,

Yet flung vast doubts of what might else have been

On grandiose hints of an impossible day.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-06]

The great voice surging cried to Savitri:

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-07]

“Because thou knowst the wisdom that transcends

Both veil of forms and the contempt of forms,

Arise delivered by the seeing gods.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-08]

If free thou hadst kept thy mind from life's fierce stress,

Thou mightst have been like them omniscient, calm.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-09]

But the violent and passionate heart forbids.

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

It is the storm bird of an anarch Power

That would upheave the world and tear from it

The indecipherable scroll of Fate,

Death's rule and Law and the unknowable Will.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-11]

Hasteners to action, violators of God

Are these great spirits who have too much love,

And they who formed like thee, for both art thou,

Have come into the narrow bounds of life

With too large natures overleaping time.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-12]

Worshippers of force who know not her recoil,

Their giant wills compel the troubled years.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-13]

The wise are tranquil; silent the great hills

Rise ceaselessly towards their unreached sky,

Seated on their unchanging base, their heads

Dreamless in heaven's immutable domain.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-14]

On their aspiring tops, sublime and still,

Lifting half-way to heaven the climbing soul

The mighty mediators stand content

To watch the revolutions of the stars:

Motionlessly moving with the might of earth,

They see the ages pass and are the same.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-15]

The wise think with the cycles, they hear the tread

Of far-off things; patient, unmoved they keep

Their dangerous wisdom in their depths restrained,

Lest man's frail days into the unknown should sink

Dragged like a ship by bound leviathan

Into the abyss of his stupendous seas.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-16]

Lo, how all shakes when the gods tread too near!

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-17]

All moves, is in peril, anguished, torn, upheaved.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-18]

The hurrying aeons would stumble on too swift

If strength from heaven surprised the imperfect earth

And veilless knowledge smote these unfit souls.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-19]

The deities have screened their dreadful power:

God hides his thought and, even, he seems to err.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-20]

Be still and tardy in the slow wise world.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-21]

Mighty art thou with the dread goddess filled,

To whom thou criedst at dawn in the dim woods.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-22]

Use not thy strength like the wild Titan souls!

Touch not the seated lines, the ancient laws,

Respect the calm of great established things.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-23]

But Savitri replied to the huge god:

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-24]

“What is the calm thou vauntst, O Law, O Death?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-25]

Is it not the dull-visioned tread inert

Of monstrous energies chained in a stark round

Soulless and stone-eyed with mechanic dreams?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-26]

Vain the soul's hope if changeless Law is all:

Ever to the new and the unknown press on

The speeding aeons justifying God.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-27]

What were earth's ages if the grey restraint

Were never broken and glories sprang not forth

Bursting their obscure seed, while man's slow life

Leaped hurried into sudden splendid paths

By divine words and human gods revealed?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-28]

Impose not upon sentient minds and hearts

The dull fixity that binds inanimate things.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-29]

Well is the unconscious rule for the animal breeds

Content to live beneath the immutable yoke;

Man turns to a nobler walk, a master path.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-30]

I trample on thy law with living feet;

For to arise in freedom I was born.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-31]

If I am mighty let my force be unveiled

Equal companion of the dateless powers,

Or else let my frustrated soul sink down

Unworthy of Godhead in the original sleep.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-32]

I claim from Time my will's eternity,

God from his moments.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-33]

Death replied to her,

“Why should the noble and immortal will

Stoop to the petty works of transient earth,

Freedom forgotten and the Eternal's path?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-34]

Or is this the high use of strength and thought,

To struggle with the bonds of death and time

And spend the labour that might earn the gods

And battle and bear agony of wounds

To grasp the trivial joys that earth can guard

In her small treasure-chest of passing things?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-35]

Child, hast thou trodden the gods beneath thy feet

Only to win poor shreds of earthly life

For him thou lov'st cancelling the grand release,

Keeping from early rapture of the heavens

His soul the lenient deities have called?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-36]

Are thy arms sweeter than the courts of God?”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-37]

