Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Savitri Part Two : Books Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight

Book Four
The Book of Birth and Quest

Canto One
The Birth and Childhood of the Flame

[Savitri B-04 C-01 Canto Name]


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


A Maenad of the cycles of desire

Around a Light she must not dare to touch,

Hastening towards a far-off unknown goal

Earth followed the endless journey of the Sun.

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


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

On the bosom of Inconscience dreamed out life

And bore this finite world of thought and deed

Across the immobile trance of the Infinite.

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


A vast immutable silence with her ran:

Prisoner of speed upon a jewelled wheel,

She communed with the mystic heart in Space.

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


Amid the ambiguous stillness of the stars

She moved towards some undisclosed event

And her rhythm measured the long whirl of Time.

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


In ceaseless motion round the purple rim

Day after day sped by like coloured spokes,

And through a glamour of shifting hues of air

The seasons drew in linked significant dance

The symbol pageant of the changing year.

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


Across the burning languor of the soil

Paced Summer with his pomp of violent noons

And stamped his tyranny of torrid light

And the blue seal of a great burnished sky.

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


Next through its fiery swoon or clotted knot

Rain-tide burst in upon torn wings of heat,

Startled with lightnings air's unquiet drowse,

Lashed with life-giving streams the torpid soil,

Overcast with flare and sound and storm-winged dark

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

Or from the gold eye of her paramour

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

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


Armies of revolution crossed the time-field,

The clouds' unending march besieged the world,

Tempests' pronunciamentos claimed the sky

And thunder drums announced the embattled gods.

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


A traveller from unquiet neighbouring seas,

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

Thick now the emissary javelins:

Enormous lightnings split the horizon's rim

And, hurled from the quarters as from contending camps,

Married heaven's edges steep and bare and blind:

A surge and hiss and onset of huge rain,

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

Throngs of wind-faces, rushing of wind-feet

Hurrying swept through the prone afflicted plains:

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

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


Then all was a swift stride, a sibilant race,

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

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


A dimness sagged on the grey floor of day,

Its dingy sprawling length joined morn to eve,

Wallowing in sludge and shower it reached black dark.

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


Day a half darkness wore as its dull dress.

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


Light looked into dawn's tarnished glass and met

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

Downpour and drip and seeping mist swayed all

And turned dry soil to bog and reeking mud:

Earth was a quagmire, heaven a dismal block.

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


None saw through dank drenched weeks the dungeon sun.

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


Even when no turmoil vexed air's sombre rest,

Or a faint ray glimmered through weeping clouds

As a sad smile gleams veiled by returning tears,

All promised brightness failed at once denied

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

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


Then a last massive deluge thrashed dead mire

And a subsiding mutter left all still,

Or only the muddy creep of sinking floods

Or only a whisper and green toss of trees.

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


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

The hours went by with slow contented tread:

A wide and tranquil air remembered peace,

Earth was the comrade of a happy sun.

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


A calmness neared as of the approach of God,

A light of musing trance lit soil and sky

And an identity and ecstasy

Filled meditation's solitary heart.

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


A dream loitered in the dumb mind of Space,

Time opened its chambers of felicity,

An exaltation entered and a hope:

An inmost self looked up to a heavenlier height,

An inmost thought kindled a hidden flame

And the inner sight adored an unseen sun.

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


Three thoughtful seasons passed with shining tread

And scanning one by one the pregnant hours

Watched for a flame that lurked in luminous depths,

The vigil of some mighty birth to come.

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


Autumn led in the glory of her moons

And dreamed in the splendour of her lotus pools

And Winter and Dew-time laid their calm cool hands

On Nature's bosom still in a half sleep

And deepened with hues of lax and mellow ease

The tranquil beauty of the waning year.

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


Then Spring, an ardent lover, leaped through leaves

And caught the earth-bride in his eager clasp;

His advent was a fire of irised hues,

His arms were a circle of the arrival of joy.

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


His voice was a call to the Transcendent's sphere

Whose secret touch upon our mortal lives

Keeps ever new the thrill that made the world,

Remoulds an ancient sweetness to new shapes

And guards intact unchanged by death and Time

The answer of our hearts to Nature's charm

And keeps for ever new, yet still the same,

The throb that ever wakes to the old delight

And beauty and rapture and the joy to live.

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


His coming brought the magic and the spell;

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

He made joy a willing prisoner in her breast.

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


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

Changed by the passion of his divine outbreak

He made her body beautiful with his kiss.

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


Impatient for felicity he came,

High-fluting with the coïl's happy voice,

His peacock turban trailing on the trees;

His breath was a warm summons to delight,

The dense voluptuous azure was his gaze.

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


A soft celestial urge surprised the blood

Rich with the instinct of God's sensuous joys;

Revealed in beauty, a cadence was abroad

Insistent on the rapture-thrill in life:

Immortal movements touched the fleeting hours.

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


A godlike packed intensity of sense

Made it a passionate pleasure even to breathe;

All sights and voices wove a single charm.

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


The life of the enchanted globe became

A storm of sweetness and of light and song,

A revel of colour and of ecstasy,

A hymn of rays, a litany of cries:

A strain of choral priestly music sang

And, swung on the swaying censer of the trees,

A sacrifice of perfume filled the hours.

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


Asocas burned in crimson spots of flame,

Pure like the breath of an unstained desire

White jasmines haunted the enamoured air,

Pale mango-blossoms fed the liquid voice

Of the love-maddened coïl, and the brown bee

Muttered in fragrance mid the honey-buds.

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


The sunlight was a great god's golden smile.

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


All Nature was at beauty's festival.

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


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


In this high signal moment of the gods

Answering earth's yearning and her cry for bliss,

A greatness from our other countries came.

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


A silence in the noise of earthly things

Immutably revealed the secret Word,

A mightier influx filled the oblivious clay:

A lamp was lit, a sacred image made.

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


A mediating ray had touched the earth

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

Its brightness linked our transience to the Unknown.

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


A spirit of its celestial source aware

Translating heaven into a human shape

Descended into earth's imperfect mould

And wept not fallen to mortality,

But looked on all with large and tranquil eyes.

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


One had returned from the transcendent planes

And bore anew the load of mortal breath,

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

She took again her divine unfinished task:

Survivor of death and the aeonic years,

Once more with her fathomless heart she fronted Time.

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


Again there was renewed, again revealed

The ancient closeness by earth-vision veiled,

The secret contact broken off in Time,

A consanguinity of earth and heaven,

Between the human portion toiling here

And an as yet unborn and limitless Force.

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


Again the mystic deep attempt began,

The daring wager of the cosmic game.

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


For since upon this blind and whirling globe

Earth-plasm first quivered with the illumining mind

And life invaded the material sheath

Afflicting Inconscience with the need to feel,

Since in Infinity's silence woke a word,

A Mother-wisdom works in Nature's breast

To pour delight on the heart of toil and want

And press perfection on life's stumbling powers,

Impose heaven-sentience on the obscure abyss

And make dumb Matter conscious of its God.

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


Although our fallen minds forget to climb,

Although our human stuff resists or breaks,

She keeps her will that hopes to divinise clay;

Failure cannot repress, defeat o'erthrow;

Time cannot weary her nor the Void subdue,

The ages have not made her passion less;

No victory she admits of Death or Fate.

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


Always she drives the soul to new attempt;

Always her magical infinitude

Forces to aspire the inert brute elements;

As one who has all infinity to waste,

She scatters the seed of the Eternal's strength

On a half-animate and crumbling mould,

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

Pours godhead's seekings into a bare beast frame,

Hides immortality in a mask of death.

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


Once more that Will put on an earthly shape.

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


A Mind empowered from Truth's immutable seat

Was framed for vision and interpreting act

And instruments were sovereignly designed

To express divinity in terrestrial signs.

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


Outlined by the pressure of this new descent

A lovelier body formed than earth had known.

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


As yet a prophecy only and a hint,

The glowing arc of a charmed unseen whole,

It came into the sky of mortal life

Bright like the crescent horn of a gold moon

Returning in a faint illumined eve.

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


At first glimmering like an unshaped idea

Passive she lay sheltered in wordless sleep,

Involved and drowned in Matter's giant trance,

An infant heart of the deep-caved world-plan

In cradle of divine inconscience rocked

By the universal ecstasy of the suns.

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


Some missioned Power in the half-wakened frame

Nursed a transcendent birth's dumb glorious seed

For which this vivid tenement was made.

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


But soon the link of soul with form grew sure;

Flooded was the dim cave with slow conscient light,

The seed grew into a delicate marvellous bud,

The bud disclosed a great and heavenly bloom.

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


At once she seemed to found a mightier race.

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


Arrived upon the strange and dubious globe

The child remembering inly a far home

Lived guarded in her spirit's luminous cell,

Alone mid men in her diviner kind.

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


Even in her childish movements could be felt

The nearness of a light still kept from earth,

Feelings that only eternity could share,

Thoughts natural and native to the gods.

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


As needing nothing but its own rapt flight

Her nature dwelt in a strong separate air

Like a strange bird with large rich-coloured breast

That sojourns on a secret fruited bough,

Lost in the emerald glory of the woods

Or flies above divine unreachable tops.

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


Harmoniously she impressed the earth with heaven.

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


Aligned to a swift rhythm of sheer delight

And singing to themselves her days went by;

Each minute was a throb of beauty's heart;

The hours were tuned to a sweet-toned content

Which asked for nothing, but took all life gave

Sovereignly as her nature's inborn right.

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


Near was her spirit to its parent Sun,

The Breath within to the eternal joy.

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


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

Mounts in a line of rapture to the skies;

Absorbed in its own happy urge it lives,

Sufficient to itself, yet turned to all:

It has no seen communion with its world,

No open converse with surrounding things.

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


There is a oneness native and occult

That needs no instruments and erects no form;

In unison it grows with all that is.

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


All contacts it assumes into its trance,

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

Transmutingly the shocks of sun and breeze:

A blissful yearning riots in its leaves,

A magic passion trembles in its blooms,

Its boughs aspire in hushed felicity.

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


An occult godhead of this beauty is cause,

The spirit and intimate guest of all this charm,

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

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


Invisibly protected from our sense

The Dryad lives drenched in a deeper ray

And feels another air of storms and calms

And quivers inwardly with mystic rain.

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


This at a heavenlier height was shown in her.

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


Even when she bent to meet earth's intimacies

Her spirit kept the stature of the gods;

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

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


A world translated was her gleaming mind,

And marvel-mooned bright crowding fantasies

Fed with spiritual sustenance of dreams

The ideal goddess in her house of gold.

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


Aware of forms to which our eyes are closed,

Conscious of nearnesses we cannot feel,

The Power within her shaped her moulding sense

In deeper figures than our surface types.

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


An invisible sunlight ran within her veins

And flooded her brain with heavenly brilliances

That woke a wider sight than earth could know.

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


Outlined in the sincerity of that ray

Her springing childlike thoughts were richly turned

Into luminous patterns of her soul's deep truth,

And from her eyes she cast another look

On all around her than man's ignorant view.

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


All objects were to her shapes of living selves

And she perceived a message from her kin

In each awakening touch of outward things.

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


Each was a symbol power, a vivid flash

In the circuit of infinities half-known;

Nothing was alien or inanimate,

Nothing without its meaning or its call.

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


For with a greater Nature she was one.

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


As from the soil sprang glory of branch and flower,

As from the animal's life rose thinking man,

A new epiphany appeared in her.

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


A mind of light, a life of rhythmic force,

A body instinct with hidden divinity

Prepared an image of the coming god;

And when the slow rhyme of the expanding years

And the rich murmurous swarm-work of the days

Had honey-packed her sense and filled her limbs,

Accomplishing the moon-orb of her grace,

Self-guarded in the silence of her strength

Her solitary greatness was not less.

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


Nearer the godhead to the surface pressed,

A sun replacing childhood's nebula

Sovereign in a blue and lonely sky.

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


Upward it rose to grasp the human scene:

The strong Inhabitant turned to watch her field.

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


A lovelier light assumed her spirit brow

And sweet and solemn grew her musing gaze;

Celestial-human deep warm slumbrous fires

Woke in the long fringed glory of her eyes

Like altar-burnings in a mysteried shrine.

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


Out of those crystal windows gleamed a will

That brought a large significance to life.

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


Holding her forehead's candid stainless space

Behind the student arch a noble power

Of wisdom looked from light on transient things.

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


A scout of victory in a vigil tower,

Her aspiration called high destiny down;

A silent warrior paced in her city of strength

Inviolate, guarding Truth's diamond throne.

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


A nectarous haloed moon her passionate heart

Loved all and spoke no word and made no sign,

But kept her bosom's rapturous secrecy

A blissful ardent moved and voiceless world.

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


Proud, swift and joyful ran the wave of life

Within her like a stream in Paradise.

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


Many high gods dwelt in one beautiful home;

Yet was her nature's orb a perfect whole,

Harmonious like a chant with many tones,

Immense and various like a universe.

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


The body that held this greatness seemed almost

An image made of heaven's transparent light.

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


Its charm recalled things seen in vision's hours,

A golden bridge spanning a faery flood,

A moon-touched palm-tree single by a lake

Companion of the wide and glimmering peace,

A murmur as of leaves in Paradise

Moving when feet of the Immortals pass,

A fiery halo over sleeping hills,

A strange and starry head alone in Night.

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



Book Four Canto One End

The Birth and Childhood of the Flame

[Savitri B-04 C-01 Canto End]


Book 4 Canto 2

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





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

Canto Two

The Growth of the Flame

[Savitri B-04 C-02 Canto Name]


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


A land of mountains and wide sun-beat plains

And giant rivers pacing to vast seas,

A field of creation and spiritual hush,

Silence swallowing life's acts into the deeps,

Of thought's transcendent climb and heavenward leap,

A brooding world of reverie and trance,

Filled with the mightiest works of God and man,

Where Nature seemed a dream of the Divine

And beauty and grace and grandeur had their home,

Harboured the childhood of the incarnate Flame.

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


Over her watched millennial influences

And the deep godheads of a grandiose past

Looked on her and saw the future's godheads come

As if this magnet drew their powers unseen.

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


Earth's brooding wisdom spoke to her still breast;

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

Making earth's brilliant thoughts a springing-board

To dive into the cosmic vastnesses,

The knowledge of the thinker and the seer

Saw the unseen and thought the unthinkable,

Opened the enormous doors of the unknown,

Rent man's horizons into infinity.

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


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

And art and beauty sprang from the human depths;

Nature and soul vied in nobility.

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


Ethics the human keyed to imitate heaven;

The harmony of a rich culture's tones

Refined the sense and magnified its reach

To hear the unheard and glimpse the invisible

And taught the soul to soar beyond things known,

Inspiring life to greaten and break its bounds,

Aspiring to the Immortals' unseen world.

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


Leaving earth's safety daring wings of Mind

Bore her above the trodden fields of thought

Crossing the mystic seas of the Beyond

To live on eagle heights near to the Sun.

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


There Wisdom sits on her eternal throne.

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


All her life's turns led her to symbol doors

Admitting to secret Powers that were her kin;

Adept of truth, initiate of bliss,

A mystic acolyte trained in Nature's school,

Aware of the marvel of created things

She laid the secrecies of her heart's deep muse

Upon the altar of the Wonderful;

Her hours were a ritual in a timeless fane;

Her acts became gestures of sacrifice.

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


Invested with a rhythm of higher spheres

The word was used as a hieratic means

For the release of the imprisoned spirit

Into communion with its comrade gods.

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


Or it helped to beat out new expressive forms

Of that which labours in the heart of life,

Some immemorial Soul in men and things,

Seeker of the unknown and the unborn

Carrying a light from the Ineffable

To rend the veil of the last mysteries.

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


Intense philosophies pointed earth to heaven

Or on foundations broad as cosmic Space

Upraised the earth-mind to superhuman heights.

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


Overpassing lines that please the outward eyes

But hide the sight of that which lives within

Sculpture and painting concentrated sense

Upon an inner vision's motionless verge,

Revealed a figure of the invisible,

Unveiled all Nature's meaning in a form,

Or caught into a body the Divine.

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


The architecture of the Infinite

Discovered here its inward-musing shapes

Captured into wide breadths of soaring stone:

Music brought down celestial yearnings, song

Held the merged heart absorbed in rapturous depths,

Linking the human with the cosmic cry;

The world-interpreting movements of the dance

Moulded idea and mood to a rhythmic sway

And posture; crafts minute in subtle lines

Eternised a swift moment's memory

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

The underlying patterns of the unseen:

Poems in largeness cast like moving worlds

And metres surging with the ocean's voice

Translated by grandeurs locked in Nature's heart

But thrown now into a crowded glory of speech

The beauty and sublimity of her forms,

The passion of her moments and her moods

Lifting the human word nearer to the god's.

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


Man's eyes could look into the inner realms;

His scrutiny discovered number's law

And organised the motions of the stars,

Mapped out the visible fashioning of the world,

Questioned the process of his thoughts or made

A theorised diagram of mind and life.

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


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

But these alone could fill not her wide Self:

A human seeking limited by its gains,

To her they seemed the great and early steps

Hazardous of a young discovering spirit

Which saw not yet by its own native light;

It tapped the universe with testing knocks

Or stretched to find truth mind's divining rod;

There was a growing out to numberless sides,

But not the widest seeing of the soul,

Not yet the vast direct immediate touch,

Nor yet the art and wisdom of the Gods.

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


A boundless knowledge greater than man's thought,

A happiness too high for heart and sense

Locked in the world and yearning for release

She felt in her; waiting as yet for form,

It asked for objects around which to grow

And natures strong to bear without recoil

The splendour of her native royalty,

Her greatness and her sweetness and her bliss,

Her might to possess and her vast power to love:

Earth made a stepping-stone to conquer heaven,

The soul saw beyond heaven's limiting boundaries,

Met a great light from the Unknowable

And dreamed of a transcendent action's sphere.

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


Aware of the universal Self in all

She turned to living hearts and human forms,

Her soul's reflections, complements, counterparts,

The close outlying portions of her being

Divided from her by walls of body and mind

Yet to her spirit bound by ties divine.

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


Overcoming invisible hedge and masked defence

And the loneliness that separates soul from soul,

She wished to make all one immense embrace

That she might house in it all living things

Raised into a splendid point of seeing light

Out of division's dense inconscient cleft,

And make them one with God and world and her.

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


Only a few responded to her call:

Still fewer felt the screened divinity

And strove to mate its godhead with their own,

Approaching with some kinship to her heights.

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


Uplifted towards luminous secrecies

Or conscious of some splendour hidden above

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

Glimpsing a light in a celestial vast,

But could not keep the vision and the power

And fell back to life's dull ordinary tone.

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


A mind daring heavenly experiment,

Growing towards some largeness they felt near,

Testing the unknown's bound with eager touch

They still were prisoned by their human grain:

They could not keep up with her tireless step;

Too small and eager for her large-paced will,

Too narrow to look with the unborn Infinite's gaze

Their nature weary grew of things too great.

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


For even the close partners of her thoughts

Who could have walked the nearest to her ray,

Worshipped the power and light they felt in her

But could not match the measure of her soul.

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


A friend and yet too great wholly to know,

She walked in their front towards a greater light,

Their leader and queen over their hearts and souls,

One close to their bosoms, yet divine and far.

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


Admiring and amazed they saw her stride

Attempting with a godlike rush and leap

Heights for their human stature too remote

Or with a slow great many-sided toil

Pushing towards aims they hardly could conceive;

Yet forced to be the satellites of her sun

They moved unable to forego her light,

Desiring they clutched at her with outstretched hands

Or followed stumbling in the paths she made.

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


Or longing with their self of life and flesh

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

The rest they could not see in visible light;

Vaguely they bore her inner mightiness.

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


Or bound by the senses and the longing heart,

Adoring with a turbid human love,

They could not grasp the mighty spirit she was

Or change by closeness to be even as she.

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


Some felt her with their souls and thrilled with her,

A greatness felt near yet beyond mind's grasp;

To see her was a summons to adore,

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

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


So men worship a god too great to know,

Too high, too vast to wear a limiting shape;

They feel a Presence and obey a might,

Adore a love whose rapture invades their breasts;

To a divine ardour quickening the heart-beats,

A law they follow greatening heart and life.

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


Opened to the breath is a new diviner air,

Opened to man is a freer, happier world:

He sees high steps climbing to Self and Light.

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


Her divine parts the soul's allegiance called:

It saw, it felt, it knew the deity.

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


Her will was puissant on their nature's acts,

Her heart's inexhaustible sweetness lured their hearts,

A being they loved whose bounds exceeded theirs;

Her measure they could not reach but bore her touch,

Answering with the flower's answer to the sun

They gave themselves to her and asked no more.

