Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Savitri Part Three : Books Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve

Book Nine
The Book of Eternal Night

Canto One

Towards the Black Void

[Savitri B-09 C-01 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01]


So was she left alone in the huge wood,

Surrounded by a dim unthinking world,

Her husband's corpse on her forsaken breast.

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

In her vast silent spirit motionless

She measured not her loss with helpless thoughts,

Nor rent with tears the marble seals of pain:

She rose not yet to face the dreadful god.

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

Over the body she loved her soul leaned out

In a great stillness without stir or voice,

As if her mind had died with Satyavan.

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

But still the human heart in her beat on.

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

Aware still of his being near to hers,

Closely she clasped to her the mute lifeless form

As though to guard the oneness they had been

And keep the spirit still within its frame.

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

Then suddenly there came on her the change

Which in tremendous moments of our lives

Can overtake sometimes the human soul

And hold it up towards its luminous source.

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

The veil is torn, the thinker is no more:

Only the spirit sees and all is known.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-07]

Then a calm Power seated above our brows

Is seen, unshaken by our thoughts and deeds,

Its stillness bears the voices of the world:

Immobile, it moves Nature, looks on life.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-08]

It shapes immutably its far-seen ends;

Untouched and tranquil amid error and tears

And measureless above our striving wills,

Its gaze controls the turbulent whirl of things.

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

To mate with the Glory it sees, the spirit grows:

The voice of life is tuned to infinite sounds,

The moments on great wings of lightning come

And godlike thoughts surprise the mind of earth.

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

Into the soul's splendour and intensity

A crescent of miraculous birth is tossed,

Whose horn of mystery floats in a bright void.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-11]

As into a heaven of strength and silence thought

Is ravished, all this living mortal clay

Is seized and in a swift and fiery flood

Of touches shaped by a Harmonist unseen.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-12]

A new sight comes, new voices in us form

A body of the music of the Gods.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-13]

Immortal yearnings without name leap down,

Large quiverings of godhead seeking run

And weave upon a puissant field of calm

A high and lonely ecstasy of will.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-14]

This in a moment's depths was born in her.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-15]

Now to the limitless gaze disclosed that sees

Things barred from human thinking's earthly lids,

The Spirit who had hidden in Nature soared

Out of his luminous nest within the worlds:

Like a vast fire it climbed the skies of night.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-16]

Thus were the cords of self-oblivion torn:

Like one who looks up to far heights she saw,

Ancient and strong as on a windless summit

Above her where she had worked in her lone mind

Labouring apart in a sole tower of self,

The source of all which she had seemed or wrought,

A power projected into cosmic space,

A slow embodiment of the aeonic will,

A starry fragment of the eternal Truth,

The passionate instrument of an unmoved Power.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-17]

A Presence was there that filled the listening world;

A central All assumed her boundless life.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-18]

A sovereignty, a silence and a swiftness,

One brooded over abysses who was she.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-19]

As in a choric robe of unheard sounds

A Force descended trailing endless lights;

Linking Time's seconds to infinity,

Illimitably it girt the earth and her:

It sank into her soul and she was changed.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-20]

Then like a thought fulfilled by some great word

That mightiness assumed a symbol form:

Her being's spaces quivered with its touch,

It covered her as with immortal wings;

On its lips the curve of the unuttered Truth,

A halo of Wisdom's lightnings for its crown,

It entered the mystic lotus in her head,

A thousand-petalled home of power and light.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-21]

Immortal leader of her mortality,

Doer of her works and fountain of her words,

Invulnerable by Time, omnipotent,

It stood above her calm, immobile, mute.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-01 F-22]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02]



All in her mated with that mighty hour,

As if the last remnant had been slain by Death

Of the humanity that once was hers.

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

Assuming a spiritual wide control,

Making life's sea a mirror of heaven's sky,

The young divinity in her earthly limbs

Filled with celestial strength her mortal part.

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

Over was the haunted pain, the rending fear:

Her grief had passed away, her mind was still,

Her heart beat quietly with a sovereign force.

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

There came a freedom from the heart-strings' clutch,

Now all her acts sprang from a godhead's calm.

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

Calmly she laid upon the forest soil

The dead who still reposed upon her breast

And bore to turn away from the dead form:

Sole now she rose to meet the dreadful god.

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

That mightier spirit turned its mastering gaze

On life and things, inheritor of a work

Left to it unfinished from her halting past,

When yet the mind, a passionate learner, toiled

And ill-shaped instruments were crudely moved.

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

Transcended now was the poor human rule;

A sovereign power was there, a godlike will.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-07]

A moment yet she lingered motionless

And looked down on the dead man at her feet;

Then like a tree recovering from a wind

She raised her noble head; fronting her gaze

Something stood there, unearthly, sombre, grand,

A limitless denial of all being

That wore the terror and wonder of a shape.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-08]

In its appalling eyes the tenebrous Form

Bore the deep pity of destroying gods;

A sorrowful irony curved the dreadful lips

That speak the word of doom.

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

Eternal Night

In the dire beauty of an immortal face

Pitying arose, receiving all that lives

For ever into its fathomless heart, refuge

Of creatures from their anguish and world-pain.

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

His shape was nothingness made real, his limbs

Were monuments of transience and beneath

Brows of unwearying calm large godlike lids

Silent beheld the writhing serpent, life.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-11]

Unmoved their timeless wide unchanging gaze

Had seen the unprofitable cycles pass,

Survived the passing of unnumbered stars

And sheltered still the same immutable orbs.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-12]

The two opposed each other with their eyes,

Woman and universal god: around her,

Piling their void unbearable loneliness

Upon her mighty uncompanioned soul,

Many inhuman solitudes came close.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-13]

Vacant eternities forbidding hope

Laid upon her their huge and lifeless look,

And to her ears, silencing earthly sounds,

A sad and formidable voice arose

Which seemed the whole adverse world's.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-14]

 “Unclasp”, it cried,

“Thy passionate influence and relax, O slave

Of Nature, changing tool of changeless Law,

Who vainly writh'st rebellion to my yoke,

Thy elemental grasp; weep and forget.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-15]

Entomb thy passion in its living grave.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-16]

Leave now the once-loved spirit's abandoned robe:

Pass lonely back to thy vain life on earth.”

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-17]

It ceased, she moved not, and it spoke again,

Lowering its mighty key to human chords,—

Yet a dread cry behind the uttered sounds,

Echoing all sadness and immortal scorn,

Moaned like a hunger of far wandering waves.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-18]

“Wilt thou for ever keep thy passionate hold,

Thyself a creature doomed like him to pass,

Denying his soul death's calm and silent rest?

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-19]

Relax thy grasp; this body is earth's and thine,

His spirit now belongs to a greater power.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-20]

Woman, thy husband suffers.”

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-21]


Drew back her heart's force that clasped his body still

Where from her lap renounced on the smooth grass

Softly it lay, as often before in sleep

When from their couch she rose in the white dawn

Called by her daily tasks: now too, as if called,

She rose and stood gathered in lonely strength,

Like one who drops his mantle for a race

And waits the signal, motionlessly swift.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-22]

She knew not to what course: her spirit above

On the crypt-summit of her secret form

Like one left sentinel on a mountain crest,

A fiery-footed splendour puissant-winged,

Watched flaming-silent, with her voiceless soul

Like a still sail upon a windless sea.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-23]

White passionless it rode, an anchored might,

Waiting what far-ridged impulse should arise

Out of the eternal depths and cast its surge.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-24]

Then Death the king leaned boundless down, as leans

Night over tired lands, when evening pales

And fading gleams break down the horizon's walls,

Nor yet the dusk grows mystic with the moon.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-25]

The dim and awful godhead rose erect

From his brief stooping to his touch on earth,

And, like a dream that wakes out of a dream,

Forsaking the poor mould of that dead clay,

Another luminous Satyavan arose,

Starting upright from the recumbent earth

As if someone over viewless borders stepped

Emerging on the edge of unseen worlds.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-26]

In the earth's day the silent marvel stood

Between the mortal woman and the god.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-27]

Such seemed he as if one departed came

Wearing the light of a celestial shape

Splendidly alien to the mortal air.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-28]

The mind sought things long loved and fell back foiled

From unfamiliar hues, beheld yet longed,

By the sweet radiant form unsatisfied,

Incredulous of its too bright hints of heaven;

Too strange the brilliant phantasm to life's clasp

Desiring the warm creations of the earth

Reared in the ardour of material suns,

The senses seized in vain a glorious shade:

Only the spirit knew the spirit still,

And the heart divined the old loved heart, though changed.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-29]

Between two realms he stood, not wavering,

But fixed in quiet strong expectancy,

Like one who, sightless, listens for a command.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-30]

So were they immobile on that earthly field,

Powers not of earth, though one in human clay.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-31]

On either side of one two spirits strove;

Silence battled with silence, vast with vast.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-32]

But now the impulse of the Path was felt

Moving from the Silence that supports the stars

To touch the confines of the visible world.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-33]

Luminous he moved away; behind him Death

Went slowly with his noiseless tread, as seen

In dream-built fields a shadowy herdsman glides

Behind some wanderer from his voiceless herds,

And Savitri moved behind eternal Death,

Her mortal pace was equalled with the god's.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-34]

Wordless she travelled in her lover's steps,

Planting her human feet where his had trod,

Into the perilous silences beyond.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-02 F-35]

Play Section Three
[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03]



At first in a blind stress of woods she moved

With strange inhuman paces on the soil,

Journeying as if upon an unseen road.

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

Around her on the green and imaged earth

The flickering screen of forests ringed her steps;

Its thick luxurious obstacle of boughs

Besieged her body pressing dimly through

In a rich realm of whispers palpable,

And all the murmurous beauty of the leaves

Rippled around her like an emerald robe.

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

But more and more this grew an alien sound,

And her old intimate body seemed to her

A burden which her being remotely bore.

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

Herself lived far in some uplifted scene

Where to the trance-claimed vision of pursuit,

Sole presences in a high spaceless dream,

The luminous spirit glided stilly on

And the great shadow travelled vague behind.

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

Still with an amorous crowd of seeking hands

Softly entreated by their old desires

Her senses felt earth's close and gentle air

Cling round them and in troubled branches knew

Uncertain treadings of a faint-foot wind:

She bore dim fragrances, far callings touched;

The wild bird's voice and its winged rustle came

As if a sigh from some forgotten world.

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

Earth stood aloof, yet near: round her it wove

Its sweetness and its greenness and delight,

Its brilliance suave of well-loved vivid hues,

Sunlight arriving to its golden noon,

And the blue heavens and the caressing soil.

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

The ancient mother offered to her child

Her simple world of kind familiar things.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-07]

But now, as if the body's sensuous hold

Curbing the godhead of her infinite walk

Had freed those spirits to their grander road

Across some boundary's intangible bar,

The silent god grew mighty and remote

In other spaces, and the soul she loved

Lost its consenting nearness to her life.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-08]

Into a deep and unfamiliar air

Enormous, windless, without stir or sound

They seemed to enlarge away, drawn by some wide

Pale distance, from the warm control of earth

And her grown far: now, now they would escape.

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

Then flaming from her body's nest alarmed

Her violent spirit soared at Satyavan.

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

Out mid the plunge of heaven-surrounded rocks

So in a terror and a wrath divine

From her eyrie streams against the ascending death,

Indignant at its crouching point of steel,

A fierce she-eagle threatened in her brood,

Borne on a rush of puissance and a cry,

Outwinging like a mass of golden fire.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-11]

So on a spirit's flaming outrush borne

She crossed the borders of dividing sense;

Like pale discarded sheaths dropped dully down

Her mortal members fell back from her soul.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-12]

A moment of a secret body's sleep,

Her trance knew not of sun or earth or world;

Thought, time and death were absent from her grasp:

She knew not self, forgotten was Savitri.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-13]

All was the violent ocean of a will

Where lived captive to an immense caress,

Possessed in a supreme identity,

Her aim, joy, origin, Satyavan alone.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-14]

Her sovereign prisoned in her being's core,

He beat there like a rhythmic heart,—herself

But different still, one loved, enveloped, clasped,

A treasure saved from the collapse of space.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-15]

Around him nameless, infinite she surged,

Her spirit fulfilled in his spirit, rich with all Time,

As if Love's deathless moment had been found,

A pearl within eternity's white shell.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-16]

Then out of the engulfing sea of trance

Her mind rose drenched to light streaming with hues

Of vision and, awake once more to Time,

Returned to shape the lineaments of things

And live in borders of the seen and known.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-17]

Onward the three still moved in her soul-scene.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-18]

As if pacing through fragments of a dream,

She seemed to travel on, a visioned shape

Imagining other musers like herself,

By them imagined in their lonely sleep.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-19]

Ungrasped, unreal, yet familiar, old,

Like clefts of unsubstantial memory,

Scenes often traversed, never lived in, fled

Past her unheeding to forgotten goals.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-20]

In voiceless regions they were travellers

Alone in a new world where souls were not,

But only living moods: a strange hushed weird

Country was round them, strange far skies above,

A doubting space where dreaming objects lived

Within themselves their one unchanged idea.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-21]

Weird were the grasses, weird the treeless plains;

Weird ran the road which like fear hastening

Towards that of which it has most terror, passed

Phantasmal between pillared conscious rocks

Sombre and high, gates brooding, whose stone thoughts

Lost their huge sense beyond in giant night.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-22]

Enigma of the Inconscient's sculptural sleep,

Symbols of the approach to darkness old

And monuments of her titanic reign,

Opening to depths like dumb appalling jaws

That wait a traveller down a haunted path

Attracted to a mystery that slays,

They watched across her road, cruel and still;

Sentinels they stood of dumb Necessity,

Mute heads of vigilant and sullen gloom,

Carved muzzle of a dim enormous world.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-23]

Then, to that chill sere heavy line arrived

Where his feet touched the shadowy marches' brink,

Turning arrested luminous Satyavan

Looked back with his wonderful eyes at Savitri.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-24]

But Death pealed forth his vast abysmal cry:

“O mortal, turn back to thy transient kind;

Aspire not to accompany Death to his home,

As if thy breath could live where Time must die.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-25]

Think not thy mind-born passion strength from heaven

To uplift thy spirit from its earthly base

And, breaking out from the material cage,

To upbuoy thy feet of dream in groundless Nought

And bear thee through the pathless infinite.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-26]

Only in human limits man lives safe.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-27]

Trust not in the unreal Lords of Time,

Immortal deeming this image of thyself

Which they have built on a Dream's floating ground.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-28]

Let not the dreadful goddess move thy soul

To enlarge thy vehement trespass into worlds

Where it shall perish like a helpless thought.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-29]

Know the cold term-stones of thy hopes in life.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-30]

Armed vainly with the Ideal's borrowed might,

Dare not to outstep man's bound and measured force:

Ignorant and stumbling, in brief boundaries pent,

He crowns himself the world's mock suzerain,

Tormenting Nature with the works of Mind.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-31]

O sleeper, dreaming of divinity,

Wake trembling mid the indifferent silences

In which thy few weak chords of being die.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-32]

Impermanent creatures, sorrowful foam of Time,

Your transient loves bind not the eternal gods.”

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-33]

The dread voice ebbed in the consenting hush

Which seemed to close upon it, wide, intense,

A wordless sanction from the jaws of Night.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-34]

The Woman answered not.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-35]

Her high nude soul,

Stripped of the girdle of mortality,

Against fixed destiny and the grooves of law

Stood up in its sheer will a primal force.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-36]

Still like a statue on its pedestal,

Lone in the silence and to vastness bared,

Against midnight's dumb abysses piled in front

A columned shaft of fire and light she rose.

[Savitri B-09 C-01 S-03 F-37]

Book Nine Canto One End

Towards the Black Void

[Savitri B-09 C-01 Canto End]

Book 9 Canto 2

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Nine
The Book of Eternal Night

Canto Two

The Journey in Eternal Night and the Voice of the Darkness

[Savitri B-09 C-02 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01]


Awhile on the chill dreadful edge of Night

All stood as if a world were doomed to die

And waited on the eternal silence' brink.

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

Heaven leaned towards them like a cloudy brow

Of menace through the dim and voiceless hush.

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

As thoughts stand mute on a despairing verge

Where the last depths plunge into nothingness

And the last dreams must end, they paused; in their front

Were glooms like shadowy wings, behind them, pale,

The lifeless evening was a dead man's gaze.

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

Hungry beyond, the night desired her soul.

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

But still in its lone niche of templed strength

Motionless, her flame-bright spirit, mute, erect,

Burned like a torch-fire from a windowed room

Pointing against the darkness' sombre breast.

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

The Woman first affronted the Abyss

Daring to journey through the eternal Night.

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

Armoured with light she advanced her foot to plunge

Into the dread and hueless vacancy;

Immortal, unappalled, her spirit faced

The danger of the ruthless eyeless waste.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-07]

Against night's inky ground they stirred, moulding

Mysterious motion on her human tread,

A swimming action and a drifting march

Like figures moving before eyelids closed:

All as in dreams went slipping, gliding on.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-08]

The rock-gate's heavy walls were left behind;

As if through passages of receding time

Present and past into the Timeless lapsed;

Arrested upon dim adventure's brink,

The future ended drowned in nothingness.

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

Amid collapsing shapes they wound obscure;

The fading vestibules of a tenebrous world

Received them, where they seemed to move and yet

Be still, nowhere advancing yet to pass,

A dumb procession a dim picture bounds,

Not conscious forms threading a real scene.

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

A mystery of terror's boundlessness,

Gathering its hungry strength the huge pitiless void

Surrounded slowly with its soundless depths,

And monstrous, cavernous, a shapeless throat

Devoured her into its shadowy strangling mass,

The fierce spiritual agony of a dream.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-11]

A curtain of impenetrable dread,

The darkness hung around her cage of sense

As, when the trees have turned to blotted shades

And the last friendly glimmer fades away,

Around a bullock in the forest tied

By hunters closes in no empty night.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-12]

The thought that strives in the world was here unmade;

Its effort it renounced to live and know,

Convinced at last that it had never been;

It perished, all its dream of action done:

This clotted cypher was its dark result.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-13]

In the smothering stress of this stupendous Nought

Mind could not think, breath could not breathe, the soul

Could not remember or feel itself; it seemed

A hollow gulf of sterile emptiness,

A zero oblivious of the sum it closed,

An abnegation of the Maker's joy

Saved by no wide repose, no depth of peace.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-14]

On all that claims here to be Truth and God

And conscious self and the revealing Word

And the creative rapture of the Mind

And Love and Knowledge and heart's delight, there fell

The immense refusal of the eternal No.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-15]

As disappears a golden lamp in gloom

Borne into distance from the eyes' desire,

Into the shadows vanished Savitri.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-16]

There was no course, no path, no end or goal:

Visionless she moved amid insensible gulfs,

Or drove through some great black unknowing waste,

Or whirled in a dumb eddy of meeting winds

Assembled by the titan hands of Chance.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-17]

There was none with her in the dreadful Vast:

She saw no more the vague tremendous god,

Her eyes had lost their luminous Satyavan.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-18]

Yet not for this her spirit failed, but held

More deeply than the bounded senses can

Which grasp externally and find to lose,

Its object loved.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-19]

So when on earth they lived

She had felt him straying through the glades, the glades

A scene in her, its clefts her being's vistas

Opening their secrets to his search and joy,

Because to jealous sweetness in her heart

Whatever happy space his cherished feet

Preferred, must be at once her soul embracing

His body, passioning dumbly to his tread.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-20]

But now a silent gulf between them came

And to abysmal loneliness she fell,

Even from herself cast out, from love remote.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-21]

Long hours, since long it seems when sluggish time

Is measured by the throbs of the soul's pain,

In an unreal darkness empty and drear

She travelled treading on the corpse of life,

Lost in a blindness of extinguished souls.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-22]

Solitary in the anguish of the void

She lived in spite of death, she conquered still;

In vain her puissant being was oppressed:

Her heavy long monotony of pain

Tardily of its fierce self-torture tired.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-23]

At first a faint inextinguishable gleam,

Pale but immortal, flickered in the gloom

As if a memory came to spirits dead,

A memory that wished to live again,

Dissolved from mind in Nature's natal sleep.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-24]

It wandered like a lost ray of the moon

Revealing to the night her soul of dread;

Serpentine in the gleam the darkness lolled,

Its black hoods jewelled with the mystic glow;

Its dull sleek folds shrank back and coiled and slid,

As though they felt all light a cruel pain

And suffered from the pale approach of hope.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-25]

Night felt assailed her heavy sombre reign;

The splendour of some bright eternity

Threatened with this faint beam of wandering Truth

Her empire of the everlasting Nought.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-26]

Implacable in her intolerant strength

And confident that she alone was true,

She strove to stifle the frail dangerous ray;