She answered,

“Straight I trample on the road

The strong hand hewed for me which planned our paths.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-38]

I run where his sweet dreadful voice commands

And I am driven by the reins of God.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-39]

Why drew he wide his scheme of mighty worlds

Or filled infinity with his passionate breath?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-40]

Or wherefore did he build my mortal form

And sow in me his bright and proud desires,

If not to achieve, to flower in me, to love,

Carving his human image richly shaped

In thoughts and largenesses and golden powers?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-41]

Far Heaven can wait our coming in its calm.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-42]

Easy the heavens were to build for God.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-43]

Earth was his difficult matter, earth the glory

Gave of the problem and the race and strife.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-44]

There are the ominous masks, the terrible powers;

There it is greatness to create the gods.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-45]

Is not the spirit immortal and absolved

Always, delivered from the grasp of Time?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-46]

Why came it down into the mortal's Space?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-47]

A charge he gave to his high spirit in man

And wrote a hidden decree on Nature's tops.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-48]

Freedom is this with ever seated soul,

Large in life's limits, strong in Matter's knots,

Building great stuff of action from the worlds

To make fine wisdom from coarse, scattered strands

And love and beauty out of war and night,

The wager wonderful, the game divine.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-49]

What liberty has the soul which feels not free

Unless stripped bare and cannot kiss the bonds

The Lover winds around his playmate's limbs,

Choosing his tyranny, crushed in his embrace?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-50]

To seize him better with her boundless heart

She accepts the limiting circle of his arms,

Bows full of bliss beneath his mastering hands

And laughs in his rich constraints, most bound, most free.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-51]

This is my answer to thy lures, O Death.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-03 F-52]

Play Section Four
[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04]



Immutable, Death's denial met her cry:

 “However mighty, whatever thy secret name

Uttered in hidden conclaves of the gods,

Thy heart's ephemeral passion cannot break

The iron rampart of accomplished things

With which the great Gods fence their camp in Space.

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

Whoever thou art behind thy human mask,

Even if thou art the Mother of the worlds

And pegst thy claim upon the realms of Chance,

The cosmic Law is greater than thy will.

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

Even God himself obeys the Laws he made:

The Law abides and never can it change,

The Person is a bubble on Time's sea.

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

A forerunner of a greater Truth to come,

Thy soul creator of its freer Law,

Vaunting a Force behind on which it leans,

A Light above which none but thou hast seen,

Thou claimst the first fruits of Truth's victory.

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

But what is Truth and who can find her form

Amid the specious images of sense,

Amid the crowding guesses of the mind

And the dark ambiguities of a world

Peopled with the incertitudes of Thought?

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

For where is Truth and when was her footfall heard

Amid the endless clamour of Time's mart

And which is her voice amid the thousand cries

That cross the listening brain and cheat the soul?

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

Or is Truth aught but a high starry name

Or a vague and splendid word by which man's thought

Sanctions and consecrates his nature's choice,

The heart's wish donning knowledge as its robe,

The cherished idea elect among the elect,

Thought's favourite mid the children of half-light

Who high-voiced crowd the playgrounds of the mind

Or people its dormitories in infant sleep?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-07]

All things hang here between God's yes and no,

Two Powers real but to each other untrue,

Two consort stars in the mooned night of mind

That towards two opposite horizons gaze,

The white head and black tail of the mystic drake,

The swift and the lame foot, wing strong, wing broken

Sustaining the body of the uncertain world,

A great surreal dragon in the skies.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-08]

Too dangerously thy high proud truth must live

Entangled in Matter's mortal littleness.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-09]

All in this world is true, yet all is false:

Its thoughts into an eternal cipher run,

Its deeds swell to Time's rounded zero sum.