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


One greater than themselves, too wide for their ken,

Their minds could not understand nor wholly know,

Their lives replied to hers, moved at her words:

They felt a godhead and obeyed a call,

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

Their lives, their natures moved compelled by hers

As if the truth of their own larger selves

Put on an aspect of divinity

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

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


They felt a larger future meet their walk;

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

They were moved by her towards great unknown things,

Faith drew them and the joy to feel themselves hers;

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

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


Some turned to her against their nature's bent;

Divided between wonder and revolt,

Drawn by her charm and mastered by her will,

Possessed by her, her striving to possess,

Impatient subjects, their tied longing hearts

Hugging the bonds close of which they most complained,

Murmured at a yoke they would have wept to lose,

The splendid yoke of her beauty and her love:

Others pursued her with life's blind desires

And claiming all of her as their lonely own,

Hastened to engross her sweetness meant for all.

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


As earth claims light for its lone separate need

Demanding her for their sole jealous clasp,

They asked from her movements bounded like their own

And to their smallness craved a like response.

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


Or they repined that she surpassed their grip,

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

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


Or finding her touch desired too strong to bear

They blamed her for a tyranny they loved,

Shrank into themselves as from too bright a sun,

Yet hankered for the splendour they refused.

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


Angrily enamoured of her sweet passionate ray

The weakness of their earth could hardly bear,

They longed but cried out at the touch desired

Inapt to meet divinity so close,

Intolerant of a Force they could not house.

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


Some drawn unwillingly by her divine sway

Endured it like a sweet but alien spell;

Unable to mount to levels too sublime,

They yearned to draw her down to their own earth.

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


Or forced to centre round her their passionate lives,

They hoped to bind to their heart's human needs

Her glory and grace that had enslaved their souls.

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


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


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

None could stand up her equal and her mate.

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


In vain she stooped to equal them with her heights,

Too pure that air was for small souls to breathe.

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


These comrade selves to raise to her own wide breadths

Her heart desired and fill with her own power

That a diviner Force might enter life,

A breath of Godhead greaten human time.

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


Although she leaned down to their littleness

Covering their lives with her strong passionate hands

And knew by sympathy their needs and wants

And dived in the shallow wave-depths of their lives

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

And bent to heal their sorrow and their pride,

Lavishing the might that was hers on her lone peak

To lift to it their aspiration's cry,

And though she drew their souls into her vast

And surrounded with the silence of her deeps

And held as the great Mother holds her own,

Only her earthly surface bore their charge

And mixed its fire with their mortality:

Her greater self lived sole, unclaimed, within.

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


Oftener in dumb Nature's stir and peace

A nearness she could feel serenely one;

The Force in her drew earth's subhuman broods;

And to her spirit's large and free delight

She joined the ardent-hued magnificent lives

Of animal and bird and flower and tree.

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


They answered to her with the simple heart.

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


In man a dim disturbing somewhat lives;

It knows but turns away from divine Light

Preferring the dark ignorance of the fall.

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


Among the many who came drawn to her

Nowhere she found her partner of high tasks,

The comrade of her soul, her other self

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

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


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

Too great was her demand, too pure her force.

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


Thus lighting earth around her like a sun,

Yet in her inmost sky an orb aloof,

A distance severed her from those most close.

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


Puissant, apart her soul as the gods live.

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


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


As yet unlinked with the broad human scene,

In a small circle of young eager hearts,

Her being's early school and closed domain,

Apprentice in the business of earth-life,

She schooled her heavenly strain to bear its touch,

Content in her little garden of the gods

As blooms a flower in an unvisited place.

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


Earth nursed, unconscious still, the inhabiting flame,

Yet something deeply stirred and dimly knew;

There was a movement and a passionate call,

A rainbow dream, a hope of golden change;

Some secret wing of expectation beat,

A growing sense of something new and rare

And beautiful stole across the heart of Time.

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


Then a faint whisper of her touched the soil,

Breathed like a hidden need the soul divines;

The eye of the great world discovered her

And wonder lifted up its bardic voice.

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


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

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

Her name ran murmuring on the lips of men

Exalted and sweet like an inspired verse

Struck from the epic lyre of rumour's winds

Or sung like a chanted thought by the poet Fame.

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


But like a sacred symbol's was that cult.

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


Admired, unsought, intangible to the grasp

Her beauty and flaming strength were seen afar

Like lightning playing with the fallen day,

A glory unapproachably divine.

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


No equal heart came close to join her heart,

No transient earthly love assailed her calm,

No hero passion had the strength to seize;

No eyes demanded her replying eyes.

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


A Power within her awed the imperfect flesh;

The self-protecting genius in our clay

Divined the goddess in the woman's shape

And drew back from a touch beyond its kind

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

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


The hearts of men are amorous of clay-kin

And bear not spirits lone and high who bring

Fire-intimations from the deathless planes

Too vast for souls not born to mate with heaven.

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


Whoever is too great must lonely live.

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


Adored he walks in mighty solitude;

Vain is his labour to create his kind,

His only comrade is the Strength within.

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


Thus was it for a while with Savitri.

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


All worshipped marvellingly, none dared to claim.

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


Her mind sat high pouring its golden beams,

Her heart was a crowded temple of delight.

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


A single lamp lit in perfection's house,

A bright pure image in a priestless shrine,

Midst those encircling lives her spirit dwelt,

Apart in herself until her hour of fate.

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


Book Four Canto Two End

The Growth of the Flame

[Savitri B-04 C-02 Canto End]



Book 4 Canto 3

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Four
The Book of Birth and Quest

Canto Three

The Call to the Quest

[Savitri B-04 C-03 Canto Name]


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


A morn that seemed a new creation's front,

Bringing a greater sunlight, happier skies,

Came burdened with a beauty moved and strange

Out of the changeless origin of things.

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


An ancient longing struck again new roots:

The air drank deep of unfulfilled desire;

The high trees trembled with a wandering wind

Like souls that quiver at the approach of joy,

And in a bosom of green secrecy

For ever of its one love-note untired

A lyric coïl cried among the leaves.

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


Away from the terrestrial murmur turned

Where transient calls and answers mix their flood,

King Aswapati listened through the ray

To other sounds than meet the sense-formed ear.

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


On a subtle interspace which rings our life,

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

The inaudible strain in Nature could be caught;

Across this cyclic tramp of eager lives,

Across the deep urgency of present cares,

Earth's wordless hymn to the Ineffable

Arose from the silent heart of the cosmic Void;

He heard the voice repressed of unborn Powers

Murmuring behind the luminous bars of Time.

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


Again the mighty yearning raised its flame

That asks a perfect life on earth for men

And prays for certainty in the uncertain mind

And shadowless bliss for suffering human hearts

And Truth embodied in an ignorant world

And godhead divinising mortal forms.

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


A word that leaped from some far sky of thought,

Admitted by the cowled receiving scribe

Traversed the echoing passages of his brain

And left its stamp on the recording cells.

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


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

O petty adventurers in an infinite world

And prisoners of a dwarf humanity,

How long will you tread the circling tracks of mind

Around your little self and petty things?

But not for a changeless littleness were you meant,

Not for vain repetition were you built;

Out of the Immortal's substance you were made;

Your actions can be swift revealing steps,

Your life a changeful mould for growing gods.

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


A Seer, a strong Creator, is within,

The immaculate Grandeur broods upon your days,

Almighty powers are shut in Nature's cells.


A greater destiny waits you in your front:

This transient earthly being if he wills

Can fit his acts to a transcendent scheme.

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


He who now stares at the world with ignorant eyes

Hardly from the Inconscient's night aroused,

That look at images and not at Truth,

Can fill those orbs with an immortal's sight.

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


Yet shall the godhead grow within your hearts,

You shall awake into the spirit's air

And feel the breaking walls of mortal mind

And hear the message which left life's heart dumb

And look through Nature with sun-gazing lids

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

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


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

To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul

And touch the mighty Mother stark awake

And meet the Omnipotent in this house of flesh

And make of life the million-bodied One.

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


The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven;

The life you lead conceals the light you are.

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


Immortal Powers sweep flaming past your doors;

Far-off upon your tops the god-chant sounds

While to exceed yourselves thought's trumpets call,

Heard by a few, but fewer dare aspire,

The nympholepts of the ecstasy and the blaze.

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


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

Her force and will exceed her form and fate.

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


A goddess in a net of transience caught,

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

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

And builds to hope her altars of despair,

Knows that one high step might enfranchise all

And, suffering, looks for greatness in her sons.

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


But dim in human hearts the ascending fire,

The invisible Grandeur sits unworshipped there;

Man sees the Highest in a limiting form

Or looks upon a Person, hears a Name.

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


He turns for little gains to ignorant Powers

Or kindles his altar lights to a demon face.

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


He loves the Ignorance fathering his pain.

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


A spell is laid upon his glorious strengths;

He has lost the inner Voice that led his thoughts,

And masking the oracular tripod seat

A specious Idol fills the marvel shrine.

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


The great Illusion wraps him in its veils,

The soul's deep intimations come in vain,

In vain is the unending line of seers,

The sages ponder in unsubstantial light,

The poets lend their voice to outward dreams,

A homeless fire inspires the prophet tongues.

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


Heaven's flaming lights descend and back return,

The luminous Eye approaches and retires;

Eternity speaks, none understands its word;

Fate is unwilling and the Abyss denies;

The Inconscient's mindless waters block all done.

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


Only a little lifted is Mind's screen;

The Wise who know see but one half of Truth,

The strong climb hardly to a low-peaked height,

The hearts that yearn are given one hour to love.

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


His tale half told, falters the secret Bard;

The gods are still too few in mortal forms.”

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


The Voice withdrew into its hidden skies.

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


But like a shining answer from the gods

Approached through sun-bright spaces Savitri.

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


Advancing amid tall heaven-pillaring trees,

Apparelled in her flickering-coloured robe

She seemed, burning towards the eternal realms,

A bright moved torch of incense and of flame

That from the sky-roofed temple-soil of earth

A pilgrim hand lifts in an invisible shrine.

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


There came the gift of a revealing hour:

He saw through depths that reinterpret all,

Limited not now by the dull body's eyes,

New-found through an arch of clear discovery,

This intimation of the world's delight,

This wonder of the divine Artist's make

Carved like a nectar-cup for thirsty gods,

This breathing Scripture of the Eternal's joy,

This net of sweetness woven of aureate fire.

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


Transformed the delicate image-face became

A deeper Nature's self-revealing sign,

A gold-leaf palimpsest of sacred births,

A grave world-symbol chiselled out of life.

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


Her brow, a copy of clear unstained heavens,

Was meditation's pedestal and defence,

The very room and smile of musing Space,

Its brooding line infinity's symbol curve.

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


Amid her tresses' cloudy multitude

Her long eyes shadowed as by wings of Night

Under that moon-gold forehead's dreaming breadth

Were seas of love and thought that held the world;

Marvelling at life and earth they saw truths far.

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


A deathless meaning filled her mortal limbs;

As in a golden vase's poignant line

They seemed to carry the rhythmic sob of bliss

Of earth's mute adoration towards heaven

Released in beauty's cry of living form

Towards the perfection of eternal things.

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


Transparent grown the ephemeral living dress

Bared the expressive deity to his view.

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


Escaped from surface sight and mortal sense

The seizing harmony of its shapes became

The strange significant icon of a Power

Renewing its inscrutable descent

Into a human figure of its works

That stood out in life's bold abrupt relief

On the soil of the evolving universe,

A godhead sculptured on a wall of thought,

Mirrored in the flowing hours and dimly shrined

In Matter as in a cathedral cave.

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


Annulled were the transient values of the mind,

The body's sense renounced its earthly look;

Immortal met immortal in their gaze.

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


Awaked from the close spell of daily use

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

He saw through the familiar cherished limbs

The great and unknown spirit born his child.

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


An impromptu from the deeper sight within,

Thoughts rose in him that knew not their own scope.

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


Then to those large and brooding depths whence Love

Regarded him across the straits of mind,

He spoke in sentences from the unseen Heights.

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


For the hidden prompters of our speech sometimes

Can use the formulas of a moment's mood

To weigh unconscious lips with words from Fate:

A casual passing phrase can change our life.

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


“O spirit, traveller of eternity,

Who cam'st from the immortal spaces here

Armed for the splendid hazard of thy life

To set thy conquering foot on Chance and Time,

The moon shut in her halo dreams like thee.

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


A mighty Presence still defends thy frame.

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


Perhaps the heavens guard thee for some great soul,

Thy fate, thy work are kept somewhere afar.

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


Thy spirit came not down a star alone.

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


O living inscription of the beauty of love

Missalled in aureate virginity,

What message of heavenly strength and bliss in thee

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

One shall discover and greaten with it his life

To whom thou loosenest thy heart's jewelled strings.

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


O rubies of silence, lips from which there stole

Low laughter, music of tranquillity,

Star-lustrous eyes awake in sweet large night

And limbs like fine-linked poems made of gold

Stanzaed to glimmering curves by artist gods,

Depart where love and destiny call your charm.

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


Venture through the deep world to find thy mate.

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


For somewhere on the longing breast of earth,

Thy unknown lover waits for thee the unknown.

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


Thy soul has strength and needs no other guide

Than One who burns within thy bosom's powers.

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


There shall draw near to meet thy approaching steps

The second self for whom thy nature asks,

He who shall walk until thy body's end

A close-bound traveller pacing with thy pace,

The lyrist of thy soul's most intimate chords

Who shall give voice to what in thee is mute.

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


Then shall you grow like vibrant kindred harps,

One in the beats of difference and delight,

Responsive in divine and equal strains,

Discovering new notes of the eternal theme.

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


One force shall be your mover and your guide,

One light shall be around you and within;

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

Challenge the ordeal of the immense disguise.

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


Ascend from Nature to divinity's heights;

Face the high gods, crowned with felicity,

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

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


This word was seed of all the thing to be:

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

And showed the work for which her strength was born.

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


As when the mantra sinks in Yoga's ear,

Its message enters stirring the blind brain

And keeps in the dim ignorant cells its sound;

The hearer understands a form of words

And, musing on the index thought it holds,

He strives to read it with the labouring mind,

But finds bright hints, not the embodied truth:

Then, falling silent in himself to know

He meets the deeper listening of his soul:

The Word repeats itself in rhythmic strains:

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

Are seized unutterably and he endures

An ecstasy and an immortal change;

He feels a Wideness and becomes a Power,

All knowledge rushes on him like a sea:

Transmuted by the white spiritual ray

He walks in naked heavens of joy and calm,

Sees the God-face and hears transcendent speech:

An equal greatness in her life was sown.

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


Accustomed scenes were now an ended play:

Moving in muse amid familiar powers,

Touched by new magnitudes and fiery signs,

She turned to vastnesses not yet her own;

Allured her heart throbbed to unknown sweetnesses;

The secrets of an unseen world were close.

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


The morn went up into a smiling sky;

Cast from its sapphire pinnacle of trance

Day sank into the burning gold of eve;

The moon floated, a luminous waif through heaven

And sank below the oblivious edge of dream;

Night lit the watch-fires of eternity.

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


Then all went back into mind's secret caves;

A darkness stooping on the heaven-bird's wings

Sealed in her senses from external sight

And opened the stupendous depths of sleep.

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


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

Vainly the new-born light desired her face;

The palace woke to its own emptiness;

The sovereign of its daily joys was far;

Her moonbeam feet tinged not the lucent floors:

The beauty and divinity were gone.

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


Delight had fled to search the spacious world.

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


Book Four Canto Three End

The Call to the Quest

[Savitri B-04 C-03 End]




Book 4 Canto 4

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Four
The Book of Birth and Quest

Canto Four

The Quest

[Savitri B-04 C-04 Canto Name]


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


The world-ways opened before Savitri.

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


At first a strangeness of new brilliant scenes

Peopled her mind and kept her body's gaze.

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


But as she moved across the changing earth

A deeper consciousness welled up in her:

A citizen of many scenes and climes,

Each soil and country it had made its home;

It took all clans and peoples for her own,

Till the whole destiny of mankind was hers.

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


These unfamiliar spaces on her way

Were known and neighbours to a sense within,

Landscapes recurred like lost forgotten fields,

Cities and rivers and plains her vision claimed

Like slow-recurring memories in front,

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

The winds murmured to her of ancient things

And she met nameless comrades loved by her once.

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


All was a part of old forgotten selves:

Vaguely or with a flash of sudden hints

Her acts recalled a line of bygone power,

Even her motion's purpose was not new:

Traveller to a prefigured high event,

She seemed to her remembering witness soul

To trace again a journey often made.

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


A guidance turned the dumb revolving wheels

And in the eager body of their speed

The dim-masked hooded godheads rode who move

Assigned to man immutably from his birth,

Receivers of the inner and outer law,

At once the agents of his spirit's will

And witnesses and executors of his fate.

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


Inexorably faithful to their task,

They hold his nature's sequence in their guard

Carrying the unbroken thread old lives have spun.

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


Attendants on his destiny's measured walk

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

Even in his casual steps they intervene.

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


Nothing we think or do is void or vain;

Each is an energy loosed and holds its course.

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


The shadowy keepers of our deathless past

Have made our fate the child of our own acts,

And from the furrows laboured by our will

We reap the fruit of our forgotten deeds.

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


But since unseen the tree that bore this fruit

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

They seem but parts of a mechanic Force

To a mechanic mind tied by earth's laws;

Yet are they instruments of a Will supreme,

Watched by a still all-seeing Eye above.

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


A prescient architect of Fate and Chance

Who builds our lives on a foreseen design

The meaning knows and consequence of each step

And watches the inferior stumbling powers.

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


Upon her silent heights she was aware

Of a calm Presence throned above her brows

Who saw the goal and chose each fateful curve;

It used the body for its pedestal;

The eyes that wandered were its searchlight fires,

The hands that held the reins its living tools;

All was the working of an ancient plan,

A way proposed by an unerring Guide.

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


Across wide noons and glowing afternoons,

She met with Nature and with human forms

And listened to the voices of the world;

Driven from within she followed her long road,

Mute in the luminous cavern of her heart,

Like a bright cloud through the resplendent day.

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


At first her path ran far through peopled tracts:

Admitted to the lion eye of States

And theatres of the loud act of man,

Her carven chariot with its fretted wheels

Threaded through clamorous marts and sentinel towers

Past figured gates and high dream-sculptured fronts

And gardens hung in the sapphire of the skies,

Pillared assembly halls with armoured guards,

Small fanes where one calm Image watched man's life

And temples hewn as if by exiled gods

To imitate their lost eternity.

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


Often from gilded dusk to argent dawn,

Where jewel-lamps flickered on frescoed walls

And the stone lattice stared at moonlit boughs,

Half-conscious of the tardy listening night

Dimly she glided between banks of sleep

At rest in the slumbering palaces of kings.

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


Hamlet and village saw the fate-wain pass,

Homes of a life bent to the soil it ploughs

For sustenance of its short and passing days

That, transient, keep their old repeated course,

Unchanging in the circle of a sky

Which alters not above our mortal toil.

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


Away from this thinking creature's burdened hours

To free and griefless spaces now she turned

Not yet perturbed by human joys and fears.

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


Here was the childhood of primaeval earth,

Here timeless musings large and glad and still,

Men had forborne as yet to fill with cares,

Imperial acres of the eternal sower

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

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

In the grove's murmurous bee-air humming wild

Or past the long lapsing voice of silver floods

Like a swift hope journeying among its dreams

Hastened the chariot of the golden bride.

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


Out of the world's immense unhuman past

Tract-memories and ageless remnants came,

Domains of light enfeoffed to antique calm

Listened to the unaccustomed sound of hooves

And large immune entangled silences

Absorbed her into emerald secrecy

And slow hushed wizard nets of fiery bloom

Environed with their coloured snare her wheels.

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


The strong importunate feet of Time fell soft

Along these lonely ways, his titan pace

Forgotten and his stark and ruinous rounds.

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


The inner ear that listens to solitude,

Leaning self-rapt unboundedly could hear

The rhythm of the intenser wordless Thought

That gathers in the silence behind life,

And the low sweet inarticulate voice of earth

In the great passion of her sun-kissed trance

Ascended with its yearning undertone.

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


Afar from the brute noise of clamorous needs

The quieted all-seeking mind could feel,

At rest from its blind outwardness of will,

The unwearied clasp of her mute patient love

And know for a soul the mother of our forms.

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


This spirit stumbling in the fields of sense,

This creature bruised in the mortar of the days

Could find in her broad spaces of release.

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


Not yet was a world all occupied by care.

