Book Two

Savitri In-Between

Book Two: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds

Canto I: The World-Stair

Where Space is a vast experiment of the soul

The living bodies of the Bodiless

The heaven-hints that invade our earthly lives,
The dire imaginations dreamed by Hell,
Which if enacted and experienced here
Our dulled capacity soon would cease to feel
Or our mortal frailty could not long endure,
Were set in their sublime proportions there

Their fortifying stress upon the soul
Bit deep into the ground of consciousness
The passion and purity of their single cry

… the embroidered tissue of his sense

The integer of the Spirit’s perfect sum

He saw a lone immense high-curved world-pile
Erect like a mountain chariot of the Gods
Motionless under an inscrutable sky

As climbs a storeyed temple-tower to heaven
Built by the aspiring soul of man to live
Near to his dream of the Invisible

It is a brief compendium of the Vast

It is within, below, without, above

It calls out of our dense mortality
The conscious spirit nursed in Matter’s house

Its unthought logic of Reality’s acts
Arisen from the unspoken truth in things

Its steps are paces of the soul’s return
From the deep adventure of material birth
A ladder of delivering ascent
And rungs that Nature climbs to deity

The wide and prone leap of a godhead’s fall

Our life is a holocaust of the Supreme

The many-patterned ground of all we are

… steeped in their colour-lustres dimmed by her drowse

Her sleep is stirred by their buried memories

His vast design accepts a puny start
An attempt, a drawing half-done is the world’s life
Its lines doubt their concealed significance
Its curves join not their high-intended close

The Artist’s joy shall laugh at reason’s rules

This faint and fluid sketch of soul called man
Shall stand out on the background of long Time
A glowing epitome of eternity

A void, a cipher of some secret Whole
Where zero held infinity in its sum
And All and Nothing were a single term
An eternal negative, a matrix Nought

A gas belched out from some invisible Fire
Of its dense rings were formed these million stars

… the thick smoke of earth’s ignorance

… like a busy midwife the life-power
Deliver the zero carrier of the All

… Matter’s breasts suckled the divine Idea

All ocean lived within a wandering drop
A time-made body housed the Illimitable

Canto II: The Kingdom of Subtle Matter

A world of lovelier forms lies near to ours,
Where, undisguised by earth’s deforming sight,
All shapes are beautiful and all things true

… in the sumptuous lineaments traced by desire

The golden issue of mind’s labyrinth plots

… bright dews drip from the Immortal’s sky

A gossamer marriage-hall of Mind with Form
Is hidden by a tapestry of dreams

The embodiments of his outwinging thoughts
Laved in a bright everlasting wonder’s tints
And lulled by whispers of that lucid air
Take dream-hued rest like birds on timeless trees
Before they dive to float on earth-time’s sea

A carnival of beauty crowds the heights
In that magic kingdom of ideal sight

The spirit’s leap towards body touches ground

After the falling of mortality’s cloak
Lightened is its weight to heighten its ascent

Invests with grace the demon and the snake

And authorises our mortality

It is the immutable in their mutable forms

Touching things common with transfiguring hues
Till even earth’s mud grows rich and warm with the skies

Its beauty dons our mud-mask ugliness

A heaven of creative truths above
A cosmos of harmonious dreams between
A chaos of dissolving forms below

… a subconscient yearning memory
Left from a happiness dead before she was born

All things she carries in her shapeless dust

Even in this prison-house of outer form
A brilliant passage for the infallible Flame
Is driven through gross walls of nerve and brain

His figure of a Time-inn for the Unborn

A subtle link of union joins all life
… all creation is a single chain

Our life is a spur in a sublime soul-range

… the prodigy of our nature’s birth

Some far tune of the immortal rhapsodist Voice

… delight and beauty are inhabitants
And love and sweetness are the law of life

Its strength can overtake joy’s running feet

The rapid net of an intuitive clasp
Captures the fugitive happiness we desire

Beauty is his footprint showing us where he has passed

The craftsman and the craft grown inly one

In that fair subtle realm behind our own
The form is all and physical gods are kings

A faultless beauty comes by Nature’s grace

There liberty is perfection’s guarantee

All is a miracle of symmetric charm

Marvel in an utter littleness abounds
An intricate rapture riots in a small space

It had no grace of error or defeat
It had no room for fault, no power to fail

Amazed, his senses ravished with delight

A captive of its own beauty and ecstacy

The beautiful body of a soul at ease
Like one who laughs in sweet and sunlit groves
Childlike she swung in her gold cradle of joy

She had no wings for wide and dangerous flight

A careless hour was spent in a slight bliss

Canto III: The Glory and Fall of Life

A vagrancy was there that brooked no home
A journey of countless paths without a close

Unshepherded by the fear that walks through Time

She swept through the race-fields of Circumstance

Ambitioned the seas for robe, for crown the stars

An archipelago of laughter and fire

… imagination’s comet trail of dream

The hazardous experimenting Mind
Pushes its way through obscure possibilities

The light of God she has parted from his dark
To test the savour of bare opposites

The grand creatrix with her cryptic touch
Has turned to pathos and power being’s self-dream

… she has stabled her dreams in Matter’s courts
And still her doors are barred to things supreme

Life was a happy laughter of the soul
And Joy was king with Love for minister

Life’s contraries were lovers or natural friends
And her extremes keen edges of harmony

There none was weak, so falsehood could not live

Life’s puissances reigned on seats of marble will

For worship lifts the worshipper’s bowed strength
Close to the god’s pride and bliss his soul adores

The ruler there is one with all he rules
To him who serves with a free equal heart
Obedience is his princely training’s school
His nobility’s coronet and privilege
His faith is a high nature’s idiom
His service a spiritual sovereignty

In his wide sky she built her world anew
She gave to mind’s calm pace the motor’s speed
To thinking a need to live what the soul saw
To living an impetus to know and see