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

Thus man at once is animal and god,

A disparate enigma of God's make

Unable to free the Godhead's form within,

A being less than himself, yet something more,

The aspiring animal, the frustrate god

Yet neither beast nor deity but man,

But man tied to the kind earth's labour strives to exceed

Climbing the stairs of God to higher things.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-11]

Objects are seemings and none knows their truth,

Ideas are guesses of an ignorant god.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-12]

Truth has no home in earth's irrational breast:

Yet without reason life is a tangle of dreams,

But reason is poised above a dim abyss

And stands at last upon a plank of doubt.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-13]

Eternal truth lives not with mortal men.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-14]

Or if she dwells within thy mortal heart,

Show me the body of the living Truth

Or draw for me the outline of her face

That I too may obey and worship her.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-15]

Then will I give thee back thy Satyavan.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-16]

But here are only facts and steel-bound Law.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-17]

This truth I know that Satyavan is dead

And even thy sweetness cannot lure him back.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-18]

No magic Truth can bring the dead to life,

No power of earth cancel the thing once done,

No joy of the heart can last surviving death,

No bliss persuade the past to live again.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-19]

But Life alone can solace the mute Void

And fill with thought the emptiness of Time.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-20]

Leave then thy dead, O Savitri, and live.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-04 F-21]

Play Section Five
[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05]



The Woman answered to the mighty Shade,

And as she spoke, mortality disappeared;

Her Goddess self grew visible in her eyes,

Light came, a dream of heaven, into her face.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-01]

“O Death, thou too art God and yet not He,

But only his own black shadow on his path

As leaving the Night he takes the upward Way

And drags with him its clinging inconscient Force.

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

Of God unconscious thou art the dark head,

Of his Ignorance thou art the impenitent sign,

Of its vast tenebrous womb the natural child,

On his immortality the sinister bar.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-03]

All contraries are aspects of God's face.

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

The Many are the innumerable One,

The One carries the multitude in his breast;

He is the Impersonal, inscrutable, sole,

He is the one infinite Person seeing his world;

The Silence bears the Eternal's great dumb seal,

His light inspires the eternal Word;

He is the Immobile's deep and deathless hush,

Its white and signless blank negating calm,

Yet stands the creator Self, the almighty Lord

And watches his will done by the forms of Gods

And the desire that goads half-conscious man

And the reluctant and unseeing Night.

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

These wide divine extremes, these inverse powers

Are the right and left side of the body of God;

Existence balanced twixt two mighty arms

Confronts the mind with unsolved abysms of Thought.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-06]

Darkness below, a fathomless Light above,

In Light are joined, but sundered by severing Mind

Stand face to face, opposite, inseparable,

Two contraries needed for his great World-task,

Two poles whose currents wake the immense World-Force.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-07]

In the stupendous secrecy of his Self,

Above the world brooding with equal wings,

He is both in one, beginningless, without end:

Transcending both, he enters the Absolute.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-08]

His being is a mystery beyond mind,

His ways bewilder mortal ignorance;

The finite in its little sections parked,

Amazed, credits not God's audacity

Who dares to be the unimagined All

And see and act as might one Infinite.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-09]

Against human reason this is his offence,

Being known to be for ever unknowable,

To be all and yet transcend the mystic whole,

Absolute, to lodge in a relative world of Time,

Eternal and all-knowing, to suffer birth,

Omnipotent, to sport with Chance and Fate,

Spirit, yet to be Matter and the Void,

Illimitable, beyond form or name,

To dwell within a body, one and supreme

To be animal and human and divine:

A still deep sea, he laughs in rolling waves;

Universal, he is all,—transcendent, none.

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

To man's righteousness this is his cosmic crime,

Almighty beyond good and evil to dwell

Leaving the good to their fate in a wicked world

And evil to reign in this enormous scene.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-11]

All opposition seems and strife and chance,

An aimless labour with but scanty sense,

To eyes that see a part and miss the whole;

The surface men scan, the depths refuse their search:

A hybrid mystery challenges the view,

Or a discouraging sordid miracle.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-12]

Yet in the exact Inconscient's stark conceit,

In the casual error of the world's ignorance

A plan, a hidden Intelligence is glimpsed.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-13]

There is a purpose in each stumble and fall;