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


The bosom of our mother kept for us still

Her austere regions and her musing depths,

Her impersonal reaches lonely and inspired

And the mightinesses of her rapture haunts.

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


Muse-lipped she nursed her symbol mysteries

And guarded for her pure-eyed sacraments

The valley clefts between her breasts of joy,

Her mountain altars for the fires of dawn

And nuptial beaches where the ocean couched

And the huge chanting of her prophet woods.

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


Fields had she of her solitary mirth,

Plains hushed and happy in the embrace of light,

Alone with the cry of birds and hue of flowers,

And wildernesses of wonder lit by her moons

And grey seer-evenings kindling with the stars

And dim movement in the night's infinitude.

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


August, exulting in her Maker's eye,

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

Conversed still with a Light behind the veil,

Still communed with Eternity beyond.

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


A few and fit inhabitants she called

To share the glad communion of her peace;

The breadth, the summit were their natural home.

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


The strong king-sages from their labour done,

Freed from the warrior tension of their task,

Came to her serene sessions in these wilds;

The strife was over, the respite lay in front.

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


Happy they lived with birds and beasts and flowers

And sunlight and the rustle of the leaves,

And heard the wild winds wandering in the night,

Mused with the stars in their mute constant ranks,

And lodged in the mornings as in azure tents,

And with the glory of the noons were one.

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


Some deeper plunged; from life's external clasp

Beckoned into a fiery privacy

In the soul's unprofaned star-white recess

They sojourned with an everliving Bliss;

A Voice profound in the ecstasy and the hush

They heard, beheld an all-revealing Light.

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


All time-made difference they overcame;

The world was fibred with their own heart-strings;

Close drawn to the heart that beats in every breast,

They reached the one self in all through boundless love.

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


Attuned to Silence and to the world-rhyme,

They loosened the knot of the imprisoning mind;

Achieved was the wide untroubled witness gaze,

Unsealed was Nature's great spiritual eye;

To the height of heights rose now their daily climb:

Truth leaned to them from her supernal realm;

Above them blazed eternity's mystic suns.

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


Nameless the austere ascetics without home

Abandoning speech and motion and desire

Aloof from creatures sat absorbed, alone,

Immaculate in tranquil heights of self

On concentration's luminous voiceless peaks,

World-naked hermits with their matted hair

Immobile as the passionless great hills

Around them grouped like thoughts of some vast mood

Awaiting the Infinite's behest to end.

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


The seers attuned to the universal Will,

Content in Him who smiles behind earth's forms,

Abode ungrieved by the insistent days.

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


About them like green trees girdling a hill

Young grave disciples fashioned by their touch,

Trained to the simple act and conscious word,

Greatened within and grew to meet their heights.

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


Far-wandering seekers on the Eternal's path

Brought to these quiet founts their spirit's thirst

And spent the treasure of a silent hour

Bathed in the purity of the mild gaze

That, uninsistent, ruled them from its peace,

And by its influence found the ways of calm.

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


The Infants of the monarchy of the worlds,

The heroic leaders of a coming time,

King-children nurtured in that spacious air

Like lions gambolling in sky and sun

Received half-consciously their godlike stamp:

Formed in the type of the high thoughts they sang

They learned the wide magnificence of mood

That makes us comrades of the cosmic urge,

No longer chained to their small separate selves,

Plastic and firm beneath the eternal hand,

Met Nature with a bold and friendly clasp

And served in her the Power that shapes her works.

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


One-souled to all and free from narrowing bonds,

Large like a continent of warm sunshine

In wide equality's impartial joy,

These sages breathed for God's delight in things.

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


Assisting the slow entries of the gods,

Sowing in young minds immortal thoughts they lived,

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

Or opened the gates of freedom to a few.

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


Imparting to our struggling world the Light

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

Comrades and vessels of the cosmic Force,

Using a natural mastery like the sun's:

Their speech, their silence was a help to earth.

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


A magic happiness flowed from their touch;

Oneness was sovereign in that sylvan peace,

The wild beast joined in friendship with its prey;

Persuading the hatred and the strife to cease

The love that flows from the one Mother's breast

Healed with their hearts the hard and wounded world.

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


Others escaped from the confines of thought

To where Mind motionless sleeps waiting Light's birth,

And came back quivering with a nameless Force,

Drunk with a wine of lightning in their cells;

Intuitive knowledge leaping into speech,

Seized, vibrant, kindling with the inspired word,

Hearing the subtle voice that clothes the heavens,

Carrying the splendour that has lit the suns,

They sang Infinity's names and deathless powers

In metres that reflect the moving worlds,

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

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


Some lost to the person and his strip of thought

In a motionless ocean of impersonal Power,

Sat mighty, visioned with the Infinite's light,

Or, comrades of the everlasting Will,

Surveyed the plan of past and future Time.

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


Some winged like birds out of the cosmic sea

And vanished into a bright and featureless Vast:

Some silent watched the universal dance,

Or helped the world by world-indifference.

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


Some watched no more merged in a lonely Self,

Absorbed in the trance from which no soul returns,

All the occult world-lines for ever closed,

The chains of birth and person cast away:

Some uncompanioned reached the Ineffable.

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


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


As floats a sunbeam through a shady place,

The golden virgin in her carven car

Came gliding among meditation's seats.

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


Often in twilight mid returning troops

Of cattle thickening with their dust the shades

When the loud day had slipped below the verge,

Arriving in a peaceful hermit grove

She rested drawing round her like a cloak

Its spirit of patient muse and potent prayer.

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


Or near to a lion river's tawny mane

And trees that worshipped on a praying shore,

A domed and templed air's serene repose

Beckoned to her hurrying wheels to stay their speed.

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


In the solemnity of a space that seemed

A mind remembering ancient silences,

Where to the heart great bygone voices called

And the large liberty of brooding seers

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

Awake in candid dawn or darkness mooned,

To the still touch inclined the daughter of Flame

Drank in hushed splendour between tranquil lids

And felt the kinship of eternal calm.

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


But morn broke in reminding her of her quest

And from low rustic couch or mat she rose

And went impelled on her unfinished way

And followed the fateful orbit of her life

Like a desire that questions silent gods

Then passes starlike to some bright Beyond.

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


Thence to great solitary tracts she came,

Where man was a passer-by towards human scenes

Or sole in Nature's vastness strove to live

And called for help to ensouled invisible Powers,

Overwhelmed by the immensity of his world

And unaware of his own infinity.

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


The earth multiplied to her a changing brow

And called her with a far and nameless voice.

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


The mountains in their anchorite solitude,

The forests with their multitudinous chant

Disclosed to her the masked divinity's doors.

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


On dreaming plains, an indolent expanse,

The death-bed of a pale enchanted eve

Under the glamour of a sunken sky,

Impassive she lay as at an age's end,

Or crossed an eager pack of huddled hills

Lifting their heads to hunt a lairlike sky,

Or travelled in a strange and empty land

Where desolate summits camped in a weird heaven,

Mute sentinels beneath a drifting moon,

Or wandered in some lone tremendous wood

Ringing for ever with the crickets' cry

Or followed a long glistening serpent road

Through fields and pastures lapped in moveless light

Or reached the wild beauty of a desert space

Where never plough was driven nor herd had grazed

And slumbered upon stripped and thirsty sands

Amid the savage wild-beast night's appeal.

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


Still unaccomplished was the fateful quest;

Still she found not the one predestined face

For which she sought amid the sons of men.

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


A grandiose silence wrapped the regal day:

The months had fed the passion of the sun

And now his burning breath assailed the soil.

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


The tiger heats prowled through the fainting earth;

All was licked up as by a lolling tongue.

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


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

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


Book Four Canto Four End

The Quest

[Savitri B-04 C-04 Canto End]


Book Four End
[Savitri B-04 Book End]

Book 5 All Cantos

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Five All Cantos
The Book of Love

Canto One

The Destined Meeting-Place

[Savitri B-05 C-01 Canto Name]


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


But now the destined spot and hour were close;

Unknowing she had neared her nameless goal.

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


For though a dress of blind and devious chance

Is laid upon the work of all-wise Fate,

Our acts interpret an omniscient Force

That dwells in the compelling stuff of things,

And nothing happens in the cosmic play

But at its time and in its foreseen place.

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


To a space she came of soft and delicate air

That seemed a sanctuary of youth and joy,

A highland world of free and green delight

Where spring and summer lay together and strove

In indolent and amicable debate,

Inarmed, disputing with laughter who should rule.

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


There expectation beat wide sudden wings

As if a soul had looked out from earth's face,

And all that was in her felt a coming change

And forgetting obvious joys and common dreams,

Obedient to Time's call, to the spirit's fate,

Was lifted to a beauty calm and pure

That lived under the eyes of Eternity.

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


A crowd of mountainous heads assailed the sky

Pushing towards rival shoulders nearer heaven,

The armoured leaders of an iron line;

Earth prostrate lay beneath their feet of stone.

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


Below them crouched a dream of emerald woods

And gleaming borders solitary as sleep:

Pale waters ran like glimmering threads of pearl.

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


A sigh was straying among happy leaves;

Cool-perfumed with slow pleasure-burdened feet

Faint stumbling breezes faltered among flowers.

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


The white crane stood, a vivid motionless streak,

Peacock and parrot jewelled soil and tree,

The dove's soft moan enriched the enamoured air

And fire-winged wild-drakes swam in silvery pools.

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


Earth couched alone with her great lover Heaven,

Uncovered to her consort's azure eye.

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


In a luxurious ecstasy of joy

She squandered the love-music of her notes,

Wasting the passionate pattern of her blooms

And festival riot of her scents and hues.

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


A cry and leap and hurry was around,

The stealthy footfalls of her chasing things,

The shaggy emerald of her centaur mane,

The gold and sapphire of her warmth and blaze.

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


Magician of her rapt felicities,

Blithe, sensuous-hearted, careless and divine,

Life ran or hid in her delightful rooms;

Behind all brooded Nature's grandiose calm.

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


Primaeval peace was there and in its bosom

Held undisturbed the strife of bird and beast.

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


Man the deep-browed artificer had not come

To lay his hand on happy inconscient things,

Thought was not there nor the measurer, strong-eyed toil,

Life had not learned its discord with its aim.

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


The Mighty Mother lay outstretched at ease.

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


All was in line with her first satisfied plan;

Moved by a universal will of joy

The trees bloomed in their green felicity

And the wild children brooded not on pain.

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


At the end reclined a stern and giant tract

Of tangled depths and solemn questioning hills,

Peaks like a bare austerity of the soul,

Armoured, remote and desolately grand

Like the thought-screened infinities that lie

Behind the rapt smile of the Almighty's dance.

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


A matted forest-head invaded heaven

As if a blue-throated ascetic peered

From the stone fastness of his mountain cell

Regarding the brief gladness of the days;

His vast extended spirit couched behind.

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


A mighty murmur of immense retreat

Besieged the ear, a sad and limitless call

As of a soul retiring from the world.

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


This was the scene which the ambiguous Mother

Had chosen for her brief felicitous hour;

Here in this solitude far from the world

Her part she began in the world's joy and strife.

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


Here were disclosed to her the mystic courts,

The lurking doors of beauty and surprise,

The wings that murmur in the golden house,

The temple of sweetness and the fiery aisle.

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


A stranger on the sorrowful roads of Time,

Immortal under the yoke of death and fate,

A sacrificant of the bliss and pain of the spheres,

Love in the wilderness met Savitri.

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


Book Five Canto One End

The Destined Meeting-Place

[Savitri B-05 C-01 Canto End]

Book 5 Canto 2

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Five
The Book of Love

Canto Two


[Savitri B-05 C-02 Canto Name]


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


All she remembered on this day of Fate,

The road that hazarded not the solemn depths

But turned away to flee to human homes,

The wilderness with its mighty monotone,

The morning like a lustrous seer above,

The passion of the summits lost in heaven,

The titan murmur of the endless woods.

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


As if a wicket gate to joy were there

Ringed in with voiceless hint and magic sign,

Upon the margin of an unknown world

Reclined the curve of a sun-held recess;

Groves with strange flowers like eyes of gazing nymphs

Peered from their secrecy into open space,

Boughs whispering to a constancy of light

Sheltered a dim and screened felicity,

And slowly a supine inconstant breeze

Ran like a fleeting sigh of happiness

Over slumbrous grasses pranked with green and gold.

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


Hidden in the forest's bosom of loneliness

Amid the leaves the inmate voices called,

Sweet like desires enamoured and unseen,

Cry answering to low insistent cry.

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


Behind slept emerald dumb remotenesses,

Haunt of a Nature passionate, veiled, denied

To all but her own vision lost and wild.

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


Earth in this beautiful refuge free from cares

Murmured to the soul a song of strength and peace.

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


Only one sign was there of a human tread:

A single path, shot thin and arrowlike

Into this bosom of vast and secret life,

Pierced its enormous dream of solitude.

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


Here first she met on the uncertain earth

The one for whom her heart had come so far.

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


As might a soul on Nature's background limned

Stand out for a moment in a house of dream

Created by the ardent breath of life,

So he appeared against the forest verge

Inset twixt green relief and golden ray.

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


As if a weapon of the living Light,

Erect and lofty like a spear of God

His figure led the splendour of the morn.

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


Noble and clear as the broad peaceful heavens

A tablet of young wisdom was his brow;

Freedom's imperious beauty curved his limbs,

The joy of life was on his open face.

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


His look was a wide daybreak of the gods,

His head was a youthful Rishi's touched with light,

His body was a lover's and a king's.

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


In the magnificent dawning of his force

Built like a moving statue of delight

He illumined the border of the forest page.

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


Out of the ignorant eager toil of the years

Abandoning man's loud drama he had come

Led by the wisdom of an adverse Fate

To meet the ancient Mother in her groves.

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


In her divine communion he had grown

A foster-child of beauty and solitude,

Heir to the centuries of the lonely wise,

A brother of the sunshine and the sky,

A wanderer communing with depth and marge.

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


A Veda-knower of the unwritten book

Perusing the mystic scripture of her forms,

He had caught her hierophant significances,

Her sphered immense imaginations learned,

Taught by sublimities of stream and wood

And voices of the sun and star and flame

And chant of the magic singers on the boughs

And the dumb teaching of four-footed things.

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


Helping with confident steps her slow great hands

He leaned to her influence like a flower to rain

And, like the flower and tree a natural growth,

Widened with the touches of her shaping hours.

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


The mastery free natures have was his

And their assent to joy and spacious calm;

One with the single Spirit inhabiting all,

He laid experience at the Godhead's feet;

His mind was open to her infinite mind,

His acts were rhythmic with her primal force;

He had subdued his mortal thought to hers.

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


That day he had turned from his accustomed paths;

For One who, knowing every moment's load,

Can move in all our studied or careless steps,

Had laid the spell of destiny on his feet

And drawn him to the forest's flowering verge.

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


At first her glance that took life's million shapes

Impartially to people its treasure-house

Along with sky and flower and hill and star,

Dwelt rather on the bright harmonious scene.

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


It saw the green-gold of the slumbrous sward,

The grasses quivering with the slow wind's tread,

The branches haunted by the wild bird's call.

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


Awake to Nature, vague as yet to life,

The eager prisoner from the Infinite,

The immortal wrestler in its mortal house,

Its pride, power, passion of a striving God,

It saw this image of veiled deity,

This thinking master creature of the earth,

This last result of the beauty of the stars,

But only saw like fair and common forms

The artist spirit needs not for its work

And puts aside in memory's shadowy rooms.

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


A look, a turn decides our ill-poised fate.

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


Thus in the hour that most concerned her all,

Wandering unwarned by the slow surface mind,

The heedless scout beneath her tenting lids

Admired indifferent beauty and cared not

To wake her body's spirit to its king.

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


So might she have passed by on chance ignorant roads

Missing the call of Heaven, losing life's aim,

But the god touched in time her conscious soul.

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


Her vision settled, caught and all was changed.

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


Her mind at first dwelt in ideal dreams,

Those intimate transmuters of earth's signs

That make known things a hint of unseen spheres,

And saw in him the genius of the spot,

A symbol figure standing mid earth's scenes,

A king of life outlined in delicate air.

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


Yet this was but a moment's reverie;

For suddenly her heart looked out at him,

The passionate seeing used thought cannot match,

And knew one nearer than its own close strings.

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


All in a moment was surprised and seized,

All in inconscient ecstasy lain wrapped

Or under imagination's coloured lids

Held up in a large mirror-air of dream,

Broke forth in flame to recreate the world,

And in that flame to new things she was born.

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


A mystic tumult from her depths arose;

Haled, smitten erect like one who dreamed at ease,

Life ran to gaze from every gate of sense:

Thoughts indistinct and glad in moon-mist heavens,

Feelings as when a universe takes birth,

Swept through the turmoil of her bosom's space

Invaded by a swarm of golden gods:

Arising to a hymn of wonder's priests

Her soul flung wide its doors to this new sun.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-29]


An alchemy worked, the transmutation came;

The missioned face had wrought the Master's spell.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-30]


In the nameless light of two approaching eyes

A swift and fated turning of her days

Appeared and stretched to a gleam of unknown worlds.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-31]


Then trembling with the mystic shock her heart

Moved in her breast and cried out like a bird

Who hears his mate upon a neighbouring bough.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-32]


Hooves trampling fast, wheels largely stumbling ceased;

The chariot stood like an arrested wind.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-33]


And Satyavan looked out from his soul's doors

And felt the enchantment of her liquid voice

Fill his youth's purple ambience and endured

The haunting miracle of a perfect face.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-34]


Mastered by the honey of a strange flower-mouth,

Drawn to soul-spaces opening round a brow,

He turned to the vision like a sea to the moon

And suffered a dream of beauty and of change,

Discovered the aureole round a mortal's head,

Adored a new divinity in things.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-35]


His self-bound nature foundered as in fire;

His life was taken into another's life.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-36]


The splendid lonely idols of his brain

Fell prostrate from their bright sufficiencies,

As at the touch of a new infinite,

To worship a godhead greater than their own.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-37]


An unknown imperious force drew him to her.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-38]


Marvelling he came across the golden sward:

Gaze met close gaze and clung in sight's embrace.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-39]


A visage was there, noble and great and calm,

As if encircled by a halo of thought,

A span, an arch of meditating light,

As though some secret nimbus half was seen;

Her inner vision still remembering knew

A forehead that wore the crown of all her past,

Two eyes her constant and eternal stars,

Comrade and sovereign eyes that claimed her soul,

Lids known through many lives, large frames of love.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-40]


He met in her regard his future's gaze,

A promise and a presence and a fire,

Saw an embodiment of aeonic dreams,

A mystery of the rapture for which all

Yearns in this world of brief mortality

Made in material shape his very own.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-41]


This golden figure given to his grasp

Hid in its breast the key of all his aims,

A spell to bring the Immortal's bliss on earth,

To mate with heaven's truth our mortal thought,

To lift earth-hearts nearer the Eternal's sun.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-42]


In these great spirits now incarnate here

Love brought down power out of eternity

To make of life his new undying base.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-43]


His passion surged a wave from fathomless deeps;

It leaped to earth from far forgotten heights,

But kept its nature of infinity.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-44]


On the dumb bosom of this oblivious globe

Although as unknown beings we seem to meet,

Our lives are not aliens nor as strangers join,

Moved to each other by a causeless force.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-45]


The soul can recognise its answering soul

Across dividing Time and, on life's roads

Absorbed wrapped traveller, turning it recovers

Familiar splendours in an unknown face

And touched by the warning finger of swift love

It thrills again to an immortal joy

Wearing a mortal body for delight.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-46]


There is a Power within that knows beyond

Our knowings; we are greater than our thoughts,

And sometimes earth unveils that vision here.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-47]


To live, to love are signs of infinite things,

Love is a glory from eternity's spheres.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-48]


Abased, disfigured, mocked by baser mights

That steal his name and shape and ecstasy,

He is still the godhead by which all can change.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-49]


A mystery wakes in our inconscient stuff,

A bliss is born that can remake our life.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-50]


Love dwells in us like an unopened flower

Awaiting a rapid moment of the soul,

Or he roams in his charmed sleep mid thoughts and things;

The child-god is at play, he seeks himself

In many hearts and minds and living forms:

He lingers for a sign that he can know

And, when it comes, wakes blindly to a voice,

A look, a touch, the meaning of a face.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-51]


His instrument the dim corporeal mind,

Of celestial insight now forgetful grown,

He seizes on some sign of outward charm

To guide him mid the throng of Nature's hints,

Reads heavenly truths into earth's semblances,

Desires the image for the godhead's sake,

Divines the immortalities of form

And takes the body for the sculptured soul.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-52]


Love's adoration like a mystic seer

Through vision looks at the invisible,

In earth's alphabet finds a godlike sense;

But the mind only thinks, “Behold the one

For whom my life has waited long unfilled,

Behold the sudden sovereign of my days."