Of storm and sun they made companions
Sported with the white mane of tossing seas
Slew distance trampled to death under their wheels

Ideas were luminous comrades of the soul
Mind played with speech, cast javelins of thought

Like a song of pleasure on the lips of Time

A large spontaneous order freed the will
A sun-frank winging of the soul to bliss
The breadth and greatness of the unfettered act
And the swift fire-heart’s golden liberty

She stooped to make her home in transient shapes
In Matter’s womb she cast the Immortal’s fire

To feed death with her works is here life’s doom

Canto IV: The Kingdoms of the Little Life

In the troubled stream where leaps a blind heart-pulse
And the nerve-beat of feeling wakes in sense
Dividing Matter’s sleep from conscious Mind
There strayed a call that knew not why it came

… the childlike pain-forgetting mind of beasts
Or live happy, unmoved, like flowers and trees

… sorrow is his nurse of destiny

In his fragile tenement he grows Nature’s lord

In him Matter wakes from its long obscure trance

Life cast her seed in the body’s indolent mould

She brought into Matter’s dull tenacity
Her anguished claim to her lost sovereign right
Her tireless search, her vexed uneasy heart
Her wandering unsure steps, her cry for change

The priest an ignorant mage who only makes
Futile mutations in the altar’s plan
And casts blind hopes into a powerless flame

Ascending slowly with unconscious steps
A foundling of the gods she wanders here
Like a child-soul left near the gates of Hell
Fumbling through fog in search of Paradise

Matter smitten by Matter glimmered to sense

Free in a world of settled anarchy

As shines a solitary witness star
That burns apart, Light’s lonely sentinel
In the drift and teeming of a mindless Night
A single thinker in an aimless world

The first writhings of the cosmic serpent Force
Uncoiled from the mystic ring of Matter’s trance

A mystic Presence none can probe nor rule

It summons the spirit’s sleeping memories
Up from subconscient depths beneath Time’s foam

Always a heaven-truth broods in life’s deeps

A lost remembrance of felicity
Lurks still in the dumb roots of death and birth

The world’s senseless beauty mirrors God’s delight

That rapture’s smile is secret everywhere
It flows in the wind’s breath, in the tree’s sap
Its hued magnificence blooms in leaves and flowers

When life broke through its half-drowse in the plant
That feels and suffers but cannot move or cry
In beast and in winged bird and thinking man
It made of the heart’s rhythm its music’s beat
It forced the unconscious tissues to awake
And ask for happiness and earn the pang
And thrill with pleasure and laughter of brief delight
And quiver with pain and crave for ecstasy

All Nature’s longing drive none can resist
Comes surging through the blood and quickened sense
An ecstasy of the infinite is her cause
It turns in us to finite loves and lusts
The will to conquer and have, to seize and keep
To enlarge life’s room and scope and pleasure’s range
To battle and overcome and make one’s own
The hope to mix one’s joy with other’s joy
A yearning to possess and be possessed
To enjoy and be enjoyed, to feel, to live

When all was plunged in the negating Void
Non-Being’s night could never have been saved
If Being had not plunged into the dark
Carrying with it its triple mystic cross

A contradiction founds the base of life
The eternal, the divine Reality
Has faced itself with its own contraries
Being became the Void and Conscious-Force
Nescience and walk of a blind Energy
And Ecstasy took the figure of world-pain

A body that knew not its own soul within
There lived and longed, had wrath and joy and grief
A mind was there that met the objective world
As if a stranger or enemy at its door
Its thoughts were kneaded by the shocks of sense
It captured not the spirit in the form
It entered not the heart of what it saw
It looked not for the power behind the act
It studied not the hidden motive in things
Nor strove to find the meaning of it all

Isolated, cramped in the vast unknown
To save their small lives from surrounding Death
They made a tiny circle of defence
Against the siege of the huge universe
They preyed upon the world and were its prey
But never dreamed to conquer and be free

Only to the unstable surface rose
Sensations, stabs and edges of desire
And passion’s leaps and brief emotion’s cries
A casual colloquy of flesh with flesh
A murmur of heart to longing wordless heart
Glimmerings of knowledge with no shape of thought
And jets of subconscious will or hunger’s pulls

It knew itself a creature of the mud
It asked no larger law, no loftier air
It had no inward look, no upward gaze

A market-place of trivial thoughts and acts
A life soon spent, a mind the body’s slave

Out of a slow confused embroiled self-search
Mind grew to a clarity cut out, precise
A gleam enclosed in a stone ignorance

Canto V: The Godheads of the Little Life

A fixed and narrow power with rigid forms
He saw the empire of the little life
An unhappy corner in eternity

It lived upon the margin of the Idea
Protected by Ignorance as in a shell

Imposing smallness on the Infinite
The ruling spirit of its littleness

He plunged his gaze into the siege of mist

As when a search-light stabs the Night’s blind breast …
All lurking things were torn out of their veils

The small conspiracies of this petty reign
Amused with the small contrivings, the brief hopes
And little eager steps and little ways
And reptile wallowing in the dark and dust
And the crouch and ignominy of creeping life

… fallen beings, their heavenly portion lost
… errant divinities trapped in Time’s dust

Wherever are soulless minds and guideless lives …
Wherever love and light and largeness lack
These crooked fashioners take up their task

This earth alone is not our teacher and nurse
The powers of all the worlds have entrance here
In their own fields they follow the wheel of law
And cherish the safety of a settled type
On earth out of their changeless orbit thrown
Their law is kept, lost their fixed form of things
Into a creative chaos they are cast
Where all asks order but is driven by Chance
Strangers to earth-nature, they must learn earth’s ways
Aliens or opposites, they must unite
They work and battle and with pain agree
These join, those part, all parts and joins anew
Till all have found their divine harmony

