Book Four

Savitri In-Between

Book Four: The Book of Birth and Quest

Canto I: The Birth and Childhood of the Flame

Across the burning langour of the soil
Paced Summer with his pomp and violent noons
And stamped his tyranny of torrid light
And the blue seal of a great burnished sky

Rain-tide burst in upon torn wings of heat

Tempests’ pronunciamentos claimed the sky

The dense maned monsoon rode neighing through earth’s hours
Thick now the emissary javelins
Enormous lightnings split the horizon’s rim
And, hurled from the quarters as from contending camps
Married heaven’s edges steep and bare and blind
A surge and hiss and onset of huge rain
The long straight sleet-drift, clamours of winged storm-charge
Throngs of wind-faces, rushing of wind-feet
Hurrying swept through the prone afflicted plains

… a faint ray glimmered through weeping clouds
As a sad smile gleams veiled by returning tears
All promised brightness failed at once denied
Or, soon condemned, died like a brief-lived hope

… an identity and ecstasy
Filled meditation’s solitary heart

A dream loitered in the dumb mind of Space

Then Spring, an ardent lover, leaped through leaves
And caught the earth-bride in his eager clasp
His advent was a fire of irised hues
His arms were a circle of the arrival of joy

His grasp was a young god’s upon earth’s limbs
Changed by the passion of his divine outbreak
He made her body beautiful with his kiss

Impatient for felicity he came
High-fluting with the coil’s happy voice
His peacock turban trailing on the trees

Asocas burned in crimson spots of flame
Pure like the breath of an unstained desire
White jasmines haunted the enamoured air
Pale mango-blossoms fed the liquid voice
Of the love-maddened coil, and the brown bee
Muttered in fragrance mid the honey-buds

All Nature was at beauty’s festival

A mightier influx filled the oblivious clay
A lamp was lit, a sacred image made

A consanguinity of earth and heaven

Failure cannot repress, defeat o’erthrow
Time cannot weary her nor the Void subdue
The ages have not made her passion less

As one who has all infinity to waste
She scatters the seed of the Eternal’s strength
On a half-animate and crumbling mould
Plants heaven’s delight in the heart’s passionate mire
Pours godhead’s seekings into a bare beast frame
Hides immortality in a mask of death

Bright like the crescent horn of a gold moon
Returning in a faint illumined eve

Involved and drowned in Matter’s giant trance

But soon the link of soul with form grew sure
Flooded was the dim cave with slow conscient light
The seed grew into a delicate marvellous bud
The bud disclosed a great and heavenly bloom

Aware of forms to which our eyes are closed
Conscious of nearnesses we cannot feel
The Power within her shaped her moulding sense
In deeper figures than our surface types

An invisible sunlight ran within her veins

A mind of light, a life of rhythmic force
A body instinct with hidden divinity
Prepared an image of the coming god
And when the slow rhyme of the expanding years
And the rich murmurous swarm-work of the days
Had honey-packed her sense and filled her limbs
Accomplishing the moon-orb of her grace
Self-guarded in the silence of her strength
Her solitary greatness was not less

A scout of victory in a vigil tower
Her aspiration called high destiny down
A silent warrior paced in her city of strength
Inviolate, guarding Truth’s diamond throne

Proud, swift and joyful ran the wave of life
Within her like a stream in Paradise

Its charm recalled things seen in vision’s hours
A golden bridge spanning a faery flood
A moon-touched palm tree single by a lake
Companion of the wide and glimmering peace
A murmur as of leaves in Paradise
Moving when feet of the Immortals pass
A fiery halo over sleeping hills
A strange and starry head alone in Night

Canto II: The Growth of the Flame

A land of mountains and wide sun-beat plains
And giant rivers pacing to vast seas
A field of creation and spiritual hush
Silence swallowing life’s acts into the deeps
Of thought’s transcendent climb and heavenward leap
A brooding world of reverie and trance
Filled with the mightiest works of God and man
Where Nature seemed a dream of the Divine
And beauty and grace and grandeur had their home
Harboured the childhood of the incarnate Flame

Nature and soul vied in nobility

Ethics the human keyed to imitate heaven
The harmony of a rich culture’s tones
Refined the sense and magnified its reach
To hear the unheard and glimpse the invisible
And taught the soul to soar beyond things known
Inspiring life to greaten and break its bounds
Aspiring to the Immortals’ unseen world

Leaving earth’s safety daring wings of Mind
Bore her above the trodden fields of thought
Crossing the mystic seas of the Beyond
To live on eagle heights near to the Sun
There wisdom sits on her eternal throne

Adept of truth, initiate of bliss
A mystic acolyte trained in Nature’s school
Aware of the marvel of created things
She laid the secrecies of her heart’s deep muse
Upon the altar of the Wonderful
Her hours were ritual in a timeless fane
Her acts became gestures of sacrifice

Poems in largeness cast like moving worlds
And metres surging with the ocean’s voice
Translated by grandeurs locked in Nature’s heart
… thrown now into a crowded glory of speech

A boundless knowledge greater than man’s thought
A happiness too high for heart and sense
Locked in the world and yearning for release …
It asked for objects around which to grow
And natures strong to bear without recoil
The splendour of her native royalty