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-53]


Heart feels for heart, limb cries for answering limb;

All strives to enforce the unity all is.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-54]


Too far from the Divine, Love seeks his truth

And Life is blind and the instruments deceive

And Powers are there that labour to debase.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-55]


Still can the vision come, the joy arrive.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-56]


Rare is the cup fit for love's nectar wine,

As rare the vessel that can hold God's birth;

A soul made ready through a thousand years

Is the living mould of a supreme Descent.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-57]


These knew each other though in forms thus strange.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-58]


Although to sight unknown, though life and mind

Had altered to hold a new significance,

These bodies summed the drift of numberless births,

And the spirit to the spirit was the same.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-59]


Amazed by a joy for which they had waited long,

The lovers met upon their different paths,

Travellers across the limitless plains of Time

Together drawn from fate-led journeyings

In the self-closed solitude of their human past,

To a swift rapturous dream of future joy

And the unexpected present of these eyes.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-60]


By the revealing greatness of a look,

Form-smitten the spirit's memory woke in sense.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-61]


The mist was torn that lay between two lives;

Her heart unveiled and his to find her turned;

Attracted as in heaven star by star,

They wondered at each other and rejoiced

And wove affinity in a silent gaze.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-62]


A moment passed that was eternity's ray,

An hour began, the matrix of new Time.

[Savitri B-05 C-02 S-01 F-63]


Book Five Canto Two End


[Savitri B-05 C-02 Canto End]


Book 5 Canto 3

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Five
The Book of Love

Canto Three

Satyavan and Savitri

[Savitri B-05 C-03 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01]


Out of the voiceless mystery of the past

In a present ignorant of forgotten bonds

These spirits met upon the roads of Time.

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


Yet in the heart their secret conscious selves

At once aware grew of each other warned

By the first call of a delightful voice

And a first vision of the destined face.

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


As when being cries to being from its depths

Behind the screen of the external sense

And strives to find the heart-disclosing word,

The passionate speech revealing the soul's need,

But the mind's ignorance veils the inner sight,

Only a little breaks through our earth-made bounds,

So now they met in that momentous hour,

So utter the recognition in the deeps,

The remembrance lost, the oneness felt and missed.

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


Thus Satyavan spoke first to Savitri:

“O thou who com'st to me out of Time's silences,

Yet thy voice has wakened my heart to an unknown bliss,

Immortal or mortal only in thy frame,

For more than earth speaks to me from thy soul

And more than earth surrounds me in thy gaze,

How art thou named among the sons of men?

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


Whence hast thou dawned filling my spirit's days,

Brighter than summer, brighter than my flowers,

Into the lonely borders of my life,

O sunlight moulded like a golden maid?

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


I know that mighty gods are friends of earth.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-06]


Amid the pageantries of day and dusk,

Long have I travelled with my pilgrim soul

Moved by the marvel of familiar things.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-07]


Earth could not hide from me the powers she veils:

Even though moving mid an earthly scene

And the common surfaces of terrestrial things,

My vision saw unblinded by her forms;

The Godhead looked at me from familiar scenes.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-08]


I witnessed the virgin bridals of the dawn

Behind the glowing curtains of the sky

Or vying in joy with the bright morning's steps

I paced along the slumbrous coasts of noon,

Or the gold desert of the sunlight crossed

Traversing great wastes of splendour and of fire,

Or met the moon gliding amazed through heaven

In the uncertain wideness of the night,

Or the stars marched on their long sentinel routes

Pointing their spears through the infinitudes:

The day and dusk revealed to me hidden shapes;

Figures have come to me from secret shores

And happy faces looked from ray and flame.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-09]


I have heard strange voices cross the ether's waves,

The Centaur's wizard song has thrilled my ear;

I have glimpsed the Apsaras bathing in the pools,

I have seen the wood-nymphs peering through the leaves;

The winds have shown to me their trampling lords,

I have beheld the princes of the Sun

Burning in thousand-pillared homes of light.

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


So now my mind could dream and my heart fear

That from some wonder-couch beyond our air

Risen in a wide morning of the gods

Thou drov'st thy horses from the Thunderer's worlds.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-11]


Although to heaven thy beauty seems allied,

Much rather would my thoughts rejoice to know

That mortal sweetness smiles between thy lids

And thy heart can beat beneath a human gaze

And thy aureate bosom quiver with a look

And its tumult answer to an earth-born voice.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-12]


If our time-vexed affections thou canst feel,

Earth's ease of simple things can satisfy,

If thy glance can dwell content on earthly soil,

And this celestial summary of delight,

Thy golden body, dally with fatigue

Oppressing with its grace our terrain, while

The frail sweet passing taste of earthly food

Delays thee and the torrent's leaping wine,

Descend.  Let thy journey cease, come down to us.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-13]


Close is my father's creepered hermitage

Screened by the tall ranks of these silent kings,

Sung to by voices of the hue-robed choirs

Whose chants repeat transcribed in music's notes

The passionate coloured lettering of the boughs

And fill the hours with their melodious cry.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-14]


Amid the welcome-hum of many bees

Invade our honied kingdom of the woods;

There let me lead thee into an opulent life.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-15]


Bare, simple is the sylvan hermit-life;

Yet is it clad with the jewelry of earth.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-16]


Wild winds run—visitors midst the swaying tops,

Through the calm days heaven's sentinels of peace

Couched on a purple robe of sky above

Look down on a rich secrecy and hush

And the chambered nuptial waters chant within.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-17]


Enormous, whispering, many-formed around

High forest gods have taken in their arms

The human hour, a guest of their centuried pomps.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-18]


Apparelled are the morns in gold and green,

Sunlight and shadow tapestry the walls

To make a resting chamber fit for thee.”

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-19]


Awhile she paused as if hearing still his voice,

Unwilling to break the charm, then slowly spoke.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-20]


Musing she answered, “I am Savitri,

Princess of Madra. Who art thou? What name

Musical on earth expresses thee to men?

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-21]


What trunk of kings watered by fortunate streams

Has flowered at last upon one happy branch?

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-22]


Why is thy dwelling in the pathless wood

Far from the deeds thy glorious youth demands,

Haunt of the anchorites and earth's wilder broods,

Where only with thy witness self thou roamst

In Nature's green unhuman loneliness

Surrounded by enormous silences

And the blind murmur of primaeval calms?”

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-23]


And Satyavan replied to Savitri:

“In days when yet his sight looked clear on life,

King Dyumatsena once, the Shalwa, reigned

Through all the tract which from behind these tops

Passing its days of emerald delight

In trusting converse with the traveller winds

Turns, looking back towards the southern heavens,

And leans its flank upon the musing hills.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-24]


But equal Fate removed her covering hand.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-25]


A living night enclosed the strong man's paths,

Heaven's brilliant gods recalled their careless gifts,

Took from blank eyes their glad and helping ray

And led the uncertain goddess from his side.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-26]


Outcast from empire of the outer light,

Lost to the comradeship of seeing men,

He sojourns in two solitudes, within

And in the solemn rustle of the woods.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-27]


Son of that king, I, Satyavan, have lived

Contented, for not yet of thee aware,

In my high-peopled loneliness of spirit

And this huge vital murmur kin to me,

Nursed by the vastness, pupil of solitude.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-28]


Great Nature came to her recovered child;

I reigned in a kingdom of a nobler kind

Than men can build upon dull Matter's soil;

I met the frankness of the primal earth,

I enjoyed the intimacy of infant God.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-29]


In the great tapestried chambers of her state,

Free in her boundless palace I have dwelt

Indulged by the warm mother of us all,

Reared with my natural brothers in her house.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-30]


I lay in the wide bare embrace of heaven,

The sunlight's radiant blessing clasped my brow,

The moonbeams' silver ecstasy at night

Kissed my dim lids to sleep. 

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-31]


Earth's morns were mine;

Lured by faint murmurings with the green-robed hours

I wandered lost in woods, prone to the voice

Of winds and waters, partner of the sun's joy,

A listener to the universal speech:

My spirit satisfied within me knew

Godlike our birthright, luxuried our life

Whose close belongings are the earth and skies.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-32]


Before Fate led me into this emerald world,

Aroused by some foreshadowing touch within,

An early prescience in my mind approached

The great dumb animal consciousness of earth

Now grown so close to me who have left old pomps

To live in this grandiose murmur dim and vast.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-33]


Already I met her in my spirit's dream.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-34]


As if to a deeper country of the soul

Transposing the vivid imagery of earth,

Through an inner seeing and sense a wakening came.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-35]


A visioned spell pursued my boyhood's hours,

All things the eye had caught in coloured lines

Were seen anew through the interpreting mind

And in the shape it sought to seize the soul.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-36]


An early child-god took my hand that held,

Moved, guided by the seeking of his touch,

Bright forms and hues which fled across his sight;

Limned upon page and stone they spoke to men.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-37]


High beauty's visitants my intimates were.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-38]


The neighing pride of rapid life that roams

Wind-maned through our pastures, on my seeing mood

Cast shapes of swiftness; trooping spotted deer

Against the vesper sky became a song

Of evening to the silence of my soul.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-39]


I caught for some eternal eye the sudden

King-fisher flashing to a darkling pool;

A slow swan silvering the azure lake,

A shape of magic whiteness, sailed through dream;

Leaves trembling with the passion of the wind,

Pranked butterflies, the conscious flowers of air,

And wandering wings in blue infinity

Lived on the tablets of my inner sight;

Mountains and trees stood there like thoughts from God.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-40]


The brilliant long-bills in their vivid dress,

The peacock scattering on the breeze his moons

Painted my memory like a frescoed wall.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-41]


I carved my vision out of wood and stone;

I caught the echoes of a word supreme

And metred the rhythm-beats of infinity

And listened through music for the eternal Voice.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-42]


I felt a covert touch, I heard a call,

But could not clasp the body of my God

Or hold between my hands the World-Mother's feet.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-43]


In men I met strange portions of a Self

That sought for fragments and in fragments lived:

Each lived in himself and for himself alone

And with the rest joined only fleeting ties;

Each passioned over his surface joy and grief,

Nor saw the Eternal in his secret house.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-44]


I conversed with Nature, mused with the changeless stars,

God's watch-fires burning in the ignorant Night,

And saw upon her mighty visage fall

A ray prophetic of the Eternal's sun.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-45]


I sat with the forest sages in their trance:

There poured awakening streams of diamond light,

I glimpsed the presence of the One in all.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-46]


But still there lacked the last transcendent power

And Matter still slept empty of its Lord.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-47]


The Spirit was saved, the body lost and mute

Lived still with Death and ancient Ignorance;

The Inconscient was its base, the Void its fate.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-48]


But thou hast come and all will surely change:

I shall feel the World-Mother in thy golden limbs

And hear her wisdom in thy sacred voice.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-49]


The child of the Void shall be reborn in God,

My Matter shall evade the Inconscient's trance.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-50]


My body like my spirit shall be free.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-51]


It shall escape from Death and Ignorance.”

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-52]


And Savitri, musing still, replied to him:

“Speak more to me, speak more, O Satyavan,

Speak of thyself and all thou art within;

I would know thee as if we had ever lived

Together in the chamber of our souls.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-53]


Speak till a light shall come into my heart

And my moved mortal mind shall understand

What all the deathless being in me feels.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-54]


It knows that thou art he my spirit has sought

Amidst earth's thronging visages and forms

Across the golden spaces of my life.”

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-55]


And Satyavan like a replying harp

To the insistent calling of a flute

Answered her questioning and let stream to her

His heart in many-coloured waves of speech:

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-56]


“O golden princess, perfect Savitri,

More I would tell than failing words can speak,

Of all that thou hast meant to me, unknown,

All that the lightning-flash of love reveals

In one great hour of the unveiling gods.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-57]


Even a brief nearness has reshaped my life.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-58]


For now I know that all I lived and was

Moved towards this moment of my heart's rebirth;

I look back on the meaning of myself,

A soul made ready on earth's soil for thee.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-59]


Once were my days like days of other men:

To think and act was all, to enjoy and breathe;

This was the width and height of mortal hope:

Yet there came glimpses of a deeper self

That lives behind Life and makes her act its scene.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-60]


A truth was felt that screened its shape from mind,

A Greatness working towards a hidden end,

And vaguely through the forms of earth there looked

Something that life is not and yet must be.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-61]


I groped for the Mystery with the lantern, Thought.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-62]


Its glimmerings lighted with the abstract word

A half-visible ground and travelling yard by yard

It mapped a system of the Self and God.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-63]


I could not live the truth it spoke and thought.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-64]


I turned to seize its form in visible things,

Hoping to fix its rule by mortal mind,

Imposed a narrow structure of world-law

Upon the freedom of the Infinite,

A hard firm skeleton of outward Truth,

A mental scheme of a mechanic Power.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-65]


This light showed more the darknesses unsearched;

It made the original Secrecy more occult;

It could not analyse its cosmic Veil

Or glimpse the Wonder-worker's hidden hand

And trace the pattern of his magic plans.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-66]


I plunged into an inner seeing Mind

And knew the secret laws and sorceries

That make of Matter mind's bewildered slave:

The mystery was not solved but deepened more.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-67]


I strove to find its hints through Beauty and Art,

But Form cannot unveil the indwelling Power;

Only it throws its symbols at our hearts.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-68]


It evoked a mood of self, invoked a sign

Of all the brooding glory hidden in sense:

I lived in the ray but faced not to the sun.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-69]


I looked upon the world and missed the Self,

And when I found the Self, I lost the world,

My other selves I lost and the body of God,

The link of the finite with the Infinite,

The bridge between the appearance and the Truth,

The mystic aim for which the world was made,

The human sense of Immortality.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-70]


But now the gold link comes to me with thy feet

And His gold sun has shone on me from thy face.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-71]


For now another realm draws near with thee

And now diviner voices fill my ear,

A strange new world swims to me in thy gaze

Approaching like a star from unknown heavens;

A cry of spheres comes with thee and a song

Of flaming gods. 

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-72]


I draw a wealthier breath

And in a fierier march of moments move.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-73]


My mind transfigures to a rapturous seer.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-74]


A foam-leap travelling from the waves of bliss

Has changed my heart and changed the earth around:

All with thy coming fills. 

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-75]


Air, soil and stream

Wear bridal raiment to be fit for thee

And sunlight grows a shadow of thy hue

Because of change within me by thy look.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-76]


Come nearer to me from thy car of light

On this green sward disdaining not our soil.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-77]


For here are secret spaces made for thee

Whose caves of emerald long to screen thy form.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-78]


Wilt thou not make this mortal bliss thy sphere?

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-79]


Descend, O happiness, with thy moon-gold feet

Enrich earth's floors upon whose sleep we lie.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-80]


O my bright beauty's princess Savitri,

By my delight and thy own joy compelled

Enter my life, thy chamber and thy shrine.

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-81]


In the great quietness where spirits meet,

Led by my hushed desire into my woods

Let the dim rustling arches over thee lean;

One with the breath of things eternal live,

Thy heart-beats near to mine, till there shall leap

Enchanted from the fragrance of the flowers

A moment which all murmurs shall recall

And every bird remember in its cry.”

[Savitri B-05 C-03 S-01 F-82]


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


Allured to her lashes by his passionate words

Her fathomless soul looked out at him from her eyes;

Passing her lips in liquid sounds it spoke.

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


This word alone she uttered and said all:

“O Satyavan, I have heard thee and I know;

I know that thou and only thou art he.”

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


Then down she came from her high carven car

Descending with a soft and faltering haste;

Her many-hued raiment glistening in the light

Hovered a moment over the wind-stirred grass,

Mixed with a glimmer of her body's ray

Like lovely plumage of a settling bird.

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


Her gleaming feet upon the green-gold sward

Scattered a memory of wandering beams

And lightly pressed the unspoken desire of earth

Cherished in her too brief passing by the soil.

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


Then flitting like pale-brilliant moths her hands

Took from the sylvan verge's sunlit arms

A load of their jewel-faces' clustering swarms,

Companions of the spring-time and the breeze.

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


A candid garland set with simple forms

Her rapid fingers taught a flower song,

The stanzaed movement of a marriage hymn.

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


Profound in perfume and immersed in hue

They mixed their yearning's coloured signs and made

The bloom of their purity and passion one.

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


A sacrament of joy in treasuring palms

She brought, flower-symbol of her offered life,

Then with raised hands that trembled a little now

At the very closeness that her soul desired,

This bond of sweetness, their bright union's sign,

She laid on the bosom coveted by her love.

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


As if inclined before some gracious god

Who has out of his mist of greatness shone

To fill with beauty his adorer's hours,

She bowed and touched his feet with worshipping hands;

She made her life his world for him to tread

And made her body the room of his delight,

Her beating heart a remembrancer of bliss.

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


He bent to her and took into his own

Their married yearning joined like folded hopes;

As if a whole rich world suddenly possessed,

Wedded to all he had been, became himself,

An inexhaustible joy made his alone,

He gathered all Savitri into his clasp.

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


Around her his embrace became the sign

Of a locked closeness through slow intimate years,

A first sweet summary of delight to come,

One brevity intense of all long life.

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


In a wide moment of two souls that meet

She felt her being flow into him as in waves

A river pours into a mighty sea.

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


As when a soul is merging into God

To live in Him for ever and know His joy,

Her consciousness grew aware of him alone

And all her separate self was lost in his.

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


As a starry heaven encircles happy earth,

He shut her into himself in a circle of bliss

And shut the world into himself and her.

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


A boundless isolation made them one;

He was aware of her enveloping him

And let her penetrate his very soul

As is a world by the world's spirit filled,

As the mortal wakes into Eternity,

As the finite opens to the Infinite.

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


Thus were they in each other lost awhile,

Then drawing back from their long ecstasy's trance

Came into a new self and a new world.

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


Each now was a part of the other's unity,

The world was but their twin self-finding's scene

Or their own wedded being's vaster frame.

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


On the high glowing cupola of the day

Fate tied a knot with morning's halo threads

While by the ministry of an auspice-hour

Heart-bound before the sun, their marriage fire,

The wedding of the eternal Lord and Spouse

Took place again on earth in human forms:

In a new act of the drama of the world

The united Two began a greater age.

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


In the silence and murmur of that emerald world

And the mutter of the priest-wind's sacred verse,

Amid the choral whispering of the leaves

Love's twain had joined together and grew one.

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


The natural miracle was wrought once more:

In the immutable ideal world

One human moment was eternal made.

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


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


Then down the narrow path where their lives had met

He led and showed to her her future world,

Love's refuge and corner of happy solitude.

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


At the path's end through a green cleft in the trees

She saw a clustering line of hermit-roofs

And looked now first on her heart's future home,

The thatch that covered the life of Satyavan.

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


Adorned with creepers and red climbing flowers

It seemed a sylvan beauty in her dreams

Slumbering with brown body and tumbled hair

In her chamber inviolate of emerald peace.

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


Around it stretched the forest's anchorite mood

Lost in the depths of its own solitude.

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


Then moved by the deep joy she could not speak,

A little depth of it quivering in her words,

Her happy voice cried out to Satyavan:

“My heart will stay here on this forest verge

And close to this thatched roof while I am far:

Now of more wandering it has no need.

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


But I must haste back to my father's house

Which soon will lose one loved accustomed tread

And listen in vain for a once cherished voice.

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


For soon I shall return nor ever again

Oneness must sever its recovered bliss

Or fate sunder our lives while life is ours.”

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


Once more she mounted on the carven car

And under the ardour of a fiery noon

Less bright than the splendour of her thoughts and dreams

She sped swift-reined, swift-hearted but still saw

In still lucidities of sight's inner world

Through the cool-scented wood's luxurious gloom

On shadowy paths between great rugged trunks

Pace towards a tranquil clearing Satyavan.

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


A nave of trees enshrined the hermit thatch,

The new deep covert of her felicity,

Preferred to heaven her soul's temple and home.

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


This now remained with her, her heart's constant scene.

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


Book Five Canto Three End

Satyavan and Savitri

[Savitri B-05 C-03 Canto End]


Book Five End
The Book of Love
[Savitri B-05 Book End]




Book 6 All Cantos

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Six All Cantos
The Book of Fate

Canto One

The Word of Fate

[Savitri B-06 C-01 Canto Name]


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


In silent bounds bordering the mortal's plane

Crossing a wide expanse of brilliant peace

Narad the heavenly sage from Paradise

Came chanting through the large and lustrous air.