Our life’s uncertain way winds circling on
Our mind’s unquiet search asks always light
Till they have learnt their secret in their source

To ignorant purposes and blind desires
Our hearts are moved by an ambiguous force
Even our mind’s conquests wear a battered crown

In this whirl and sprawl through infinite vacancy
The Spirit became Matter and lay in the whirl

On the hearth of Space it kindled a viewless Fire
That, scattering worlds as one might scatter seeds,
Whirled out the luminous order of the stars

An ocean of electric Energy
Formlessly formed its strange wave-particles
Constructing by their dance this solid scheme
Its mightiness in the atom shut to rest
Masses were forged or feigned and visible shapes
Light flung the photon’s swift revealing spark
And showed in the minuteness of its flash
Imaged this cosmos of apparent things
Thus has been made this real impossible world
An obvious miracle or convincing show
Or so it seems to man’s audacious mind
Who seats his thought as the arbiter of truth
His personal vision as impersonal fact
As witnesses of an objective world
His erring sense and his instruments’ artifice
Thus must he work life’s tangible riddle out
In a doubtful light, by error seize on Truth
And slowly part the visage and the veil
Or else forlorn of faith in mind and sense
His knowledge a bright body of ignorance
He sees in all things strangely fashioned here
The unwelcome jest of a deceiving Force
A parable of Maya and her might

A dream of living woke in Matter’s heart
A will to live moved in the Inconscient’s dust
A freak of living startled vacant Time

… purposeful movements in unthinking forms
Betrayed the heavings ofan imprisoned Will

Waking and sleep lay locked in mutual arms

A godhead woke but lay with dreaming limbs

Insentient to our eyes that only see
The form, the act and not the imprisoned God
Life hid in her pulse occult of growth and power
A consciousness with mute stifled beats of sense
A mind suppressed that knew not yet of thought
An inert spirit that could only be

She forced the reluctant mould to grow aware

This master-spring of a delicate enginery …
He raised his eyes; Heaven-light mirrored a Face

Thought bordered her instincts with a frame of will

… passions that crumble to ashes while they blaze
Kindled the common earth with their brief flame

The mind learns and knows not, turning its back to truth
It studies surface laws by surface thought
Life’s steps surveys and Nature’s process sees
Not seeing for what she acts or why we live

Our reason cannot sound life’s mighty sea
And only counts its waves and scans its foam

As our earth’s roots lurk screened below our earth
So lie unseen our roots of mind and life

The conscious Doll is pushed a hundred ways
And feels the push but not the hands that drive

As long as the human animal is lord
And a dense nether nature screens the soul
As long as intellect’s outward-gazing sight
Serves earthy interest and creature joys
An incurable littleness pursues his days
Ever since consciousness was born on earth
Life is the same in insect, ape and man
Its stuff unchanged, its way the common route
If new designs, if richer details grow
And thought is added and more tangled cares
If little by little it wears a brighter face
Still even in man the plot is mean and poor

His little hour is spent in little things
A brief companionship with many jars
A little love and jealousy and hate
A touch of friendship mid indifferent crowds

The bliss which sleeps in things and tries to wake
Breaks out in him in a small joy of life
This scanty grace is his persistent stay
It lightens the burden of his many ills
And reconciles him to his little world

Tomorrow’s hopes and his old rounds of thoughts
His old familiar interests and desires
He has made a thick and narrowing hedge

In a narrow plot he has pitched his tent of life
Beneath the wide gaze of the starry Vast

At times all looks unreal and remote
We seem to live in a fiction of our thoughts
Pieced from sensation’s fanciful traveller’s tale

A somnambulist walking under the moon

There is a deeper seeing from within …
A greater vision meets us on the heights

It peers at the Real through the apparent form

The unfelt Self within who is the guide
The unknown Self above who is the goal

The world is other than we now think and see
Our lives a deeper mystery than we have dreamed
Our minds are starters in the race to God
Our souls deputed selves of the Supreme

Across the cosmic field through narrow lanes
Asking a scanty dole from Fortune’s hands
And garbed in beggar’s robes there walks the One

Even in the theatre of these small lives
Behind the act a secret sweetness breathes
An urge of miniature divinity

A heart of bliss within a world of pain

In our body’s cells there sits a hidden power

A door is cut in the mud wall of self

The body’s tissues thrill apotheosized
Its cells sustain bright metamorphosis

Surprise the animal with the occult god

Canto VI: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life

… he escaped from that grey anarchy

Grace of the unknown and hands of sudden surprise
And a touch of sure delight in unsure things

There nothing satisfied, but all allured

She shuts eternity into an hour
And fills a little soul with the Infinite

She has lured the Eternal into the arms of Time

A guardian of the fire that lights the suns

Even when her brightest stars are quenched in Night
Nourished by hardship and calamity
And with pain for her body’s handmaid, masseuse, nurse
Her tortured invisible spirit continues still
To toil though in darkness, to create though with pangs

She reposes motionless in its dust of sleep

She fashions godlike marvels out of mud …
Helps the live tissue to think, the closed sense to feel …
In a heart of flesh miraculously loves

This world is her long journey through the night
The suns and planets lamps to light her road
Our reason is the confidante of her thoughts
Our senses are her vibrant witnesses

Time is her road of endless pilgrimage

In beauty she treasures the sunlight of his smile

Across a luminous dream of spirit-space
She builds creation like a rainbow bridge
Between the original Silence and the Void

Her purposes, her workings riddles prove
Examined, they grow other than they were
Explained, they seem yet more inexplicable

There the enigma shows its splendid prism

A consciousness lit by a Truth above

All forces are Life’s retinue in that world
And thought and body as her handmaids move