Aware of an all-negating immensity

She reared her giant head of Nothingness,

Her mouth of darkness swallowing all that is;

She saw in herself the tenebrous Absolute.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-27]

But still the light prevailed and still it grew,

And Savitri to her lost self awoke;

Her limbs refused the cold embrace of death,

Her heart-beats triumphed in the grasp of pain;

Her soul persisted claiming for its joy

The soul of the beloved now seen no more.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-28]

Before her in the stillness of the world

Once more she heard the treading of a god,

And out of the dumb darkness Satyavan,

Her husband, grew into a luminous shade.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-29]

Then a sound pealed through that dead monstrous realm:

Vast like the surge in a tired swimmer's ears,

Clamouring, a fatal iron-hearted roar,

Death missioned to the night his lethal call.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-30]

“This is my silent dark immensity,

This is the home of everlasting Night,

This is the secrecy of Nothingness

Entombing the vanity of life's desires.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-31]

Hast thou beheld thy source, O transient heart,

And known from what the dream thou art was made?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-32]

In this stark sincerity of nude emptiness

Hopest thou still always to last and love?”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-33]

The Woman answered not.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-34]

Her spirit refused

The voice of Night that knew and Death that thought.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-35]

In her beginningless infinity

Through her soul's reaches unconfined she gazed;

She saw the undying fountains of her life,

She knew herself eternal without birth.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-36]

But still opposing her with endless night

Death, the dire god, inflicted on her eyes

The immortal calm of his tremendous gaze:

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-37]

“Although thou hast survived the unborn void

Which never shall forgive, while Time endures,

The primal violence that fashioned thought,

Forcing the immobile vast to suffer and live,

This sorrowful victory only hast thou won

To live for a little without Satyavan.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-38]

What shall the ancient goddess give to thee

Who helps thy heart-beats?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-39]

Only she prolongs

The nothing dreamed existence and delays

With the labour of living thy eternal sleep.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-40]

A fragile miracle of thinking clay,

Armed with illusions walks the child of Time.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-41]

To fill the void around he feels and dreads,

The void he came from and to which he goes,

He magnifies his self and names it God.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-42]

He calls the heavens to help his suffering hopes.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-43]

He sees above him with a longing heart

Bare spaces more unconscious than himself

That have not even his privilege of mind,

And empty of all but their unreal blue,

And peoples them with bright and merciful powers.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-44]

For the sea roars around him and earth quakes

Beneath his steps, and fire is at his doors,

And death prowls baying through the woods of life.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-45]

Moved by the Presences with which he yearns,

He offers in implacable shrines his soul

And clothes all with the beauty of his dreams.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-46]

The gods who watch the earth with sleepless eyes

And guide its giant stumblings through the void,

Have given to man the burden of his mind;

In his unwilling heart they have lit their fires

And sown in it incurable unrest.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-47]

His mind is a hunter upon tracks unknown;

Amusing Time with vain discovery,

He deepens with thought the mystery of his fate

And turns to song his laughter and his tears.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-48]

His mortality vexing with the immortal's dreams,

Troubling his transience with the infinite's breath,

They gave him hungers which no food can fill;

He is the cattle of the shepherd gods.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-49]

His body the tether with which he is tied,

They cast for fodder grief and hope and joy:

His pasture ground they have fenced with Ignorance.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-50]

Into his fragile undefended breast

They have breathed a courage that is met by death,

They have given a wisdom that is mocked by night,

They have traced a journey that foresees no goal.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-51]

Aimless man toils in an uncertain world,

Lulled by inconstant pauses of his pain,

Scourged like a beast by the infinite desire,

Bound to the chariot of the dreadful gods.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-52]

But if thou still canst hope and still wouldst love,

Return to thy body's shell, thy tie to earth,

And with thy heart's little remnants try to live.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-53]

Hope not to win back to thee Satyavan.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-54]

Yet since thy strength deserves no trivial crown,

Gifts I can give to soothe thy wounded life.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-55]

The pacts which transient beings make with fate,

And the wayside sweetness earth-bound hearts would pluck,

These if thy will accepts make freely thine.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-56]

Choose a life's hopes for thy deceiving prize.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-57]

As ceased the ruthless and tremendous Voice,

Unendingly there rose in Savitri,

Like moonlit ridges on a shuddering flood,

A stir of thoughts out of some silence born

Across the sea of her dumb fathomless heart.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-58]

At last she spoke; her voice was heard by Night:

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-59]

“I bow not to thee, O huge mask of death,

Black lie of night to the cowed soul of man,

Unreal, inescapable end of things,

Thou grim jest played with the immortal spirit.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-60]

Conscious of immortality I walk.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-61]

A victor spirit conscious of my force,

Not as a suppliant to thy gates I came:

Unslain I have survived the clutch of Night.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-62]

My first strong grief moves not my seated mind;

My unwept tears have turned to pearls of strength:

I have transformed my ill-shaped brittle clay

Into the hardness of a statued soul.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-63]

Now in the wrestling of the splendid gods

My spirit shall be obstinate and strong

Against the vast refusal of the world.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-64]

I stoop not with the subject mob of minds

Who run to glean with eager satisfied hands

And pick from its mire mid many trampling feet

Its scornful small concessions to the weak.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-65]

Mine is the labour of the battling gods:

Imposing on the slow reluctant years

The flaming will that reigns beyond the stars,

They lay the law of Mind on Matter's works

And win the soul's wish from earth's inconscient Force.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-66]

First I demand whatever Satyavan,

My husband, waking in the forest's charm

Out of his long pure childhood's lonely dreams,

Desired and had not for his beautiful life.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-67]

Give, if thou must, or, if thou canst, refuse.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-68]

Death bowed his head in scornful cold assent,

The builder of this dreamlike earth for man

Who has mocked with vanity all gifts he gave.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-69]

Uplifting his disastrous voice he spoke:

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-70]

“Indulgent to the dreams my touch shall break,

I yield to his blind father's longing heart

Kingdom and power and friends and greatness lost

And royal trappings for his peaceful age,

The pallid pomps of man's declining days,

The silvered decadent glories of life's fall.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-71]

To one who wiser grew by adverse Fate,

Goods I restore the deluded soul prefers

To impersonal nothingness's bare sublime.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-72]

The sensuous solace of the light I give

To eyes which could have found a larger realm,

A deeper vision in their fathomless night.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-73]

For that this man desired and asked in vain

While still he lived on earth and cherished hope.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-74]

Back from the grandeur of my perilous realms

Go, mortal, to thy small permitted sphere!

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-75]

Hasten swift-footed, lest to slay thy life

The great laws thou hast violated, moved,

Open at last on thee their marble eyes.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-01 F-76]

Play Section Two
[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02]


But Savitri answered the disdainful Shade:

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

“World-spirit, I was thy equal spirit born.

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

My will too is a law, my strength a god.

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

I am immortal in my mortality.

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

I tremble not before the immobile gaze

Of the unchanging marble hierarchies

That look with the stone eyes of Law and Fate.

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

My soul can meet them with its living fire.

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

Out of thy shadow give me back again

Into earth's flowering spaces Satyavan

In the sweet transiency of human limbs

To do with him my spirit's burning will.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-07]

I will bear with him the ancient Mother's load,

I will follow with him earth's path that leads to God.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-08]

Else shall the eternal spaces open to me,

While round us strange horizons far recede,

Travelling together the immense unknown.

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

For I who have trod with him the tracts of Time,

Can meet behind his steps whatever night

Or unimaginable stupendous dawn

Breaks on our spirits in the untrod Beyond.

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

Wherever thou leadst his soul I shall pursue.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-11]

But to her claim opposed, implacable,

Insisting on the immutable Decree,

Insisting on the immitigable Law

And the insignificance of created things,

Out of the rolling wastes of night there came

Born from the enigma of the unknowable depths

A voice of majesty and appalling scorn.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-12]

As when the storm-haired Titan-striding sea

Throws on a swimmer its tremendous laugh

Remembering all the joy its waves have drowned,

So from the darkness of the sovereign night

Against the Woman's boundless heart arose

The almighty cry of universal Death.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-13]

“Hast thou god-wings or feet that tread my stars,

Frail creature with the courage that aspires,

Forgetting thy bounds of thought, thy mortal role?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-14]

Their orbs were coiled before thy soul was formed.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-15]

I, Death, created them out of my void;

All things I have built in them and I destroy.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-16]

I made the worlds my net, each joy a mesh.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-17]

A Hunger amorous of its suffering prey,

Life that devours, my image see in things.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-18]


Mortal, whose spirit is my wandering breath,

Whose transience was imagined by my smile,

Flee clutching thy poor gains to thy trembling breast

Pierced by my pangs Time shall not soon appease.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-19]


Blind slave of my deaf force whom I compel

To sin that I may punish, to desire

That I may scourge thee with despair and grief

And thou come bleeding to me at the last,

Thy nothingness recognised, my greatness known,

Turn nor attempt forbidden happy fields

Meant for the souls that can obey my law,

Lest in their sombre shrines thy tread awake

From their uneasy iron-hearted sleep

The Furies who avenge fulfilled desire.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-20]


Dread lest in skies where passion hoped to live,

The Unknown's lightnings start and, terrified,

Lone, sobbing, hunted by the hounds of heaven,

A wounded and forsaken soul thou flee

Through the long torture of the centuries,

Nor many lives exhaust the tireless Wrath

Hell cannot slake nor Heaven's mercy assuage.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-21]


I will take from thee the black eternal grip:

Clasping in thy heart thy fate's exiguous dole

Depart in peace, if peace for man is just.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-22]


But Savitri answered meeting scorn with scorn,

The mortal woman to the dreadful Lord:

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-23]


 “Who is this God imagined by thy night,

Contemptuously creating worlds disdained,

Who made for vanity the brilliant stars?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-24]


Not he who has reared his temple in my thoughts

And made his sacred floor my human heart.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-25]


My God is will and triumphs in his paths,

My God is love and sweetly suffers all.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-26]


To him I have offered hope for sacrifice

And gave my longings as a sacrament.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-27]


Who shall prohibit or hedge in his course,

The wonderful, the charioteer, the swift?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-28]


A traveller of the million roads of life,

His steps familiar with the lights of heaven

Tread without pain the sword-paved courts of hell;

There he descends to edge eternal joy.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-29]


Love's golden wings have power to fan thy void:

The eyes of love gaze starlike through death's night,

The feet of love tread naked hardest worlds.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-30]


He labours in the depths, exults on the heights;

He shall remake thy universe, O Death.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-31]


She spoke and for a while no voice replied,

While still they travelled through the trackless night

And still that gleam was like a pallid eye

Troubling the darkness with its doubtful gaze.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-32]


Then once more came a deep and perilous pause

In that unreal journey through blind Nought;

Once more a Thought, a Word in the void arose

And Death made answer to the human soul:

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-33]


 “What is thy hope? to what dost thou aspire?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-34]


This is thy body's sweetest lure of bliss,

Assailed by pain, a frail precarious form,

To please for a few years thy faltering sense

With honey of physical longings and the heart's fire

And, a vain oneness seeking, to embrace

The brilliant idol of a fugitive hour.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-35]


And thou, what art thou, soul, thou glorious dream

Of brief emotions made and glittering thoughts,

A thin dance of fireflies speeding through the night,

A sparkling ferment in life's sunlit mire?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-36]


Wilt thou claim immortality, O heart,

Crying against the eternal witnesses

That thou and he are endless powers and last?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-37]


Death only lasts and the inconscient Void.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-38]


I only am eternal and endure.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-39]


I am the shapeless formidable Vast,

I am the emptiness that men call Space,

I am a timeless Nothingness carrying all,

I am the Illimitable, the mute Alone.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-40]


I, Death, am He; there is no other God.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-41]


All from my depths are born, they live by death;

All to my depths return and are no more.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-42]


I have made a world by my inconscient Force.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-43]


My Force is Nature that creates and slays

The hearts that hope, the limbs that long to live.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-44]


I have made man her instrument and slave,

His body I made my banquet, his life my food.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-45]


Man has no other help but only Death;

He comes to me at his end for rest and peace.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-46]


I, Death, am the one refuge of thy soul.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-47]


The Gods to whom man prays can help not man;

They are my imaginations and my moods

Reflected in him by illusion's power.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-48]


That which thou seest as thy immortal self

Is a shadowy icon of my infinite,

Is Death in thee dreaming of eternity.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-49]


I am the Immobile in which all things move,

I am the nude Inane in which they cease:

I have no body and no tongue to speak,

I commune not with human eye and ear;

Only thy thought gave a figure to my void.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-50]


Because, O aspirant to divinity,

Thou calledst me to wrestle with thy soul,

I have assumed a face, a form, a voice.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-51]


But if there were a Being witnessing all,

How should he help thy passionate desire?

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-52]

Aloof he watches sole and absolute,

Indifferent to thy cry in nameless calm.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-53]

His being is pure, unwounded, motionless, one.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-54]

One endless watches the inconscient scene

Where all things perish, as the foam the stars.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-55]

The One lives for ever.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-56]

There no Satyavan

Changing was born and there no Savitri

Claims from brief life her bribe of joy.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-57]

There love

Came never with his fretful eyes of tears,

Nor Time is there nor the vain vasts of Space.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-58]

It wears no living face, it has no name,

No gaze, no heart that throbs; it asks no second

To aid its being or to share its joys.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-59]

It is delight immortally alone.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-60]

If thou desirest immortality,

Be then alone sufficient to thy soul:

Live in thyself; forget the man thou lov'st.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-61]

My last grand death shall rescue thee from life;

Then shalt thou rise into thy unmoved source.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-62]

But Savitri replied to the dread Voice:

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-63]

“O Death, who reasonest, I reason not,

Reason that scans and breaks, but cannot build

Or builds in vain because she doubts her work.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-64]

I am, I love, I see, I act, I will.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-65]

Death answered her, one deep surrounding cry:

 “Know also.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-66]

 Knowing, thou shalt cease to love

And cease to will, delivered from thy heart.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-67]

So shalt thou rest for ever and be still,

Consenting to the impermanence of things.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-68]

But Savitri replied for man to Death:

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-69]

“When I have loved for ever, I shall know.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-70]

Love in me knows the truth all changings mask.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-71]

I know that knowledge is a vast embrace:

I know that every being is myself,

In every heart is hidden the myriad One.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-72]

I know the calm Transcendent bears the world,

The veiled Inhabitant, the silent Lord:

I feel his secret act, his intimate fire;

I hear the murmur of the cosmic Voice.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-73]

I know my coming was a wave from God.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-74]

For all his suns were conscient in my birth,

And one who loves in us came veiled by death.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-75]

Then was man born among the monstrous stars

Dowered with a mind and heart to conquer thee.”

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-76]

In the eternity of his ruthless will

Sure of his empire and his armoured might,

Like one disdaining violent helpless words

From victim lips Death answered not again.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-77]

He stood in silence and in darkness wrapped,

A figure motionless, a shadow vague,

Girt with the terrors of his secret sword.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-78]

Half-seen in clouds appeared a sombre face;

Night's dusk tiara was his matted hair,

The ashes of the pyre his forehead's sign.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-79]

Once more a wanderer in the unending Night,

Blindly forbidden by dead vacant eyes,

She travelled through the dumb unhoping vasts.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-60]

Around her rolled the shuddering waste of gloom,

Its swallowing emptiness and joyless death

Resentful of her thought and life and love.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-81]

Through the long fading night by her compelled,

Gliding half-seen on their unearthly path,

Phantasmal in the dimness moved the three.

[Savitri B-09 C-02 S-02 F-82]

Book Nine Canto Two End

The Journey in Eternal Night and the Voice of the Darkness

[Savitri B-09 C-02 Canto Name]


Book Nine End
The Book of Eternal Night
[Savitri B-09 Book End]


Book 10 All Cantos

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Ten All Cantos
The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto One

The Dream Twilight of the Ideal

[Savitri B-10 C-01 Canto Name]


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


All still was darkness dread and desolate;

There was no change nor any hope of change.

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

In this black dream which was a house of Void,

A walk to Nowhere in a land of Nought,

Ever they drifted without aim or goal;

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

In some positive Non-being's purposeless Vast

Through formless wastes dumb and unknowable.

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

An ineffectual beam of suffering light

Through the despairing darkness dogged their steps

Like the remembrance of a glory lost;

Even while it grew, it seemed unreal there,

Yet haunted Nihil's chill stupendous realm,

Unquenchable, perpetual, lonely, null,

A pallid ghost of some dead eternity.

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

It was as if she must pay now her debt,

Her vain presumption to exist and think,

To some brilliant Maya that conceived her soul.

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

This most she must absolve with endless pangs,

Her deep original sin, the will to be

And the sin last, greatest, the spiritual pride,

That, made of dust, equalled itself with heaven,

Its scorn of the worm writhing in the mud,

Condemned ephemeral, born from Nature's dream,

Refusal of the transient creature's role,

The claim to be a living fire of God,

The will to be immortal and divine.

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

In that tremendous darkness heavy and bare

She atoned for all since the first act whence sprang

The error of the consciousness of Time,

The rending of the Inconscient's seal of sleep,

The primal and unpardoned revolt that broke

The peace and silence of the Nothingness

Which was before a seeming universe

Appeared in a vanity of imagined Space

And life arose engendering grief and pain:

A great Negation was the Real's face

Prohibiting the vain process of Time:

And when there is no world, no creature more,

When Time's intrusion has been blotted out,

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

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

Accursed in what had been her godhead source,

Condemned to live for ever empty of bliss,

Her immortality her chastisement,

Her spirit, guilty of being, wandered doomed,

Moving for ever through eternal Night.

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

But Maya is a veil of the Absolute;

A Truth occult has made this mighty world:

The Eternal's wisdom and self-knowledge act

In ignorant Mind and in the body's steps.

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

The Inconscient is the Superconscient's sleep.

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

An unintelligible Intelligence

Invents creation's paradox profound;

Spiritual thought is crammed in Matter's forms,

Unseen it throws out a dumb energy

And works a miracle by a machine.

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

All here is a mystery of contraries:

Darkness a magic of self-hidden Light,

Suffering some secret rapture's tragic mask

And death an instrument of perpetual life.

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

Although Death walks beside us on Life's road,

A dim bystander at the body's start

And a last judgment on man's futile works,

Other is the riddle of its ambiguous face:

Death is a stair, a door, a stumbling stride

The soul must take to cross from birth to birth,

A grey defeat pregnant with victory,

A whip to lash us towards our deathless state.

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

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

Eternal Night shadow of eternal Day.

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

Night is not our beginning nor our end;

She is the dark Mother in whose womb we have hid

Safe from too swift a waking to world-pain.

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

We came to her from a supernal Light,

By Light we live and to the Light we go.

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

Here in this seat of Darkness mute and lone,

In the heart of everlasting Nothingness

Light conquered now even by that feeble beam:

Its faint infiltration drilled the blind deaf mass;

Almost it changed into a glimmering sight

That housed the phantom of an aureate Sun

Whose orb pupilled the eye of Nothingness.

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

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

Her dusky mindlessness began to dream;

The Inconscient conscious grew, Night felt and thought.

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

Assailed in the sovereign emptiness of its reign

The intolerant Darkness paled and drew apart

Till only a few black remnants stained that Ray.

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

But on a failing edge of dumb lost space

Still a great dragon body sullenly loomed;

Adversary of the slow struggling Dawn

Defending its ground of tortured mystery,

It trailed its coils through the dead martyred air

And curving fled down a grey slope of Time.

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

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



There is a morning twilight of the gods;

Miraculous from sleep their forms arise

And God's long nights are justified by dawn.

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

There breaks a passion and splendour of new birth

And hue-winged visions stray across the lids,

Heaven's chanting heralds waken dim-eyed Space.

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


The dreaming deities look beyond the seen

And fashion in their thoughts the ideal worlds

Sprung from a limitless moment of desire

That once had lodged in some abysmal heart.

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


Passed was the heaviness of the eyeless dark

And all the sorrow of the night was dead:

Surprised by a blind joy with groping hands

Like one who wakes to find his dreams were true,

Into a happy misty twilit world

Where all ran after light and joy and love

She slipped; there far-off raptures drew more close

And deep anticipations of delight,

For ever eager to be grasped and held,

Were never grasped, yet breathed strange ecstasy.

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


A pearl-winged indistinctness fleeting swam,

An air that dared not suffer too much light.

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


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

Vague scenes dim-hearted in a drifting haze;

Vague cattle white roamed glimmering through the mist;

Vague spirits wandered with a bodiless cry,

Vague melodies touched the soul and fled pursued

Into harmonious distances unseized;

Forms subtly elusive and half-luminous powers

Wishing no goal for their unearthly course

Strayed happily through vague ideal lands,

Or floated without footing or their walk

Left steps of reverie on sweet memory's ground;

Or they paced to the mighty measure of their thoughts

Led by a low far chanting of the gods.