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


Attracted by the golden summer-earth

That lay beneath him like a glowing bowl

Tilted upon a table of the Gods,

Turning as if moved round by an unseen hand

To catch the warmth and blaze of a small sun,

He passed from the immortals' happy paths

To a world of toil and quest and grief and hope,

To these rooms of the see-saw game of death with life.

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


Across an intangible border of soul-space

He passed from Mind into material things

Amid the inventions of the inconscient Self

And the workings of a blind somnambulist Force.

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


Below him circling burned the myriad suns:

He bore the ripples of the etheric sea;

A primal Air brought the first joy of touch;

A secret Spirit drew its mighty breath

Contracting and expanding this huge world

In its formidable circuit through the Void;

The secret might of the creative Fire

Displayed its triple power to build and form,

Its infinitesimal wave-sparks' weaving dance,

Its nebulous units grounding shape and mass,

Magic foundation and pattern of a world,

Its radiance bursting into the light of stars;

He felt a sap of life, a sap of death;

Into solid Matter's dense communion

Plunging and its obscure oneness of forms

He shared with a dumb Spirit identity.

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


He beheld the cosmic Being at his task,

His eyes measured the spaces, gauged the depths,

His inner gaze the movements of the soul,

He saw the eternal labour of the Gods,

And looked upon the life of beasts and men.

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


A change now fell upon the singer's mood,

A rapture and a pathos moved his voice;

He sang no more of Light that never wanes,

And oneness and pure everlasting bliss,

He sang no more the deathless heart of Love,

His chant was a hymn of Ignorance and Fate.

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


He sang the name of Vishnu and the birth

And joy and passion of the mystic world,

And how the stars were made and life began

And the mute regions stirred with the throb of a Soul.

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


He sang the Inconscient and its secret self,

Its power omnipotent knowing not what it does,

All-shaping without will or thought or sense,

Its blind unerring occult mystery,

And darkness yearning towards the eternal Light,

And Love that broods within the dim abyss

And waits the answer of the human heart,

And death that climbs to immortality.

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


He sang of the Truth that cries from Night's blind deeps,

And the Mother-Wisdom hid in Nature's breast

And the Idea that through her dumbness works

And the miracle of her transforming hands,

Of life that slumbers in the stone and sun

And Mind subliminal in mindless life,

And the Consciousness that wakes in beasts and men.

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


He sang of the glory and marvel still to be born,

Of Godhead throwing off at last its veil,

Of bodies made divine and life made bliss,

Immortal sweetness clasping immortal might,

Heart sensing heart, thought looking straight at thought,

And the delight when every barrier falls,

And the transfiguration and the ecstasy.

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


And as he sang the demons wept with joy

Foreseeing the end of their long dreadful task

And the defeat for which they hoped in vain,

And glad release from their self-chosen doom

And return into the One from whom they came.

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


He who has conquered the Immortals' seats,

Came down to men on earth the Man divine.

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


As darts a lightning streak, a glory fell

Nearing until the rapt eyes of the sage

Looked out from luminous cloud and, strangely limned,

His face, a beautiful mask of antique joy,

Appearing in light descended where arose

King Aswapati's palace to the winds

In Madra, flowering up in delicate stone.

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


There welcomed him the sage and thoughtful king,

At his side a creature beautiful, passionate, wise,

Aspiring like a sacrificial flame

Skyward from its earth-seat through luminous air,

Queen-browed, the human mother of Savitri.

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


There for an hour untouched by the earth's siege

They ceased from common life and care and sat

Inclining to the high and rhythmic voice,

While in his measured chant the heavenly seer

Spoke of the toils of men and what the gods

Strive for on earth, and joy that throbs behind

The marvel and the mystery of pain.

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


He sang to them of the lotus-heart of love

With all its thousand luminous buds of truth,

Which quivering sleeps veiled by apparent things.

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


It trembles at each touch, it strives to wake

And one day it shall hear a blissful voice

And in the garden of the Spouse shall bloom

When she is seized by her discovered lord.

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


A mighty shuddering coil of ecstasy

Crept through the deep heart of the universe.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-01 F-18]


Out of her Matter's stupor, her mind's dreams,

She woke, she looked upon God's unveiled face.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-01 F-19]


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


Even as he sang and rapture stole through earth-time

And caught the heavens, came with a call of hooves,

As of her swift heart hastening, Savitri;

Her radiant tread glimmered across the floor.

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


A happy wonder in her fathomless gaze,

Changed by the halo of her love she came;

Her eyes rich with a shining mist of joy

As one who comes from a heavenly embassy

Discharging the proud mission of her heart,

One carrying the sanction of the gods

To her love and its luminous eternity,

She stood before her mighty father's throne

And, eager for beauty on discovered earth

Transformed and new in her heart's miracle-light,

Saw like a rose of marvel, worshipping,

The fire-tinged sweetness of the son of Heaven.

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


He flung on her his vast immortal look;

His inner gaze surrounded her with its light

And reining back knowledge from his immortal lips

He cried to her, “Who is this that comes, the bride,

The flame-born, and round her illumined head

Pouring their lights her hymeneal pomps

Move flashing about her? From what green glimmer of glades

Retreating into dewy silences

Or half-seen verge of waters moon-betrayed

Bringst thou this glory of enchanted eyes?

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


Earth has gold-hued expanses, shadowy hills

That cowl their dreaming phantom heads in night,

And, guarded in a cloistral joy of woods,

Screened banks sink down into felicity

Seized by the curved incessant yearning hands

And ripple-passion of the upgazing stream:

Amid cool-lipped murmurs of its pure embrace

They lose their souls on beds of trembling reeds.

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


And all these are mysterious presences

In which some spirit's immortal bliss is felt,

And they betray the earth-born heart to joy.

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


There hast thou paused, and marvelling borne eyes

Unknown, or heard a voice that forced thy life

To strain its rapture through thy listening soul?

Or, if my thought could trust this shimmering gaze,

It would say thou hast not drunk from an earthly cup,

But stepping through azure curtains of the noon

Thou wast surrounded on a magic verge

In brighter countries than man's eyes can bear.

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


Assailed by trooping voices of delight

And seized mid a sunlit glamour of the boughs

In faery woods, led down the gleaming slopes

Of Gandhamadan where the Apsaras roam,

Thy limbs have shared the sports which none has seen,

And in god-haunts thy human footsteps strayed,

Thy mortal bosom quivered with god-speech

And thy soul answered to a Word unknown.

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


What feet of gods, what ravishing flutes of heaven

Have thrilled high melodies round, from near and far

Approaching through the soft and revelling air,

Which still surprised thou hearest? They have fed

Thy silence on some red strange-ecstasied fruit

And thou hast trod the dim moon-peaks of bliss.

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


Reveal, O winged with light, whence thou hast flown

Hastening bright-hued through the green tangled earth,

Thy body rhythmical with the spring-bird's call.

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


The empty roses of thy hands are filled

Only with their own beauty and the thrill

Of a remembered clasp, and in thee glows

A heavenly jar, thy firm deep-honied heart,

New-brimming with a sweet and nectarous wine.

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


Thou hast not spoken with the kings of pain.

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


Life's perilous music rings yet to thy ear

Far-melodied, rapid and grand, a Centaur's song,

Or soft as water plashing mid the hills,

Or mighty as a great chant of many winds.

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


Moon-bright thou livest in thy inner bliss.

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


Thou comest like a silver deer through groves

Of coral flowers and buds of glowing dreams,

Or fleest like a wind-goddess through leaves,

Or roamst, O ruby-eyed and snow-winged dove,

Flitting through thickets of thy pure desires

In the unwounded beauty of thy soul.

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


These things are only images to thy earth,

But truest truth of that which in thee sleeps.

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


For such is thy spirit, a sister of the gods,

Thy earthly body lovely to the eyes

And thou art kin in joy to heaven's sons.

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


O thou who hast come to this great perilous world

Now only seen through the splendour of thy dreams,

Where hardly love and beauty can live safe,

Thyself a being dangerously great,

A soul alone in a golden house of thought

Has lived walled in by the safety of thy dreams.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-18]


On heights of happiness leaving doom asleep

Who hunts unseen the unconscious lives of men,

If thy heart could live locked in the ideal's gold,

As high, as happy might thy waking be!

If for all time doom could be left to sleep!”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-19]


He spoke but held his knowledge back from words.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-21]


As a cloud plays with lightnings' vivid laugh,

But still holds back the thunder in its heart,

Only he let bright images escape.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-22]


His speech like glimmering music veiled his thoughts;

As a wind flatters the bright summer air,

Pitiful to mortals, only to them it spoke

Of living beauty and of present bliss:

He hid in his all-knowing mind the rest.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-23]


To those who hearkened to his celestial voice,

The veil heaven's pity throws on future pain

The Immortals' sanction seemed of endless joy.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-24]


But Aswapati answered to the seer;—

His listening mind had marked the dubious close,

An ominous shadow felt behind the words,

But calm like one who ever sits facing Fate

Here mid the dangerous contours of earth's life,

He answered covert thought with guarded speech:

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-25]


“O deathless sage who knowest all things here,

If I could read by the ray of my own wish

Through the carved shield of symbol images

Which thou hast thrown before thy heavenly mind

I might see the steps of a young godlike life

Happily beginning luminous-eyed on earth;

Between the Unknowable and the Unseen

Born on the borders of two wonder-worlds,

It flames out symbols of the infinite

And lives in a great light of inner suns.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-26]


For it has read and broken the wizard seals;

It has drunk of the Immortal's wells of joy,

It has looked across the jewel bars of heaven,

It has entered the aspiring Secrecy,

It sees beyond terrestrial common things

And communes with the Powers that build the worlds,

Till through the shining gates and mystic streets

Of the city of lapis lazuli and pearl

Proud deeds step forth, a rank and march of gods.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-27]


Although in pauses of our human lives

Earth keeps for man some short and perfect hours

When the inconstant tread of Time can seem

The eternal moment which the deathless live,

Yet rare that touch upon the mortal's world:

Hardly a soul and body here are born

In the fierce difficult movement of the stars,

Whose life can keep the paradisal note,

Its rhythm repeat the many-toned melody

Tirelessly throbbing through the rapturous air

Caught in the song that sways the Apsara's limbs

When she floats gleaming like a cloud of light,

A wave of joy on heaven's moonstone floor.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-28]


Behold this image cast by light and love,

A stanza of the ardour of the gods

Perfectly rhymed, a pillared ripple of gold!

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-29]


Her body like a brimmed pitcher of delight

Shaped in a splendour of gold-coloured bronze

As if to seize earth's truth of hidden bliss.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-30]


Dream-made illumined mirrors are her eyes

Draped subtly in a slumbrous fringe of jet,

Retaining heaven's reflections in their depths.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-31]


Even as her body, such is she within.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-32]


Heaven's lustrous mornings gloriously recur,

Like drops of fire upon a silver page,

In her young spirit yet untouched with tears.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-33]


All beautiful things eternal seem and new

To virgin wonder in her crystal soul.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-34]


The unchanging blue reveals its spacious thought;

Marvellous the moon floats on through wondering skies;

Earth's flowers spring up and laugh at time and death;

The charmed mutations of the enchanter life

Race like bright children past the smiling hours.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-35]


If but this joy of life could last, nor pain

Throw its bronze note into her rhythmed days!

Behold her, singer with the prescient gaze,

And let thy blessing chant that this fair child

Shall pour the nectar of a sorrowless life

Around her from her lucid heart of love,

Heal with her bliss the tired breast of earth

And cast like a happy snare felicity.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-36]


As grows the great and golden bounteous tree

Flowering by Alacananda's murmuring waves,

Where with enamoured speed the waters run

Lisping and babbling to the splendour of morn

And cling with lyric laughter round the knees

Of heaven's daughters dripping magic rain

Pearl-bright from moon-gold limbs and cloudy hair,

So are her dawns like jewelled leaves of light,

So casts she her felicity on men.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-38]


A flame of radiant happiness she was born

And surely will that flame set earth alight:

Doom surely will see her pass and say no word!

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-39]


But too often here the careless Mother leaves

Her chosen in the envious hands of Fate:

The harp of God falls mute, its call to bliss

Discouraged fails mid earth's unhappy sounds;

The strings of the siren Ecstasy cry not here

Or soon are silenced in the human heart.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-40]


Of sorrow's songs we have enough: bid once

Her glad and griefless days bring heaven here.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-41]


Or must fire always test the great of soul?

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-42]


Along the dreadful causeway of the Gods,

Armoured with love and faith and sacred joy,

A traveller to the Eternal's house,

Once let unwounded pass a mortal life.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-02 F-43]


Play Section Three
[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03]



But Narad answered not; silent he sat,

Knowing that words are vain and Fate is lord.

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


He looked into the unseen with seeing eyes,

Then, dallying with the mortal's ignorance

Like one who knows not, questioning, he cried:

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


“On what high mission went her hastening wheels?

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


Whence came she with this glory in her heart

And Paradise made visible in her eyes?

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


What sudden God has met, what face supreme?”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-05]


To whom the king, “The red asoca watched

Her going forth which now sees her return.

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


Arisen into an air of flaming dawn

Like a bright bird tired of her lonely branch,

To find her own lord, since to her on earth

He came not yet, this sweetness wandered forth

Cleaving her way with the beat of her rapid wings.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-07]


Led by a distant call her vague swift flight

Threaded the summer morns and sunlit lands.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-08]


The happy rest her burdened lashes keep

And these charmed guardian lips hold treasured still.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-09]


Virgin who comest perfected by joy,

Reveal the name thy sudden heart-beats learned.

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


Whom hast thou chosen, kingliest among men?”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-11]


And Savitri answered with her still calm voice

As one who speaks beneath the eyes of Fate:

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-12]


“Father and king, I have carried out thy will.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-13]


One whom I sought I found in distant lands;

I have obeyed my heart, I have heard its call.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-14]


On the borders of a dreaming wilderness

Mid Shalwa's giant hills and brooding woods

In his thatched hermitage Dyumatsena dwells,

Blind, exiled, outcast, once a mighty king.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-15]


The son of Dyumatsena, Satyavan,

I have met on the wild forest's lonely verge.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-16]


My father, I have chosen.  This is done.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-17]


Astonished, all sat silent for a space.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-18]


Then Aswapati looked within and saw

A heavy shadow float above the name

Chased by a sudden and stupendous light;

He looked into his daughter's eyes and spoke:

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-19]


“Well hast thou done and I approve thy choice.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-20]


If this is all, then all is surely well;

If there is more, then all can still be well.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-21]


Whether it seem good or evil to men's eyes,

Only for good the secret Will can work.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-22]


Our destiny is written in double terms:

Through Nature's contraries we draw nearer God;

Out of the darkness we still grow to light.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-23]


Death is our road to immortality.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-24]


`Cry woe, cry woe,' the world's lost voices wail,

Yet conquers the eternal Good at last.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-25]


Then might the sage have spoken, but the king

In haste broke out and stayed the dangerous word:

“O singer of the ultimate ecstasy,

Lend not a dangerous vision to the blind

Because by native right thou hast seen clear.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-26]


Impose not on the mortal's tremulous breast

The dire ordeal that foreknowledge brings;

Demand not now the Godhead in our acts.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-28]


Here are not happy peaks the heaven-nymphs roam

Or Coilas or Vaicountha's starry stair:

Abrupt, jagged hills only the mighty climb

Are here where few dare even think to rise;

Far voices call down from the dizzy rocks,

Chill, slippery, precipitous are the paths.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-29]


Too hard the gods are with man's fragile race;

In their large heavens they dwell exempt from Fate

And they forget the wounded feet of man,

His limbs that faint beneath the whips of grief,

His heart that hears the tread of time and death.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-30]


The future's road is hid from mortal sight:

He moves towards a veiled and secret face.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-31]


To light one step in front is all his hope

And only for a little strength he asks

To meet the riddle of his shrouded fate.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-32]


Awaited by a vague and half-seen force,

Aware of danger to his uncertain hours

He guards his flickering yearnings from her breath;

He feels not when the dreadful fingers close

Around him with the grasp none can elude.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-33]


If thou canst loose her grip, then only speak.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-34]


Perhaps from the iron snare there is escape:

Our mind perhaps deceives us with its words

And gives the name of doom to our own choice;

Perhaps the blindness of our will is Fate.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-35]


He said and Narad answered not the king.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-36]


But now the queen alarmed lifted her voice:

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-37]


“O seer, thy bright arrival has been timed

To this high moment of a happy life;

Then let the speech benign of griefless spheres

Confirm this blithe conjunction of two stars

And sanction joy with thy celestial voice.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-38]


Here drag not in the peril of our thoughts,

Let not our words create the doom they fear.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-39]


Here is no cause for dread, no chance for grief

To raise her ominous head and stare at love.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-40]


A single spirit in a multitude,

Happy is Satyavan mid earthly men

Whom Savitri has chosen for her mate,

And fortunate the forest hermitage

Where leaving her palace and riches and a throne

My Savitri will dwell and bring in heaven.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-41]


Then let thy blessing put the immortals' seal

On these bright lives' unstained felicity

Pushing the ominous Shadow from their days.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-42]


Too heavy falls a Shadow on man's heart;

It dares not be too happy upon earth.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-43]


It dreads the blow dogging too vivid joys,

A lash unseen in Fate's extended hand,

The danger lurking in fortune's proud extremes,

An irony in life's indulgent smile,

And trembles at the laughter of the gods.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-44]


Or if crouches unseen a panther doom,

If wings of Evil brood above that house,

Then also speak, that we may turn aside

And rescue our lives from hazard of wayside doom

And chance entanglement of an alien fate.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-45]


And Narad slowly answered to the queen:

“What help is in prevision to the driven?

Safe doors cry opening near, the doomed pass on.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-46]


A future knowledge is an added pain,

A torturing burden and a fruitless light

On the enormous scene that Fate has built.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-48]


The eternal poet, universal Mind,

Has paged each line of his imperial act;

Invisible the giant actors tread

And man lives like some secret player's mask.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-49]


He knows not even what his lips shall speak.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-50]


For a mysterious Power compels his steps

And life is stronger than his trembling soul.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-51]


None can refuse what the stark Force demands:

Her eyes are fixed upon her mighty aim;

No cry or prayer can turn her from her path.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-52]


She has leaped an arrow from the bow of God.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-53]


His words were theirs who live unforced to grieve

And help by calm the swaying wheels of life

And the long restlessness of transient things

And the trouble and passion of the unquiet world.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-54]


As though her own bosom were pierced the mother saw

The ancient human sentence strike her child,

Her sweetness that deserved another fate

Only a larger measure given of tears.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-55]


Aspiring to the nature of the gods,

A mind proof-armoured mailed in mighty thoughts,

A will entire couchant behind wisdom's shield,

Though to still heavens of knowledge she had risen,

Though calm and wise and Aswapati's queen,

Human was she still and opened her doors to grief;

The stony-eyed injustice she accused

Of the marble godhead of inflexible Law,

Nor sought the strength extreme adversity brings

To lives that stand erect and front the World-Power:

Her heart appealed against the impartial judge,

Taxed with perversity the impersonal One.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-56]


Her tranquil spirit she called not to her aid,

But as a common man beneath his load

Grows faint and breathes his pain in ignorant words,

So now she arraigned the world's impassive will:

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-57]


“What stealthy doom has crept across her path

Emerging from the dark forest's sullen heart,

What evil thing stood smiling by the way

And wore the beauty of the Shalwa boy?

Perhaps he came an enemy from her past

Armed with a hidden force of ancient wrongs,

Himself unknowing, and seized her unknown.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-58]


Here dreadfully entangled love and hate

Meet us blind wanderers mid the perils of Time.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-60]


Our days are links of a disastrous chain,

Necessity avenges casual steps;

Old cruelties come back unrecognised,

The gods make use of our forgotten deeds.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-61]


Yet all in vain the bitter law was made.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-62]


Our own minds are the justicers of doom.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-63]


For nothing have we learned, but still repeat

Our stark misuse of self and others' souls.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-64]


There are dire alchemies of the human heart

And fallen from his ethereal element

Love darkens to the spirit of nether gods.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-65]


The dreadful angel, angry with his joys

Woundingly sweet he cannot yet forego,

Is pitiless to the soul his gaze disarmed,

He visits with his own pangs his quivering prey

Forcing us to cling enamoured to his grip

As if in love with our own agony.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-66]


This is one poignant misery in the world,

And grief has other lassoes for our life.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-67]


Our sympathies become our torturers.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-68]


Strength have I my own punishment to bear,

Knowing it just, but on this earth perplexed,

Smitten in the sorrow of scourged and helpless things,

Often it faints to meet other suffering eyes.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-69]


We are not as the gods who know not grief

And look impassive on a suffering world,

Calm they gaze down on the little human scene

And the short-lived passion crossing mortal hearts.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-70]


An ancient tale of woe can move us still,

We keep the ache of breasts that breathe no more,

We are shaken by the sight of human pain,

And share the miseries that others feel.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-71]


Ours not the passionless lids that cannot age.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-72]


Too hard for us is heaven's indifference:

Our own tragedies are not enough for us,

All pathos and all sufferings we make ours;

We have sorrow for a greatness passed away

And feel the touch of tears in mortal things.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-73]


Even a stranger's anguish rends my heart,

And this, O Narad, is my well-loved child.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-74]


Hide not from us our doom, if doom is ours.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-75]


This is the worst, an unknown face of Fate,

A terror ominous, mute, felt more than seen

Behind our seat by day, our couch by night,

A Fate lurking in the shadow of our hearts,

The anguish of the unseen that waits to strike.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-76]


To know is best, however hard to bear.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-03 F-77]


Play Section Four
[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04]


Then cried the sage piercing the mother's heart,

Forcing to steel the will of Savitri,

His words set free the spring of cosmic Fate.