Nature's most careless lolling is a pose

Preparing some forward step, some deep result.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-14]

Ingenious notes plugged into a motived score,

These million discords dot the harmonious theme

Of the evolution's huge orchestral dance.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-15]

A Truth supreme has forced the world to be;

It has wrapped itself in Matter as in a shroud,

A shroud of Death, a shroud of Ignorance.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-16]

It compelled the suns to burn through silent Space,

Flame-signs of its uncomprehended Thought

In a wide brooding ether's formless muse:

It made of Knowledge a veiled and struggling light,

Of Being a substance nescient, dense and dumb,

Of Bliss the beauty of an insentient world.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-17]

In finite things the conscious Infinite dwells:

Involved it sleeps in Matter's helpless trance,

It rules the world from its sleeping senseless Void;

Dreaming it throws out mind and heart and soul

To labour crippled, bound, on the hard earth;

A broken whole it works through scattered points;

Its gleaming shards are Wisdom's diamond thoughts,

Its shadowy reflex our ignorance.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-18]

It starts from the mute mass in countless jets,

It fashions a being out of brain and nerve,

A sentient creature from its pleasures and pangs.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-19]

A pack of feelings obscure, a dot of sense

Survives awhile answering the shocks of life,

Then, crushed or its force spent, leaves the dead form,

Leaves the huge universe in which it lived

An insignificant unconsidered guest.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-20]

But the soul grows concealed within its house;

It gives to the body its strength and magnificence;

It follows aims in an ignorant aimless world,

It lends significance to earth's meaningless life.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-21]

A demigod animal, came thinking man;

He wallows in mud, yet heavenward soars in thought;

He plays and ponders, laughs and weeps and dreams,

Satisfies his little longings like the beast;

He pores upon life's book with student eyes.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-22]

Out of this tangle of intellect and sense,

Out of the narrow scope of finite thought

At last he wakes into spiritual mind;

A high liberty begins and luminous room:

He glimpses eternity, touches the infinite,

He meets the gods in great and sudden hours,

He feels the universe as his larger self,

Makes Space and Time his opportunity

To join the heights and depths of being in light,

In the heart's cave speaks secretly with God.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-23]

But these are touches and high moments lived;

Fragments of Truth supreme have lit his soul,

Reflections of the sun in waters still.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-24]

A few have dared the last supreme ascent

And break through borders of blinding light above,

And feel a breath around of mightier air,

Receive a vaster being's messages

And bathe in its immense intuitive Ray.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-25]

On summit Mind are radiant altitudes

Exposed to the lustre of Infinity,

Outskirts and dependencies of the house of Truth,

Upraised estates of Mind and measureless.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-26]

There man can visit but there he cannot live.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-27]

A cosmic Thought spreads out its vastitudes;

Its smallest parts are here philosophies

Challenging with their detailed immensity,

Each figuring an omniscient scheme of things.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-28]

But higher still can climb the ascending light;

There are vasts of vision and eternal suns,

Oceans of an immortal luminousness,

Flame-hills assaulting heaven with their peaks,

There dwelling all becomes a blaze of sight;

A burning head of vision leads the mind,

Thought trails behind it its long comet tail;

The heart glows, an illuminate and seer,

And sense is kindled into identity.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-29]

A highest flight climbs to a deepest view:

In a wide opening of its native sky

Intuition's lightnings range in a bright pack

Hunting all hidden truths out of their lairs,

Its fiery edge of seeing absolute

Cleaves into locked unknown retreats of self,

Rummages the sky-recesses of the brain,

Lights up the occult chambers of the heart;

Its spear-point ictus of discovery

Pressed on the cover of name, the screen of form,

Strips bare the secret soul of all that is.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-30]

Thought there has revelation's sun-bright eyes;

The Word, a mighty and inspiring Voice,

Enters Truth's inmost cabin of privacy

And tears away the veil from God and life.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-31]

Then stretches the boundless finite's last expanse,

The cosmic empire of the Overmind,

Time's buffer state bordering Eternity,

Too vast for the experience of man's soul:

All here gathers beneath one golden sky:

The Powers that build the cosmos station take

In its house of infinite possibility;

Each god from there builds his own nature's world;

Ideas are phalanxed like a group of suns,

Each marshalling his company of rays.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-32]

Thought crowds in masses seized by one regard;

All Time is one body, Space a single look:

There is the Godhead's universal gaze

And there the boundaries of immortal Mind:

The line that parts and joins the hemispheres

Closes in on the labour of the Gods

Fencing eternity from the toil of Time.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-05 F-33]

Play Section Six
[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06]



In her glorious kingdom of eternal light

All-ruler, ruled by none, the Truth supreme,

Omnipotent, omniscient and alone,

In a golden country keeps her measureless house;

In its corridor she hears the tread that comes

Out of the Unmanifest never to return

Till the Unknown is known and seen by men.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-01]

Above the stretch and blaze of cosmic Sight,

Above the silence of the wordless Thought,

Formless creator of immortal forms,

Nameless, investitured with the name divine,

Transcending Time's hours, transcending Timelessness,

The Mighty Mother sits in lucent calm

And holds the eternal Child upon her knees

Attending the day when he shall speak to Fate.

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

There is the image of our future's hope;

There is the sun for which all darkness waits,

There is the imperishable harmony;

The world's contradictions climb to her and are one:

There is the Truth of which the world's truths are shreds,

The Light of which the world's ignorance is the shade

Till Truth draws back the shade that it has cast,

The Love our hearts call down to heal all strife,

The Bliss for which the world's derelict sorrows yearn:

Thence comes the glory sometimes seen on earth,

The visits of Godhead to the human soul,

The Beauty and the dream on Nature's face.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-03]

There the perfection born from eternity

Calls to it the perfection born in Time,

The truth of God surprising human life,

The image of God overtaking finite shapes.

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

There in a world of everlasting Light,

In the realms of the immortal Supermind

Truth who hides here her head in mystery,

Her riddle deemed by reason impossible

In the stark structure of material form,

Unenigmaed lives, unmasked her face and there

Is Nature and the common law of things.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-05]

There in a body made of spirit stuff,

The hearth-stone of the everliving Fire,

Action translates the movements of the soul,

Thought steps infallible and absolute

And life is a continual worship's rite,

A sacrifice of rapture to the One.

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

A cosmic vision, a spiritual sense

Feels all the Infinite lodged in finite form

And seen through a quivering ecstasy of light

Discovers the bright face of the Bodiless,

In the truth of a moment, in the moment's soul

Can sip the honey-wine of Eternity.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-07]

A Spirit who is no one and innumerable,

The one mystic infinite Person of his world

Multiplies his myriad personality,

On all his bodies seals his divinity's stamp

And sits in each immortal and unique.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-08]

The Immobile stands behind each daily act,

A background of the movement and the scene,

Upholding creation on its might and calm

And change on the Immutable's deathless poise.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-09]

The Timeless looks out from the travelling hours;

The Ineffable puts on a robe of speech

Where all its words are woven like magic threads

Moving with beauty, inspiring with their gleam,

And every thought takes up its destined place

Recorded in the memory of the world.

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

The Truth supreme, vast and impersonal

Fits faultlessly the hour and circumstance,

Its substance a pure gold ever the same

But shaped into vessels for the spirit's use,

Its gold becomes the wine jar and the vase.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-11]

All there is a supreme epiphany:

The All-Wonderful makes a marvel of each event,

The All-Beautiful is a miracle in each shape;

The All-Blissful smites with rapture the heart's throbs,

A pure celestial joy is the use of sense.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-12]

Each being there is a member of the Self,

A portion of the million-thoughted All,

A claimant to the timeless Unity,

The many's sweetness, the joy of difference

Edged with the intimacy of the One.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-13]

“But who can show to thee Truth's glorious face?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-14]

Our human words can only shadow her.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-15]