Even of that largeness many a cabin make

A first immigration into heavenliness

Entire, not pulled as we by contrary tides

There is a knowledge in the heart of sleep

… evil and good an equal tenure keep
Wherever Knowledge is Ignorance’s twin

A red-tiaraed falsehood they revere
Worship the shadow of a crooked god
Admit the black Idea that twists the brain
Or lie with the harlot Power that slays the Soul

… Beauty shines on them like a wandering star
Too far to reach, passionate they follow her light

Something they have done, something they have been, they live

As quivers with the thought the expressive word
As yearns the act with the passion of the soul
The world’s apparent sensible design
Looks vibrant back to some interior might

In the communion of two meeting minds
Thought looked at thought and had no need for speech
Emotion clasped emotion in two hearts
They felt each other’s thrill in the flesh and nerves
Or melted each in each and grew immense
As when two houses burn and fire joins fire
Hate grappled hate and love broke in on love
Will wrestled with will on mind’s invisible ground
Others’ sensations passing through like waves
Left quivering the subtle body’s frame
Their anger rushed galloping in brute attack
A charge of trampling hooves on shaken soil
One felt another’s grief invade the breast
Another’s joy exulting ran through the blood
Hearts could draw close through distance, voices near
That spoke upon the shore of alien seas

As he moved in this ether of ambiguous life
Himself he grew a riddle to himself

Across the leaping springs of death and birth

Armed with a magical and haunted bow

As one who spells illumined characters
The key-book of a crabbed magician text
He scanned her subtle tangled weird designs
And the screened difficult theorem of her clues
Traced in the monstrous sands of desert Time
The thread beginnings of her titan works
Watched her charade of action for some hint
Read the No-gestures of her silhouettes
And strove to capture in their burdened drift
The dance-fantasia of her sequences
Escaping into rhythmic mystery
A glimmer of fugitive feet on fleeing soil

Ever he met key-words, ignorant of their key

A sun that dazzled its own eye of sight
A luminous enigma’s brilliant hood
Lit the dense purple barrier of thought’s sky

As if sitting near an open window’s gap
He read by lightning-flash on crowding flash
Chapters of her metaphysical romance
Of the soul’s search for lost Reality

In her thickets of joy where danger clasps delight

He stood with her on meditating peaks

Her hooded eagles of significance
Messengers of Thought to the Unknowable

Entering into her depths as into a house

Her hands that knead fate in their violent grasp

A passionate memory haunts with ecstasy’s fire

Our souls are dragged as with a hidden leash
Carried from birth to birth, from world to world

A limping Yes through the aeons journeys still
Accompanied by an eternal No

Canto VII: The Descent into Night

The formidable unknown Infinity
Asleep behind the endless coil of things

… the mouth of the black pit of Ignorance

On a dim bank where dies subjective Space

… on the foundations of the cosmic Law
Erected in bronze pylons of misrule

… in the ignorant heart a seed was sown
That bore black fruit of suffering, death and bale

… the putrid corpses of dead truths

… tasted corruption like a high-spiced food

It hunted the bright smile from Nature’s lips
And slew the native confidence in her heart
And put fear’s crooked look into her eyes

The fiend was visible, but cloaked in light
He seemed a helping angel from the skies
He armed untruth with Scripture and the Law
He deceived with wisdom, with virtue slew the soul
And led to perdition by the heavenward path

All who were there lived for themselves alone
All warred against all, but with a common hate
Turned on the mind that sought some higher good
Truth was exiled lest she should dare to speak
And hurt the heart of darkness with her light
Or bring her pride of knowledge to blaspheme
The settled anarchy of established things

There Ego was lord upon his peacock seat
And falsehood sat by him, his mate and queen

An eagle rapacity clawed its coveted good

Amid her clashing creeds and warring sects
Religion sat upon a blood-stained throne

Marked “missing” in the register of souls
His name the index of a failing hope
The position of a dead remembered star

Only were safe who kept God in their hearts
Courage their armour, faith their sword, they must walk
The hand ready to smite, the eye to scout
Casting a javelin regard in front
Heroes and soldiers of the army of Light

… grimed walls and savage slums of Night

A strong and fallen goddess without hope
Obscured, deformed by some dire Gorgon spell
As might a harlot empress in a bouge
Nude, unashamed, exulting she upraised
Her evil face of perilous beauty and charm
And, drawing panic to a shuddering kiss
Twixt the magnificence of her fatal breasts
Allured to their abyss the spirit’s fall

The implacable splendor of her nightmare pomps

Wry statues spat and stiffened in life’s mud

… sown grain of living death

… torture took the form of an embrace

Here cold material intellect was the judge
And needed sensual prick and jog and lash
That its hard dryness and dead nerves might feel
Some passion and power and acrid point of life

… the calm and sovereign eyes of Thought

… the stony eyelids of its fixed idea

A bull-throat bellowed with its brazen tongue

All vanished suddenly like a thought expunged …
He was alone with the grey python Night

He measured the tides of Nature with a look
He met with his bare spirit naked Hell

Canto VIII: The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness

In the vain braggart freedom of his thought

An ancient womb of huge calamitous dreams
Coiled like a larva in the obscurity

… a zero parent of the worlds

… a false poignant figure of grief and pain
Still dolorously nailed upon a cross
Fixed in the soul of a dumb insentient world
Where birth was a pang and death an agony

There Good, a faithless gardener of God,
Watered with virtue the world’s upas-tree

All high things served their nether opposite
The forms of Gods sustained a demon cult

A seed was in that nether matrix cast
A dumb unprobed husk of perverted truth

A seeking Mind replaced the seeing Soul
Life grew into a huge and hungry death
The Spirit’s bliss was changed to cosmic pain

Obscured was the Truth-light in the cavern heart
That burns unwitnessed in the altar crypt
Behind the still velamen’s secrecy