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


A ripple of gleaming wings crossed the far sky;

Birds like pale-bosomed imaginations flew

With low disturbing voices of desire,

And half-heard lowings drew the listening ear,

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

Hidden in mist and passing towards the sun.

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


These fugitive beings, these elusive shapes

Were all that claimed the eye and met the soul,

The natural inhabitants of that world.

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


But nothing there was fixed or stayed for long;

No mortal feet could rest upon that soil,

No breath of life lingered embodied there.

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


In that fine chaos joy fled dancing past

And beauty evaded settled line and form

And hid its sense in mysteries of hue;

Yet gladness ever repeated the same notes

And gave the sense of an enduring world;

There was a strange consistency of shapes,

And the same thoughts were constant passers-by

And all renewed unendingly its charm

Alluring ever the expectant heart

Like music that one always waits to hear,

Like the recurrence of a haunting rhyme.

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


One touched incessantly things never seized,

A skirt of worlds invisibly divine.

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


As if a trail of disappearing stars

There showered upon the floating atmosphere

Colours and lights and evanescent gleams

That called to follow into a magic heaven,

And in each cry that fainted on the ear

There was the voice of an unrealised bliss.

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


An adoration reigned in the yearning heart,

A spirit of purity, an elusive presence

Of faery beauty and ungrasped delight

Whose momentary and escaping thrill,

However unsubstantial to our flesh,

And brief even in imperishableness,

Much sweeter seemed than any rapture known

Earth or all-conquering heaven can ever give.

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


Heaven ever young and earth too firm and old

Delay the heart by immobility:

Their raptures of creation last too long,

Their bold formations are too absolute;

Carved by an anguish of divine endeavour

They stand up sculptured on the eternal hills,

Or quarried from the living rocks of God

Win immortality by perfect form.

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


They are too intimate with eternal things:

Vessels of infinite significances,

They are too clear, too great, too meaningful;

No mist or shadow soothes the vanquished sight,

No soft penumbra of incertitude.

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


These only touched a golden hem of bliss,

The gleaming shoulder of some godlike hope,

The flying feet of exquisite desires.

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


On a slow trembling brink between night and day

They shone like visitants from the morning star,

Satisfied beginnings of perfection, first

Tremulous imaginings of a heavenly world:

They mingle in a passion of pursuit,

Thrilled with a spray of joy too slight to tire.

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


All in this world was shadowed forth, not limned,

Like faces leaping on a fan of fire

Or shapes of wonder in a tinted blur,

Like fugitive landscapes painting silver mists.

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


Here vision fled back from the sight alarmed,

And sound sought refuge from the ear's surprise,

And all experience was a hasty joy.

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


The joys here snatched were half-forbidden things,

Timorous soul-bridals delicately veiled

As when a goddess' bosom dimly moves

To first desire and her white soul transfigured,

A glimmering Eden crossed by faery gleams,

Trembles to expectation's fiery wand,

But nothing is familiar yet with bliss.

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


All things in this fair realm were heavenly strange

In a fleeting gladness of untired delight,

In an insistency of magic change.

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


Past vanishing hedges, hurrying hints of fields,

Mid swift escaping lanes that fled her feet

Journeying she wished no end: as one through clouds

Travels upon a mountain ridge and hears

Arising to him out of hidden depths

Sound of invisible streams, she walked besieged

By the illusion of a mystic space,

A charm of bodiless touches felt and heard

A sweetness as of voices high and dim

Calling like travellers upon seeking winds

Melodiously with an alluring cry.

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


As if a music old yet ever new,

Moving suggestions on her heart-strings dwelt,

Thoughts that no habitation found, yet clung

With passionate repetition to her mind,

Desires that hurt not, happy only to live

Always the same and always unfulfilled

Sang in the breast like a celestial lyre.

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


Thus all could last yet nothing ever be.

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


In this beauty as of mind made visible,

Dressed in its rays of wonder Satyavan

Before her seemed the centre of its charm,

Head of her loveliness of longing dreams

And captain of the fancies of her soul.

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


Even the dreadful majesty of Death's face

And its sombre sadness could not darken nor slay

The intangible lustre of those fleeting skies.

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


The sombre Shadow sullen, implacable

Made beauty and laughter more imperative;

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

His dark contrast edging ideal sight

Deepened unuttered meanings to the heart;

Pain grew a trembling undertone of bliss

And transience immortality's floating hem,

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

Its antithesis sharpening her divinity.

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


A comrade of the Ray and Mist and Flame,

By a moon-bright face a brilliant moment drawn,

Almost she seemed a thought mid floating thoughts,

Seen hardly by a visionary mind

Amid the white inward musings of the soul.

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


Half-vanquished by the dream-happiness around,

Awhile she moved on an enchantment's soil,

But still remained possessor of her soul.

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


Above, her spirit in its mighty trance

Saw all, but lived for its transcendent task,

Immutable like a fixed eternal star.

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



Book Ten Canto One End

The Dream Twilight of the Ideal

[Savitri B-10 C-01 Canto End]


Book 10 Canto 2

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Ten
The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto Two

The Gospel of Death and Vanity of the Ideal

[Savitri B-10 C-02 Canto Name]


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


Then pealed the calm inexorable voice:

Abolishing hope, cancelling life's golden truths,

Fatal its accents smote the trembling air.

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

That lovely world swam thin and frail, most like

Some pearly evanescent farewell gleam

On the faint verge of dusk in moonless eves.

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


“Prisoner of Nature, many-visioned spirit,

Thought's creature in the ideal's realm enjoying

Thy unsubstantial immortality

The subtle marvellous mind of man has feigned,

This is the world from which thy yearnings came.

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


When it would build eternity from the dust,

Man's thought paints images illusion rounds;

Prophesying glories it shall never see,

It labours delicately among its dreams.

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


Behold this fleeing of light-tasselled shapes,

Aerial raiment of unbodied gods;

A rapture of things that never can be born,

Hope chants to hope a bright immortal choir;

Cloud satisfies cloud, phantom to longing phantom

Leans sweetly, sweetly is clasped or sweetly chased.

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


This is the stuff from which the ideal is formed:

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

But nothing real answers to their call.

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


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

A bright delirium of man's ardour of hope

Drunk with the wine of its own fantasy.

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


It is a brilliant shadow's dreamy trail.

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


Thy vision's error builds the azure skies,

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

Thy mortal longing made for thee a soul.

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


This angel in thy body thou callst love,

Who shapes his wings from thy emotion's hues,

In a ferment of thy body has been born

And with the body that housed it it must die.

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


It is a passion of thy yearning cells,

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

It is thy mind that seeks an answering mind

And dreams awhile that it has found its mate;

It is thy life that asks a human prop

To uphold its weakness lonely in the world

Or feeds its hunger on another's life.

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


A beast of prey that pauses in its prowl,

It crouches under a bush in splendid flower

To seize a heart and body for its food:

This beast thou dreamst immortal and a god.

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


O human mind, vainly thou torturest

An hour's delight to stretch through infinity's

Long void and fill its formless, passionless gulfs,

Persuading the insensible Abyss

To lend eternity to perishing things,

And trickst the fragile movements of thy heart

With thy spirit's feint of immortality.

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


All here emerges born from Nothingness;

Encircled it lasts by the emptiness of Space,

Awhile upheld by an unknowing Force,

Then crumbles back into its parent Nought:

Only the mute Alone can for ever be.

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


In the Alone there is no room for love.

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


In vain to clothe love's perishable mud

Thou hast woven on the Immortals' borrowed loom

The ideal's gorgeous and unfading robe.

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


The ideal never yet was real made.

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


Imprisoned in form that glory cannot live;

Into a body shut it breathes no more.

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


Intangible, remote, for ever pure,

A sovereign of its own brilliant void,

Unwillingly it descends to earthly air

To inhabit a white temple in man's heart:

In his heart it shines rejected by his life.

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


Immutable, bodiless, beautiful, grand and dumb,

Immobile on its shining throne it sits;

Dumb it receives his offering and his prayer.

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


It has no voice to answer to his call,

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

Aerial statue of the nude Idea,

Virgin conception of a bodiless god,

Its light stirs man the thinker to create

An earthly semblance of diviner things.

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


Its hued reflection falls upon man's acts;

His institutions are its cenotaphs,

He signs his dead conventions with its name;

His virtues don the Ideal's skiey robe

And a nimbus of the outline of its face:

He hides their littleness with the divine Name.

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


Yet insufficient is the bright pretence

To screen their indigent and earthy make:

Earth only is there and not some heavenly source.

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


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

If a Truth eternal somewhere reigns unknown,

It burns in a tremendous void of God;

For truth shines far from the falsehoods of the world;

How can the heavens come down to unhappy earth

Or the eternal lodge in drifting time?

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


How shall the Ideal tread earth's dolorous soil

Where life is only a labour and a hope,

A child of Matter and by Matter fed,

A fire flaming low in Nature's grate,

A wave that breaks upon a shore in Time,

A journey's toilsome trudge with death for goal?

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


The Avatars have lived and died in vain,

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

In vain is seen the shining upward Way.

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


Earth lies unchanged beneath the circling sun;

She loves her fall and no omnipotence

Her mortal imperfections can erase,

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

Or colonise a world of death with gods.

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


O traveller in the chariot of the Sun,

High priestess in thy holy fancy's shrine

Who with a magic ritual in earth's house

Worshippest ideal and eternal love,

What is this love thy thought has deified,

This sacred legend and immortal myth?

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


It is a conscious yearning of thy flesh,

It is a glorious burning of thy nerves,

A rose of dream-splendour petalling thy mind,

A great red rapture and torture of thy heart.

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


A sudden transfiguration of thy days,

It passes and the world is as before.

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


A ravishing edge of sweetness and of pain,

A thrill in its yearning makes it seem divine,

A golden bridge across the roar of the years,

A cord tying thee to eternity.

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


And yet how brief and frail! how soon is spent

This treasure wasted by the gods on man,

This happy closeness as of soul to soul,

This honey of the body's companionship,

This heightened joy, this ecstasy in the veins,

This strange illumination of the sense!

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


If Satyavan had lived, love would have died;

But Satyavan is dead and love shall live

A little while in thy sad breast, until

His face and body fade on memory's wall

Where other bodies, other faces come.

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


When love breaks suddenly into the life

At first man steps into a world of the sun;

In his passion he feels his heavenly element:

But only a fine sunlit patch of earth

The marvellous aspect took of heaven's outburst;

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

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


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

Precarious is his immortality,

He has a thousand ways to suffer and die.

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


Love cannot live by heavenly food alone,

Only on sap of earth can it survive.

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


For thy passion was a sensual want refined,

A hunger of the body and the heart;

Thy want can tire and cease or turn elsewhere.

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


Or love may meet a dire and pitiless end

By bitter treason, or wrath with cruel wounds

Separate, or thy unsatisfied will to others

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

A dull indifference replaces fire

Or an endearing habit imitates love:

An outward and uneasy union lasts

Or the routine of a life's compromise:

Where once the seed of oneness had been cast

Into a semblance of spiritual ground

By a divine adventure of heavenly powers

Two strive, constant associates without joy,

Two egos straining in a single leash,

Two minds divided by their jarring thoughts,

Two spirits disjoined, for ever separate.

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


Thus is the ideal falsified in man's world;

Trivial or sombre, disillusion comes,

Life's harsh reality stares at the soul:

Heaven's hour adjourned flees into bodiless Time.

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


Death saves thee from this and saves Satyavan:

He now is safe, delivered from himself;

He travels to silence and felicity.

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


Call him not back to the treacheries of earth

And the poor petty life of animal Man.

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


In my vast tranquil spaces let him sleep

In harmony with the mighty hush of death

Where love lies slumbering on the breast of peace.

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


And thou, go back alone to thy frail world:

Chastise thy heart with knowledge, unhood to see,

Thy nature raised into clear living heights,

The heaven-bird's view from unimagined peaks.

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


For when thou givest thy spirit to a dream

Soon hard necessity will smite thee awake:

Purest delight began and it must end.

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


Thou too shalt know, thy heart no anchor swinging,

Thy cradled soul moored in eternal seas.

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


Vain are the cycles of thy brilliant mind.

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


Renounce, forgetting joy and hope and tears,

Thy passionate nature in the bosom profound

Of a happy Nothingness and worldless Calm,

Delivered into my mysterious rest.

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


One with my fathomless Nihil all forget.

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


Forget thy fruitless spirit's waste of force,

Forget the weary circle of thy birth,

Forget the joy and the struggle and the pain,

The vague spiritual quest which first began

When worlds broke forth like clusters of fire-flowers,

And great burning thoughts voyaged through the sky of mind

And Time and its aeons crawled across the vasts

And souls emerged into mortality.”

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


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


But Savitri replied to the dark Power:

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


“A dangerous music now thou findst, O Death,

Melting thy speech into harmonious pain,

And flut'st alluringly to tired hopes

Thy falsehoods mingled with sad strains of truth.

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


But I forbid thy voice to slay my soul.

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


My love is not a hunger of the heart,

My love is not a craving of the flesh;

It came to me from God, to God returns.

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


Even in all that life and man have marred,

A whisper of divinity still is heard,

A breath is felt from the eternal spheres.

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


Allowed by Heaven and wonderful to man

A sweet fire-rhythm of passion chants to love.

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


There is a hope in its wild infinite cry;

It rings with callings from forgotten heights,

And when its strains are hushed to high-winged souls

In their empyrean, its burning breath

Survives beyond, the rapturous core of suns

That flame for ever pure in skies unseen,

A voice of the eternal Ecstasy.

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


One day I shall behold my great sweet world

Put off the dire disguises of the gods,

Unveil from terror and disrobe from sin.

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


Appeased we shall draw near our mother's face,

We shall cast our candid souls upon her lap;

Then shall we clasp the ecstasy we chase,

Then shall we shudder with the long-sought god,

Then shall we find Heaven's unexpected strain.

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


Not only is there hope for godheads pure;

The violent and darkened deities

Leaped down from the one breast in rage to find

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

A mother's eyes are on them and her arms

Stretched out in love desire her rebel sons.

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


One who came love and lover and beloved

Eternal, built himself a wondrous field

And wove the measures of a marvellous dance.

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


There in its circles and its magic turns

Attracted he arrives, repelled he flees.

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


In the wild devious promptings of his mind

He tastes the honey of tears and puts off joy

Repenting, and has laughter and has wrath,

And both are a broken music of the soul

Which seeks out reconciled its heavenly rhyme.

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


Ever he comes to us across the years

Bearing a new sweet face that is the old.

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


His bliss laughs to us or it calls concealed

Like a far-heard unseen entrancing flute

From moonlit branches in the throbbing woods,

Tempting our angry search and passionate pain.

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


Disguised the Lover seeks and draws our souls.

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


He named himself for me, grew Satyavan.

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


For we were man and woman from the first,

The twin souls born from one undying fire.

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


Did he not dawn on me in other stars?

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


How has he through the thickets of the world

Pursued me like a lion in the night

And come upon me suddenly in the ways

And seized me with his glorious golden leap!

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


Unsatisfied he yearned for me through time,

Sometimes with wrath and sometimes with sweet peace

Desiring me since first the world began.

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


He rose like a wild wave out of the floods

And dragged me helpless into seas of bliss.

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


Out of my curtained past his arms arrive;

They have touched me like the soft persuading wind,

They have plucked me like a glad and trembling flower,

And clasped me happily burned in ruthless flame.

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


I too have found him charmed in lovely forms

And run delighted to his distant voice

And pressed to him past many dreadful bars.

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


If there is a yet happier greater god,

Let him first wear the face of Satyavan

And let his soul be one with him I love;

So let him seek me that I may desire.

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


For only one heart beats within my breast

And one god sits there throned.

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


Advance, O Death,

Beyond the phantom beauty of this world;

For of its citizens I am not one.

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


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

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


But Death once more inflicted on her heart

The majesty of his calm and dreadful voice:

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


“A bright hallucination are thy thoughts.

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


A prisoner haled by a spiritual cord,

Of thy own sensuous will the ardent slave,

Thou sendest eagle-poised to meet the sun

Words winged with the red splendour of thy heart.

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


But knowledge dwells not in the passionate heart;

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

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


Vain is thy longing to build heaven on earth.

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


Artificer of Ideal and Idea,

Mind, child of Matter in the womb of Life,

To higher levels persuades his parents' steps:

Inapt, they follow ill the daring guide.

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


But Mind, a glorious traveller in the sky,

Walks lamely on the earth with footsteps slow;

Hardly he can mould the life's rebellious stuff,

Hardly can he hold the galloping hooves of sense:

His thoughts look straight into the very heavens;

They draw their gold from a celestial mine,

His acts work painfully a common ore.

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


All thy high dreams were made by Matter's mind

To solace its dull work in Matter's jail,

Its only house where it alone seems true.

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


A solid image of reality

Carved out of being to prop the works of Time,

Matter on the firm earth sits strong and sure.

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


It is the first-born of created things,

It stands the last when mind and life are slain,

And if it ended all would cease to be.

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


All else is only its outcome or its phase:

Thy soul is a brief flower by the gardener Mind

Created in thy matter's terrain plot;

It perishes with the plant on which it grows,

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

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

Thy life a lapsing wave on Matter's sea.

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


A careful steward of Truth's limited means,

Treasuring her founded facts from the squandering Power,

It tethers mind to the tent-posts of sense,

To a leaden grey routine clamps Life's caprice

And ties all creatures with the cords of Law.

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


A vessel of transmuting alchemies,

A glue that sticks together mind and life,

If Matter fails, all crumbling cracks and falls.

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


All upon Matter stands as on a rock.

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


Yet this security and guarantor

Pressed for credentials an impostor proves:

A cheat of substance where no substance is,

An appearance and a symbol and a nought,

Its forms have no original right to birth:

Its aspect of a fixed stability

Is the cover of a captive motion's swirl,

An order of the steps of Energy's dance

Whose footmarks leave for ever the same signs,

A concrete face of unsubstantial Time,

A trickle dotting the emptiness of Space:

A stable-seeming movement without change,

Yet change arrives and the last change is death.

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


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

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


Its figures are snares that trap and prison the sense;

The beginningless Void was its artificer:

Nothing is there but aspects limned by Chance

And seeming shapes of seeming Energy.

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


All by Death's mercy breathe and live awhile,

All think and act by the Inconscient's grace.

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


Addict of the roseate luxury of thy thoughts,

Turn not thy gaze within thyself to look

At visions in the gleaming crystal, Mind,

Close not thy lids to dream the forms of Gods.

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


At last to open thy eyes consent and see

The stuff of which thou and the world are made.

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


Inconscient in the dumb inconscient Void

Inexplicably a moving world sprang forth:

Awhile secure, happily insensible,

It could not rest content with its own truth.

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


For something on its nescient breast was born

Condemned to see and know, to feel and love,

It watched its acts, imagined a soul within;

It groped for truth and dreamed of Self and God.

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


When all unconscious was, then all was well.

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


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

Designing my unwilled, unerring plan,

Creating with a calm insentient heart.

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


In my sovereign power of unreality

Obliging nothingness to take a form,

Infallibly my blind unthinking force

Making by chance a fixity like fate's,

By whim the formulas of Necessity,

Founded on the hollow ground of the Inane

The sure bizarrerie of Nature's scheme.

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


I curved the vacant ether into Space;

A huge expanding and contracting Breath

Harboured the fires of the universe:

I struck out the supreme original spark

And spread its sparse ranked armies through the Inane,

Manufactured the stars from the occult radiances,

Marshalled the platoons of the invisible dance;

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

And built from chemic plasm the living man.

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


Then Thought came in and spoiled the harmonious world:

Matter began to hope and think and feel,

Tissue and nerve bore joy and agony.

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


The inconscient cosmos strove to learn its task;

An ignorant personal God was born in Mind

And to understand invented reason's law,

The impersonal Vast throbbed back to man's desire,

A trouble rocked the great world's blind still heart

And Nature lost her wide immortal calm.

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


Thus came this warped incomprehensible scene

Of souls emmeshed in life's delight and pain

And Matter's sleep and Mind's mortality,

Of beings in Nature's prison waiting death

And consciousness left in seeking ignorance

And evolution's slow arrested plan.

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


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

In the tangled pathways of the human mind,

In the issueless circling of thy human life,

Searching for thy soul and thinking God is here.

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


But where is room for soul or place for God

In the brute immensity of a machine?

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


A transient Breath thou takest for thy soul,

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

A magnified image of man's mind for God,

A shadow of thyself thrown upon Space.

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


Interposed between the upper and nether Void,

Thy consciousness reflects the world around

In the distorting mirror of Ignorance

Or upwards turns to catch imagined stars.