To thought she is an unthinkable rapture of light,

To speech a marvel inexpressible.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-16]

O Death, if thou couldst touch the Truth supreme

Thou wouldst grow suddenly wise and cease to be.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-17]

If our souls could see and love and clasp God's Truth,

Its infinite radiance would seize our hearts,

Our being in God's image be remade

And earthly life become the life divine.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-18]

Then Death the last time answered Savitri:

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-19]

“If Truth supreme transcends her shadow here

Severed by Knowledge and the climbing vasts,

What bridge can cross the gulf that she has left

Between her and the dream-world she has made?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-20]

Or who could hope to bring her down to men

And persuade to tread the harsh globe with wounded feet

Leaving her unapproachable glory and bliss,

Wasting her splendour on pale earthly air?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-21]

Is thine that strength, O beauty of mortal limbs,

O soul who flutterest to escape my net?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-22]

Who then art thou hiding in human guise?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-23]

Thy voice carries the sound of infinity,

Knowledge is with thee, Truth speaks through thy words;

The light of things beyond shines in thy eyes.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-24]

But where is thy strength to conquer Time and Death?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-25]

Hast thou God's force to build heaven's values here?

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-26]

For truth and knowledge are an idle gleam

If Knowledge brings not power to change the world,

If Might comes not to give to Truth her right.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-27]

A blind Force, not Truth has made this ignorant world,

A blind Force, not Truth orders the lives of men:

By Power, not Light, the great Gods rule the world;

Power is the arm of God, the seal of Fate.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-28]

O human claimant to immortality,

Reveal thy power, lay bare thy spirit's force,

Then will I give back to thee Satyavan.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-29]

Or if the Mighty Mother is with thee,

Show me her face that I may worship her;

Let deathless eyes look into the eyes of Death,

An imperishable Force touching brute things

Transform earth's death into immortal life.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-30]

Then can thy dead return to thee and live.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-31]

The prostrate earth perhaps shall lift her gaze

And feel near her the secret body of God

And love and joy overtake fleeing Time.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-06 F-32]

Play Section Seven
[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07]


And Savitri looked on Death and answered not.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-01]

Almost it seemed as if in his symbol shape

The world's darkness had consented to Heaven-light

And God needed no more the Inconscient's screen.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-02]

A mighty transformation came on her.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-03]

A halo of the indwelling Deity,

The Immortal's lustre that had lit her face

And tented its radiance in her body's house,

Overflowing made the air a luminous sea.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-04]

In a flaming moment of apocalypse

The Incarnation thrust aside its veil.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-05]

A little figure in infinity

Yet stood and seemed the Eternal's very house,

As if the world's centre was her very soul

And all wide space was but its outer robe.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-06]

A curve of the calm hauteur of far heaven

Descending into earth's humility,

Her forehead's span vaulted the Omniscient's gaze,

Her eyes were two stars that watched the universe.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-07]

The Power that from her being's summit reigned,

The Presence chambered in lotus secrecy,

Came down and held the centre in her brow

Where the mind's Lord in his control-room sits;

There throned on concentration's native seat

He opens that third mysterious eye in man,

The Unseen's eye that looks at the unseen,

When Light with a golden ecstasy fills his brain

And the Eternal's wisdom drives his choice

And eternal Will seizes the mortal's will.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-08]

It stirred in the lotus of her throat of song,

And in her speech throbbed the immortal Word,

Her life sounded with the steps of the world-soul

Moving in harmony with the cosmic Thought.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-09]

As glides God's sun into the mystic cave

Where hides his light from the pursuing gods,

It glided into the lotus of her heart

And woke in it the Force that alters Fate.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-10]

It poured into her navel's lotus depth,

Lodged in the little life-nature's narrow home,

On the body's longings grew heaven-rapture's flower

And made desire a pure celestial flame,

Broke into the cave where coiled World-Energy sleeps

And smote the thousand-hooded serpent Force

That blazing towered and clasped the World-Self above,

Joined Matter's dumbness to the Spirit's hush

And filled earth's acts with the Spirit's silent power.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-11]