Alarmed by her rule and full of fear and rage
She prowls around each light that gleams through the dark
Casting its ray from the Spirit’s lonely tent
Hoping to enter with fierce stealthy tread
And in the cradle slay the divine Child

… the pale moon of Mind

Empty and cold is the chamber of the Bride

This is the tragedy of the inner death
When forfeited is the divine element
And only a mind and body live to die

The doors of God they have locked with keys of creed

It needed the spice of pain, the salt of tears

A fury of jealousy burning the gnawed heart

The writhing of creatures under the harrow of doom

… horror and the hammering heart of fear
Were the ingredients in Time’s heavy cup
That pleased and helped to enjoy its bitter taste

These were the threads of the dark spider’s web
In which the soul was caught, quivering and wrapt
This was Religion …

Kneeling one must cross hard-hearted stony courts
A pavement like a floor of evil fate
Each stone was a keen edge of ruthless force
And glued with the chilled blood from tortured breasts
The dry gnarled trees stood up like dying men
Stiffened into a pose of agony
And from each window peered an ominous priest

Cities uprooted, blasted human homes
Burned writhen bodies, the bombshell’s massacre

A bitter rictus curled the suffering mouth

… they made themselves a fateful prison wall
Where men condemned wake through the creeping hours
Counted by the tollings of an ominous bell

In atomic parcellings of the Infinite
Near to the dumb beginnings of lost Self
He felt the curious small futility
Of the creation of material things

Healed were all things that Time’s torn heart had made

Canto IX: The Paradise of the Life-Gods

Immune the unfettered Spirit of Delight
Pastured his gleaming sun-herds and moon-flocks
Along the lyric speed of griefless streams
In fragrance of the unearthly asphodel

A murmur of inarticulate ravishment
Trembled in the winds …

A dim and happy music sweetly stole

Burning like sunsets in a trance of eve

Into a joyful stillness plunged their base

Crossed by a throng of singing rivulets
Adoring blue heaven with their happy hymn

All things were perfect there that flower in Time
Beauty was there creation’s native mould
Peace was a thrilled voluptuous purity
There Love fulfilled her gold and roseate dreams
And Strength her crowned and mighty reveries
Desire limbed up, a swift omnipotent flame
And Pleasure had the stature of the gods
Dream walked along the highway of the stars
Sweet common things turned into miracles
Overtaken by the spirit’s sudden spell
Smitten by a divine passion’s alchemy
Pain’s self compelled transformed to potent joy
Curing the antithesis between heaven and hell

Trembling with the beauty of a wordless speech
… thoughts too great and deep to find a voice
Thoughts whose desire new-makes the universe

His gates to the world were swept with seas of light

His earth, dowered with celestial competence
Harboured a power that needed now no more
To cross the closed customs-line of mind and flesh
And smuggle godhead into humanity

A giant drop of the Bliss unknowable
Overwhelmed his limbs and round his soul became
A fiery ocean of felicity
He foundered drowned in sweet and burning vasts
The dire delight that could shatter mortal flesh
The rapture that the gods sustain he bore
Immortal pleasure cleansed him in its waves
And turned his strength into undying power
Immortality captured Time and carried Life

Canto X: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind

This breath of hundred-hued felicity
And its pure heightened figure of Time’s joy
Tossed upon waves of flawless happiness
Hammered into single beats of ecstasy
This fraction of the spirit’s integer
Caught into a passionate greatness of extremes
This limited being lifted to zenith bliss

The hours discovered immortality

This creature who hugs his limits to feel safe

A glory and sweetness of satisfied desire
Tied up the spirit to golden posts of bliss

A memory soft as grass and faint as sleep
The beauty and call receding sank behind
Like a sweet song heard fading far away
Upon the long high road to Timelessness
Above was an ardent white tranquility

A musing spirit looked out on the worlds
And like a brilliant clambering of skies
Passing through clarity to an unseen Light
Large lucent realms of Mind from stillness shone

Parting Life’s sentient flow from Thought’s self-poise

… the half-conscience of the animal soul
Living in a crowded press of shape-events

The slow process of a material mind
Which serves the body it should rule and use

To eternal light and knowledge meant to rise
Up from man’s bare beginning is our climb
Out of earth’s heavy smallness we must break
We must search our nature with spiritual fire
An insect crawl preludes our glorious flight
Our human state cradles the future god
Our mortal frailty an immortal force

At the glow-worm top of these pale glimmer-realms
Where dawn-sheen gamboled with the native dusk
And helped the Day to grow and Night to fail
Escaping over a wide and shimmering bridge
He came into a realm of early Light
And the regency of a half-risen sun

A covert nurse of Nature’s miracles
It shaped life’s wonders out of Matter’s mud
It cut the pattern of the shapes of things
It pitched mind’s tent in the vague ignorant Vast
A master Magician of measure and device
Has made an eternity from recurring forms
And to the wandering spectator thought
Assigned a seat on the inconscient stage

A bodiless energy put on Matter’s robe

Proton and photon served the imager Eye
To change things subtle into a physical world
And the invisible appeared as shape
And the impalpable was felt as mass
Magic of percept joined with concept’s art

The mediating light linked body’s power
The sleep and dreaming of the tree and plant
The animal’s vibrant sense, the thought in man
To the effulgence of a Ray above

… found a means for Nescience to know

An aide of the inventor intellect
It cut Truth into manageable bits
That each might have his ration of thought-food

A robot exact and serviceable and false
Displaced the spirit’s finer view of things
A polished engine did the work of a god

Imagination called her shining squads

Myth suckled knowledge with her lustrous milk

… the staple or dry straw of Reason’s tilth
Its heaped fodder of innumerable facts
Plebian fare on which today we thrive

Its gold-horned herds trooped into earth’s cave-heart

As one it works who builds a mimic fort
Miraculously stable for a while
Made of the sands upon a bank of Time
Mid an occult eternity’s shoreless sea