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


The great Gods use the pain of human hearts

As a sharp axe to hew their cosmic road:

They squander lavishly men's blood and tears

For a moment's purpose in their fateful work.

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


This cosmic Nature's balance is not ours

Nor the mystic measure of her need and use.

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


A single word lets loose vast agencies;

A casual act determines the world's fate.

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


So now he set free destiny in that hour.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-05]


“The truth thou hast claimed; I give to thee the truth.

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


A marvel of the meeting earth and heavens

Is he whom Savitri has chosen mid men,

His figure is the front of Nature's march,

His single being excels the works of Time.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-07]


A sapphire cutting from the sleep of heaven,

Delightful is the soul of Satyavan,

A ray out of the rapturous Infinite,

A silence waking to a hymn of joy.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-08]


A divinity and kingliness gird his brow;

His eyes keep a memory from a world of bliss.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-09]


As brilliant as a lonely moon in heaven,

Gentle like the sweet bud that spring desires,

Pure like a stream that kisses silent banks,

He takes with bright surprise spirit and sense.

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


A living knot of golden Paradise,

A blue Immense he leans to the longing world,

Time's joy borrowed out of eternity,

A star of splendour or a rose of bliss.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-11]


In him soul and Nature, equal Presences,

Balance and fuse in a wide harmony.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-12]


The Happy in their bright ether have not hearts

More sweet and true than this of mortal make

That takes all joy as the world's native gift

And to all gives joy as the world's natural right.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-13]


His speech carries a light of inner truth,

And a large-eyed communion with the Power

In common things has made veilless his mind,

A seer in earth-shapes of garbless deity.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-14]


A tranquil breadth of sky windless and still

Watching the world like a mind of unplumbed thought,

A silent space musing and luminous

Uncovered by the morning to delight,

A green tangle of trees upon a happy hill

Made into a murmuring nest by southern winds,

These are his images and parallels,

His kin in beauty and in depth his peers.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-15]


A will to climb lifts a delight to live,

Heaven's height companion of earth-beauty's charm,

An aspiration to the immortals' air

Lain on the lap of mortal ecstasy.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-16]


His sweetness and his joy attract all hearts

To live with his own in a glad tenancy,

His strength is like a tower built to reach heaven,

A godhead quarried from the stones of life.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-17]


O loss, if death into its elements

Of which his gracious envelope was built,

Shatter this vase before it breathes its sweets,

As if earth could not keep too long from heaven

A treasure thus unique loaned by the gods,

A being so rare, of so divine a make!

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-18]


In one brief year when this bright hour flies back

And perches careless on a branch of Time,

This sovereign glory ends heaven lent to earth,

This splendour vanishes from the mortal's sky:

Heaven's greatness came, but was too great to stay.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-19]


Twelve swift-winged months are given to him and her;

This day returning Satyavan must die.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-20]


A lightning bright and nude the sentence fell.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-21]


But the queen cried: “Vain then can be heaven's grace!

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-22]


Heaven mocks us with the brilliance of its gifts,

For Death is a cupbearer of the wine

Of too brief joy held up to mortal lips

For a passionate moment by the careless gods.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-23]


But I reject the grace and the mockery.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-24]


Mounting thy car go forth, O Savitri,

And travel once more through the peopled lands.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-25]


Alas, in the green gladness of the woods

Thy heart has stooped to a misleading call.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-26]


Choose once again and leave this fated head,

Death is the gardener of this wonder-tree;

Love's sweetness sleeps in his pale marble hand.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-27]


Advancing in a honeyed line but closed,

A little joy would buy too bitter an end.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-28]


Plead not thy choice, for death has made it vain.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-29]


Thy youth and radiance were not born to lie

A casket void dropped on a careless soil;

A choice less rare may call a happier fate.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-30]


But Savitri answered from her violent heart,—

Her voice was calm, her face was fixed like steel:

“Once my heart chose and chooses not again.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-31]


The word I have spoken can never be erased,

It is written in the record book of God.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-32]


The truth once uttered, from the earth's air effaced,

By mind forgotten, sounds immortally

For ever in the memory of Time.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-33]


Once the dice fall thrown by the hand of Fate

In an eternal moment of the gods.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-34]


My heart has sealed its troth to Satyavan:

Its signature adverse Fate cannot efface,

Its seal not Fate nor Death nor Time dissolve.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-35]


Those who shall part who have grown one being within?

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-36]


Death's grip can break our bodies, not our souls;

If death take him, I too know how to die.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-37]


Let Fate do with me what she will or can;

I am stronger than death and greater than my fate;

My love shall outlast the world, doom falls from me

Helpless against my immortality.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-38]


Fate's law may change, but not my spirit's will.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-39]


An adamant will, she cast her speech like bronze.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-40]


But in the queen's mind listening her words

Rang like the voice of a self-chosen Doom

Denying every issue of escape.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-41]


To her own despair answer the mother made;

As one she cried who in her heavy heart

Labours amid the sobbing of her hopes

To wake a note of help from sadder strings:

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-42]


“O child, in the magnificence of thy soul

Dwelling on the border of a greater world

And dazzled by thy superhuman thoughts,

Thou lendst eternity to a mortal hope.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-43]


Here on this mutable and ignorant earth

Who is the lover and who is the friend?

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-44]


All passes here, nothing remains the same.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-45]


None is for any on this transient globe.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-46]


He whom thou lovest now, a stranger came

And into a far strangeness shall depart:

His moment's part once done upon life's stage

Which for a time was given him from within,

To other scenes he moves and other players

And laughs and weeps mid faces new, unknown.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-47]


The body thou hast loved is cast away

Amidst the brute unchanging stuff of worlds

To indifferent mighty Nature and becomes

Crude matter for the joy of others' lives.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-48]


But for our souls, upon the wheel of God

For ever turning, they arrive and go,

Married and sundered in the magic round

Of the great Dancer of the boundless dance.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-49]


Our emotions are but high and dying notes

Of his wild music changed compellingly

By the passionate movements of a seeking Heart

In the inconstant links of hour with hour.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-50]


To call down heaven's distant answering song,

To cry to an unseized bliss is all we dare;

Once seized, we lose the heavenly music's sense;

Too near, the rhythmic cry has fled or failed;

All sweetnesses are baffling symbols here.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-51]                 


Love dies before the lover in our breast:

Our joys are perfumes in a brittle vase.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-52]


O then what wreck is this upon Time's sea

To spread life's sails to the hurricane desire

And call for pilot the unseeing heart!

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-53]


O child, wilt thou proclaim, wilt thou then follow

Against the Law that is the eternal will

The autarchy of the rash Titan's mood

To whom his own fierce will is the one law

In a world where Truth is not, nor Light nor God?

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-54]


Only the gods can speak what now thou speakst.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-55]


Thou who art human, think not like a god.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-56]


For man, below the god, above the brute,

Is given the calm reason as his guide;

He is not driven by an unthinking will

As are the actions of the bird and beast;

He is not moved by stark Necessity

Like the senseless motion of inconscient things.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-57]


The giant's and the Titan's furious march

Climbs to usurp the kingdom of the gods

Or skirts the demon magnitudes of Hell;

In the unreflecting passion of their hearts

They dash their lives against the eternal Law

And fall and break by their own violent mass:

The middle path is made for thinking man.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-58]


To choose his steps by reason's vigilant light,

To choose his path among the many paths

Is given him, for each his difficult goal

Hewn out of infinite possibility.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-59]


Leave not thy goal to follow a beautiful face.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-60]


Only when thou hast climbed above thy mind

And liv'st in the calm vastness of the One

Can love be eternal in the eternal Bliss

And love divine replace the human tie.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-61]


There is a shrouded law, an austere force:

It bids thee strengthen thy undying spirit;

It offers its severe benignancies

Of work and thought and measured grave delight

As steps to climb to God's far secret heights.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-62]


Then is our life a tranquil pilgrimage,

Each year a mile upon the heavenly Way,

Each dawn opens into a larger Light.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-63]


Thy acts are thy helpers, all events are signs,

Waking and sleep are opportunities

Given to thee by an immortal Power.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-64]


So canst thou raise thy pure unvanquished spirit,

Till spread to heaven in a wide vesper calm,

Indifferent and gentle as the sky,

It greatens slowly into timeless peace.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-65]


But Savitri replied with steadfast eyes:

“My will is part of the eternal Will,

My fate is what my spirit's strength can make,

My fate is what my spirit's strength can bear;

My strength is not the Titan's; it is God's.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-66]


I have discovered my glad reality

Beyond my body in another's being:

I have found the deep unchanging soul of love.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-67]


Then how shall I desire a lonely good,

Or slay, aspiring to white vacant peace,

The endless hope that made my soul spring forth

Out of its infinite solitude and sleep?

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-68]


My spirit has glimpsed the glory for which it came,

The beating of one vast heart in the flame of things,

My eternity clasped by his eternity

And, tireless of the sweet abysms of Time,

Deep possibility always to love.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-69]


This, this is first, last joy and to its throb

The riches of a thousand fortunate years

Are poverty. 

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-70]


Nothing to me are death and grief

Or ordinary lives and happy days.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-71]


And what to me are common souls of men

Or eyes and lips that are not Satyavan's?

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-72]


I have no need to draw back from his arms

And the discovered paradise of his love

And journey into a still infinity.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-73]


Only now for my soul in Satyavan

I treasure the rich occasion of my birth:

In sunlight and a dream of emerald ways

I shall walk with him like gods in Paradise.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-74]


If for a year, that year is all my life.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-75]


And yet I know this is not all my fate

Only to live and love awhile and die.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-76]


For I know now why my spirit came on earth

And who I am and who he is I love.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-77]


I have looked at him from my immortal Self,

I have seen God smile at me in Satyavan;

I have seen the Eternal in a human face.”

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-78]


Then none could answer to her words.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-79]



They sat and looked into the eyes of Fate.

[Savitri B-06 C-01 S-04 F-80]


Book Six Canto One End

The Word of Fate

[Savitri B-06 C-01 Canto End]



Book 6 Canto 2

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Six
The Book of Fate

Canto Two

The Way of Fate and the Problem of Pain

[Savitri B-06 C-02 Canto Name]


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


A silence sealed the irrevocable decree,

The word of Fate that fell from heavenly lips

Fixing a doom no power could ever reverse

Unless heaven's will itself could change its course.

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


Or so it seemed: yet from the silence rose

One voice that questioned changeless destiny,

A will that strove against the immutable Will.

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


A mother's heart had heard the fateful speech

That rang like a sanction to the call of death

And came like a chill close to life and hope.

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


Yet hope sank down like an extinguished fire.

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


She felt the leaden inevitable hand

Invade the secrecy of her guarded soul

And smite with sudden pain its still content

And the empire of her hard-won quietude.

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


Awhile she fell to the level of human mind,

A field of mortal grief and Nature's law;

She shared, she bore the common lot of men

And felt what common hearts endure in Time.

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


Voicing earth's question to the inscrutable power

The queen now turned to the still immobile seer:

Assailed by the discontent in Nature's depths,

Partner in the agony of dumb driven things

And all the misery, all the ignorant cry,

Passionate like sorrow questioning heaven she spoke.

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


Lending her speech to the surface soul on earth

She uttered the suffering in the world's dumb heart

And man's revolt against his ignorant fate.

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


“O seer, in the earth's strange twi-natured life

By what pitiless adverse Necessity

Or what cold freak of a Creator's will,

By what random accident or governed Chance

That shaped a rule out of fortuitous steps,

Made destiny from an hour's emotion, came

Into the unreadable mystery of Time

The direr mystery of grief and pain?

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


Is it thy God who made this cruel law?

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


Or some disastrous Power has marred his work

And he stands helpless to defend or save?

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


A fatal seed was sown in life's false start

When evil twinned with good on earthly soil.

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


Then first appeared the malady of mind,

Its pang of thought, its quest for the aim of life.

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


It twisted into forms of good and ill

The frank simplicity of the animal's acts;

It turned the straight path hewn by the body's gods,

Followed the zigzag of the uncertain course

Of life that wanders seeking for its aim

In the pale starlight falling from thought's skies,

Its guides the unsure idea, the wavering will.

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


Lost was the instinct's safe identity

With the arrow-point of being's inmost sight,

Marred the sure steps of Nature's simple walk

And truth and freedom in the growing soul.

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


Out of some ageless innocence and peace,

Privilege of souls not yet betrayed to birth,

Cast down to suffer on this hard dangerous earth

Our life was born in pain and with a cry.

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


Although earth-nature welcomes heaven's breath

Inspiring Matter with the will to live,

A thousand ills assail the mortal's hours

And wear away the natural joy of life;

Our bodies are an engine cunningly made,

But for all its parts as cunningly are planned,

Contrived ingeniously with demon skill,

Its apt inevitable heritage

Of mortal danger and peculiar pain,

Its payment of the tax of Time and Fate,

Its way to suffer and its way to die.

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


This is the ransom of our high estate,

The sign and stamp of our humanity.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-18]


A grisly company of maladies

Come, licensed lodgers, into man's bodily house,

Purveyors of death and torturers of life.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-19]


In the malignant hollows of the world,

In its subconscient cavern-passages

Ambushed they lie waiting their hour to leap,

Surrounding with danger the sieged city of life:

Admitted into the citadel of man's days

They mine his force and maim or suddenly kill.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-20]


Ourselves within us lethal forces nurse;

We make of our own enemies our guests:

Out of their holes like beasts they creep and gnaw

The chords of the divine musician's lyre

Till frayed and thin the music dies away

Or crashing snaps with a last tragic note.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-21]


All that we are is like a fort beset:

All that we strive to be alters like a dream

In the grey sleep of Matter's ignorance.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-22]


Mind suffers lamed by the world's disharmony

And the unloveliness of human things.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-23]


A treasure misspent or cheaply, fruitlessly sold

In the bazaar of a blind destiny,

A gift of priceless value from Time's gods

Lost or mislaid in an uncaring world,

Life is a marvel missed, an art gone wry;

A seeker in a dark and obscure place,

An ill-armed warrior facing dreadful odds,

An imperfect worker given a baffling task,

An ignorant judge of problems Ignorance made,

Its heavenward flights reach closed and keyless gates,

Its glorious outbursts peter out in mire.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-24]


On Nature's gifts to man a curse was laid:

All walks inarmed by its own opposites,

Error is the comrade of our mortal thought

And falsehood lurks in the deep bosom of truth,

Sin poisons with its vivid flowers of joy

Or leaves a red scar burnt across the soul;

Virtue is a grey bondage and a gaol.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-25]


At every step is laid for us a snare.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-26]


Alien to reason and the spirit's light,

Our fount of action from a darkness wells;

In ignorance and nescience are our roots.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-27]


A growing register of calamities

Is the past's account, the future's book of Fate:

The centuries pile man's follies and man's crimes

Upon the countless crowd of Nature's ills;

As if the world's stone load was not enough,

A crop of miseries obstinately is sown

By his own hand in the furrows of the gods,

The vast increasing tragic harvest reaped

From old misdeeds buried by oblivious Time.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-28]


He walks by his own choice into Hell's trap;

This mortal creature is his own worst foe.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-29]


His science is an artificer of doom;

He ransacks earth for means to harm his kind;

He slays his happiness and others' good.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-30]


Nothing has he learned from Time and its history;

Even as of old in the raw youth of Time,

When Earth ignorant ran on the highways of Fate,

Old forms of evil cling to the world's soul:

War making nought the sweet smiling calm of life,

Battle and rapine, ruin and massacre

Are still the fierce pastimes of man's warring tribes;

An idiot hour destroys what centuries made,

His wanton rage or frenzied hate lays low

The beauty and greatness by his genius wrought

And the mighty output of a nation's toil.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-31]


All he has achieved he drags to the precipice.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-32]


His grandeur he turns to an epic of doom and fall;

His littleness crawls content through squalor and mud,

He calls heaven's retribution on his head

And wallows in his self-made misery.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-33]


A part author of the cosmic tragedy,

His will conspires with death and time and fate.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-34]


His brief appearance on the enigmaed earth

Ever recurs but brings no high result

To this wanderer through the aeon-rings of God

That shut his life in their vast longevity.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-35]


His soul's wide search and ever returning hopes

Pursue the useless orbit of their course

In a vain repetition of lost toils

Across a track of soon forgotten lives.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-36]


All is an episode in a meaningless tale.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-37]


Why is it all and wherefore are we here?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-38]


If to some being of eternal bliss

It is our spirit's destiny to return

Or some still impersonal height of endless calm,

Since That we are and out of That we came,

Whence rose the strange and sterile interlude

Lasting in vain through interminable Time?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-39]


Who willed to form or feign a universe

In the cold and endless emptiness of Space?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-40]


Or if these beings must be and their brief lives,

What need had the soul of ignorance and tears?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-41]


Whence rose the call for sorrow and for pain?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-42]


Or all came helplessly without a cause?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-43]


What power forced the immortal spirit to birth?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-44]


The eternal witness once of eternity,

A deathless sojourner mid transient scenes,

He camps in life's half-lit obscurity

Amid the debris of his thoughts and dreams.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-45]


Or who persuaded it to fall from bliss

And forfeit its immortal privilege?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-46]


Who laid on it the ceaseless will to live

A wanderer in this beautiful, sorrowful world,

And bear its load of joy and grief and love?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-47]


Or if no being watches the works of Time,

What hard impersonal Necessity

Compels the vain toil of brief living things?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-48]


A great Illusion then has built the stars.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-49]


But where then is the soul's security,

Its poise in this circling of unreal suns?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-50]


Or else it is a wanderer from its home

Who strayed into a blind alley of Time and chance

And finds no issue from a meaningless world.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-51]


Or where begins and ends Illusion's reign?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-52]


Perhaps the soul we feel is only a dream,

Eternal self a fiction sensed in trance.”

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-01 F-53]


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


Then after a silence Narad made reply:

Tuning his lips to earthly sound he spoke,

And something now of the deep sense of fate

Weighted the fragile hints of mortal speech.

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


His forehead shone with vision solemnised,

Turned to a tablet of supernal thoughts

As if characters of an unwritten tongue

Had left in its breadth the inscriptions of the gods.

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


Bare in that light Time toiled, his unseen works

Detected; the broad-flung far-seeing schemes

Unfinished which his aeoned flight unrolls

Were mapped already in that world-wide look.

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


“Was then the sun a dream because there is night?

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


Hidden in the mortal's heart the Eternal lives:

He lives secret in the chamber of thy soul,

A Light shines there nor pain nor grief can cross.

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


A darkness stands between thyself and him,

Thou canst not hear or feel the marvellous Guest,

Thou canst not see the beatific sun.

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


O queen, thy thought is a light of the Ignorance,

Its brilliant curtain hides from thee God's face.

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


It illumes a world born from the Inconscience

But hides the Immortal's meaning in the world.

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


Thy mind's light hides from thee the Eternal's thought,

Thy heart's hopes hide from thee the Eternal's will,

Earth's joys shut from thee the Immortal's bliss.

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


Thence rose the need of a dark intruding god,

The world's dread teacher, the creator, pain.

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


Where Ignorance is, there suffering too must come;

Thy grief is a cry of darkness to the Light;

Pain was the first-born of the Inconscience

Which was thy body's dumb original base;

Already slept there pain's subconscient shape:

A shadow in a shadowy tenebrous womb,

Till life shall move, it waits to wake and be.

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


In one caul with joy came forth the dreadful Power.

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


In life's breast it was born hiding its twin;

But pain came first, then only joy could be.

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


Pain ploughed the first hard ground of the world-drowse.