Earth made a stepping-stone to conquer heaven

The close outlying portions of her being
Divided from her by walls of body and mind
Yet to her spirit bound by ties divine

Admiring and amazed they saw her stride

It saw, it felt; it knew the diety

Her heart’s inexhaustible sweetness lured their hearts
A being they loved whose bounds exceeded theirs
Her measure they could not reach but bore her touch
Answering with the flower’s answer to the sun
They gave themselves to her and asked no more

The splendid yoke of her beauty and her love

They blamed her for a tyranny they loved
Shrank into themselves as from too bright a sun

Her name ran murmuring on the lips of men
Exalted and sweet like an inspired verse
Struck from the epic lyre of rumour’s winds
Or sung like a chanted thought by the poet Fame

The hearts of men are amourous of clay-kin
And bear not spirits lone and high who bring
Fire-intimations from the deathless planes

Whoever is too great must lonely live
Adored he walks in mighty solitude
Vain is his labour to create his kins
His only comrade is the Strength within

Her mind sat high pouring its golden beams
Her heart was a crowded temple of delight

A single lamp lit in perfection’s house
A bright pure image in a priestless shrine
Alone amid surrounding crowds she dwelt

Canto III: The Call to the Quest

An ancient longing struck again new roots

The air drank deep of unfulfilled desire
The high trees trembled with a wandering wind
Like souls that quiver at the approach of joy
And in a bosom of green secrecy
For ever of its one love-note untired
A lyric coil cried among the leaves

A word that leaped from far sky of thought
Admitted by the cowled receiving scribe
Traversed the echoing passages of his brain
And left its stamp on the recording cells

O Force-compelled, Fate-driven earth-born race
O petty adventurers in an infinite world
And prisoners of a dwarf humanity
How long will you tread the circling tracks of mind
Around your little self and petty things?
But not for changeless littleness were you meant
Not for vain repetition were you built
Out of the Immortal’s substance you were made
Your actions can be swift revealing steps
Your life a changeful mould for growing gods
A Seer, as strong Creator, is within
The immaculate Grandeur broods upon your days
Almighty powers are shut in Nature’s cells
A greater destiny waits you in your front
This transient earthly being if he wills
Can fit his acts to a transcendent scheme
He who now stares at the world with ignorant eyes
Hardly from the Inconscient’s night aroused
That look at images and not at Truth
Can fill those orbs with an immortal’s sight
Yet shall the godhead grow within your hearts
You shall awake into the spirit’s air
And feel the breaking walls of mortal mind
And hear the message which left life’s heart dumb
And look through Nature with sun-gazing lids
And blow your conch-shells at the Eternal’s gate
Authors of earth’s high change, to you it is given
To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul
And touch the mighty Mother stark awake
And meet the Omnipotent in his house of flesh
And make of life the million-bodied One
The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven
The life you lead conceals the light you are
Immortal Powers sweep flaming past your doors
Far-off upon your tops the god-chant sounds
While to exceed yourselves thought’s trumpets call
Heard by a few, but fewer dare aspire
The nympholepts of the ecstasy and the blaze

A goddess in a net of inconscience caught
Self-bound in the pastures of death she dreams of life
Self-racked with the pains of hell aspires to joy
And builds to hope her altars of despair
Knows that one high step might enfranchise all
And, suffering, looks for greatness in her sons

He loves the ignorance fathering his pain

He has lost the inner Voice that led his thoughts
And masking the oracular tripod seat
A specious Idol fills the marvel shrine

The great Illusion wraps him in its veils
The soul’s deep intimations come in vain
In vain is the unending line of seers
The sages ponder in unsubstantial light
The poets lend their voice to outward dreams
A homeless fire inspires the prophet tongues

Eternity speaks, none understands its word

The Wise who know see but one half of Truth
The strong climb hardly to a low-peaked height
The hearts that yearn are given one hour to love
His tale half-told, falters the secret Bard

Advancing amid tall heaven-pillared trees
Apparelled in her flickering-coloured robe
She seemed burning towards the eternal realms
A bright moved torch of incense and of flame
That from the sky-roofed temple-soil of earth
A pilgrim hand lifts in an invisible shrine

Carved like a nectar-cup for thirsty gods
This breathing Scripture of the Eternal’s joy
This net of sweetness woven of aureate fire

Her brow, a copy of clear unstained heavens
Was meditation’s pedestal and defence

Amid her tresses’ cloudy multitude
The long eyes shadowed as by wings of Night
Under the moon-gold forehead’s dreaming breadth
Were seas of love and thought that held the world

As in a golden vase’s poignant line
They seemed to carry the rhythmic sob of bliss
Of earth’s mute adoration towards heaven
Released in beauty’s cry of living form
Towards the perfection of eternal things

A godhead sculptured on a wall of thought
Mirrored in the flowing hours and dimly shrined
In Matter as in a cathedral cave