Arousing knowledge from its sleepy lair

Expelling Nature’s mystic unity
Cuts into quantum and mass the moving All

A slave of a fixed mass of absolute rules
It sees as Law the habits of the world
It sees as Truth the habits of the mind

… things long known and actions always done
Are to its clinging hold a balustrade
Of safety on the perilous stair of Time

One sees it circling faithful to its task
Tireless in an assigned tradition’s round
In decayed and crumbling offices of Time
It keeps close guard in front of custom’s wall
Or in an ancient Night’s dim environs
It dozes on a little courtyard’s stones
And barks at every unfamiliar light
As at a foe who would break up its home
A watch-dog of the spirit’s sense-railed house
Against intruders from the Invisible
Nourished on scraps of life and Matter’s bones
In its kennel of objective certitude

A fathomless sameness rhythms the tread of life
The stars’ changeless orbits furrow inert Space
A million species follow one mute Law

A huge inertness is the world’s defence
Even in change is treasured changelessness
Into inertia revolution sinks
In a new dress the old resumes its role
The Energy acts, the stable is its seal

A hunchback rider of the red Wild-Ass

It burns all breasts with an ambiguous fire

Hungry it stared from a mottled bough of life

A snake of flame with a dark cloud for tail …
It licked at knowledge with a smoky tongue

An uncertain winner of uncertain stakes …
It ran its race and came in first or last

Into a packed irrational world of Chance …
Came Reason, the squat godhead artisan
To her narrow house upon a ridge in Time

Armed with her lens and measuring-rod and probe
She looked upon an object universe

For the world seen she weaves a world conceived

On the huge bare walls of human nescience
Written round Nature’s deep dumb hieroglyphs
She pens in clear demotic characters
The vast encyclopaedia of her thoughts
An algebra of her mathematics’ signs
Her numbers and unerring formulas
She builds to clinch her summary of things

A million faces wears her knowledge here
And every face is turbaned with a doubt

Although like sunbeams to our glow-worm mind
Her knowledge feigns to fall from a clear heaven
Its rays are a lantern’s lusters in the Night
She throws a glittering robe on Ignorance

A bullock yoked in the cart of proven fact
She drags huge knowledge-bales through Matter’s dust
To reach utility’s immense bazaar

As if she knew not facts are husks of truth
The husks she keeps, the kernel throws aside

An ancient wisdom fades into the past
The ages’ faith becomes an idle tale
God passes out of the awakened thought
An old discarded dream needed no more
Only she seeks mechanic nature’s keys

It plans without thinking, acts without a will
A million purposes serves with purpose none
And builds a rational world without a mind

Death’s head on the body of Necessisty

Of soul or spirit we have now no need
Matter is the admirable Reality
The patent unescapable miracle
The hard truth of things, simple, eternal, sole

A suicidal rash expenditure
Creating the world by a mystery of self-loss
Has poured its scattered works on empty space
Late shall the self-disintegrating Force
Contract the immense expansion it has made
Then ends this mighty and unmeaning toil
The Void is left bare, vacant as before
Thus vindicated, crowned, the grand new Thought
Explained the world and mastered all its laws
Touched the dumb roots, woke veiled tremendous powers
It bound to service the unconscious djinns
That sleep unused in Matter’s ignorant trance

A lightning from the undiscovered Truth
Startled her eyes with its perplexing glare
And dug a gulf between the Real and Known

The rare-point sparse substratum Universe
On which floats a solid world’s phenomenal face
Alone a process of events was there
And Nature’s plastic and protean change
And, strong by death to slay, or to create
The riven invisible atom’s omnipotent force

For Reason then might grasp the original force
To drive her car upon the roads of Time

A touch can alter the fixed front of Fate

… we may find when all the rest has failed
Hid in ourselves the key of perfect change

Ascending from the soil where creep our days
Earth’s consciousness may marry with the Sun
Our mortal life ride on the spirit’s wing
Our finite thoughts commune with the Infinite

The world she has made is an interim report

The Truth is known only when all is seen

Reason cannot tear off that glimmering mask

Finding her hands too small to hold vast Truth
She breaks up knowledge into alien parts

Our ignorance is Wisdom’s chrysalis

Even while her fingers fumble at the knots
Which bind them to their strange companionship
Into the moments of their married strife
Sometimes break flashes of the enlightening Fire

Even now great thoughts are here that walk alone

In an investiture of intuitive light …
Announcers of a distant Truth they flame
Arriving from the rim of eternity

Iconoclast and shatterer of Time’s forts
Overleaping limit and exceeding norm
It lit the thoughts that glow through the centuries

As far as its self-winged airplanes could fly
Visiting the future in great brilliant raids
It reconnoitered vistas of dream-fate

Canto XI: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Mind

The godhead crammed into mind’s narrow space
Escapes on every side into some vast
That is a passage to infinity

It knows itself and in itself it lives

Its feet are steadied upon finite things
Its wings can dare to cross the Infinite

It spreads beyond the expanding universe
It wings beyond the boundaries of Dream

Its speed that outstrips the ambling of the hours

In an air which doubt and error cannot mark
With the stigmata of their deformity

Exempt from our world’s exorbitant tax of tears
Dreaming its luminous creations gaze
On the Ideas that people eternity

Across a gleaming ether’s golden laugh
A light falls on our vexed unsatisfied lives
A thought comes down from the ideal worlds
And moves us to new-model even here
Some image of their greatness and appeal
And wonder beyond the ken of mortal hope

Amid the heavy sameness of the days

A faith in things that are not and must be
Lives comrade of this world’s delight and pain
The child of the secret soul’s forbidden desire
Born of its amour with eternity

These promptings come not from an alien sphere
Ourselves are citizens of that mother State
Adventurers, we have colonized Matter’s night
But now our rights are barred, our passports void
We live self-exiled from our heavenlier home