Thus changed she waited for the Word to speak.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-12]

Eternity looked into the eyes of Death

And Darkness saw God's living Reality.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-13]

Then a Voice was heard that seemed the stillness' self

Or the low calm utterance of infinity

When it speaks to the silence in the heart of sleep.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-14]

“I hail thee, almighty and victorious Death,

Thou grandiose Darkness of the Infinite.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-15]

O Void that makest room for all to be,

Hunger that gnawest at the universe

Consuming the cold remnants of the suns

And eatst the whole world with thy jaws of fire,

Waster of the energy that has made the stars,

Inconscience, carrier of the seeds of thought,

Nescience in which All-Knowledge sleeps entombed

And slowly emerges in its hollow breast

Wearing the mind's mask of bright Ignorance.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-16]

Thou art my shadow and my instrument.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-17]

I have given thee thy awful shape of dread

And thy sharp sword of terror and grief and pain

To force the soul of man to struggle for light

On the brevity of his half-conscious days.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-18]

Thou art his spur to greatness in his works,

The whip to his yearning for eternal bliss,

His poignant need of immortality.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-19]

Live, Death, awhile, be still my instrument.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-20]

One day man too shall know thy fathomless heart

Of silence and the brooding peace of Night

And grave obedience to eternal Law

And the calm inflexible pity in thy gaze.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-21]

But now, O timeless Mightiness, stand aside

And leave the path of my incarnate Force.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-22]

Relieve the radiant God from thy black mask:

Release the soul of the world called Satyavan

Freed from thy clutch of pain and ignorance

That he may stand master of life and fate,

Man's representative in the house of God,

The mate of Wisdom and the spouse of Light,

The eternal bridegroom of the eternal bride.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-23]

She spoke; Death unconvinced resisted still,

Although he knew refusing still to know,

Although he saw refusing still to see.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-24]

Unshakable he stood claiming his right.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-25]

His spirit bowed; his will obeyed the law

Of its own nature binding even on Gods.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-26]

The Two opposed each other face to face.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-27]

His being like a huge fort of darkness towered;

Around it her light grew, an ocean's siege.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-28]

Awhile the Shade survived defying heaven:

Assailing in front, oppressing from above,

A concrete mass of conscious power, he bore

The tyranny of her divine desire.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-29]

A pressure of intolerable force

Weighed on his unbowed head and stubborn breast;

Light like a burning tongue licked up his thoughts,

Light was a luminous torture in his heart,

Light coursed, a splendid agony, through his nerves;

His darkness muttered perishing in her blaze.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-30]

Her mastering Word commanded every limb

And left no room for his enormous will

That seemed pushed out into some helpless space

And could no more re-enter but left him void.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-31]

He called to Night but she fell shuddering back,

He called to Hell but sullenly it retired:

He turned to the Inconscient for support,

From which he was born, his vast sustaining self;

It drew him back towards boundless vacancy

As if by himself to swallow up himself:

He called to his strength, but it refused his call.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-32]

His body was eaten by light, his spirit devoured.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-33]

At last he knew defeat inevitable

And left crumbling the shape that he had worn,

Abandoning hope to make man's soul his prey

And force to be mortal the immortal spirit.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-34]

Afar he fled shunning her dreaded touch

And refuge took in the retreating Night.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-35]

In the dream twilight of that symbol world

The dire universal Shadow disappeared

Vanishing into the Void from which it came.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-36]

As if deprived of its original cause,

The twilight realm passed fading from their souls,

And Satyavan and Savitri were alone.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-37]

But neither stirred: between those figures rose

A mute invisible and translucent wall.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-38]

In the long blank moment's pause nothing could move:

All waited on the unknown inscrutable Will.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-39]


Book Ten Canto Four End

The Dream Twilight of the Earthly Real

[Savitri B-10 C-04 Canto Name]

Book Ten End
The Book of the Double Twilight
[Savitri B-10 Book End]