Immortal met immortal in their gaze

A casual passing phrase can change our life

The moon shut in her halo dreams like thee

O rubies of silence, lips from which there stole
Low laughter, music of tranquility
Star-lustrous eyes awake in sweet large night
And limbs like fine-linked poems made of gold
Stanzaed to glimmering curves by artist gods
Depart where love and destiny call your charm

Hand in strong hand confront Heaven’s question, life

Ascend from Nature to divinity’s heights
Face the high gods, crowned with felicity
Then meet a greater God, thy self beyond Time

As when the mantra sinks in Yoga’s ear

All knowledge rushes on him like a sea

The morn went up into a smiling sky
Cast from its sapphire pinnacle of trance
Day sank into the burning gold of eve
The moon floated, a luminous waif through heaven
And sank below the oblivious edge of dream
Night lit the watch fires of eternity

A darkness stooping on the heaven-bird’s wings
Sealed in her senses from external sight
And opened the stupendous depths of sleep

When the pale dawn slipped through Night’s shadowy guard
Vainly the new-born light desired her face

Canto IV: The Quest

The stars at night were her past’s brilliant friends
The winds murmured to her of ancient things

Nothing we think or do is void or vain

Hamlet and village saw the fate-van pass
Homes of a life bent to the soil it ploughs
For sustenance of its short and passing days
That, transient, keep their old repeated course
Unchanging in the circle of a sky
Which alters not above our mortal toil

Here was the childhood of primeval earth
Here timeless musings large and glad and still
Men had forborne as yet to fill with cares
Imperial acres of the eternal sower
And wind-stirred grass-lands winking in the sun
Or mid green musing of woods and rough-browed hills
In the grove’s murmurous bee-air humming wild
Or past the long lapsing voice of sliver floods
Like a swift hope journeying among its dreams
Hastened the chariot of the golden bride

… large immune entangled silences
Absorbed her into emerald secrecy

The rhythm of the intenser wordless Thought
That gathers in the silence behind life
… the low sweet inarticulate voice of earth
In the great passion of her sun-kissed trance

This spirit stumbling in the fields of sense
This creature bruised in the mortar of the days

Muse-lipped she nursed her symbol mysteries
And guarded for her pure-eyed sacraments
The valley-clefts between her breasts of joy
Her mountain-altars for the fires of dawn
And nuptial beaches where the ocean couched
And the huge chanting of her prophet woods

Plains hushed and happy in the embrace of light
Alone with the cry of birds and hue of flowers
And wildernesses of wonder lit by her moons
And grey seer-evenings kindling with the stars
And dim movement in the night’s infinitude

The strong king-sages from their labour done
Freed from the warrior tension of their task
Came to her serene sessions in these wilds
The strife was over, the respite lay in front
Happy they lived with birds and beasts and flowers
And sunlight and the rustle of the leaves
And heard the wild winds wandering in the night
Mused with the stars in their mute constant ranks
And lodged in the mornings as in azure tents
And with the glory of the noons were one

They reached the one self in all through boundless love

Attuned to Silence and to the world-rhyme
The loosened the knot of the imprisoning mind
Achieved was the wide untroubled witness gaze
Unsealed was Nature’s great spiritual eye

World-naked hermits with their matted hair
Immobile as the passionless great hills
Around them grouped like thoughts of some vast mood

King-children nurtured in that spacious air
Like lions gambolling in sky and sun

Large like a continent of warm sunshine
In wide equality’s impartial joy

Others escaped from the confines of thought
To where Mind motionless sleeps waiting Light’s birth
And came back quivering with a nameless Force
Drunk with a wine of lightning in their cells
Intuitive knowledge leaping into speech
Hearing the subtle voice that clothes the heavens
Carrying the splendour that has lit the suns
They sang Infinity’s names and deathless powers
In metres that reflect the moving worlds
Sight’s sound-waves breaking from the soul’s great deeps

Some lost to the person and his strip of thought
In a motionless ocean of impersonal Power
Sat mighty, visioned with the Infinite’s Light
Or, comrades of the everlasting Will
Surveyed the plan of past and future Time
Some winged like birds out of the cosmic sea
And vanished into a bright and featureless Vast
Some silent watched the universal dance
Or helped the world by world-indifference
Some watched no more merged in a lonely Self
Absorbed in the trance from which no soul returns
All the occult world-lines for ever closed
The chains of birth and person cast away
Some uncompanioned reached the Ineffable

As floats a sunbeam through a shady place
The golden virgin in her carven car
Came gliding among meditation’s seats

Often in twilight mid returning troops
Of cattle thickening with their dust the shades
When the loud day had slipped below the verge
Arriving in a peaceful hermit grove
She rested drawing round her like a cloak
Its spirit of patient muse and potent prayer

Or near to a lion river’s tawny mane
And trees that worshipped on a praying shore
A domed and templed air’s serene repose
Beckoned to her hurrying wheels to stay their speed

The mountains in their anchorite solitude
The forests with their multitudinous chant
Disclosed to her the masked divinity’s doors

A grandiose silence wrapped the regal day
The months had fled the passion of the sun
And now his burning breath assailed the soil
The tiger heats prowled through the fainting earth
All was licked up as by a lolling tongue
The spring winds failed; the sky was set like bronze

Book Five


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