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


Or if a half-Truth is playing with the earth

Throwing its light on a dark shadowy ground,

It touches only and leaves a luminous smudge.

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


Immortality thou claimest for thy spirit,

But immortality for imperfect man,

A god who hurts himself at every step,

Would be a cycle of eternal pain.

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


Wisdom and love thou claimest as thy right;

But knowledge in this world is error's mate,

A brilliant procuress of Nescience,

And human love a posturer on earth-stage

Who imitates with verve a faery dance.

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


An extract pressed from hard experience,

Man's knowledge casked in the barrels of Memory

Has the harsh savour of a mortal draught:

A sweet secretion from the erotic glands

Flattering and torturing the burning nerves,

Love is a honey and poison in the breast

Drunk by it as the nectar of the gods.

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


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

And love no gleaming angel from the skies;

If they aspire beyond earth's dullard air,

Arriving sunwards with frail waxen wings,

How high could reach that forced unnatural flight?

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


But not on earth can divine wisdom reign

And not on earth can divine love be found;

Heaven-born, only in heaven can they live;

Or else there too perhaps they are shining dreams.

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


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

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


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

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


If thy mind seems to thee a radiant sun,

If thy life runs a swift and glorious stream,

This is the illusion of thy mortal heart

Dazzled by a ray of happiness or light.

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


Impotent to live by their own right divine,

Convinced of their brilliant unreality,

When their supporting ground is cut away,

These children of Matter into Matter die.

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


Even Matter vanishes into Energy's vague

And Energy is a motion of old Nought.

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


How shall the Ideal's unsubstantial hues

Be painted stiff on earth's vermilion blur,

A dream within a dream come doubly true?

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


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

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


The Ideal is a malady of thy mind,

A bright delirium of thy speech and thought,

A strange wine of beauty lifting thee to false sight.

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


A noble fiction of thy yearnings made,

Thy human imperfection it must share:

Its forms in Nature disappoint the heart,

And never shall it find its heavenly shape

And never can it be fulfilled in Time.

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


O soul misled by the splendour of thy thoughts,

O earthly creature with thy dream of heaven,

Obey, resigned and still, the earthly law.

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


Accept the brief light that falls upon thy days;

Take what thou canst of Life's permitted joy;

Submitting to the ordeal of fate's scourge

Suffer what thou must of toil and grief and care.

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


There shall approach silencing thy passionate heart

My long calm night of everlasting sleep:

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

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



Book Ten Canto Two

The Gospel of Death and Vanity of the Ideal

[Savitri B-10 C-02 Canto End]




Book 10 Canto 3

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Ten

The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto Three

The Debate of Love and Death

[Savitri B-10 C-03 Canto Name]


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


A sad destroying cadence the voice sank;

It seemed to lead the advancing march of Life

Into some still original Inane.

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

But Savitri answered to almighty Death:

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

“O dark-browed sophist of the universe

Who veilst the Real with its own Idea,

Hiding with brute objects Nature's living face,

Masking eternity with thy dance of death,

Thou hast woven the ignorant mind into a screen

And made of Thought error's purveyor and scribe,

And a false witness of mind's servant sense.

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

An aesthete of the sorrow of the world,

Champion of a harsh and sad philosophy

Thou hast used words to shutter out the Light

And called in Truth to vindicate a lie.

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

A lying reality is falsehood's crown

And a perverted truth her richest gem.

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

O Death, thou speakest truth but truth that slays,

I answer to thee with the Truth that saves.

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

A traveller new-discovering himself,

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

He made of Nothingness his living-room

And Night a process of the eternal light

And death a spur towards immortality.

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

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

His consciousness dived into inconscient depths,

All-Knowledge seemed a huge dark Nescience;

Infinity wore a boundless zero's form.

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

His abysms of bliss became insensible deeps,

Eternity a blank spiritual Vast.

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

Annulling an original nullity

The Timeless took its ground in emptiness

And drew the figure of a universe,

That the spirit might adventure into Time

And wrestle with adamant Necessity

And the soul pursue a cosmic pilgrimage.

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

A spirit moved in black immensities

And built a Thought in ancient Nothingness;

A soul was lit in God's tremendous Void,

A secret labouring glow of nascent fire.

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

In Nihil's gulf his mighty Puissance wrought;

She swung her formless motion into shapes,

Made Matter the body of the Bodiless.

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

Infant and dim the eternal Mights awoke.

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

In inert Matter breathed a slumbering Life,

In a subconscient Life Mind lay asleep;

In waking Life it stretched its giant limbs

To shake from it the torpor of its drowse;

A senseless substance quivered into sense,

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

In the crowded dumb vibrations of a brain

Thought fumbled in a ring to find itself,

Discovered speech and fed the new-born Word

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

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

In waking Mind, the Thinker built his house.

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

A reasoning animal willed and planned and sought;

He stood erect among his brute compeers,

He built life new, measured the universe,

Opposed his fate and wrestled with unseen Powers,

Conquered and used the laws that rule the world,

And hoped to ride the heavens and reach the stars,

A master of his huge environment.

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

Now through Mind's windows stares the demigod

Hidden behind the curtains of man's soul:

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

A ray has touched him from the eternal sun;

Motionless, voiceless in foreseeing depths,

He stands awake in Supernature's light

And sees a glory of arisen wings

And sees the vast descending might of God.

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

“O Death, thou lookst on an unfinished world

Assailed by thee and of its road unsure,

Peopled by imperfect minds and ignorant lives,

And sayest God is not and all is vain.

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

How shall the child already be the man?

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

Because he is infant, shall he never grow?

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

Because he is ignorant, shall he never learn?

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

In a small fragile seed a great tree lurks,

In a tiny gene a thinking being is shut;

A little element in a little sperm,

It grows and is a conqueror and a sage.

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

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

Deny the occult spiritual miracle?

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

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

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

A mute material Nature wakes and sees;

She has invented speech, unveiled a will.

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

Something there waits beyond towards which she strives,

Something surrounds her into which she grows:

To uncover the spirit, to change back into God,

To exceed herself is her transcendent task.

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

In God concealed the world began to be,

Tardily it travels towards manifest God:

Our imperfection towards perfection toils,

The body is the chrysalis of a soul:

The infinite holds the finite in its arms,

Time travels towards revealed eternity.

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

A miracle structure of the eternal Mage,

Matter its mystery hides from its own eyes,

A scripture written out in cryptic signs,

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

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

All here bears witness to his secret might,

In all we feel his presence and his power.

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

A blaze of his sovereign glory is the sun,

A glory is the gold and glimmering moon,

A glory is his dream of purple sky.

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

A march of his greatness are the wheeling stars.

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

His laughter of beauty breaks out in green trees,

His moments of beauty triumph in a flower;

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

Are murmurs falling from the Eternal's harp.

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

This world is God fulfilled in outwardness.

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

His ways challenge our reason and our sense;

By blind brute movements of an ignorant Force,

By means we slight as small, obscure or base,

A greatness founded upon little things,

He has built a world in the unknowing Void.

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

His forms he has massed from infinitesimal dust;

His marvels are built from insignificant things.

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

If mind is crippled, life untaught and crude,

If brutal masks are there and evil acts,

They are incidents of his vast and varied plot,

His great and dangerous drama's needed steps;

He makes with these and all his passion-play,

A play and yet no play but the deep scheme

Of a transcendent Wisdom finding ways

To meet her Lord in the shadow and the Night:

Above her is the vigil of the stars;

Watched by a solitary Infinitude

She embodies in dumb Matter the Divine,

In symbol minds and lives the Absolute.

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

A miracle-monger her mechanical craft;

Matter's machine worked out the laws of thought,

Life's engines served the labour of a soul:

The Mighty Mother her creation wrought,

A huge caprice self-bound by iron laws,

And shut God into an enigmatic world:

She lulled the Omniscient into nescient sleep,

Omnipotence on Inertia's back she drove,

Trod perfectly with divine unconscious steps

The enormous circle of her wonder-works.

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

Immortality assured itself by death;

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

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

His knowledge he disguised as Ignorance,

His Good he sowed in Evil's monstrous bed,

Made error a door by which Truth could enter in,

His plant of bliss watered with Sorrow's tears.

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

A thousand aspects point back to the One;

A dual Nature covered the Unique.

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

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



In this meeting of the Eternal's mingling masques,

This tangle-dance of passionate contraries

Locking like lovers in a forbidden embrace

The quarrel of their lost identity,

Through this wrestle and wrangle of the extremes of Power

Earth's million roads struggled towards deity.

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

All stumbled on behind a stumbling Guide,

Yet every stumble is a needed pace

On unknown routes to an unknowable goal.

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

All blundered and straggled towards the One Divine.

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

As if transmuted by a titan spell

The eternal Powers assumed a dubious face:

Idols of an oblique divinity,

They wore the heads of animal or troll,

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

Or harboured the demoniac in their gaze:

A crooked maze they made of thinking mind,

They suffered a metamorphosis of the heart,

Admitting bacchant revellers from the Night

Into its sanctuary of delights,

As in a Dionysian masquerade.

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

On the highways, in the gardens of the world

They wallowed oblivious of their divine parts,

As drunkards of a dire Circean wine

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

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

Even wisdom, hewer of the roads of God,

Is a partner in the deep disastrous game:

Lost is the pilgrim's wallet and the scrip,

She fails to read the map and watch the star.

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

A poor self-righteous virtue is her stock

And reason's pragmatic grope or abstract sight,

Or the technique of a brief hour's success

She teaches, an usher in utility's school.

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

On the ocean surface of vast Consciousness

Small thoughts in shoals are fished up into a net

But the great truths escape her narrow cast;

Guarded from vision by creation's depths,

Obscure they swim in blind enormous gulfs

Safe from the little sounding leads of mind,

Too far for the puny diver's shallow plunge.

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

Our mortal vision peers with ignorant eyes;

It has no gaze on the deep heart of things.

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

Our knowledge walks leaning on Error's staff,

A worshipper of false dogmas and false gods,

Or fanatic of a fierce intolerant creed

Or a seeker doubting every truth he finds,

A sceptic facing Light with adamant No

Or chilling the heart with dry ironic smile,

A cynic stamping out the god in man;

A darkness wallows in the paths of Time

Or lifts its giant head to blot the stars;

It makes a cloud of the interpreting mind

And intercepts the oracles of the Sun.

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

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

It holds a torch to lead the traveller in.

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

It waits to be kindled in our secret cells;

It is a star lighting an ignorant sea,

A lamp upon our poop piercing the night.

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

As knowledge grows Light flames up from within:

It is a shining warrior in the mind,

An eagle of dreams in the divining heart,

An armour in the fight, a bow of God.

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

Then larger dawns arrive and Wisdom's pomps

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

Philosophy climbs up Thought's cloud-bank peaks

And Science tears out Nature's occult powers,

Enormous djinns who serve a dwarf's small needs,

Exposes the sealed minutiae of her art

And conquers her by her own captive force.

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

On heights unreached by mind's most daring soar,

Upon a dangerous edge of failing Time

The soul draws back into its deathless Self;

Man's knowledge becomes God's supernal Ray.

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

There is the mystic realm whence leaps the power

Whose fire burns in the eyes of seer and sage;

A lightning flash of visionary sight,

It plays upon an inward verge of mind:

Thought silenced gazes into a brilliant Void.

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

A voice comes down from mystic unseen peaks:

A cry of splendour from a mouth of storm,

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

It is the thunder and the flaming call.

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

Above the planes that climb from nescient earth,

A hand is lifted towards the Invisible's realm,

Beyond the superconscient's blinding line

And plucks away the screens of the Unknown;

A spirit within looks into the Eternal's eyes.

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

It hears the Word to which our hearts were deaf,

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

It drinks from the naked breasts of glorious Truth,

It learns the secrets of eternity.

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

Thus all was plunged into the riddling Night,

Thus all is raised to meet a dazzling Sun.

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

O Death, this is the mystery of thy reign.

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

In earth's anomalous and magic field

Carried in its aimless journey by the sun

Mid the forced marches of the great dumb stars,

A darkness occupied the fields of God,

And Matter's world was governed by thy shape.

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

Thy mask has covered the Eternal's face,

The Bliss that made the world has fallen asleep.

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

Abandoned in the Vast she slumbered on:

An evil transmutation overtook

Her members till she knew herself no more.

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

Only through her creative slumber flit

Frail memories of the joy and beauty meant

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

And happy squanderings of scents and hues,

In the field of the golden promenade of the sun

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

Amid high meditating heads of hills,

On the bosom of voluptuous rain-kissed earth

And by the sapphire tumblings of the sea.

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

But now the primal innocence is lost

And Death and Ignorance govern the mortal world

And Nature's visage wears a greyer hue.

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

Earth still has kept her early charm and grace,

The grandeur and the beauty still are hers,

But veiled is the divine Inhabitant.

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

The souls of men have wandered from the Light

And the great Mother turns away her face.

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

The eyes of the creatrix Bliss are closed

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

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

As she turns and tosses on her bed of Void,

Because she cannot wake and find herself

And cannot build again her perfect shape,

Oblivious of her nature and her state,

Forgetting her instinct of felicity,

Forgetting to create a world of joy,

She weeps and makes her creatures' eyes to weep;

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

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

The poignant luxury of grief and tears.

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

In the nightmare change of her half-conscious dream,

Tortured herself and torturing by her touch,

She comes to our hearts and bodies and our lives

Wearing a hard and cruel mask of pain.

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

Our nature twisted by the abortive birth

Returns wry answers to life's questioning shocks,

An acrid relish finds in the world's pangs,

Drinks the sharp wine of grief's perversity.

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

A curse is laid on the pure joy of life:

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

Dreaded by aspiring saint and austere sage,

Is shunned, a dangerous and ambiguous cheat,

A specious trick of an infernal Power

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

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

A puritan God made pleasure a poisonous fruit,

Or red drug in the market-place of Death,

And sin the child of Nature's ecstasy.

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

Yet every creature hunts for happiness,

Buys with harsh pangs or tears by violence

From the dull breast of the inanimate globe

Some fragment or some broken shard of bliss.

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

Even joy itself becomes a poisonous draught;

Its hunger is made a dreadful hook of Fate.

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

All means are held good to catch a single beam,

Eternity sacrificed for a moment's bliss:

Yet for joy and not for sorrow earth was made

And not as a dream in endless suffering Time.

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

Although God made the world for his delight,

An ignorant Power took charge and seemed his Will

And Death's deep falsity has mastered Life.

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

All grew a play of Chance simulating Fate.

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

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



“A secret air of pure felicity

Deep like a sapphire heaven our spirits breathe;

Our hearts and bodies feel its obscure call,

Our senses grope for it and touch and lose.

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

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

If this were not, nothing could move or live.

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

A hidden Bliss is at the root of things.

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

A mute Delight regards Time's countless works:

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

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

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

This universe an old enchantment guards;

Its objects are carved cups of World-Delight

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

The All-Wonderful has packed heaven with his dreams,

He has made blank ancient Space his marvel-house;

He spilled his spirit into Matter's signs:

His fires of grandeur burn in the great sun,

He glides through heaven shimmering in the moon;

He is beauty carolling in the fields of sound;

He chants the stanzas of the odes of Wind;

He is silence watching in the stars at night;

He wakes at dawn and calls from every bough,

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

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

Even in this labour and dolour of Ignorance,

On the hard perilous ground of difficult earth,

In spite of death and evil circumstance

A will to live persists, a joy to be.

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

There is a joy in all that meets the sense,

A joy in all experience of the soul,

A joy in evil and a joy in good,

A joy in virtue and a joy in sin:

Indifferent to the threat of Karmic law,

Joy dares to grow upon forbidden soil,

Its sap runs through the plant and flowers of Pain:

It thrills with the drama of fate and tragic doom,

It tears its food from sorrow and ecstasy,

On danger and difficulty whets its strength;

It wallows with the reptile and the worm

And lifts its head, an equal of the stars;

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

It basks in the light and heat of many suns,

The sun of Beauty and the sun of Power

Flatter and foster it with golden beams;

It grows towards the Titan and the God.

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

On earth it lingers drinking its deep fill,

Through the symbol of her pleasure and her pain,

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

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

And dim fragments of the glory of Paradise.

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

In the small paltry pleasures of man's life,

In his petty passions and joys it finds a taste,

A taste in tears and torture of broken hearts,

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

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

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

All being it explores for unknown bliss,

Sounds all experience for things new and strange.

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

Life brings into the earthly creature's days

A tongue of glory from a brighter sphere:

It deepens in his musings and his Art,

It leaps at the splendour of some perfect word,

It exults in his high resolves and noble deeds,

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

It climbs in his climbings, wallows in his fall.

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

Angel and demon brides his chamber share,

Possessors or competitors for life's heart.

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

To the enjoyer of the cosmic scene

His greatness and his littleness equal are,

His magnanimity and meanness hues

Cast on some neutral background of the gods:

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

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

But not for ever endures this danger game:

Beyond the earth, but meant for delivered earth,

Wisdom and joy prepare their perfect crown;

Truth superhuman calls to thinking man.

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

At last the soul turns to eternal things,

In every shrine it cries for the clasp of God.

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

Then is there played the crowning Mystery,

Then is achieved the longed-for miracle.

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

Immortal Bliss her wide celestial eyes

Opens on the stars, she stirs her mighty limbs;

Time thrills to the sapphics of her amour-song

And Space fills with a white beatitude.

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

Then leaving to its grief the human heart,

Abandoning speech and the name-determined realms,

Through a gleaming far-seen sky of wordless thought,

Through naked thought-free heavens of absolute sight,

She climbs to the summits where the unborn Idea

Remembering the future that must be

Looks down upon the works of labouring Force,

Immutable above the world it made.

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

In the vast golden laughter of Truth's sun

Like a great heaven-bird on a motionless sea

Is poised her winged ardour of creative joy

On the still deep of the Eternal's peace.

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

This was the aim, this the supernal Law,

Nature's allotted task when beauty-drenched

In dim mist-waters of inconscient sleep,

Out of the Void this grand creation rose,—

For this the Spirit came into the Abyss

And charged with its power Matter's unknowing force,

In Night's bare session to cathedral Light,

In Death's realm repatriate immortality.

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

A mystic slow transfiguration works.

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

All our earth starts from mud and ends in sky,

And Love that was once an animal's desire,

Then a sweet madness in the rapturous heart,

An ardent comradeship in the happy mind,

Becomes a wide spiritual yearning's space.

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

A lonely soul passions for the Alone,

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

A body is his chamber and his shrine.

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

Then is our being rescued from separateness;

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

A Lover leaning from his cloister's door

Gathers the whole world into his single breast.

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

Then shall the business fail of Night and Death:

When unity is won, when strife is lost

And all is known and all is clasped by Love

Who would turn back to ignorance and pain?

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

“O Death, I have triumphed over thee within;

I quiver no more with the assault of grief;

A mighty calmness seated deep within

Has occupied my body and my sense:

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

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

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

My love eternal sits throned on God's calm;

For Love must soar beyond the very heavens

And find its secret sense ineffable;

It must change its human ways to ways divine,

Yet keep its sovereignty of earthly bliss.

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


O Death, not for my heart's sweet poignancy

Nor for my happy body's bliss alone

I have claimed from thee the living Satyavan,

But for his work and mine, our sacred charge.

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


Our lives are God's messengers beneath the stars;

To dwell under death's shadow they have come

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

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

His bliss to heal the unhappiness of the world.

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


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

He the Eternal's delegate soul in man.

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


My will is greater than thy law, O Death;

My love is stronger than the bonds of Fate:

Our love is the heavenly seal of the Supreme.

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


I guard that seal against thy rending hands.

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


Love must not cease to live upon the earth;

For Love is the bright link twixt earth and heaven,

Love is the far Transcendent's angel here;

Love is man's lien on the Absolute.”

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


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



But to the woman Death the god replied,

With the ironic laughter of his voice

Discouraging the labour of the stars:

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


“Even so men cheat the Truth with splendid thoughts.

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


Thus wilt thou hire the glorious charlatan, Mind,

To weave from his Ideal's gossamer air

A fine raiment for thy body's nude desires

And thy heart's clutching greedy passion clothe?

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


Daub not the web of life with magic hues:

Make rather thy thought a plain and faithful glass

Reflecting Matter and mortality,

And know thy soul a product of the flesh,

A made-up self in a constructed world.

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


Thy words are large murmurs in a mystic dream.

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


For how in the soiled heart of man could dwell

The immaculate grandeur of thy dream-built God,

Or who can see a face and form divine

In the naked two-legged worm thou callest man?

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


O human face, put off mind-painted masks:

The animal be, the worm that Nature meant;

Accept thy futile birth, thy narrow life.

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


For truth is bare like stone and hard like death;

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

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


But Savitri replied to the dire God:

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


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

Since in humanity waits his hour the God,

Trample thee down to reach the immortal heights,

Transcending grief and pain and fate and death.

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


Yes, my humanity is a mask of God:

He dwells in me, the mover of my acts,

Turning the great wheel of his cosmic work.

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


I am the living body of his light,

I am the thinking instrument of his power,

I incarnate Wisdom in an earthly breast,

I am his conquering and unslayable will.

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


The formless Spirit drew in me its shape;

In me are the Nameless and the secret Name.”

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


Death from the incredulous Darkness sent its cry:

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


“O priestess in Imagination's house,

Persuade first Nature's fixed immutable laws

And make the impossible thy daily work.

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


How canst thou force to wed two eternal foes?

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


Irreconcilable in their embrace

They cancel the glory of their pure extremes:

An unhappy wedlock maims their stunted force.

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


How shall thy will make one the true and false?

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


Where Matter is all, there Spirit is a dream:

If all are the Spirit, Matter is a lie,

And who was the liar who forged the universe?

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


The Real with the unreal cannot mate.

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


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

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

He who has met the Self, renounces self.

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


The voyagers of the million routes of mind

Who have travelled through Existence to its end,

Sages exploring the world-ocean's vasts,

Have found extinction the sole harbour safe.

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


Two only are the doors of man's escape,

Death of his body Matter's gate to peace,

Death of his soul his last felicity.

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


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

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


But Savitri replied to mighty Death:

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


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

My heart is stronger than thy bonds, O Death.

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


It sees and feels the one Heart beat in all,

It feels the high Transcendent's sunlike hands,

It sees the cosmic Spirit at its work;

In the dim Night it lies alone with God.

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


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

And never falter from its luminous track,

Its white tremendous orbit through God's peace.

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


It can drink up the sea of All-Delight

And never lose the white spiritual touch,

The calm that broods in the deep Infinite.”

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


He said,

 “Art thou indeed so strong, O heart,

O soul, so free?

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


And canst thou gather then

Bright pleasure from my wayside flowering boughs,

Yet falter not from thy hard journey's goal,

Meet the world's dangerous touch and never fall?

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


Show me thy strength and freedom from my laws.”

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


But Savitri answered,

“Surely I shall find

Among the green and whispering woods of Life

Close-bosomed pleasures, only mine since his,

Or mine for him, because our joys are one.

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


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

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

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


All is a single plan; each wayside act

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

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


Death the contemptuous Nihil answered her:

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


“So prove thy absolute force to the wise gods,

By choosing earthly joy!

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


For self demand

And yet from self and its gross masks live free.

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


Then will I give thee all thy soul desires,

All the brief joys earth keeps for mortal hearts.

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


Only the one dearest wish that outweighs all,

Hard laws forbid and thy ironic fate.

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


My will once wrought remains unchanged through Time,

And Satyavan can never again be thine.”

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


But Savitri replied to the vague Power:

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

Look in my heart and, knowing what I am,

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

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


Nothing I claim but Satyavan alone.”

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


There was a hush as if of doubtful fates.

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


As one disdainful still who yields a point

Death bowed his sovereign head in cold assent:

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


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

Whatever once the living Satyavan

Desired in his heart for Savitri.

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


Bright noons I give thee and unwounded dawns,

Daughters of thy own shape in heart and mind,

Fair hero sons and sweetness undisturbed

Of union with thy husband dear and true.

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


And thou shalt harvest in thy joyful house

Felicity of thy surrounded eves.

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


Love shall bind by thee many gathered hearts.

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


The opposite sweetness in thy days shall meet

Of tender service to thy life's desired

And loving empire over all thy loved,

Two poles of bliss made one, O Savitri.

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


Return, O child, to thy forsaken earth.”

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


But Savitri replied,

“Thy gifts resist.

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


Earth cannot flower if lonely I return.”

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


Then Death sent forth once more his angry cry,

As chides a lion his escaping prey:

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


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

Who thinkst that one man dead all joy must cease?

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


Hope not to be unhappy till the end:

For grief dies soon in the tired human heart;

Soon other guests the empty chambers fill.

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


A transient painting on a holiday's floor

Traced for a moment's beauty love was made.

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


Or if a voyager on the eternal trail,

Its objects fluent change in its embrace

Like waves to a swimmer upon infinite seas.”

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


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



But Savitri replied to the vague god,

“Give me back Satyavan, my only lord.

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


Thy thoughts are vacant to my soul that feels

The deep eternal truth in transient things.”

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


Death answered her,

“Return and try thy soul!

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


Soon shalt thou find appeased that other men

On lavish earth have beauty, strength and truth,

And when thou hast half forgotten, one of these

Shall wind himself around thy heart that needs

Some human answering heart against thy breast;

For who, being mortal, can dwell glad alone?

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


Then Satyavan shall glide into the past,

A gentle memory pushed away from thee

By new love and thy children's tender hands,

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

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


Such is the life earth's travail has conceived,

A constant stream that never is the same.”

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


But Savitri replied to mighty Death:

“O dark ironic critic of God's work,

Thou mockst the mind and body's faltering search

For what the heart holds in a prophet hour

And the immortal spirit shall make its own.

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


Mine is a heart that worshipped, though forsaken,

The image of the god its love adored;

I have burned in flame to travel in his steps.

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


Are we not they who bore vast solitude

Seated upon the hills alone with God?

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


Why dost thou vainly strive with me, O Death,

A mind delivered from all twilight thoughts,

To whom the secrets of the gods are plain?

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


For now at last I know beyond all doubt,

The great stars burn with my unceasing fire

And life and death are both its fuel made.

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


Life only was my blind attempt to love:

Earth saw my struggle, heaven my victory;

All shall be seized, transcended; there shall kiss

Casting their veils before the marriage fire

The eternal bridegroom and eternal bride.

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


The heavens accept our broken flights at last.

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


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

No signal light of hope has gleamed in vain.”

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


She spoke; the boundless members of the god

As if by secret ecstasy assailed,

Shuddered in silence as obscurely stir

Ocean's dim fields delivered to the moon.

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


Then lifted up as by a sudden wind

Around her in that vague and glimmering world

The twilight trembled like a bursting veil.

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


Thus with armed speech the great opponents strove.

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


Around those spirits in the glittering mist

A deepening half-light fled with pearly wings

As if to reach some far ideal Morn.

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


Outlined her thoughts flew through the gleaming haze

Mingling bright-pinioned with its lights and veils

And all her words like dazzling jewels were caught

Into the glow of a mysterious world,

Or tricked in the rainbow shifting of its hues

Like echoes swam fainting into far sound.

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


All utterance, all mood must there become

An unenduring tissue sewn by mind

To make a gossamer robe of beautiful change.

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


Intent upon her silent will she walked

On the dim grass of vague unreal plains,

A floating veil of visions in her front,

A trailing robe of dreams behind her feet.

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


But now her spirit's flame of conscient force

Retiring from a sweetness without fruit

Called back her thoughts from speech to sit within

In a deep room in meditation's house.

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


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

Imperishable, a tongue of sacrifice,

It flamed unquenched upon the central hearth

Where burns for the high houselord and his mate

The homestead's sentinel and witness fire

From which the altars of the gods are lit.

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


All still compelled went gliding on unchanged,

Still was the order of these worlds reversed:

The mortal led, the god and spirit obeyed

And she behind was leader of their march

And they in front were followers of her will.

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


Onward they journeyed through the drifting ways

Vaguely companioned by the glimmering mists.

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


But faster now all fled as if perturbed

Escaping from the clearness of her soul.

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


A heaven-bird upon jewelled wings of wind

Borne like a coloured and embosomed fire,

By spirits carried in a pearl-hued cave,

On through the enchanted dimness moved her soul.

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


Death walked in front of her and Satyavan,

In the dark front of Death, a failing star.

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


Above was the unseen balance of his fate.

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



Book Ten Canto Three End

The Debate of Love and Death

[Savitri B-10 C-03 Canto End]


Book 10 Canto 4

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Ten
The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto Four

The Dream Twilight of the Earthly Real

[Savitri B-10 C-04 Canto Name]


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


There came a slope that slowly downward sank;

It slipped towards a stumbling grey descent.

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

The dim-heart marvel of the ideal was lost;

Its crowding wonder of bright delicate dreams

And vague half-limned sublimities she had left:

Thought fell towards lower levels; hard and tense

It passioned for some crude reality.

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

The twilight floated still but changed its hues

And heavily swathed a less delightful dream;

It settled in tired masses on the air;

Its symbol colours tuned with duller reds

And almost seemed a lurid mist of day.

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

A straining taut and dire besieged her heart;

Heavy her sense grew with a dangerous load,

And sadder, greater sounds were in her ears,

And through stern breakings of the lambent glare

Her vision caught a hurry of driving plains

And cloudy mountains and wide tawny streams,

And cities climbed in minarets and towers

Towards an unavailing changeless sky:

Long quays and ghauts and harbours white with sails

Challenged her sight awhile and then were gone.

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

Amidst them travailed toiling multitudes

In ever shifting perishable groups,

A foiled cinema of lit shadowy shapes

Enveloped in the grey mantle of a dream.

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

Imagining meanings in life's heavy drift,

They trusted in the uncertain environment

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

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

A savage din of labour and a tramp

Of armoured life and the monotonous hum

Of thoughts and acts that ever were the same,

As if the dull reiterated drone

Of a great brute machine, beset her soul,—

A grey dissatisfied rumour like a ghost

Of the moaning of a loud unquiet sea.

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

A huge inhuman cyclopean voice,

A Babel-builders' song towering to heaven,

A throb of engines and the clang of tools

Brought the deep undertone of labour's pain.

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

As when pale lightnings tear a tortured sky,

High overhead a cloud-rimmed series flared

Chasing like smoke from a red funnel driven,

The forced creations of an ignorant Mind:

Drifting she saw like pictured fragments flee

Phantoms of human thought and baffled hopes,

The shapes of Nature and the arts of man,

Philosophies and disciplines and laws,

And the dead spirit of old societies,

Constructions of the Titan and the worm.

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

As if lost remnants of forgotten light,

Before her mind there fled with trailing wings

Dimmed revelations and delivering words,

Emptied of their mission and their strength to save,

The messages of the evangelist gods,

Voices of prophets, scripts of vanishing creeds.

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

Each in its hour eternal claimed went by:

Ideals, systems, sciences, poems, crafts

Tireless there perished and again recurred,

Sought restlessly by some creative Power;

But all were dreams crossing an empty vast.

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

Ascetic voices called of lonely seers

On mountain summits or by river banks

Or from the desolate heart of forest glades

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

Or in bodies motionless like statues, fixed

In tranced cessations of their sleepless thought

Sat sleeping souls, and this too was a dream.

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

All things the past has made and slain were there,

Its lost forgotten forms that once had lived,

And all the present loves as new-revealed

And all the hopes the future brings had failed

Already, caught and spent in efforts vain,

Repeated fruitlessly age after age.

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

Unwearied all returned insisting still

Because of joy in the anguish of pursuit

And joy to labour and to win and lose

And joy to create and keep and joy to kill.

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

The rolling cycles passed and came again,

Brought the same toils and the same barren end,

Forms ever new and ever old, the long

Appalling revolutions of the world.

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

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



Once more arose the great destroying Voice:

Across the fruitless labour of the worlds

His huge denial's all-defeating might

Pursued the ignorant march of dolorous Time.

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

“Behold the figures of this symbol realm,

Its solid outlines of creative dream

Inspiring the great concrete tasks of earth.

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

In its motion-parable of human life

Here thou canst trace the outcome Nature gives

To the sin of being and the error in things

And the desire that compels to live

And man's incurable malady of hope.

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

In an immutable order's hierarchy

Where Nature changes not, man cannot change:

Ever he obeys her fixed mutation's law;

In a new version of her oft-told tale

In ever-wheeling cycles turns the race.

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

His mind is pent in circling boundaries:

For mind is man, beyond thought he cannot soar.

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

If he could leave his limits he would be safe:

He sees but cannot mount to his greater heavens;

Even winged, he sinks back to his native soil.

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

He is a captive in his net of mind

And beats soul-wings against the walls of life.

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

In vain his heart lifts up its yearning prayer,

Peopling with brilliant Gods the formless Void;

Then disappointed to the Void he turns

And in its happy nothingness asks release,

The calm Nirvana of his dream of self:

The Word in silence ends, in Nought the name.

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

Apart amid the mortal multitudes,

He calls the Godhead incommunicable

To be the lover of his lonely soul

Or casts his spirit into its void embrace.

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

Or he finds his copy in the impartial All;

He imparts to the Immobile his own will,

Attributes to the Eternal wrath and love

And to the Ineffable lends a thousand names.

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

Hope not to call God down into his life.

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

How shalt thou bring the Everlasting here?

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

There is no house for him in hurrying Time.

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

Vainly thou seekst in Matter's world an aim;

No aim is there, only a will to be.

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

All walk by Nature bound for ever the same.

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

Look on these forms that stay awhile and pass,

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

These structures that have no abiding truth,

The saviour creeds that cannot save themselves,

But perish in the strangling hands of the years,

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

Philosophies that strip all problems bare

But nothing ever have solved since earth began,

And sciences omnipotent in vain

By which men learn of what the suns are made,

Transform all forms to serve their outward needs,

Ride through the sky and sail beneath the sea,

But learn not what they are or why they came;

These polities, architectures of man's brain,

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

And, fissured houses, palace at once and jail,

Rot while they reign and crumble before they crash;

These revolutions, demon or drunken god,

Convulsing the wounded body of mankind

Only to paint in new colours an old face;

These wars, carnage triumphant, ruin gone mad,

The work of centuries vanishing in an hour,

The blood of the vanquished and the victor's crown

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

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

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

The glory and the beasthood and the shame;

Why is it all, the labour and the din,

The transient joys, the timeless sea of tears,

The longing and the hoping and the cry,

The battle and the victory and the fall,

The aimless journey that can never pause,

The waking toil, the incoherent sleep,

Song, shouts and weeping, wisdom and idle words,

The laughter of men, the irony of the gods?

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

Where leads the march, whither the pilgrimage?

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

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

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

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

Or nothing is there but only a Mind that dreams:

The world is a myth that happened to come true,

A legend told to itself by conscious Mind,

Imaged and played on a feigned Matter's ground

On which it stands in an unsubstantial Vast.

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

Mind is the author, spectator, actor, stage:

Mind only is and what it thinks is seen.

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

If Mind is all, renounce the hope of bliss;

If Mind is all, renounce the hope of Truth.

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

For Mind can never touch the body of Truth

And Mind can never see the soul of God;

Only his shadow it grasps nor hears his laugh

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

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

Mind is a tissue woven of light and shade

Where right and wrong have sewn their mingled parts;

Or Mind is Nature's marriage of convenance

Between truth and falsehood, between joy and pain:

This struggling pair no court can separate.

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

Each thought is a gold coin with bright alloy

And error and truth are its obverse and reverse:

This is the imperial mintage of the brain

And of this kind is all its currency.

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

Think not to plant on earth the living Truth

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

Truth comes not there but only the thought of Truth,

God is not there but only the name of God.

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

If Self there is it is bodiless and unborn;

It is no one and it is possessed by none.

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

On what shalt thou then build thy happy world?

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

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

An all-seeing omnipresence stark, alone.

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

If God there is he cares not for the world;

All things he sees with calm indifferent gaze,

He has doomed all hearts to sorrow and desire,

He has bound all life with his implacable laws;

He answers not the ignorant voice of prayer.

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

Eternal while the ages toil beneath,

Unmoved, untouched by aught that he has made,

He sees as minute details mid the stars

The animal's agony and the fate of man:

Immeasurably wise, he exceeds thy thought;

His solitary joy needs not thy love.

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

His truth in human thinking cannot dwell:

If thou desirest Truth, then still thy mind

For ever, slain by the dumb unseen Light.

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

Immortal bliss lives not in human air:

How shall the mighty Mother her calm delight

Keep fragrant in this narrow fragile vase,

Or lodge her sweet unbroken ecstasy

In hearts which earthly sorrow can assail

And bodies careless Death can slay at will?

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

Dream not to change the world that God has planned,

Strive not to alter his eternal law.

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

If heavens there are whose gates are shut to grief,

There seek the joy thou couldst not find on earth;

Or in the imperishable hemisphere

Where Light is native and Delight is king

And Spirit is the deathless ground of things,

Choose thy high station, child of Eternity.

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

If thou art Spirit and Nature is thy robe,

Cast off thy garb and be thy naked self

Immutable in its undying truth,

Alone for ever in the mute Alone.

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

Turn then to God, for him leave all behind;

Forgetting love, forgetting Satyavan,

Annul thyself in his immobile peace.

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

O soul, drown in his still beatitude.

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

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

I, Death, am the gate of immortality.”

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

But Savitri answered to the sophist God:

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

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

Make Knowledge a catch of the snare of Ignorance

And the Word a dart to slay my living soul?

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

Offer, O King, thy boons to tired spirits

And hearts that could not bear the wounds of Time,

Let those who were tied to body and to mind,

Tear off those bonds and flee into white calm

Crying for a refuge from the play of God.

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

Surely thy boons are great since thou art He!

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

But how shall I seek rest in endless peace

Who house the mighty Mother's violent force,

Her vision turned to read the enigmaed world,

Her will tempered in the blaze of Wisdom's sun

And the flaming silence of her heart of love?

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

The world is a spiritual paradox

Invented by a need in the Unseen,

A poor translation to the creature's sense

Of That which for ever exceeds idea and speech,

A symbol of what can never be symbolised,

A language mispronounced, misspelt, yet true.

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

Its powers have come from the eternal heights

And plunged into the inconscient dim Abyss

And risen from it to do their marvellous work.

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

The soul is a figure of the Unmanifest,

The mind labours to think the Unthinkable,

The life to call the Immortal into birth,

The body to enshrine the Illimitable.

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

The world is not cut off from Truth and God.

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

In vain thou hast dug the dark unbridgeable gulf,

In vain thou hast built the blind and doorless wall:

Man's soul crosses through thee to Paradise,

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

Its light is seen upon our being's verge.

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

My mind is a torch lit from the eternal sun,

My life a breath drawn by the immortal Guest,

My mortal body is the Eternal's house.

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

Already the torch becomes the undying ray,

Already the life is the Immortal's force,

The house grows of the householder part and one.

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

How sayst thou Truth can never light the human mind

And Bliss can never invade the mortal's heart

Or God descend into the world he made?

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

If in the meaningless Void creation rose,

If from a bodiless Force Matter was born,

If Life could climb in the unconscious tree,

Its green delight break into emerald leaves

And its laughter of beauty blossom in the flower,

If sense could wake in tissue, nerve and cell

And Thought seize the grey matter of the brain,

And soul peep from its secrecy through the flesh,

How shall the nameless Light not leap on men,

And unknown powers emerge from Nature's sleep?

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

Even now hints of a luminous Truth like stars

Arise in the mind-mooned splendour of Ignorance;

Even now the deathless Lover's touch we feel:

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

What then can hinder God from stealing in

Or who forbid his kiss on the sleeping soul?

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

Already God is near, the Truth is close:

Because the dark atheist body knows him not,

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

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

I am not bound by thought or sense or shape;

I live in the glory of the Infinite,

I am near to the Nameless and Unknowable,

The Ineffable is now my household mate.

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

But standing on Eternity's luminous brink

I have discovered that the world was He;

I have met Spirit with spirit, Self with self,

But I have loved too the body of my God.

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

I have pursued him in his earthly form.

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

A lonely freedom cannot satisfy

A heart that has grown one with every heart:

I am a deputy of the aspiring world,

My spirit's liberty I ask for all.”

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

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


Then rang again a deeper cry of Death.

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

As if beneath its weight of sterile law

Oppressed by its own obstinate meaningless will,

Disdainful, weary and compassionate,

It kept no more its old intolerant sound,

But seemed like life's in her unnumbered paths

Toiling for ever and achieving nought

Because of birth and change, her mortal powers

By which she lasts, around the term-posts fixed

Turning of a wide circling aimless race

Whose course for ever speeds and is the same.

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

In its long play with Fate and Chance and Time

Assured of the game's vanity lost or won,

Crushed by its load of ignorance and doubt

Which knowledge seems to increase and growth to enlarge,

The earth-mind sinks and it despairs and looks

Old, weary and discouraged on its work.

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

Yet was all nothing then or vainly achieved?

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

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

Delivered from the huge Inconscient's grasp:

It has emerged from night; it sees its dawns

Circling for ever though no dawn can stay.

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

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

His form of dread was altered and admitted

Our transient effort at eternity,

Yet flung vast doubts of what might else have been

On grandiose hints of an impossible day.

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

The great voice surging cried to Savitri:

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

“Because thou knowst the wisdom that transcends

Both veil of forms and the contempt of forms,

Arise delivered by the seeing gods.

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

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

Thou mightst have been like them omniscient, calm.

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

But the violent and passionate heart forbids.

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

It is the storm bird of an anarch Power

That would upheave the world and tear from it

The indecipherable scroll of Fate,

Death's rule and Law and the unknowable Will.

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

Hasteners to action, violators of God

Are these great spirits who have too much love,

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

Have come into the narrow bounds of life

With too large natures overleaping time.

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

Worshippers of force who know not her recoil,

Their giant wills compel the troubled years.

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

The wise are tranquil; silent the great hills

Rise ceaselessly towards their unreached sky,

Seated on their unchanging base, their heads

Dreamless in heaven's immutable domain.

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

On their aspiring tops, sublime and still,

Lifting half-way to heaven the climbing soul

The mighty mediators stand content

To watch the revolutions of the stars:

Motionlessly moving with the might of earth,

They see the ages pass and are the same.

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

The wise think with the cycles, they hear the tread

Of far-off things; patient, unmoved they keep

Their dangerous wisdom in their depths restrained,

Lest man's frail days into the unknown should sink

Dragged like a ship by bound leviathan

Into the abyss of his stupendous seas.

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

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

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

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

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

The hurrying aeons would stumble on too swift

If strength from heaven surprised the imperfect earth

And veilless knowledge smote these unfit souls.

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

The deities have screened their dreadful power:

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

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

Be still and tardy in the slow wise world.

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

Mighty art thou with the dread goddess filled,

To whom thou criedst at dawn in the dim woods.

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

Use not thy strength like the wild Titan souls!

Touch not the seated lines, the ancient laws,

Respect the calm of great established things.”

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

But Savitri replied to the huge god:

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

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

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

Is it not the dull-visioned tread inert

Of monstrous energies chained in a stark round

Soulless and stone-eyed with mechanic dreams?

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

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

Ever to the new and the unknown press on

The speeding aeons justifying God.

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

What were earth's ages if the grey restraint

Were never broken and glories sprang not forth

Bursting their obscure seed, while man's slow life

Leaped hurried into sudden splendid paths

By divine words and human gods revealed?

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

Impose not upon sentient minds and hearts

The dull fixity that binds inanimate things.

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

Well is the unconscious rule for the animal breeds

Content to live beneath the immutable yoke;

Man turns to a nobler walk, a master path.

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

I trample on thy law with living feet;

For to arise in freedom I was born.

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

If I am mighty let my force be unveiled

Equal companion of the dateless powers,

Or else let my frustrated soul sink down

Unworthy of Godhead in the original sleep.

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

I claim from Time my will's eternity,

God from his moments.”

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

Death replied to her,

“Why should the noble and immortal will

Stoop to the petty works of transient earth,

Freedom forgotten and the Eternal's path?

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

Or is this the high use of strength and thought,

To struggle with the bonds of death and time

And spend the labour that might earn the gods

And battle and bear agony of wounds

To grasp the trivial joys that earth can guard

In her small treasure-chest of passing things?

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

Child, hast thou trodden the gods beneath thy feet

Only to win poor shreds of earthly life

For him thou lov'st cancelling the grand release,

Keeping from early rapture of the heavens

His soul the lenient deities have called?

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

Are thy arms sweeter than the courts of God?”

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

She answered,

“Straight I trample on the road

The strong hand hewed for me which planned our paths.

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

I run where his sweet dreadful voice commands

And I am driven by the reins of God.

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

Why drew he wide his scheme of mighty worlds

Or filled infinity with his passionate breath?

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

Or wherefore did he build my mortal form

And sow in me his bright and proud desires,

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

Carving his human image richly shaped

In thoughts and largenesses and golden powers?

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

Far Heaven can wait our coming in its calm.

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

Easy the heavens were to build for God.

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

Earth was his difficult matter, earth the glory

Gave of the problem and the race and strife.

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

There are the ominous masks, the terrible powers;

There it is greatness to create the gods.

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

Is not the spirit immortal and absolved

Always, delivered from the grasp of Time?

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

Why came it down into the mortal's Space?

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

A charge he gave to his high spirit in man

And wrote a hidden decree on Nature's tops.

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

Freedom is this with ever seated soul,

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

Building great stuff of action from the worlds

To make fine wisdom from coarse, scattered strands

And love and beauty out of war and night,

The wager wonderful, the game divine.

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

What liberty has the soul which feels not free

Unless stripped bare and cannot kiss the bonds

The Lover winds around his playmate's limbs,

Choosing his tyranny, crushed in his embrace?

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

To seize him better with her boundless heart

She accepts the limiting circle of his arms,

Bows full of bliss beneath his mastering hands

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

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

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

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

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



Immutable, Death's denial met her cry:

 “However mighty, whatever thy secret name

Uttered in hidden conclaves of the gods,

Thy heart's ephemeral passion cannot break

The iron rampart of accomplished things

With which the great Gods fence their camp in Space.

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

Whoever thou art behind thy human mask,

Even if thou art the Mother of the worlds

And pegst thy claim upon the realms of Chance,

The cosmic Law is greater than thy will.

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

Even God himself obeys the Laws he made:

The Law abides and never can it change,

The Person is a bubble on Time's sea.

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

A forerunner of a greater Truth to come,

Thy soul creator of its freer Law,

Vaunting a Force behind on which it leans,

A Light above which none but thou hast seen,

Thou claimst the first fruits of Truth's victory.

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

But what is Truth and who can find her form

Amid the specious images of sense,

Amid the crowding guesses of the mind

And the dark ambiguities of a world

Peopled with the incertitudes of Thought?

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

For where is Truth and when was her footfall heard

Amid the endless clamour of Time's mart

And which is her voice amid the thousand cries

That cross the listening brain and cheat the soul?

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

Or is Truth aught but a high starry name

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

Sanctions and consecrates his nature's choice,

The heart's wish donning knowledge as its robe,

The cherished idea elect among the elect,

Thought's favourite mid the children of half-light

Who high-voiced crowd the playgrounds of the mind

Or people its dormitories in infant sleep?

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

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

Two Powers real but to each other untrue,

Two consort stars in the mooned night of mind

That towards two opposite horizons gaze,

The white head and black tail of the mystic drake,

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

Sustaining the body of the uncertain world,

A great surreal dragon in the skies.

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

Too dangerously thy high proud truth must live

Entangled in Matter's mortal littleness.

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

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

Its thoughts into an eternal cipher run,

Its deeds swell to Time's rounded zero sum.

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

Thus man at once is animal and god,

A disparate enigma of God's make

Unable to free the Godhead's form within,

A being less than himself, yet something more,

The aspiring animal, the frustrate god

Yet neither beast nor deity but man,

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

Climbing the stairs of God to higher things.

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

Objects are seemings and none knows their truth,

Ideas are guesses of an ignorant god.

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

Truth has no home in earth's irrational breast:

Yet without reason life is a tangle of dreams,

But reason is poised above a dim abyss

And stands at last upon a plank of doubt.

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

Eternal truth lives not with mortal men.

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

Or if she dwells within thy mortal heart,

Show me the body of the living Truth

Or draw for me the outline of her face

That I too may obey and worship her.

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

Then will I give thee back thy Satyavan.

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

But here are only facts and steel-bound Law.

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

This truth I know that Satyavan is dead

And even thy sweetness cannot lure him back.

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

No magic Truth can bring the dead to life,

No power of earth cancel the thing once done,

No joy of the heart can last surviving death,

No bliss persuade the past to live again.

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

But Life alone can solace the mute Void

And fill with thought the emptiness of Time.

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

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

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

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



The Woman answered to the mighty Shade,

And as she spoke, mortality disappeared;

Her Goddess self grew visible in her eyes,

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

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

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

But only his own black shadow on his path

As leaving the Night he takes the upward Way

And drags with him its clinging inconscient Force.

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

Of God unconscious thou art the dark head,

Of his Ignorance thou art the impenitent sign,

Of its vast tenebrous womb the natural child,

On his immortality the sinister bar.

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

All contraries are aspects of God's face.

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

The Many are the innumerable One,

The One carries the multitude in his breast;

He is the Impersonal, inscrutable, sole,

He is the one infinite Person seeing his world;

The Silence bears the Eternal's great dumb seal,

His light inspires the eternal Word;

He is the Immobile's deep and deathless hush,

Its white and signless blank negating calm,

Yet stands the creator Self, the almighty Lord

And watches his will done by the forms of Gods

And the desire that goads half-conscious man

And the reluctant and unseeing Night.

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

These wide divine extremes, these inverse powers

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

Existence balanced twixt two mighty arms

Confronts the mind with unsolved abysms of Thought.

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

Darkness below, a fathomless Light above,

In Light are joined, but sundered by severing Mind

Stand face to face, opposite, inseparable,

Two contraries needed for his great World-task,

Two poles whose currents wake the immense World-Force.

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

In the stupendous secrecy of his Self,

Above the world brooding with equal wings,

He is both in one, beginningless, without end:

Transcending both, he enters the Absolute.

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

His being is a mystery beyond mind,

His ways bewilder mortal ignorance;

The finite in its little sections parked,

Amazed, credits not God's audacity

Who dares to be the unimagined All

And see and act as might one Infinite.

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

Against human reason this is his offence,

Being known to be for ever unknowable,

To be all and yet transcend the mystic whole,

Absolute, to lodge in a relative world of Time,

Eternal and all-knowing, to suffer birth,

Omnipotent, to sport with Chance and Fate,

Spirit, yet to be Matter and the Void,

Illimitable, beyond form or name,

To dwell within a body, one and supreme

To be animal and human and divine:

A still deep sea, he laughs in rolling waves;

Universal, he is all,—transcendent, none.

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

To man's righteousness this is his cosmic crime,

Almighty beyond good and evil to dwell

Leaving the good to their fate in a wicked world

And evil to reign in this enormous scene.

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

All opposition seems and strife and chance,

An aimless labour with but scanty sense,

To eyes that see a part and miss the whole;

The surface men scan, the depths refuse their search:

A hybrid mystery challenges the view,

Or a discouraging sordid miracle.

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

Yet in the exact Inconscient's stark conceit,

In the casual error of the world's ignorance

A plan, a hidden Intelligence is glimpsed.

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

There is a purpose in each stumble and fall;

Nature's most careless lolling is a pose

Preparing some forward step, some deep result.

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

Ingenious notes plugged into a motived score,

These million discords dot the harmonious theme

Of the evolution's huge orchestral dance.

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

A Truth supreme has forced the world to be;

It has wrapped itself in Matter as in a shroud,

A shroud of Death, a shroud of Ignorance.

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

It compelled the suns to burn through silent Space,

Flame-signs of its uncomprehended Thought

In a wide brooding ether's formless muse:

It made of Knowledge a veiled and struggling light,

Of Being a substance nescient, dense and dumb,

Of Bliss the beauty of an insentient world.

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

In finite things the conscious Infinite dwells:

Involved it sleeps in Matter's helpless trance,

It rules the world from its sleeping senseless Void;

Dreaming it throws out mind and heart and soul

To labour crippled, bound, on the hard earth;

A broken whole it works through scattered points;

Its gleaming shards are Wisdom's diamond thoughts,

Its shadowy reflex our ignorance.

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

It starts from the mute mass in countless jets,

It fashions a being out of brain and nerve,

A sentient creature from its pleasures and pangs.

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

A pack of feelings obscure, a dot of sense

Survives awhile answering the shocks of life,

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

Leaves the huge universe in which it lived

An insignificant unconsidered guest.

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

But the soul grows concealed within its house;

It gives to the body its strength and magnificence;

It follows aims in an ignorant aimless world,

It lends significance to earth's meaningless life.

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

A demigod animal, came thinking man;

He wallows in mud, yet heavenward soars in thought;

He plays and ponders, laughs and weeps and dreams,

Satisfies his little longings like the beast;

He pores upon life's book with student eyes.

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

Out of this tangle of intellect and sense,

Out of the narrow scope of finite thought

At last he wakes into spiritual mind;

A high liberty begins and luminous room:

He glimpses eternity, touches the infinite,

He meets the gods in great and sudden hours,

He feels the universe as his larger self,

Makes Space and Time his opportunity

To join the heights and depths of being in light,

In the heart's cave speaks secretly with God.

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

But these are touches and high moments lived;

Fragments of Truth supreme have lit his soul,

Reflections of the sun in waters still.

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

A few have dared the last supreme ascent

And break through borders of blinding light above,

And feel a breath around of mightier air,

Receive a vaster being's messages

And bathe in its immense intuitive Ray.

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

On summit Mind are radiant altitudes

Exposed to the lustre of Infinity,

Outskirts and dependencies of the house of Truth,

Upraised estates of Mind and measureless.

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

There man can visit but there he cannot live.

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

A cosmic Thought spreads out its vastitudes;

Its smallest parts are here philosophies

Challenging with their detailed immensity,

Each figuring an omniscient scheme of things.

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

But higher still can climb the ascending light;

There are vasts of vision and eternal suns,

Oceans of an immortal luminousness,

Flame-hills assaulting heaven with their peaks,

There dwelling all becomes a blaze of sight;

A burning head of vision leads the mind,

Thought trails behind it its long comet tail;

The heart glows, an illuminate and seer,

And sense is kindled into identity.

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

A highest flight climbs to a deepest view:

In a wide opening of its native sky

Intuition's lightnings range in a bright pack

Hunting all hidden truths out of their lairs,

Its fiery edge of seeing absolute

Cleaves into locked unknown retreats of self,

Rummages the sky-recesses of the brain,

Lights up the occult chambers of the heart;

Its spear-point ictus of discovery

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

Strips bare the secret soul of all that is.

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

Thought there has revelation's sun-bright eyes;

The Word, a mighty and inspiring Voice,

Enters Truth's inmost cabin of privacy

And tears away the veil from God and life.

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

Then stretches the boundless finite's last expanse,

The cosmic empire of the Overmind,

Time's buffer state bordering Eternity,

Too vast for the experience of man's soul:

All here gathers beneath one golden sky:

The Powers that build the cosmos station take

In its house of infinite possibility;

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

Ideas are phalanxed like a group of suns,

Each marshalling his company of rays.

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

Thought crowds in masses seized by one regard;

All Time is one body, Space a single look:

There is the Godhead's universal gaze

And there the boundaries of immortal Mind:

The line that parts and joins the hemispheres

Closes in on the labour of the Gods

Fencing eternity from the toil of Time.

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

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



In her glorious kingdom of eternal light

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

Omnipotent, omniscient and alone,

In a golden country keeps her measureless house;

In its corridor she hears the tread that comes

Out of the Unmanifest never to return

Till the Unknown is known and seen by men.

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

Above the stretch and blaze of cosmic Sight,

Above the silence of the wordless Thought,

Formless creator of immortal forms,

Nameless, investitured with the name divine,

Transcending Time's hours, transcending Timelessness,

The Mighty Mother sits in lucent calm

And holds the eternal Child upon her knees

Attending the day when he shall speak to Fate.

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

There is the image of our future's hope;

There is the sun for which all darkness waits,

There is the imperishable harmony;

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

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

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

Till Truth draws back the shade that it has cast,

The Love our hearts call down to heal all strife,

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

Thence comes the glory sometimes seen on earth,

The visits of Godhead to the human soul,

The Beauty and the dream on Nature's face.

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

There the perfection born from eternity

Calls to it the perfection born in Time,

The truth of God surprising human life,

The image of God overtaking finite shapes.

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

There in a world of everlasting Light,

In the realms of the immortal Supermind

Truth who hides here her head in mystery,

Her riddle deemed by reason impossible

In the stark structure of material form,

Unenigmaed lives, unmasked her face and there

Is Nature and the common law of things.

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

There in a body made of spirit stuff,

The hearth-stone of the everliving Fire,

Action translates the movements of the soul,

Thought steps infallible and absolute

And life is a continual worship's rite,

A sacrifice of rapture to the One.

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

A cosmic vision, a spiritual sense

Feels all the Infinite lodged in finite form

And seen through a quivering ecstasy of light

Discovers the bright face of the Bodiless,

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

Can sip the honey-wine of Eternity.

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

A Spirit who is no one and innumerable,

The one mystic infinite Person of his world

Multiplies his myriad personality,

On all his bodies seals his divinity's stamp

And sits in each immortal and unique.

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

The Immobile stands behind each daily act,

A background of the movement and the scene,

Upholding creation on its might and calm

And change on the Immutable's deathless poise.

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

The Timeless looks out from the travelling hours;

The Ineffable puts on a robe of speech

Where all its words are woven like magic threads

Moving with beauty, inspiring with their gleam,

And every thought takes up its destined place

Recorded in the memory of the world.

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

The Truth supreme, vast and impersonal

Fits faultlessly the hour and circumstance,

Its substance a pure gold ever the same

But shaped into vessels for the spirit's use,

Its gold becomes the wine jar and the vase.

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

All there is a supreme epiphany:

The All-Wonderful makes a marvel of each event,

The All-Beautiful is a miracle in each shape;

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

A pure celestial joy is the use of sense.

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

Each being there is a member of the Self,

A portion of the million-thoughted All,

A claimant to the timeless Unity,

The many's sweetness, the joy of difference

Edged with the intimacy of the One.

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

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

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

Our human words can only shadow her.

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

To thought she is an unthinkable rapture of light,

To speech a marvel inexpressible.

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

O Death, if thou couldst touch the Truth supreme

Thou wouldst grow suddenly wise and cease to be.

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

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

Its infinite radiance would seize our hearts,

Our being in God's image be remade

And earthly life become the life divine.”

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

Then Death the last time answered Savitri:

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

“If Truth supreme transcends her shadow here

Severed by Knowledge and the climbing vasts,

What bridge can cross the gulf that she has left

Between her and the dream-world she has made?

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

Or who could hope to bring her down to men

And persuade to tread the harsh globe with wounded feet

Leaving her unapproachable glory and bliss,

Wasting her splendour on pale earthly air?

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

Is thine that strength, O beauty of mortal limbs,

O soul who flutterest to escape my net?

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

Who then art thou hiding in human guise?

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

Thy voice carries the sound of infinity,

Knowledge is with thee, Truth speaks through thy words;

The light of things beyond shines in thy eyes.

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

But where is thy strength to conquer Time and Death?

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

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

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

For truth and knowledge are an idle gleam

If Knowledge brings not power to change the world,

If Might comes not to give to Truth her right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

O human claimant to immortality,

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

Then will I give back to thee Satyavan.

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

Or if the Mighty Mother is with thee,

Show me her face that I may worship her;

Let deathless eyes look into the eyes of Death,

An imperishable Force touching brute things

Transform earth's death into immortal life.

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

Then can thy dead return to thee and live.

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

The prostrate earth perhaps shall lift her gaze

And feel near her the secret body of God

And love and joy overtake fleeing Time.”

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

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


And Savitri looked on Death and answered not.

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

Almost it seemed as if in his symbol shape

The world's darkness had consented to Heaven-light

And God needed no more the Inconscient's screen.

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

A mighty transformation came on her.

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

A halo of the indwelling Deity,

The Immortal's lustre that had lit her face

And tented its radiance in her body's house,

Overflowing made the air a luminous sea.

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

In a flaming moment of apocalypse

The Incarnation thrust aside its veil.

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

A little figure in infinity

Yet stood and seemed the Eternal's very house,

As if the world's centre was her very soul

And all wide space was but its outer robe.

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

A curve of the calm hauteur of far heaven

Descending into earth's humility,

Her forehead's span vaulted the Omniscient's gaze,

Her eyes were two stars that watched the universe.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-07]

The Power that from her being's summit reigned,

The Presence chambered in lotus secrecy,

Came down and held the centre in her brow

Where the mind's Lord in his control-room sits;

There throned on concentration's native seat

He opens that third mysterious eye in man,

The Unseen's eye that looks at the unseen,

When Light with a golden ecstasy fills his brain

And the Eternal's wisdom drives his choice

And eternal Will seizes the mortal's will.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-08]

It stirred in the lotus of her throat of song,

And in her speech throbbed the immortal Word,

Her life sounded with the steps of the world-soul

Moving in harmony with the cosmic Thought.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-09]

As glides God's sun into the mystic cave

Where hides his light from the pursuing gods,

It glided into the lotus of her heart

And woke in it the Force that alters Fate.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-10]

It poured into her navel's lotus depth,

Lodged in the little life-nature's narrow home,

On the body's longings grew heaven-rapture's flower

And made desire a pure celestial flame,

Broke into the cave where coiled World-Energy sleeps

And smote the thousand-hooded serpent Force

That blazing towered and clasped the World-Self above,

Joined Matter's dumbness to the Spirit's hush

And filled earth's acts with the Spirit's silent power.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-11]

Thus changed she waited for the Word to speak.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-12]

Eternity looked into the eyes of Death

And Darkness saw God's living Reality.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-13]

Then a Voice was heard that seemed the stillness' self

Or the low calm utterance of infinity

When it speaks to the silence in the heart of sleep.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-14]

“I hail thee, almighty and victorious Death,

Thou grandiose Darkness of the Infinite.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-15]

O Void that makest room for all to be,

Hunger that gnawest at the universe

Consuming the cold remnants of the suns

And eatst the whole world with thy jaws of fire,

Waster of the energy that has made the stars,

Inconscience, carrier of the seeds of thought,

Nescience in which All-Knowledge sleeps entombed

And slowly emerges in its hollow breast

Wearing the mind's mask of bright Ignorance.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-16]

Thou art my shadow and my instrument.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-17]

I have given thee thy awful shape of dread

And thy sharp sword of terror and grief and pain

To force the soul of man to struggle for light

On the brevity of his half-conscious days.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-18]

Thou art his spur to greatness in his works,

The whip to his yearning for eternal bliss,

His poignant need of immortality.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-19]

Live, Death, awhile, be still my instrument.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-20]

One day man too shall know thy fathomless heart

Of silence and the brooding peace of Night

And grave obedience to eternal Law

And the calm inflexible pity in thy gaze.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-21]

But now, O timeless Mightiness, stand aside

And leave the path of my incarnate Force.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-22]

Relieve the radiant God from thy black mask:

Release the soul of the world called Satyavan

Freed from thy clutch of pain and ignorance

That he may stand master of life and fate,

Man's representative in the house of God,

The mate of Wisdom and the spouse of Light,

The eternal bridegroom of the eternal bride.”

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-23]

She spoke; Death unconvinced resisted still,

Although he knew refusing still to know,

Although he saw refusing still to see.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-24]

Unshakable he stood claiming his right.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-25]

His spirit bowed; his will obeyed the law

Of its own nature binding even on Gods.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-26]

The Two opposed each other face to face.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-27]

His being like a huge fort of darkness towered;

Around it her light grew, an ocean's siege.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-28]

Awhile the Shade survived defying heaven:

Assailing in front, oppressing from above,

A concrete mass of conscious power, he bore

The tyranny of her divine desire.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-29]

A pressure of intolerable force

Weighed on his unbowed head and stubborn breast;

Light like a burning tongue licked up his thoughts,

Light was a luminous torture in his heart,

Light coursed, a splendid agony, through his nerves;

His darkness muttered perishing in her blaze.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-30]

Her mastering Word commanded every limb

And left no room for his enormous will

That seemed pushed out into some helpless space

And could no more re-enter but left him void.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-31]

He called to Night but she fell shuddering back,

He called to Hell but sullenly it retired:

He turned to the Inconscient for support,

From which he was born, his vast sustaining self;

It drew him back towards boundless vacancy

As if by himself to swallow up himself:

He called to his strength, but it refused his call.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-32]

His body was eaten by light, his spirit devoured.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-33]

At last he knew defeat inevitable

And left crumbling the shape that he had worn,

Abandoning hope to make man's soul his prey

And force to be mortal the immortal spirit.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-34]

Afar he fled shunning her dreaded touch

And refuge took in the retreating Night.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-35]

In the dream twilight of that symbol world

The dire universal Shadow disappeared

Vanishing into the Void from which it came.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-36]

As if deprived of its original cause,

The twilight realm passed fading from their souls,

And Satyavan and Savitri were alone.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-37]

But neither stirred: between those figures rose

A mute invisible and translucent wall.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-38]

In the long blank moment's pause nothing could move:

All waited on the unknown inscrutable Will.

[Savitri B-10 C-04 S-07 F-39]


Book Ten Canto Four End

The Dream Twilight of the Earthly Real

[Savitri B-10 C-04 Canto Name]

Book Ten End
The Book of the Double Twilight
[Savitri B-10 Book End]



Book 11 Canto 1

Savitri | a Legend and a Symbol




Savitri Canto Recordings

Reading Exercises





Book Eleven
The Book of Everlasting Day

Canto One

The Eternal Day: The Soul’s Choice and the Supreme Consummation

[Savitri B-11 C-01 Canto Name]


Play Section One
[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01]


A marvellous sun looked down from ecstasy's skies

On worlds of deathless bliss, perfection's home,

Magical unfoldings of the Eternal's smile

Capturing his secret heart-beats of delight.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-01]


God's everlasting day surrounded her,

Domains appeared of sempiternal light

Invading all Nature with the Absolute's joy.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-02]


Her body quivered with eternity's touch,

Her soul stood close to the founts of the infinite.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-03]


Infinity's finite fronts she lived in, new

For ever to an everliving sight.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-04]


Eternity multiplied its vast self-look

Translating its endless mightiness and joy

Into delight souls playing with Time could share

In grandeurs ever new-born from the unknown depths,

In powers that leaped immortal from unknown heights,

In passionate heart-beats of an undying love,

In scenes of a sweetness that can never fade.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-05]


Immortal to the rapturous heart and eyes,

In serene arches of translucent calm

From Wonder's dream-vasts cloudless skies slid down

An abyss of sapphire; sunlight visited eyes

Which suffered without pain the absolute ray

And saw immortal clarities of form.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-06]


Twilight and mist were exiles from that air,

Night was impossible to such radiant heavens.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-07]


Firm in the bosom of immensity

Spiritual breadths were seen, sublimely born

From a still beauty of creative joy;

Embodied thoughts to sweet dimensions held

To please some carelessness of divine peace,

Answered the deep demand of an infinite sense

And its need of forms to house its bodiless thrill.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-08]


A march of universal powers in Time,

The harmonic order of self's vastitudes

In cyclic symmetries and metric planes

Harboured a cosmic rapture's revelry,

An endless figuring of the spirit in things

Planned by the artist who has dreamed the worlds;

Of all the beauty and the marvel here,

Of all Time's intricate variety

Eternity was the substance and the source;

Not from a plastic mist of Matter made,

They offered the suggestion of their depths

And opened the great series of their powers.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-09]


Arisen beneath a triple mystic heaven

The seven immortal earths were seen, sublime:

Homes of the blest released from death and sleep

Where grief can never come nor any pang

Arriving from self-lost and seeking worlds

Alter Heaven-nature's changeless quietude

And mighty posture of eternal calm,

Its pose of ecstasy immutable.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-10]


Plains lay that seemed the expanse of God's wide sleep,

Thought's wings climbed up towards heaven's vast repose

Lost in blue deeps of immortality.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-11]


A changed earth-nature felt the breath of peace.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-12]


Air seemed an ocean of felicity

Or the couch of the unknown spiritual rest,

A vast quiescence swallowing up all sound

Into a voicelessness of utter bliss;

Even Matter brought a close spiritual touch,

All thrilled with the immanence of one divine.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-13]


The lowest of these earths was still a heaven

Translating into the splendour of things divine

The beauty and brightness of terrestrial scenes.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-14]


Eternal mountains ridge on gleaming ridge

Whose lines were graved as on a sapphire plate

And etched the borders of heaven's lustrous noon

Climbed like piled temple stairs and from their heads

Of topless meditation heard below

The approach of a blue pilgrim multitude

And listened to a great arriving voice

Of the wide travel hymn of timeless seas.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-15]


A chanting crowd from mountain bosoms slipped

Past branches fragrant with a sigh of flowers

Hurrying through sweetnesses with revel leaps;

The murmurous rivers of felicity

Divinely rippled honey-voiced desires,

Mingling their sister eddies of delight,

Then, widening to a pace of calm-lipped muse,

Down many-glimmered estuaries of dream

Went whispering into lakes of liquid peace.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-16]


On a brink held of senseless ecstasy

And guarding an eternal poise of thought

Sat sculptured souls dreaming by rivers of sound

In changeless attitudes of marble bliss.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-17]


Around her lived the children of God's day

In an unspeakable felicity,

A happiness never lost, the immortal's ease,

A glad eternity's blissful multitude.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-18]


Around, the deathless nations moved and spoke,

Souls of a luminous celestial joy,

Faces of stark beauty, limbs of the moulded Ray;

In cities cut like gems of conscious stone

And wonderful pastures and on gleaming coasts

Bright forms were seen, eternity's luminous tribes.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-19]


Above her rhythming godheads whirled the spheres,

Rapt mobile fixities here blindly sought

By the huge erring orbits of our stars.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-20]


Ecstatic voices smote at hearing's chords,

Each movement found a music all its own;

Songs thrilled of birds upon unfading boughs

The colours of whose plumage had been caught

From the rainbow of imagination's wings.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-21]


Immortal fragrance packed the quivering breeze.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-22]


In groves that seemed moved bosoms and trembling depths

The million children of the undying spring

Bloomed, pure unnumbered stars of hued delight

Nestling for shelter in their emerald sky:

Faery flower-masses looked with laughing eyes.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-23]


A dancing chaos, an iridescent sea

Eternised to Heaven's ever-wakeful sight

The crowding petal-glow of marvel's tints

Which float across the curtained lids of dream.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-24]


Immortal harmonies filled her listening ear;

A great spontaneous utterance of the heights

On Titan wings of rhythmic grandeur borne

Poured from some deep spiritual heart of sound,

Strains trembling with the secrets of the gods.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-25]


A spirit wandered happily in the wind,

A spirit brooded in the leaf and stone;

The voices of thought-conscious instruments

Along a living verge of silence strayed,

And from some deep, a wordless tongue of things

Unfathomed, inexpressible, chantings rose

Translating into a voice the Unknown.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-26]


A climber on the invisible stair of sound,

Music not with these few and striving steps

Aspired that wander upon transient strings,

But changed its ever new uncounted notes

In a passion of unforeseeing discovery,

And kept its old unforgotten ecstasies

A growing treasure in the mystic heart.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-27]


A consciousness that yearned through every cry

Of unexplored attraction and desire,

It found and searched again the unsatisfied deeps

Hunting as if in some deep secret heart

To find some lost or missed felicity.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-28]


In those far-lapsing symphonies she could hear,

Breaking through enchantments of the ravished sense,

The lyric voyage of a divine soul

Mid spume and laughter tempting with its prow

The charm of innocent Circean isles,

Adventures without danger beautiful

In lands where siren Wonder sings its lures

From rhythmic rocks in ever-foaming seas.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-29]


In the harmony of an original sight

Delivered from our limiting ray of thought,

And the reluctance of our blinded hearts

To embrace the Godhead in whatever guise,

She saw all Nature marvellous without fault.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-30]


Invaded by beauty's universal revel

Her being's fibre reached out vibrating

And claimed deep union with its outer selves,

And on the heart's chords made pure to seize all tones

Heaven's subtleties of touch unwearying forced

More vivid raptures than earth's life can bear.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-31]


What would be suffering here, was fiery bliss.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-32]


All here but passionate hint and mystic shade

Divined by the inner prophet who perceives

The spirit of delight in sensuous things,

Turned to more sweetness than can now be dreamed.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-33]


The mighty signs of which earth fears the stress,

Trembling because she cannot understand,

And must keep obscure in forms strange and sublime,

Were here the first lexicon of an infinite mind

Translating the language of eternal bliss.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-34]


Here rapture was a common incident;

The lovelinesses of whose captured thrill

Our human pleasure is a fallen thread,

Lay, symbol shapes, a careless ornament,

Sewn on the rich brocade of Godhead's dress.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-35]


Things fashioned were the imaged homes where mind

Arrived to fathom a deep physical joy;

The heart was a torch lit from infinity,

The limbs were trembling densities of soul.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-36]


These were the first domains, the outer courts

Immense but least in range and least in price,

The slightest ecstasies of the undying gods.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-37]


Higher her swing of vision swept and knew,

Admitted through large sapphire opening gates

Into the wideness of a light beyond,

These were but sumptuous decorated doors

To worlds nobler, more felicitously fair.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-38]


Endless aspired the climbing of those heavens;

Realm upon realm received her soaring view.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-39]


Then on what seemed one crown of the ascent

Where finite and the infinite are one,

Immune she beheld the strong immortals' seats

Who live for a celestial joy and rule,

The middle regions of the unfading Ray.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-40]


Great forms of deities sat in deathless tiers,

Eyes of an unborn gaze towards her leaned

Through a transparency of crystal fire.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-41]


In the beauty of bodies wrought from rapture's lines,

Shapes of entrancing sweetness spilling bliss,

Feet glimmering upon the sunstone courts of mind,

Heaven's cupbearers bore round the Eternal's wine.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-42]


A tangle of bright bodies, of moved souls

Tracing the close and intertwined delight,

The harmonious tread of lives for ever joined

In the passionate oneness of a mystic joy

As if sunbeams made living and divine,

The golden-bosomed Apsara goddesses,

In groves flooded from an argent disk of bliss

That floated through a luminous sapphire dream,

In a cloud of raiment lit with golden limbs

And gleaming footfalls treading faery swards,

Virgin motions of bacchant innocences

Who know their riot for a dance of God,

Whirled linked in moonlit revels of the heart.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-43]


Impeccable artists of unerring forms,

Magician builders of sound and rhythmic words,

Wind-haired Gandharvas chanted to the ear

The odes that shape the universal thought,

The lines that tear the veil from Deity's face,

The rhythms that bring the sounds of wisdom's sea.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-44]


Immortal figures and illumined brows,

Our great forefathers in those splendours moved;

Termless in power and satisfied of light,

They enjoyed the sense of all for which we strive.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-45]


High seers, moved poets saw the eternal thoughts

That, travellers from on high, arrive to us

Deformed by our search, tricked by costuming mind,

Like gods disfigured by the pangs of birth,

Seized the great words which now are frail sounds caught

By difficult rapture on a mortal tongue.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-46]


The strong who stumble and sin were calm proud gods.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-47]


There lightning-filled with glory and with flame,

Melting in waves of sympathy and sight,

Smitten like a lyre that throbs to others' bliss,

Drawn by the cords of ecstasies unknown,

Her human nature faint with heaven's delight,

She beheld the clasp to earth denied and bore

The imperishable eyes of veilless love.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-48]


More climbed above, level to level reached,

Beyond what tongue can utter or mind dream:

Worlds of an infinite reach crowned Nature's stir.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-49]


There was a greater tranquil sweetness there,

A subtler and profounder ether's field

And mightier scheme than heavenliest sense can give.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-50]


There breath carried a stream of seeing mind,

Form was a tenuous raiment of the soul:

Colour was a visible tone of ecstasy;

Shapes seen half immaterial by the gaze

And yet voluptuously palpable

Made sensible to touch the indwelling spirit.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-51]


The high perfected sense illumined lived

A happy vassal of the inner ray,

Each feeling was the Eternal's mighty child

And every thought was a sweet burning god.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-52]


Air was a luminous feeling, sound a voice,

Sunlight the soul's vision and moonlight its dream.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-53]


On a wide living base of wordless calm

All was a potent and a lucid joy.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-54]


Into those heights her spirit went floating up

Like an upsoaring bird who mounts unseen

Voicing to the ascent his throbbing heart

Of melody till a pause of closing wings

Comes quivering in his last contented cry

And he is silent with his soul discharged,

Delivered of his heart's burden of delight.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-55]


Experience mounted on joy's coloured breast

To inaccessible spheres in spiral flight.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-56]


There Time dwelt with eternity as one;

Immense felicity joined rapt repose.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-01 F-57]


Play Section Two
[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02]



As one drowned in a sea of splendour and bliss,

Mute in the maze of these surprising worlds,

Turning she saw their living knot and source,

Key to their charm and fount of their delight,

And knew him for the same who snares our lives

Captured in his terrifying pitiless net,

And makes the universe his prison camp

And makes in his immense and vacant vasts

The labour of the stars a circuit vain

And death the end of every human road

And grief and pain the wages of man's toil.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-01]


One whom her soul had faced as Death and Night

A sum of all sweetness gathered into his limbs

And blinded her heart to the beauty of the suns.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-02]


Transfigured was the formidable shape.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-03]


His darkness and his sad destroying might

Abolishing for ever and disclosing

The mystery of his high and violent deeds,

A secret splendour rose revealed to sight

Where once the vast embodied Void had stood.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-04]


Night the dim mask had grown a wonderful face.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-05]


The vague infinity was slain whose gloom

Had outlined from the terrible unknown

The obscure disastrous figure of a god,

Fled was the error that arms the hands of grief,

And lighted the ignorant gulf whose hollow deeps

Had given to nothingness a dreadful voice.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-06]


As when before the eye that wakes in sleep

Is opened the sombre binding of a book,

Illumined letterings are seen which kept

A golden blaze of thought inscribed within,

A marvellous form responded to her gaze

Whose sweetness justified life's blindest pain;

All Nature's struggle was its easy price,

The universe and its agony seemed worth while.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-07]


As if the choric calyx of a flower

Aerial, visible on music's waves,

A lotus of light-petalled ecstasy

Took shape out of the tremulous heart of things.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-08]


There was no more the torment under the stars,

The evil sheltered behind Nature's mask;

There was no more the dark pretence of hate,

The cruel rictus on Love's altered face.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-09]


Hate was the grip of a dreadful amour's strife;

A ruthless love intent only to possess

Has here replaced the sweet original god.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-10]


Forgetting the Will-to-love that gave it birth,

The passion to lock itself in and to unite,

It would swallow all into one lonely self,

Devouring the soul that it had made its own,

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-11]


By suffering and annihilation's pain

Punishing the unwillingness to be one,

Angry with the refusals of the world,

Passionate to take but knowing not how to give.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-12]


Death's sombre cowl was cast from Nature's brow;

There lightened on her the godhead's lurking laugh.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-13]


All grace and glory and all divinity

Were here collected in a single form;

All worshipped eyes looked through his from one face;

He bore all godheads in his grandiose limbs.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-14]


An oceanic spirit dwelt within;

Intolerant and invincible in joy

A flood of freedom and transcendent bliss

Into immortal lines of beauty rose.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-15]


In him the fourfold Being bore its crown

That wears the mystery of a nameless Name,

The universe writing its tremendous sense

In the inexhaustible meaning of a word.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-16]


In him the architect of the visible world,

At once the art and artist of his works,

Spirit and seer and thinker of things seen,

Virat, who lights his camp-fires in the suns

And the star-entangled ether is his hold,

Expressed himself with Matter for his speech:

Objects are his letters, forces are his words,

Events are the crowded history of his life,

And sea and land are the pages for his tale.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-17]


Matter is his means and his spiritual sign;

He hangs the thought upon a lash's lift,

In the current of the blood makes flow the soul.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-18]


His is the dumb will of atom and of clod;

A Will that without sense or motive acts,

An Intelligence needing not to think or plan,

The world creates itself invincibly;

For its body is the body of the Lord

And in its heart stands Virat, King of Kings.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-19]


In him shadows his form the Golden Child

Who in the Sun-capped Vast cradles his birth:

Hiranyagarbha, author of thoughts and dreams,

Who sees the invisible and hears the sounds

That never visited a mortal ear,

Discoverer of unthought realities

Truer to Truth than all we have ever known,

He is the leader on the inner roads;

A seer, he has entered the forbidden realms;

A magician with the omnipotent wand of thought,

He builds the secret uncreated worlds.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-20]


Armed with the golden speech, the diamond eye,

His is the vision and the prophecy:

Imagist casting the formless into shape,

Traveller and hewer of the unseen paths,

He is the carrier of the hidden fire,

He is the voice of the Ineffable,

He is the invisible hunter of the light,

The Angel of mysterious ecstasies,

The conqueror of the kingdoms of the soul.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-21]


A third spirit stood behind, their hidden cause,

A mass of superconscience closed in light,

Creator of things in his all-knowing sleep.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-22]


All from his stillness came as grows a tree;

He is our seed and core, our head and base.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-23]


All light is but a flash from his closed eyes:

An all-wise Truth is mystic in his heart,

The omniscient Ray is shut behind his lids:

He is the Wisdom that comes not by thought,

His wordless silence brings the immortal word.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-24]


He sleeps in the atom and the burning star,

He sleeps in man and god and beast and stone:

Because he is there the Inconscient does its work,

Because he is there the world forgets to die.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-25]


He is the centre of the circle of God,

He the circumference of Nature's run.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-26]


His slumber is an Almightiness in things,

Awake, he is the Eternal and Supreme.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-27]


Above was the brooding bliss of the Infinite,

Its omniscient and omnipotent repose,

Its immobile silence absolute and alone.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-28]


All powers were woven in countless concords here.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-29]


The bliss that made the world in his body lived,

Love and delight were the head of the sweet form.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-30]


In the alluring meshes of their snare

Recaptured, the proud blissful members held

All joys outrunners of the panting heart

And fugitive from life's outstripped desire.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-31]


Whatever vision has escaped the eye,

Whatever happiness comes in dream and trance,

The nectar spilled by love with trembling hands,

The joy the cup of Nature cannot hold,

Had crowded to the beauty of his face,

Were waiting in the honey of his laugh.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-32]


Things hidden by the silence of the hours,

The ideas that find no voice on living lips,

The soul's pregnant meeting with infinity

Had come to birth in him and taken fire:

The secret whisper of the flower and star

Revealed its meaning in his fathomless look.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-33]


His lips curved eloquent like a rose of dawn;

His smile that played with the wonder of the mind

And stayed in the heart when it had left his mouth

Glimmered with the radiance of the morning star

Gemming the wide discovery of heaven.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-34]


His gaze was the regard of eternity;

The spirit of its sweet and calm intent

Was a wise home of gladness and divulged

The light of the ages in the mirth of the hours,

A sun of wisdom in a miracled grove.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-35]


In the orchestral largeness of his mind

All contrary seekings their close kinship knew,

Rich-hearted, wonderful to each other met

In the mutual marvelling of their myriad notes

And dwelt like brothers of one family

Who had found their common and mysterious home.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-36]


As from the harp of some ecstatic god

There springs a harmony of lyric bliss

Striving to leave no heavenly joy unsung,

Such was the life in that embodied Light.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-37]


He seemed the wideness of a boundless sky,

He seemed the passion of a sorrowless earth,

He seemed the burning of a world-wide sun.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-38]


Two looked upon each other, Soul saw Soul.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-02 F-39]


Play Section Three
[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03]



Then like an anthem from the heart's lucent cave

A voice soared up whose magic sound could turn

The poignant weeping of the earth to sobs

Of rapture and her cry to spirit song.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-01]


“O human image of the deathless word,

How hast thou seen beyond the topaz walls

The gleaming sisters of the divine gate,

Summoned the genii of their wakeful sleep,

And under revelation's arches forced

The carved thought-shrouded doors to swing apart,

Unlocked the avenues of spiritual sight

And taught the entries of a heavenlier state

To thy rapt soul that bore the golden key?