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


By pain a spirit started from the clod,

By pain Life stirred in the subliminal deep.

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


Interned, submerged, hidden in Matter's trance

Awoke to itself the dreamer, sleeping Mind;

It made a visible realm out of its dreams,

It drew its shapes from the subconscient depths,

Then turned to look upon the world it had made.

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


By pain and joy, the bright and tenebrous twins,

The inanimate world perceived its sentient soul,

Else had the Inconscient never suffered change.

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


Pain is the hammer of the Gods to break

A dead resistance in the mortal's heart,

His slow inertia as of living stone.

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


If the heart were not forced to want and weep,

His soul would have lain down content, at ease,

And never thought to exceed the human start

And never learned to climb towards the Sun.

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


This earth is full of labour, packed with pain;

Throes of an endless birth coerce her still;

The centuries end, the ages vainly pass

And yet the Godhead in her is not born.

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


The ancient Mother faces all with joy,

Calls for the ardent pang, the grandiose thrill;

For with pain and labour all creation comes.

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


This earth is full of the anguish of the gods;

Ever they travail driven by Time's goad,

And strive to work out the eternal Will

And shape the life divine in mortal forms.

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


His will must be worked out in human breasts

Against the Evil that rises from the gulfs,

Against the world's Ignorance and its obstinate strength,

Against the stumblings of man's pervert will,

Against the deep folly of his human mind,

Against the blind reluctance of his heart.

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


The spirit is doomed to pain till man is free.

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


There is a clamour of battle, a tramp, a march:

A cry arises like a moaning sea,

A desperate laughter under the blows of death,

A doom of blood and sweat and toil and tears.

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


Men die that man may live and God be born.

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


An awful Silence watches tragic Time.

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


Pain is the hand of Nature sculpturing men

To greatness: an inspired labour chisels

With heavenly cruelty an unwilling mould.

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


Implacable in the passion of their will,

Lifting the hammers of titanic toil

The demiurges of the universe work;

They shape with giant strokes their own; their sons

Are marked with their enormous stamp of fire.

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


Although the shaping god's tremendous touch

Is torture unbearable to mortal nerves,

The fiery spirit grows in strength within

And feels a joy in every titan pang.

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


He who would save himself lives bare and calm;

He who would save the race must share its pain:

This he shall know who obeys that grandiose urge.

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


The Great who came to save this suffering world

And rescue out of Time's shadow and the Law,

Must pass beneath the yoke of grief and pain;

They are caught by the Wheel that they had hoped to break,

On their shoulders they must bear man's load of fate.

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


Heaven's riches they bring, their sufferings count the price

Or they pay the gift of knowledge with their lives.

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


The Son of God born as the Son of man

Has drunk the bitter cup, owned Godhead's debt,

The debt the Eternal owes to the fallen kind

His will has bound to death and struggling life

That yearns in vain for rest and endless peace.

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


Now is the debt paid, wiped off the original score.

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


The Eternal suffers in a human form,

He has signed salvation's testament with his blood:

He has opened the doors of his undying peace.

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


The Deity compensates the creature's claim,

The Creator bears the law of pain and death;

A retribution smites the incarnate God.

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


His love has paved the mortal's road to Heaven:

He has given his life and light to balance here

The dark account of mortal ignorance.

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


It is finished, the dread mysterious sacrifice,

Offered by God's martyred body for the world;

Gethsemane and Calvary are his lot,

He carries the cross on which man's soul is nailed;

His escort is the curses of the crowd;

Insult and jeer are his right's acknowledgment;

Two thieves slain with him mock his mighty death.

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


He has trod with bleeding brow the Saviour's way.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-40]


He who has found his identity with God

Pays with the body's death his soul's vast light.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-41]


His knowledge immortal triumphs by his death.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-42]


Hewn, quartered on the scaffold as he falls,

His crucified voice proclaims, `I, I am God;'

`Yes, all is God,' peals back Heaven's deathless call.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-43]


The seed of Godhead sleeps in mortal hearts,

The flower of Godhead grows on the world-tree:

All shall discover God in self and things.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-44]


But when God's messenger comes to help the world

And lead the soul of earth to higher things,

He too must carry the yoke he came to unloose;

He too must bear the pang that he would heal:

Exempt and unafflicted by earth's fate,

How shall he cure the ills he never felt?

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-45]


He covers the world's agony with his calm;

But though to the outward eye no sign appears

And peace is given to our torn human hearts,

The struggle is there and paid the unseen price;

The fire, the strife, the wrestle are within.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-46]


He carries the suffering world in his own breast;

Its sins weigh on his thoughts, its grief is his:

Earth's ancient load lies heavy on his soul;

Night and its powers beleaguer his tardy steps,

The Titan adversary's clutch he bears;

His march is a battle and a pilgrimage.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-47]


Life's evil smites, he is stricken with the world's pain:

A million wounds gape in his secret heart.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-48]


He journeys sleepless through an unending night;

Antagonist forces crowd across his path;

A siege, a combat is his inner life.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-49]


Even worse may be the cost, direr the pain:

His large identity and all-harbouring love

Shall bring the cosmic anguish into his depths,

The sorrow of all living things shall come

And knock at his doors and live within his house;

A dreadful cord of sympathy can tie

All suffering into his single grief and make

All agony in all the worlds his own.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-50]


He meets an ancient adversary Force,

He is lashed with the whips that tear the world's worn heart;

The weeping of the centuries visits his eyes:

He wears the blood-glued fiery Centaur shirt,

The poison of the world has stained his throat.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-51]


In the market-place of Matter's capital

Amidst the chafferings of the affair called life

He is tied to the stake of a perennial Fire;

He burns on an unseen original verge

That Matter may be turned to spirit stuff:

He is the victim in his own sacrifice.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-52]


The Immortal bound to earth's mortality

Appearing and perishing on the roads of Time

Creates God's moment by eternity's beats.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-53]


He dies that the world may be new-born and live.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-54]


Even if he escapes the fiercest fires,

Even if the world breaks not in, a drowning sea,

Only by hard sacrifice is high heaven earned:

He must face the fight, the pang who would conquer Hell.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-55]


A dark concealed hostility is lodged

In the human depths, in the hidden heart of Time

That claims the right to change and mar God's work.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-56]


A secret enmity ambushes the world's march;

It leaves a mark on thought and speech and act:

It stamps stain and defect on all things done;

Till it is slain peace is forbidden on earth.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-57]


There is no visible foe, but the unseen

Is round us, forces intangible besiege,

Touches from alien realms, thoughts not our own

Overtake us and compel the erring heart;

Our lives are caught in an ambiguous net.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-58]


An adversary Force was born of old:

Invader of the life of mortal man,

It hides from him the straight immortal path.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-59]


A power came in to veil the eternal Light,

A power opposed to the eternal will

Diverts the messages of the infallible Word,

Contorts the contours of the cosmic plan:

A whisper lures to evil the human heart,

It seals up wisdom's eyes, the soul's regard,

It is the origin of our suffering here,

It binds earth to calamity and pain.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-60]


This all must conquer who would bring down God's peace.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-61]


This hidden foe lodged in the human breast

Man must overcome or miss his higher fate.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-62]


This is the inner war without escape.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-02 F-63]


Play Section Three
[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03]



“Hard is the world-redeemer's heavy task;

The world itself becomes his adversary,

Those he would save are his antagonists:

This world is in love with its own ignorance,

Its darkness turns away from the saviour light,

It gives the cross in payment for the crown.

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


His work is a trickle of splendour in a long night;

He sees the long march of Time, the little won;

A few are saved, the rest strive on and fail:

A Sun has passed, on earth Night's shadow falls.

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


Yes, there are happy ways near to God's sun;

But few are they who tread the sunlit path;

Only the pure in soul can walk in light.

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


An exit is shown, a road of hard escape

From the sorrow and the darkness and the chain;

But how shall a few escaped release the world?

The human mass lingers beneath the yoke.

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


Escape, however high, redeems not life,

Life that is left behind on a fallen earth.

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


Escape cannot uplift the abandoned race

Or bring to it victory and the reign of God.

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


A greater power must come, a larger light.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-07]


Although Light grows on earth and Night recedes,

Yet till the evil is slain in its own home

And Light invades the world's inconscient base

And perished has the adversary Force,

He still must labour on, his work half done.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-08]


One yet may come armoured, invincible;

His will immobile meets the mobile hour;

The world's blows cannot bend that victor head;

Calm and sure are his steps in the growing Night;

The goal recedes, he hurries not his pace,

He turns not to high voices in the night;

He asks no aid from the inferior gods;

His eyes are fixed on his immutable aim.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-09]


Man turns aside or chooses easier paths;

He keeps to the one high and difficult road

That sole can climb to the Eternal's peaks;

The ineffable planes already have felt his tread;

He has made heaven and earth his instruments,

But the limits fall from him of earth and heaven;

Their law he transcends but uses as his means.

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


He has seized life's hands, he has mastered his own heart.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-11]


The feints of Nature mislead not his sight,

Inflexible his look towards Truth's far end;

Fate's deaf resistance cannot break his will.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-12]


In the dreadful passages, the fatal paths,

Invulnerable his soul, his heart unslain,

He lives through the opposition of earth's Powers

And Nature's ambushes and the world's attacks.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-13]


His spirit's stature transcending pain and bliss,

He fronts evil and good with calm and equal eyes.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-14]


He too must grapple with the riddling Sphinx

And plunge into her long obscurity.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-15]


He has broken into the Inconscient's depths

That veil themselves even from their own regard:

He has seen God's slumber shape these magic worlds.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-16]


He has watched the dumb God fashioning Matter's frame,

Dreaming the dreams of its unknowing sleep,

And watched the unconscious Force that built the stars.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-17]


He has learned the Inconscient's workings and its law,

Its incoherent thoughts and rigid acts,

Its hazard wastes of impulse and idea,

The chaos of its mechanic frequencies,

Its random calls, its whispers falsely true,

Misleaders of the hooded listening soul.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-18]


All things come to its ear but nothing abides;

All rose from the silence, all goes back to its hush.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-19]


Its somnolence founded the universe,

Its obscure waking makes the world seem vain.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-20]


Arisen from Nothingness and towards Nothingness turned,

Its dark and potent nescience was earth's start;

It is the waste stuff from which all was made;

Into its deeps creation can collapse.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-21]


Its opposition clogs the march of the soul,

It is the mother of our ignorance.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-22]


He must call light into its dark abysms,

Else never can Truth conquer Matter's sleep

And all earth look into the eyes of God.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-23]


All things obscure his knowledge must relume,

All things perverse his power must unknot:

He must pass to the other shore of falsehood's sea,

He must enter the world's dark to bring there light.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-24]


The heart of evil must be bared to his eyes,

He must learn its cosmic dark necessity,

Its right and its dire roots in Nature's soil.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-25]


He must know the thought that moves the demon act

And justifies the Titan's erring pride

And the falsehood lurking in earth's crooked dreams:

He must enter the eternity of Night

And know God's darkness as he knows his Sun.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-26]


For this he must go down into the pit,

For this he must invade the dolorous Vasts.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-27]


Imperishable and wise and infinite,

He still must travel Hell the world to save.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-28]


Into the eternal Light he shall emerge

On borders of the meeting of all worlds;

There on the verge of Nature's summit steps

The secret Law of each thing is fulfilled,

All contraries heal their long dissidence.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-29]


There meet and clasp the eternal opposites,

There pain becomes a violent fiery joy;

Evil turns back to its original good,

And sorrow lies upon the breasts of Bliss:

She has learned to weep glad tears of happiness;

Her gaze is charged with a wistful ecstasy.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-30]


Then shall be ended here the Law of Pain.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-31]


Earth shall be made a home of Heaven's light,

A seer heaven-born shall lodge in human breasts;

The superconscient beam shall touch men's eyes

And the truth-conscious world come down to earth

Invading Matter with the Spirit's ray,

Awaking its silence to immortal thoughts,

Awaking the dumb heart to the living Word.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-32]


This mortal life shall house Eternity's bliss,

The body's self taste immortality.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-33]


Then shall the world-redeemer's task be done.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-03 F-34]


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



“Till then must life carry its seed of death

And sorrow's plaint be heard in the slow Night.

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


O mortal, bear this great world's law of pain,

In thy hard passage through a suffering world

Lean for thy soul's support on Heaven's strength,

Turn towards high Truth, aspire to love and peace.

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


A little bliss is lent thee from above,

A touch divine upon thy human days.

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


Make of thy daily way a pilgrimage,

For through small joys and griefs thou mov'st towards God.

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


Haste not towards Godhead on a dangerous road,

Open not thy doorways to a nameless Power,

Climb not to Godhead by the Titan's road.

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


Against the Law he pits his single will,

Across its way he throws his pride of might.

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


Heavenward he clambers on a stair of storms

Aspiring to live near the deathless sun.

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


He strives with a giant strength to wrest by force

From life and Nature the immortals' right;

He takes by storm the world and fate and heaven.

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


He comes not to the high World-maker's seat,

He waits not for the outstretched hand of God

To raise him out of his mortality.

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


All he would make his own, leave nothing free,

Stretching his small self to cope with the infinite.

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


Obstructing the gods' open ways he makes

His own estate of the earth's air and light;

A monopolist of the world-energy,

He dominates the life of common men.

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


His pain and others' pain he makes his means:

On death and suffering he builds his throne.

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


In the hurry and clangour of his acts of might,

In a riot and excess of fame and shame,

By his magnitudes of hate and violence,

By the quaking of the world beneath his tread

He matches himself against the Eternal's calm

And feels in himself the greatness of a god:

Power is his image of celestial self.

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


The Titan's heart is a sea of fire and force;

He exults in the death of things and ruin and fall,

He feeds his strength with his own and others' pain;

In the world's pathos and passion he takes delight,

His pride, his might call for the struggle and pang.

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


He glories in the sufferings of the flesh

And covers the stigmata with the Stoic's name.

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


His eyes blinded and visionless stare at the sun,

The seeker's Sight receding from his heart

Can find no more the light of eternity;

He sees the beyond as an emptiness void of soul

And takes his night for a dark infinite.

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


His nature magnifies the unreal's blank

And sees in Nought the sole reality:

He would stamp his single figure on the world,

Obsess the world's rumours with his single name.

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


His moments centre the vast universe.

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


He sees his little self as very God.

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


His little `I' has swallowed the whole world,

His ego has stretched into infinity.

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


His mind, a beat in original Nothingness,

Ciphers his thought on a slate of hourless Time.

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


He builds on a mighty vacancy of soul

A huge philosophy of Nothingness.

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


In him Nirvana lives and speaks and acts

Impossibly creating a universe.

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


An eternal zero is his formless self,

His spirit the void impersonal absolute.

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


Take not that stride, O growing soul of man;

Cast not thy self into that night of God.

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


The soul suffering is not eternity's key,

Or ransom by sorrow heaven's demand on life.

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


O mortal, bear, but ask not for the stroke,

Too soon will grief and anguish find thee out.

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


Too enormous is that venture for thy will;

Only in limits can man's strength be safe;

Yet is infinity thy spirit's goal;

Its bliss is there behind the world's face of tears.

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


A power is in thee that thou knowest not;

Thou art a vessel of the imprisoned spark.

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


It seeks relief from Time's envelopment,

And while thou shutst it in, the seal is pain:

Bliss is the Godhead's crown, eternal, free,

Unburdened by life's blind mystery of pain:

Pain is the signature of the Ignorance

Attesting the secret god denied by life:

Until life finds him pain can never end.

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


Calm is self's victory overcoming fate.

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


Bear; thou shalt find at last thy road to bliss.

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


Bliss is the secret stuff of all that lives,

Even pain and grief are garbs of world-delight,

It hides behind thy sorrow and thy cry.

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


Because thy strength is a part and not God's whole,

Because afflicted by the little self

Thy consciousness forgets to be divine

As it walks in the vague penumbra of the flesh

And cannot bear the world's tremendous touch,

Thou criest out and sayst that there is pain.

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


Indifference, pain and joy, a triple disguise,

Attire of the rapturous Dancer in the ways,

Withhold from thee the body of God's bliss.

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


Thy spirit's strength shall make thee one with God,

Thy agony shall change to ecstasy,

Indifference deepen into infinity's calm

And joy laugh nude on the peaks of the Absolute.

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


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



“O mortal who complainst of death and fate,

Accuse none of the harms thyself hast called;

This troubled world thou hast chosen for thy home,

Thou art thyself the author of thy pain.

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


Once in the immortal boundlessness of Self,

In a vast of Truth and Consciousness and Light

The soul looked out from its felicity.

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


It felt the Spirit's interminable bliss,

It knew itself deathless, timeless, spaceless, one,

It saw the Eternal, lived in the Infinite.

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


Then, curious of a shadow thrown by Truth,

It strained towards some otherness of self,

It was drawn to an unknown Face peering through night.

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


It sensed a negative infinity,

A void supernal whose immense excess

Imitating God and everlasting Time

Offered a ground for Nature's adverse birth

And Matter's rigid hard unconsciousness

Harbouring the brilliance of a transient soul

That lights up birth and death and ignorant life.

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


A Mind arose that stared at Nothingness

Till figures formed of what could never be;

It housed the contrary of all that is.

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


A Nought appeared as Being's huge sealed cause,

Its dumb support in a blank infinite,

In whose abysm spirit must disappear:

A darkened Nature lived and held the seed

Of Spirit hidden and feigning not to be.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-07]


Eternal Consciousness became a freak

Of an unsouled almighty Inconscient

And, breathed no more as spirit's native air,

Bliss was an incident of a mortal hour,

A stranger in the insentient universe.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-08]


As one drawn by the grandeur of the Void

The soul attracted leaned to the Abyss:

It longed for the adventure of Ignorance

And the marvel and surprise of the Unknown

And the endless possibility that lurked

In the womb of Chaos and in Nothing's gulf

Or looked from the unfathomed eyes of Chance.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-09]


It tired of its unchanging happiness,

It turned away from immortality:

It was drawn to hazard's call and danger's charm,

It yearned to the pathos of grief, the drama of pain,

Perdition's peril, the wounded bare escape,

The music of ruin and its glamour and crash,

The savour of pity and the gamble of love

And passion and the ambiguous face of Fate.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-10]


A world of hard endeavour and difficult toil,

And battle on extinction's perilous verge,

A clash of forces, a vast incertitude,

The joy of creation out of Nothingness,

Strange meetings on the roads of Ignorance

And the companionship of half-known souls

Or the solitary greatness and lonely force

Of a separate being conquering its world,

Called it from its too safe eternity.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-11]


A huge descent began, a giant fall:

For what the spirit sees, creates a truth

And what the soul imagines is made a world.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-12]


A Thought that leaped from the Timeless can become,

Indicator of cosmic consequence

And the itinerary of the gods,

A cyclic movement in eternal Time.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-13]


Thus came, born from a blind tremendous choice,

This great perplexed and discontented world,

This haunt of Ignorance, this home of Pain:

There are pitched desire's tents, grief's headquarters.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-14]


A vast disguise conceals the Eternal's bliss.”

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-05 F-15]



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



Then Aswapati answered to the seer:

“Is then the spirit ruled by an outward world?

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


O seer, is there no remedy within?

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


But what is Fate if not the spirit's will

After long time fulfilled by cosmic Force?

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


I deemed a mighty Power had come with her;

Is not that Power the high compeer of Fate?”

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


But Narad answered covering truth with truth:

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


“O Aswapati, random seem the ways

Along whose banks your footsteps stray or run

In casual hours or moments of the gods,

Yet your least stumblings are foreseen above.

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


Infallibly the curves of life are drawn

Following the stream of Time through the unknown;

They are led by a clue the calm immortals keep.

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


This blazoned hieroglyph of prophet morns

A meaning more sublime in symbols writes

Than sealed Thought wakes to, but of this high script

How shall my voice convince the mind of earth?

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


Heaven's wiser love rejects the mortal's prayer;

Unblinded by the breath of his desire,

Unclouded by the mists of fear and hope,

It bends above the strife of love with death;

It keeps for her her privilege of pain.

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


A greatness in thy daughter's soul resides

That can transform herself and all around

But must cross on stones of suffering to its goal.

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


Although designed like a nectar cup of heaven,

Of heavenly ether made she sought this air,

She too must share the human need of grief

And all her cause of joy transmute to pain.

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


The mind of mortal man is led by words,

His sight retires behind the walls of Thought

And looks out only through half-opened doors.

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


He cuts the boundless Truth into sky-strips

And every strip he takes for all the heavens.