Hampered by obscure cell and treacherous nerve
It dreams of happier states and nobler powers

Amidst earth’s mist and fog and mud and stone
It still remembers its exalted sphere
And the high city of its splendid birth

… Will is a conscious chariot of the Gods
And Life a splendor stream of musing Force
Carries the voices of the mystic Suns

A happiness it brings of whispered truth
There runs in its flow honeying the bosom of Space
A laughter from the immortal heart of Bliss
And the unfathomed Joy of timelessness
The sound of Wisdom’s murmur in the Unknown
And the breath of an unseen Infinity

In gleaming clarities of amethyst air
The chainless and omnipotent Spirit of Mind
Brooded on the blue lotus of the Idea

On meditation’s mounting edge of trance
Great stairs of thought climbed up to unborn heights
Where Time’s last ridges touch eternity’s skies
And Nature speaks to the spirit’s absolute

A packed and endless soar as if sky pressed sky

In front of the ascending epiphany
World-Time’s enjoyers, favourites of World-Bliss
The Masters of things actual, lords of the hours
Playmates of youthful Nature and child God
Creators of Matter by hid stress of Mind
Whose subtle thoughts support unconscious Life
And guide the fantasy of brute events
Stood there, a race of young keen-visioned Gods
King-children born on Wisdom’s early plane
Taught in her school world-making’s mystic play

This wide world-kindergarten of young souls
Where the infant spirit learns through mind and sense
To read the letters of the cosmic script

Its free caprice they bound by rhythmic laws

The All-containing was contained in form …
Unending Space was beaten into a curve …
The mystery of the Formless cast into form

Inevitable their thoughts like links of Fate

Audacious lines were traced upon the Void

Their tangled motives worked out unity

A wisdom read their mind to themselves unknown
Their anarchy rammed into a formula
And from their giant randomness of Force
Following the habit of their million paths
Distinguishing each faintest line and stroke
Of a concealed unalterable design
Out of the chaos of the Invisible’s moods
Derived the calculus of Destiny

The Eternal’s winging eagle puissances
Surprised in their untracked empyrean

Each mysteried God forced to revealing form
Assigned his settled moves in Nature’s game
Zigzagged at the gesture of a chess-player Will
Across the chequer-board of cosmic Fate

In the sketch precise of an ideal face
Forgotten was her eyelashes’ dream-print
Carrying on their curve infinity’s dreams
Lost the alluring marvel of her eyes
The surging wave-throbs of her vast sea-heart

By knowing too much they missed the Whole to be known
The fathomless heart of the world was left unguessed
And the Transcendent kept its secrecy

Bare steps climbed up like glowing rocks of gold
Burning their way to a pure absolute sky

… Mind unwitting serves a higher Power
It is a channel, not the source of all

A Wisdom knows and guides the mysteried world
A Truth-gaze shapes its beings and events
A Word self-born upon creation’s heights
Voice of the Eternal in the temporal spheres
Prophet of the seeings of the Absolute
Sows the Idea’s significance in Form
And from that seed the growths of Time arise
On peaks beyond our ken the All-Wisdom sits
A single and infallible look comes down
A silent touch from the supernal’s air
Awakes to ignorant knowledge in its acts
The secret power in the inconscient depths
Compelling the blinded Godhead to emerge
Determining Necessity’s rude dance
As she passes through the circuit of the hours
And vanishes from the chase of finite eyes
Down circling vistas of aeonic Time

Forced to become what in themselves they hide
For He who is grows manifest in the years
And the slow Godhead shut within the cell
Climbs from the plasm to immortality

A sliver-winged fire of naked subtle sense
An ear of mind withdrawn from the outward’s rhymes
Discovered the seed-sounds of the eternal Word
The rhythm and music heard that built the worlds
And seized in things the bodiless Will to be

The Illimitable they measured with number’s rods …
In transparent systems bodied termless truths

In a spiritual zero it sat throned
And took its vast silence for the Ineffable

Attracting into time the timeless Light
Imprisoning eternity in the hours
This they have planned, to snare the feet of Truth
In an aureate net of concept and of phrase
And keep her captive for the thinker’s joy
In his little world built of immortal dreams

An empress prisoner in her subject’s house

Icon of his heart’s sole idolatry

A new beginning flowers in word and laugh
A new charm brings back the old extreme delight
He is lost in her, she is his heaven here
Truth smiled upon the gracious golden game

Incarnating her beauty in his clasp
She gave for a brief kiss her immortal lips
And drew to her bosom one glorified mortal head
She made earth her home, for whom heaven was too small

Into thought’s narrow limits she has come
Her greatness she has suffered to be pressed
Into the little cabin of the Idea
The closed room of a lonely thinker’s grasp
She has lowered her heights to the stature of our souls
And dazzled our lids with her celestial gaze

The whole world lives in a lonely ray of her sun

Out of our thoughts we must leap up to sight

Canto XII: The Heavens of the Ideal

Always the ideal beckoned from afar
Awakened by the touch of the Unseen
Deserting the boundary of things achieved
Aspired the strong discoverer, tireless Thought
Revealing at each step a luminous world

A new degree of wonder and of bliss
A new rung formed in Being’s mighty stair
A great wide step trembling with jewelled fire
As if a burning spirit quivered there
Upholding with his flame the immortal hope

The heavens of the ideal Mind were seen
Or a blue lucency of dreaming space
Like strips of brilliant sky clinging to the moon

… the spontaneous bliss that beauty gives
The lovely kingdoms of the deathless Rose
Above the spirit cased in mortal sense
Are superconscious realms of heavenly peace
Below, the Inconscient’s sullen dim abyss
Between, behind our life, the deathless Rose

Flowers goldening our earth of red desire

… the soiled passionate ritual of our hopes

A fiery stillness wakes the slumbering cells

The wings that crowd Thought’s ardent silences

… the mysteried vineyards of the gold moon-wine

Time’s sun-flowers’ gaze at gold Eternity

A million lotuses swaying on one stem
World after coloured and ecstatic world
Climbs towards some far unseen epiphany

Man’s virtue, a coarse-spun ill-fitting dress

The radiant children of eternity dwell
On the wide spirit height where all are one

Canto XIII: In the Self of Mind

A finis-line on the last page of thought

From hidden silences the act is born
Into the voiceful mind, the labouring world

A doubt corroded even the means to think
Distrust was thrown upon Mind’s instruments
All that it takes for reality’s shining coin
Proved fact, fixed inference, deduction clear
Firm theory, assured significance
Appeared as frauds upon Time’s credit bank
Or assets valueless in Truth’s treasury

An Ignorance on an uneasy throne
Travestied with a fortuitous sovereignty
A figure of knowledge garbed in dubious words
And tinsel thought-forms brightly inadequate

A labourer in the dark dazzled by half-light
What it knew was an image in a broken glass
What it saw was real but its sight untrue

All the ideas in its vast repertory
Were like the mutterings of a transient cloud
That spent itself in sound and left no trace

A frail house hanging in uncertain air
The thin ingenious web round which it moves
Put out awhile on the tree of the universe
And gathered up into itself again
Was only a trap to catch life’s insect food
Winged thoughts that flutter fragile in brief light
But dead, once captured in fixed forms of mind
Aims puny but looming large in man’s small scale
Flickers, of imagination’s brilliant gauze
And cobweb-wrapped beliefs alive no more

Our mind is a house haunted by the slain past
Ideas soon mummified, ghosts of old truths
God’s spontaneities tied with formal strings
And packed into drawers of reason’s trim bureau
A grave of great lost opportunities
Or an office for misuse of soul and life
And all the waste man makes of heaven’s gifts
And all the squanderings of Nature’s store
A stage for the comedy of Ignorance

The builder Reason lost her confidence
In the successful sleight and turn of thought
That makes the soul the prisoner of a phrase

Almost it seems a lotus-leaf afloat
On a nude pool of cosmic Nothingness

An idol, not the living body of God

Immortal by renewed mortality
It wandered in the spiral of its acts

Canto XIV: The World-Soul

In a far-shimmering background of Mind-Space

As if a beckoning finger of secrecy
Outstretched into a crystal mood of air

A mute and quivering ecstasy of light
A passion and delicacy of roseate fire

It seemed the yearning of a lonely flute
That roamed along the shores of memory

A cricket’s rash and fiery single note
It marked with shrill melody night’s moonless hush

… a vast forest’s hymn
The solemn reminder of a temple gong

A bee-croon honey-drunk in summer isles
Ardent with ecstasy in a slumberous noon

… the far anthem of a pilgrim sea

As if the invisible Beloved had come
Assuming the sudden loveliness of a face

And the world change with the beauty of a smile

A point that was the conscious knot of space

A single Person who was himself and all

It bore within itself a seed, a flame
A seed from which the Eternal is new-born
A flame that cancels death in mortal things

No veil was felt, no brute barrier inert
Distance could not divide, Time could not change

… a moved identity
A sympathy of self with other selves

And heart laid bare to heart without walls of speech

Finer than fineness, deeper than the deeps

As when one walks in sleep through luminous dreams
And, conscious, knows the truth their figures mean

A loveliness of lakes and streams and hills
A flow, a fixity in a soul-space
And plains and valleys, stretches of soul-joy
And gardens that were flower-tracts of the spirit
Its meditations of tinged reverie

A fragrance wandered in a coloured haze
As if the scent and hue of all sweet flowers
Had mingled to copy heaven’s atmosphere

Appealing to the soul and not the eye
Beauty lived there at home in her own house
There all was beautiful by its own right
And needed not the splendour of a robe

Once more they must face the problem-game of birth

His knowledge stripped bare of the garbs of sense
Knew by identity without thought or word

A gesture came as of worlds thrown away

Attracted to the large and luminous depths
Of the ravishing enigma of her eyes
He saw the mystic outline of a face

Overwhelmed by her implacable light and bliss
An atom of illimitable self
Mastered by the honey and lightning of her power
Tossed towards the shores of her ocean ecstasy
Drunk with a deep golden spiritual wine
He cast from the rent stillness of his soul
A cry of adoration and desire
And the surrender of his boundless mind
And the self-giving of his silent heart

Canto XV: The Kingdoms of the Greater Knowledge

A light was round him wide and absolute
A diamond purity of eternal sight

The Knowledge by which the Knower is the Known
The Love in which Beloved and Lover are one

A thousand roads leaped into Eternity

He knocked at the doors of the Unknowable

All there were moving mansions of God-bliss

A universal beauty showed its face
The invisible deep-fraught significances
Here sheltered behind form’s insensible screen
Uncovered to him their deathless harmony
And the key to the wonder-book of common things

On peaks where Silence listens with still heart
To the rhythmic metres of the rolling worlds

Absolved from the ligaments of death and sleep
He rode the lightning seas of cosmic Mind
And crossed the ocean of original sound

He trod along extinction’s narrow edge
Near the high verges of eternity
And mounted the gold ridge of the World-dream

The wings that fold around created space
The sun-eyed Guardians and the golden Sphinx

All flowed immeasurably to one sea
All living forms became its atom homes

The moments there were pregnant with all time

Sight was a flame-throw from identity

His brain was wrapped in overwhelming Light
An all-embracing knowledge seized his heart
Thoughts rose in him no earthly mind can hold
Mights played that never coursed through mortal nerves
He scanned the secrets of the Overmind
He bore the rapture of the Oversoul

Book Three


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