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-02]


In thee the secret sight man's blindness missed

Has opened its view past Time, my chariot-course,

And death, my tunnel which I drive through life

To reach my unseen distances of bliss.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-03]


I am the hushed search of the jealous gods

Pursuing my wisdom's vast mysterious work

Seized in the thousand meeting ways of heaven.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-04]


I am the beauty of the unveiled ray

Drawing through the deep roads of the infinite night

The unconquerable pilgrim soul of earth

Beneath the flaring torches of the stars.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-05]


I am the inviolable Ecstasy;

They who have looked on me, shall grieve no more.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-06]


The eyes that live in night shall see my form.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-07]


On the pale shores of foaming steely straits

That flow beneath a grey tormented sky,

Two powers from one original ecstasy born

Pace near but parted in the life of man;

One leans to earth, the other yearns to the skies:

Heaven in its rapture dreams of perfect earth,

Earth in its sorrow dreams of perfect heaven.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-08]


The two longing to join, yet walk apart,

Idly divided by their vain conceits;

They are kept from their oneness by enchanted fears;

Sundered mysteriously by miles of thought,

They gaze across the silent gulfs of sleep.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-09]


Or side by side reclined upon my vasts

Like bride and bridegroom magically divorced

They wake to yearn, but never can they clasp

While thinly flickering hesitates uncrossed

Between the lovers on their nuptial couch

The shadowy eidolon of a sword.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-10]


But when the phantom flame-edge fails undone,

Then never more can space or time divide

The lover from the loved; Space shall draw back

Her great translucent curtain, Time shall be

The quivering of the spirit's endless bliss.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-11]


Attend that moment of celestial fate.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-12]


Meanwhile you two shall serve the dual law

Which only now the scouts of vision glimpse

Who pressing through the forest of their thoughts

Have found the narrow bridges of the gods.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-13]


Wait patient of the brittle bars of form

Making division your delightful means

Of happy oneness rapturously enhanced

By attraction in the throbbing air between.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-14]


Yet if thou wouldst abandon the vexed world,

Careless of the dark moan of things below,

Tread down the isthmus, overleap the flood,

Cancel thy contract with the labouring Force;

Renounce the tie that joins thee to earth-kind,

Cast off thy sympathy with mortal hearts.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-15]


Arise, vindicate thy spirit's conquered right:

Relinquishing thy charge of transient breath,

Under the cold gaze of the indifferent stars

Leaving thy borrowed body on the sod,

Ascend, O soul, into thy blissful home.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-16]


Here in the playground of the eternal Child

Or in domains the wise Immortals tread

Roam with thy comrade splendour under skies

Spiritual lit by an unsetting sun,

As godheads live who care not for the world

And share not in the toil of Nature's powers:

Absorbed in their self-ecstasy they dwell.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-17]


Cast off the ambiguous myth of earth's desire,

O immortal, to felicity arise.”

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-18]


On Savitri listening in her tranquil heart

To the harmony of the ensnaring voice

A joy exceeding earth's and heaven's poured down,

The bliss of an unknown eternity,

A rapture from some waiting Infinite.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-19]


A smile came rippling out in her wide eyes,

Its confident felicity's messenger

As if the first beam of the morning sun

Rippled along two wakened lotus-pools.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-20]


“O besetter of man's soul with life and death

And the world's pleasure and pain and Day and Night,

Tempting his heart with the far lure of heaven,

Testing his strength with the close touch of hell,

I climb not to thy everlasting Day,

Even as I have shunned thy eternal Night.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-21]


To me who turn not from thy terrestrial Way,

Give back the other self my nature asks.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-22]


Thy spaces need him not to help their joy;

Earth needs his beautiful spirit made by thee

To fling delight down like a net of gold.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-23]


Earth is the chosen place of mightiest souls;

Earth is the heroic spirit's battlefield,

The forge where the Archmason shapes his works.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-24]


Thy servitudes on earth are greater, King,

Than all the glorious liberties of heaven.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-25]


The heavens were once to me my natural home,

I too have wandered in star-jewelled groves,

Paced sun-gold pastures and moon-silver swards

And heard the harping laughter of their streams

And lingered under branches dropping myrrh;

I too have revelled in the fields of light

Touched by the ethereal raiment of the winds,

Thy wonder-rounds of music I have trod,

Lived in the rhyme of bright unlabouring thoughts,

I have beat swift harmonies of rapture vast,

Danced in spontaneous measures of the soul

The great and easy dances of the gods.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-26]


O fragrant are the lanes thy children walk

And lovely is the memory of their feet

Amid the wonder-flowers of Paradise:

A heavier tread is mine, a mightier touch.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-27]


There where the gods and demons battle in night

Or wrestle on the borders of the Sun,

Taught by the sweetness and the pain of life

To bear the uneven strenuous beat that throbs

Against the edge of some divinest hope,

To dare the impossible with these pangs of search,

In me the spirit of immortal love

Stretches its arms out to embrace mankind.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-28]


Too far thy heavens for me from suffering men.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-29]


Imperfect is the joy not shared by all.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-30]


O to spread forth, O to encircle and seize

More hearts till love in us has filled thy world!

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-31]


O life, the life beneath the wheeling stars!

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-32]


For victory in the tournament with death,

For bending of the fierce and difficult bow,

For flashing of the splendid sword of God!

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-33]


O thou who soundst the trumpet in the lists,

Part not the handle from the untried steel,

Take not the warrior with his blow unstruck.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-34]


Are there not still a million fights to wage?

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-35]


O king-smith, clang on still thy toil begun,

Weld us to one in thy strong smithy of life.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-36]


Thy fine-curved jewelled hilt call Savitri,

Thy blade's exultant smile name Satyavan.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-37]


Fashion to beauty, point us through the world.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-38]


Break not the lyre before the song is found;

Are there not still unnumbered chants to weave?

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-39]


O subtle-souled musician of the years,

Play out what thou hast fluted on my stops;

Arise from the strain their first wild plaint divined

And that discover which is yet unsung.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-40]


I know that I can lift man's soul to God,

I know that he can bring the Immortal down.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-41]


Our will labours permitted by thy will

And without thee an empty roar of storm,

A senseless whirlwind is the Titan's force

And without thee a snare the strength of gods.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-42]


Let not the inconscient gulf swallow man's race

That through earth's ignorance struggles towards thy Light.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-43]


O Thunderer with the lightnings of the soul,

Give not to darkness and to death thy sun,

Achieve thy wisdom's hidden firm decree

And the mandate of thy secret world-wide love.”

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-44]


Her words failed lost in thought's immensities

Which seized them at the limits of their cry

And hid their meaning in the distances

That stir to more than ever speech has won

From the Unthinkable, end of all our thought,

And the Ineffable from whom all words come.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-03 F-45]


Play Section Four
[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04]



Then with a smile august as noonday heavens

The godhead of the vision wonderful:

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-01]


“How shall earth-nature and man's nature rise

To the celestial levels, yet earth abide?

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-02]


Heaven and earth towards each other gaze

Across a gulf that few can cross, none touch,

Arriving through a vague ethereal mist

Out of which all things form that move in space,

The shore that all can see but never reach.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-03]


Heaven's light visits sometimes the mind of earth;

Its thoughts burn in her sky like lonely stars;

In her heart there move celestial seekings soft

And beautiful like fluttering wings of birds,

Visions of joy that she can never win

Traverse the fading mirror of her dreams.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-04]


Faint seeds of light and bliss bear sorrowful flowers,

Faint harmonies caught from a half-heard song

Fall swooning mid the wandering voices' jar,

Foam from the tossing luminous seas where dwells

The beautiful and far delight of gods,

Raptures unknown, a miracled happiness

Thrill her and pass half-shaped to mind and sense.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-05]


Above her little finite steps she feels,

Careless of knot or pause, worlds which weave out

A strange perfection beyond law and rule,

A universe of self-found felicity,

An inexpressible rhythm of timeless beats,

The many-movemented heart-beats of the One,

Magic of the boundless harmonies of self,

Order of the freedom of the infinite,

The wonder-plastics of the Absolute.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-06]


There is the All-Truth and there the timeless bliss.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-07]


But hers are fragments of a star-lost gleam,

Hers are but careless visits of the gods.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-08]


They are a Light that fails, a Word soon hushed

And nothing they mean can stay for long on earth.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-09]


There are high glimpses, not the lasting sight.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-10]


A few can climb to an unperishing sun,

Or live on the edges of the mystic moon

And channel to earth-mind the wizard ray.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-11]


The heroes and the demigods are few

To whom the close immortal voices speak

And to their acts the heavenly clan are near.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-12]


Few are the silences in which Truth is heard,

Unveiling the timeless utterance in her deeps;

Few are the splendid moments of the seers.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-13]


Heaven's call is rare, rarer the heart that heeds;

The doors of light are sealed to common mind

And earth's needs nail to earth the human mass,

Only in an uplifting hour of stress

Men answer to the touch of greater things:

Or, raised by some strong hand to breathe heaven-air,

They slide back to the mud from which they climbed;

In the mud of which they are made, whose law they know

They joy in safe return to a friendly base,

And, though something in them weeps for glory lost

And greatness murdered, they accept their fall.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-14]


To be the common man they think the best,

To live as others live is their delight.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-15]


For most are built on Nature's early plan

And owe small debt to a superior plane;

The human average is their level pitch,

A thinking animal's material range.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-16]


In the long ever-mounting hierarchy,

In the stark economy of cosmic life

Each creature to its appointed task and place

Is bound by his nature's form, his spirit's force.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-17]


If this were easily disturbed, it would break

The settled balance of created things;

The perpetual order of the universe

Would tremble, and a gap yawn in woven Fate.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-18]


If men were not and all were brilliant gods,

The mediating stair would then be lost

By which the spirit awake in Matter winds

Accepting the circuits of the middle Way,

By heavy toil and slow aeonic steps

Reaching the bright miraculous fringe of God,

Into the glory of the Oversoul.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-19]


My will, my call is there in men and things;

But the Inconscient lies at the world's grey back

And draws to its breast of Night and Death and Sleep.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-20]


Imprisoned in its dark and dumb abyss

A little consciousness it lets escape

But jealous of the growing light holds back

Close to the obscure edges of its cave

As if a fond ignorant mother kept her child

Tied to her apron strings of Nescience.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-21]


The Inconscient could not read without man's mind

The mystery of the world its sleep has made:

Man is its key to unlock a conscious door.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-22]


But still it holds him dangled in its grasp:

It draws its giant circle round his thoughts,

It shuts his heart to the supernal Light.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-23]


A high and dazzling limit shines above,

A black and blinding border rules below:

His mind is closed between two firmaments.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-24]


He seeks through words and images the Truth,

And, poring on surfaces and brute outsides

Or dipping cautious feet in shallow seas,

Even his Knowledge is an Ignorance.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-25]


He is barred out from his own inner depths;

He cannot look on the face of the Unknown.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-26]


How shall he see with the Omniscient's eyes,

How shall he will with the Omnipotent's force?

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-27]


O too compassionate and eager Dawn,

Leave to the circling aeons' tardy pace

And to the working of the inconscient Will,

Leave to its imperfect light the earthly race:

All shall be done by the long act of Time.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-28]


Although the race is bound by its own kind,

The soul in man is greater than his fate:

Above the wash and surge of Time and Space,

Disengaging from the cosmic commonalty

By which all life is kin in grief and joy,

Delivered from the universal Law

The sunlike single and transcendent spirit

Can blaze its way through the mind's barrier wall

And burn alone in the eternal sky,

Inhabitant of a wide and endless calm.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-29]


O flame, withdraw into thy luminous self.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-30]


Or else return to thy original might

On a seer-summit above thought and world;

Partner of my unhoured eternity,

Be one with the infinity of my power:

For thou art the World-Mother and the Bride.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-31]


Out of the fruitless yearning of earth's life,

Out of her feeble unconvincing dream,

Recovering wings that cross infinity

Pass back into the Power from which thou cam'st.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-32]


To that thou canst uplift thy formless flight,

Thy heart can rise from its unsatisfied beats

And feel the immortal and spiritual joy

Of a soul that never lost felicity.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-33]


Lift up the fallen heart of love which flutters

Cast down desire's abyss into the gulfs.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-34]


For ever rescued out of Nature's shapes

Discover what the aimless cycles want,

There intertwined with all thy life has meant,

Here vainly sought in a terrestrial form.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-35]


Break into eternity thy mortal mould;

Melt, lightning, into thy invisible flame!

Clasp, Ocean, deep into thyself thy wave,

Happy for ever in the embosoming surge.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-36]


Grow one with the still passion of the depths.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-37]


Then shalt thou know the Lover and the Loved,

Leaving the limits dividing him and thee.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-38]


Receive him into boundless Savitri,

Lose thyself into infinite Satyavan.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-39]


O miracle, where thou beganst, there cease!”

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-40]


But Savitri answered to the radiant God:

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-41]


“In vain thou temptst with solitary bliss

Two spirits saved out of a suffering world;

My soul and his indissolubly linked

In the one task for which our lives were born,

To raise the world to God in deathless Light,

To bring God down to the world on earth we came,

To change the earthly life to life divine.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-42]


I keep my will to save the world and man;

Even the charm of thy alluring voice,

O blissful Godhead, cannot seize and snare.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-43]


I sacrifice not earth to happier worlds.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-44]


Because there dwelt the Eternal's vast Idea

And his dynamic will in men and things,

So only could the enormous scene begin.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-45]


Whence came this profitless wilderness of stars,

This mighty barren wheeling of the suns?

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-46]


Who made the soul of futile life in Time,

Planted a purpose and a hope in the heart,

Set Nature to a huge and meaningless task

Or planned her million-aeoned effort's waste?

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-47]


What force condemned to birth and death and tears

These conscious creatures crawling on the globe?

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-48]


If earth can look up to the light of heaven

And hear an answer to her lonely cry,

Not vain their meeting, nor heaven's touch a snare.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-49]


If thou and I are true, the world is true;

Although thou hide thyself behind thy works,

To be is not a senseless paradox;

Since God has made earth, earth must make in her God;

What hides within her breast she must reveal.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-50]


I claim thee for the world that thou hast made.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-51]


If man lives bound by his humanity,

If he is tied for ever to his pain,

Let a greater being then arise from man,

The superhuman with the Eternal mate

And the Immortal shine through earthly forms.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-52]


Else were creation vain and this great world

A nothing that in Time's moments seems to be.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-53]


But I have seen through the insentient mask;

I have felt a secret spirit stir in things

Carrying the body of the growing God:

It looks through veiling forms at veilless truth;

It pushes back the curtain of the gods;

It climbs towards its own eternity.”

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-04 F-54]


Play Section Five
[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05]



But the god answered to the woman's heart:

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-01]


“O living power of the incarnate Word,

All that the Spirit has dreamed thou canst create:

Thou art the force by which I made the worlds,

Thou art my vision and my will and voice.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-02]


But knowledge too is thine, the world-plan thou knowest

And the tardy process of the pace of Time.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-03]


In the impetuous drive of thy heart of flame,

In thy passion to deliver man and earth,

Indignant at the impediments of Time

And the slow evolution's sluggard steps,

Lead not the spirit in an ignorant world

To dare too soon the adventure of the Light,

Pushing the bound and slumbering god in man

Awakened mid the ineffable silences

Into endless vistas of the unknown and unseen,

Across the last confines of the limiting Mind

And the Superconscient's perilous border line

Into the danger of the Infinite.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-04]


But if thou wilt not wait for Time and God,

Do then thy work and force thy will on Fate.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-05]


As I have taken from thee my load of night

And taken from thee my twilight's doubts and dreams,

So now I take my light of utter Day.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-06]


These are my symbol kingdoms but not here

Can the great choice be made that fixes fate

Or uttered the sanction of the Voice supreme.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-07]


Arise upon a ladder of greater worlds

To the infinity where no world can be.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-08]


But not in the wide air where a greater Life

Uplifts its mystery and its miracle,

And not on the luminous peaks of summit Mind,

Or in the hold where subtle Matter's spirit

Hides in its light of shimmering secrecies,

Can there be heard the Eternal's firm command

That joins the head of destiny to its base.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-09]


These only are the mediating links;

Not theirs is the originating sight

Nor the fulfilling act or last support

That bears perpetually the cosmic pile.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-10]


Two are the Powers that hold the ends of Time;

Spirit foresees, Matter unfolds its thought,

The dumb executor of God's decrees,

Omitting no iota and no dot,

Agent unquestioning, inconscient, stark,

Evolving inevitably a charged content,

Intention of his force in Time and Space,

In animate beings and inanimate things;

Immutably it fulfils its ordered task,

It cancels not a tittle of things done;

Unswerving from the oracular command

It alters not the steps of the Unseen.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-11]


If thou must indeed deliver man and earth

On the spiritual heights look down on life,

Discover the truth of God and man and world;

Then do thy task knowing and seeing all.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-12]


Ascend, O soul, into thy timeless self;

Choose destiny's curve and stamp thy will on Time.”

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-13]


He ended and upon the falling sound

A power went forth that shook the founded spheres

And loosed the stakes that hold the tents of form.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-14]


Absolved from vision's grip and the folds of thought,

Rapt from her sense like disappearing scenes

In the stupendous theatre of Space

The heaven-worlds vanished in spiritual light.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-15]


A movement was abroad, a cry, a word,

Beginningless in its vast discovery,

Momentless in its unthinkable return:

Choired in calm seas she heard the eternal Thought

Rhythming itself abroad unutterably

In spaceless orbits and on timeless roads.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-16]


In an ineffable world she lived fulfilled.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-17]


An energy of the triune Infinite,

In a measureless Reality she dwelt,

A rapture and a being and a force,

A linked and myriad-motioned plenitude,

A virgin unity, a luminous spouse,

Housing a multitudinous embrace

To marry all in God's immense delight,

Bearing the eternity of every spirit,

Bearing the burden of universal love,

A wonderful mother of unnumbered souls.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-18]


All things she knew, all things imagined or willed:

Her ear was opened to ideal sound,

Shape the convention bound no more her sight,

A thousand doors of oneness was her heart.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-19]


A crypt and sanctuary of brooding light

Appeared, the last recess of things beyond.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-20]


Then in its rounds the enormous fiat paused,

Silence gave back to the Unknowable

All it had given.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-21]


Still was her listening thought.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-22]


The form of things had ceased within her soul.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-23]


Invisible that perfect godhead now.

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-24]


Around her some tremendous spirit lived,

Mysterious flame around a melting pearl,

And in the phantom of abolished Space

There was a voice unheard by ears that cried:

[Savitri B-11 C-01 S-05 F-25]


“Choose, spirit, thy supreme choice not given again;