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


He stares at infinite possibility

And gives to the plastic Vast the name of Chance;

He sees the long results of an all-wise Force

Planning a sequence of steps in endless Time

But in its links imagines a senseless chain

Or the dead hand of cold Necessity;

He answers not to the mystic Mother's heart,

Misses the ardent heavings of her breast

And feels cold rigid limbs of lifeless Law.

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


The will of the Timeless working out in Time

In the free absolute steps of cosmic Truth

He thinks a dead machine or unconscious Fate.

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


A Magician's formulas have made Matter's laws

And while they last, all things by them are bound;

But the spirit's consent is needed for each act

And Freedom walks in the same pace with Law.

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


All here can change if the Magician choose.

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


If human will could be made one with God's,

If human thought could echo the thoughts of God,

Man might be all-knowing and omnipotent;

But now he walks in Nature's doubtful ray.

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


Yet can the mind of man receive God's light,

The force of man can be driven by God's force,

Then is he a miracle doing miracles.

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


For only so can he be Nature's king.

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


It is decreed and Satyavan must die;

The hour is fixed, chosen the fatal stroke.

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


What else shall be is written in her soul

But till the hour reveals the fateful script,

The writing waits illegible and mute.

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


Fate is Truth working out in Ignorance.

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


O King, thy fate is a transaction done

At every hour between Nature and thy soul

With God for its foreseeing arbiter.

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


Fate is a balance drawn in Destiny's book.

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


Man can accept his fate, he can refuse.

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


Even if the One maintains the unseen decree

He writes thy refusal in thy credit page:

For doom is not a close, a mystic seal.

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


Arisen from the tragic crash of life,

Arisen from the body's torture and death,

The spirit rises mightier by defeat;

Its godlike wings grow wider with each fall.

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


Its splendid failures sum to victory.

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


O man, the events that meet thee on thy road,

Though they smite thy body and soul with joy and grief,

Are not thy fate,—they touch thee awhile and pass;

Even death can cut not short thy spirit's walk:

Thy goal, the road thou choosest are thy fate.

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


On the altar throwing thy thoughts, thy heart, thy works,

Thy fate is a long sacrifice to the gods

Till they have opened to thee thy secret self

And made thee one with the indwelling God.

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


O soul, intruder in Nature's ignorance,

Armed traveller to the unseen supernal heights,

Thy spirit's fate is a battle and ceaseless march

Against invisible opponent Powers,

A passage from Matter into timeless self.

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


Adventurer through blind unforeseeing Time,

A forced advance through a long line of lives,

It pushes its spearhead through the centuries.

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


Across the dust and mire of the earthly plain,

On many guarded lines and dangerous fronts,

In dire assaults, in wounded slow retreats,

Holding the ideal's ringed and battered fort

Or fighting against odds in lonely posts,

Or camped in night around the bivouac's fires

Awaiting the tardy trumpets of the dawn,

In hunger and in plenty and in pain,

Through peril and through triumph and through fall,

Through life's green lanes and over her desert sands,

Up the bald moor, along the sunlit ridge,

In serried columns with a straggling rear

Led by its nomad vanguard's signal fires,

Marches the army of the waylost god.

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


Then late the joy ineffable is felt,

Then he remembers his forgotten self;

He has refound the skies from which he fell.

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


At length his front's indomitable line

Forces the last passes of the Ignorance:

Advancing beyond Nature's last known bounds,

Reconnoitring the formidable unknown,

Beyond the landmarks of things visible,

It mounts through a miraculous upper air

Till climbing the mute summit of the world

He stands upon the splendour-peaks of God.

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


In vain thou mournst that Satyavan must die;

His death is a beginning of greater life,

Death is the spirit's opportunity.

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


A vast intention has brought two souls close

And love and death conspire towards one great end.

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


For out of danger and pain heaven-bliss shall come,

Time's unforeseen event, God's secret plan.

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


This world was not built with random bricks of Chance,

A blind god is not destiny's architect;

A conscious power has drawn the plan of life,

There is a meaning in each curve and line.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-40]


It is an architecture high and grand

By many named and nameless masons built

In which unseeing hands obey the Unseen,

And of its master-builders she is one.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-41]


“Queen, strive no more to change the secret will;

Time's accidents are steps in its vast scheme.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-42]


Bring not thy brief and helpless human tears

Across the fathomless moments of a heart

That knows its single will and God's as one:

It can embrace its hostile destiny;

It sits apart with grief and facing death,

Affronting adverse fate armed and alone.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-43]


In this enormous world standing apart

In the mightiness of her silent spirit's will,

In the passion of her soul of sacrifice

Her lonely strength facing the universe,

Affronting fate, asks not man's help nor god's:

Sometimes one life is charged with earth's destiny,

It cries not for succour from the time-bound powers.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-44]


Alone she is equal to her mighty task.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-45]


Intervene not in a strife too great for thee,

A struggle too deep for mortal thought to sound,

Its question to this Nature's rigid bounds

When the soul fronts nude of garbs the infinite,

Its too vast theme of a lonely mortal will

Pacing the silence of eternity.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-46]


As a star, uncompanioned, moves in heaven

Unastonished by the immensities of Space,

Travelling infinity by its own light,

The great are strongest when they stand alone.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-47]


A God-given might of being is their force,

A ray from self's solitude of light the guide;

The soul that can live alone with itself meets God;

Its lonely universe is their rendezvous.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-48]


A day may come when she must stand unhelped

On a dangerous brink of the world's doom and hers,

Carrying the world's future on her lonely breast,

Carrying the human hope in a heart left sole

To conquer or fail on a last desperate verge,

Alone with death and close to extinction's edge.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-49]


Her single greatness in that last dire scene

Must cross alone a perilous bridge in Time

And reach an apex of world-destiny

Where all is won or all is lost for man.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-50]


In that tremendous silence lone and lost

Of a deciding hour in the world's fate,

In her soul's climbing beyond mortal time

When she stands sole with Death or sole with God

Apart upon a silent desperate brink,

Alone with her self and death and destiny

As on some verge between Time and Timelessness

When being must end or life rebuild its base,

Alone she must conquer or alone must fall.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-51]


No human aid can reach her in that hour,

No armoured god stand shining at her side.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-52]


Cry not to heaven, for she alone can save.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-53]


For this the silent Force came missioned down;

In her the conscious Will took human shape:

She only can save herself and save the world.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-54]


O queen, stand back from that stupendous scene,

Come not between her and her hour of Fate.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-55]


Her hour must come and none can intervene:

Think not to turn her from her heaven-sent task,

Strive not to save her from her own high will.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-56]


Thou hast no place in that tremendous strife;

Thy love and longing are not arbiters there;

Leave the world's fate and her to God's sole guard.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-57]


Even if he seems to leave her to her lone strength,

Even though all falters and falls and sees an end

And the heart fails and only are death and night,

God-given her strength can battle against doom

Even on a brink where Death alone seems close

And no human strength can hinder or can help.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-58]


Think not to intercede with the hidden Will,

Intrude not twixt her spirit and its force

But leave her to her mighty self and Fate.”

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-06 F-59]


Play Section Seven
[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-07]


He spoke and ceased and left the earthly scene.

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


Away from the strife and suffering on our globe,

He turned towards his far-off blissful home.

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


A brilliant arrow pointing straight to heaven,

The luminous body of the ethereal seer

Assailed the purple glory of the noon

And disappeared like a receding star

Vanishing into the light of the Unseen.

[Savitri B-06 C-02 S-07 F-03]


But still a cry was heard in the infinite,

And still to the listening soul on mortal earth

A high and far imperishable voice

Chanted the anthem of eternal love.

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



Book Six Canto Two End

The Way of Fate and the Problem of Pain

 [Savitri B-06 C-02 Canto End]


Book Six End
The Book of Fate
[Savitri B-06 Book End]




Book 7 All Cantos

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Seven All Cantos
The Book of Yoga

Canto One

The Joy of Union; the Ordeal of the Foreknowledge of Death and the Heart’s Grief and Pain

[Savitri B-07 C-01 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01]


Fate followed her foreseen immutable road.

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

Man's hopes and longings build the journeying wheels

That bear the body of his destiny

And lead his blind will towards an unknown goal.

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

His fate within him shapes his acts and rules;

Its face and form already are born in him,

Its parentage is in his secret soul:

Here Matter seems to mould the body's life

And the soul follows where its nature drives.

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

Nature and Fate compel his free-will's choice.

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

But greater spirits this balance can reverse

And make the soul the artist of its fate.

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

This is the mystic truth our ignorance hides:

Doom is a passage for our inborn force,

Our ordeal is the hidden spirit's choice,

Ananke is our being's own decree.

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

All was fulfilled the heart of Savitri

Flower-sweet and adamant, passionate and calm,

Had chosen and on her strength's unbending road

Forced to its issue the long cosmic curve.

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

Once more she sat behind loud hastening hooves;

A speed of armoured squadrons and a voice

Far-heard of chariots bore her from her home.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-08]

A couchant earth wakened in its dumb muse

Looked up at her from a vast indolence:

Hills wallowing in a bright haze, large lands

That lolled at ease beneath the summer heavens,

Region on region spacious in the sun,

Cities like chrysolites in the wide blaze

And yellow rivers pacing lion-maned

Led to the Shalwa marches' emerald line,

A happy front to iron vastnesses

And austere peaks and titan solitudes.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-09]

Once more was near the fair and fated place,

The borders gleaming with the groves' delight

Where first she met the face of Satyavan

And he saw like one waking into a dream

Some timeless beauty and reality,

The moon-gold sweetness of heaven's earth-born child.

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

The past receded and the future neared:

Far now behind lay Madra's spacious halls,

The white carved pillars, the cool dim alcoves,

The tinged mosaic of the crystal floors,

The towered pavilions, the wind-rippled pools

And gardens humming with the murmur of bees,

Forgotten soon or a pale memory

The fountain's plash in the white stone-bound pool,

The thoughtful noontide's brooding solemn trance,

The colonnade's dream grey in the quiet eve,

The slow moonrise gliding in front of Night.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-11]

Left far behind were now the faces known,

The happy silken babble on laughter's lips

And the close-clinging clasp of intimate hands

And adoration's light in cherished eyes

Offered to the one sovereign of their life.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-12]

Nature's primaeval loneliness was here:

Here only was the voice of bird and beast,—

The ascetic's exile in the dim-souled huge

Inhuman forest far from cheerful sound

Of man's blithe converse and his crowded days.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-13]

In a broad eve with one red eye of cloud,

Through a narrow opening, a green flowered cleft,

Out of the stare of sky and soil they came

Into a mighty home of emerald dusk.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-14]

There onward led by a faint brooding path

Which toiled through the shadow of enormous trunks

And under arches misers of sunshine,

They saw low thatched roofs of a hermitage

Huddled beneath a patch of azure hue

In a sunlit clearing that seemed the outbreak

Of a glad smile in the forest's monstrous heart,

A rude refuge of the thought and will of man

Watched by the crowding giants of the wood.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-15]

Arrived in that rough-hewn homestead they gave,

Questioning no more the strangeness of her fate,

Their pride and loved one to the great blind king,

A regal pillar of fallen mightiness

And the stately care-worn woman once a queen

Who now hoped nothing for herself from life,

But all things only hoped for her one child,

Calling on that single head from partial Fate

All joy of earth, all heaven's beatitude.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-16]

Adoring wisdom and beauty like a young god's,

She saw him loved by heaven as by herself,

She rejoiced in his brightness and believed in his fate

And knew not of the evil drawing near.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-17]

Lingering some days upon the forest verge

Like men who lengthen out departure's pain,

Unwilling to separate sorrowful clinging hands,

Unwilling to see for the last time a face,

Heavy with the sorrow of a coming day

And wondering at the carelessness of Fate

Who breaks with idle hands her supreme works,

They parted from her with pain-fraught burdened hearts

As forced by inescapable fate we part

From one whom we shall never see again;

Driven by the singularity of her fate,

Helpless against the choice of Savitri's heart

They left her to her rapture and her doom

In the tremendous forest's savage charge.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-18]

All put behind her that was once her life,

All welcomed that henceforth was his and hers,

She abode with Satyavan in the wild woods:

Priceless she deemed her joy so close to death;

Apart with love she lived for love alone.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-19]

As if self-poised above the march of days,

Her immobile spirit watched the haste of Time,

A statue of passion and invincible force,

An absolutism of sweet imperious will,

A tranquillity and a violence of the gods

Indomitable and immutable.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-01 F-20]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02]


        At first to her beneath the sapphire heavens

The sylvan solitude was a gorgeous dream,

An altar of the summer's splendour and fire,

A sky-topped flower-hung palace of the gods

And all its scenes a smile on rapture's lips

And all its voices bards of happiness.

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

There was a chanting in the casual wind,

There was a glory in the least sunbeam;

Night was a chrysoprase on velvet cloth,

A nestling darkness or a moonlit deep;

Day was a purple pageant and a hymn,

A wave of the laughter of light from morn to eve.

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

His absence was a dream of memory,

His presence was the empire of a god.

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

A fusing of the joys of earth and heaven,

A tremulous blaze of nuptial rapture passed,

A rushing of two spirits to be one,

A burning of two bodies in one flame.

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

Opened were gates of unforgettable bliss:

Two lives were locked within an earthly heaven

And fate and grief fled from that fiery hour.

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

But soon now failed the summer's ardent breath

And throngs of blue-black clouds crept through the sky

And rain fled sobbing over the dripping leaves

And storm became the forest's titan voice.

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

Then listening to the thunder's fatal crash

And the fugitive pattering footsteps of the showers

And the long unsatisfied panting of the wind

And sorrow muttering in the sound-vexed night,

The grief of all the world came near to her.

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

Night's darkness seemed her future's ominous face.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-08]

The shadow of her lover's doom arose

And fear laid hands upon her mortal heart.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-09]

The moments swift and ruthless raced; alarmed

Her thoughts, her mind remembered Narad's date.

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

A trembling moved accountant of her riches,

She reckoned the insufficient days between:

A dire expectancy knocked at her breast;

Dreadful to her were the footsteps of the hours:

Grief came, a passionate stranger to her gate:

Banished when in his arms, out of her sleep

It rose at morn to look into her face.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-11]

Vainly she fled into abysms of bliss

From her pursuing foresight of the end.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-12]

The more she plunged into love that anguish grew;

Her deepest grief from sweetest gulfs arose.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-13]

Remembrance was a poignant pang, she felt

Each day a golden leaf torn cruelly out

From her too slender book of love and joy.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-14]

Thus swaying in strong gusts of happiness

And swimming in foreboding's sombre waves

And feeding sorrow and terror with her heart,—

For now they sat among her bosom's guests

Or in her inner chamber paced apart,—

Her eyes stared blind into the future's night.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-15]

Out of her separate self she looked and saw,

Moving amid the unconscious faces loved,

In mind a stranger though in heart so near,

The ignorant smiling world go happily by

Upon its way towards an unknown doom

And wondered at the careless lives of men.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-16]

As if in different worlds they walked, though close,

They confident of the returning sun,

They wrapped in little hourly hopes and tasks,—

She in her dreadful knowledge was alone.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-17]

The rich and happy secrecy that once

Enshrined her as if in a silver bower

Apart in a bright nest of thoughts and dreams

Made room for tragic hours of solitude

And lonely grief that none could share or know,

A body seeing the end too soon of joy

And the fragile happiness of its mortal love.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-18]

Her quiet visage still and sweet and calm,

Her graceful daily acts were now a mask;

In vain she looked upon her depths to find

A ground of stillness and the spirit's peace.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-19]

Still veiled from her was the silent Being within

Who sees life's drama pass with unmoved eyes,

Supports the sorrow of the mind and heart

And bears in human breasts the world and fate.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-20]

A glimpse or flashes came, the Presence was hid.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-21]

Only her violent heart and passionate will

Were pushed in front to meet the immutable doom;

Defenceless, nude, bound to her human lot

They had no means to act, no way to save.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-22]

These she controlled, nothing was shown outside:

She was still to them the child they knew and loved;

The sorrowing woman they saw not within.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-23]

No change was in her beautiful motions seen:

A worshipped empress all once vied to serve,

She made herself the diligent serf of all,

Nor spared the labour of broom and jar and well,

Or close gentle tending or to heap the fire

Of altar and kitchen, no slight task allowed

To others that her woman's strength might do.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-24]

In all her acts a strange divinity shone:

Into a simplest movement she could bring

A oneness with earth's glowing robe of light,

A lifting up of common acts by love.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-25]

All-love was hers and its one heavenly cord

Bound all to all with her as golden tie.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-26]

But when her grief to the surface pressed too close,

These things, once gracious adjuncts of her joy,

Seemed meaningless to her, a gleaming shell,

Or were a round mechanical and void,

Her body's actions shared not by her will.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-27]

Always behind this strange divided life

Her spirit like a sea of living fire

Possessed her lover and to his body clung,

One locked embrace to guard its threatened mate.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-28]

At night she woke through the slow silent hours

Brooding on the treasure of his bosom and face,

Hung o'er the sleep-bound beauty of his brow

Or laid her burning cheek upon his feet.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-29]

Waking at morn her lips endlessly clung to his,

Unwilling ever to separate again

Or lose that honeyed drain of lingering joy,

Unwilling to loose his body from her breast,

The warm inadequate signs that love must use.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-30]

Intolerant of the poverty of Time

Her passion catching at the fugitive hours

Willed the expense of centuries in one day

Of prodigal love and the surf of ecstasy;

Or else she strove even in mortal time

To build a little room for timelessness

By the deep union of two human lives,

Her soul secluded shut into his soul.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-31]

After all was given she demanded still;

Even by his strong embrace unsatisfied,

She longed to cry,

“O tender Satyavan,

O lover of my soul, give more, give more

Of love while yet thou canst, to her thou lov'st.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-32]

Imprint thyself for every nerve to keep

That thrills to thee the message of my heart.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-33]

For soon we part and who shall know how long

Before the great wheel in its monstrous round

Restore us to each other and our love?”

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-34]

Too well she loved to speak a fateful word

And lay her burden on his happy head;

She pressed the outsurging grief back into her breast

To dwell within silent, unhelped, alone.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-35]

But Satyavan sometimes half understood,

Or felt at least with the uncertain answer

Of our thought-blinded hearts the unuttered need,

The unplumbed abyss of her deep passionate want.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-36]

All of his speeding days that he could spare

From labour in the forest hewing wood

And hunting food in the wild sylvan glades

And service to his father's sightless life

He gave to her and helped to increase the hours

By the nearness of his presence and his clasp,

And lavish softness of heart-seeking words

And the close beating felt of heart on heart.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-37]

All was too little for her bottomless need.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-38]

If in his presence she forgot awhile,

Grief filled his absence with its aching touch;

She saw the desert of her coming days

Imaged in every solitary hour.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-39]

Although with a vain imaginary bliss

Of fiery union through death's door of escape

She dreamed of her body robed in funeral flame,

She knew she must not clutch that happiness

To die with him and follow, seizing his robe

Across our other countries, travellers glad

Into the sweet or terrible Beyond.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-40]

For those sad parents still would need her here

To help the empty remnant of their day.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-41]

Often it seemed to her the ages' pain

Had pressed their quintessence into her single woe,

Concentrating in her a tortured world.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-42]

Thus in the silent chamber of her soul

Cloistering her love to live with secret grief

She dwelt like a dumb priest with hidden gods

Unappeased by the wordless offering of her days,

Lifting to them her sorrow like frankincense,

Her life the altar, herself the sacrifice.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-43]

Yet ever they grew into each other more

Until it seemed no power could rend apart,

Since even the body's walls could not divide.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-44]

For when he wandered in the forest, oft

Her conscious spirit walked with him and knew

His actions as if in herself he moved;

He, less aware, thrilled with her from afar.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-45]

Always the stature of her passion grew;

Grief, fear became the food of mighty love.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-46]

Increased by its torment it filled the whole world;

It was all her life, became her whole earth and heaven.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-47]

Although life-born, an infant of the hours,

Immortal it walked unslayable as the gods:

Her spirit stretched measureless in strength divine,

An anvil for the blows of Fate and Time:

Or tired of sorrow's passionate luxury,

Grief's self became calm, dull-eyed, resolute,

Awaiting some issue of its fiery struggle,

Some deed in which it might for ever cease,

Victorious over itself and death and tears.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-48]

The year now paused upon the brink of change.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-49]

No more the storms sailed with stupendous wings

And thunder strode in wrath across the world,

But still was heard a muttering in the sky

And rain dripped wearily through the mournful air

And grey slow-drifting clouds shut in the earth.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-50]

So her grief's heavy sky shut in her heart.

[Savitri B-07 C-01 S-02 F-51]

A still self hid behind but gave no light: