Loretta reads Savitri:Five.III "Satyavan and Savitri" part 3

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Transcript of:
Savitri: Book Five, Canto III (part 3 of 3)
by Loretta, 2018 (39:38)
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Savitri Book 5 Canto III icon.jpg  Loretta reads Savitri
Book Five: The Book of Love
Canto III: Satyavan and Savitri
Part 3 of 3, pages 408-412
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Savitri has found her mate. They finally met, in a simple, natural place – a place filled with peace and beauty and light. Sri Aurobindo described their destined meeting-place in Canto I; he said it was:

... a space ... of soft and delicate air
That seemed a sanctuary of youth and joy
A highland world of free and green delight (p.389)

An atmosphere between spring and summer. Everything in Savitri felt a coming change. She “Was lifted to a beauty calm and pure / That lived under the eyes of Eternity.” (p.389) Sri Aurobindo writes that here, far from the world, Savitri began her part in the world's joy and strife. And here were disclosed to her things that people never know, unless they truly love.

Here were disclosed to her the mystic courts,
The lurking doors of beauty and surprise,
The wings that murmur in the golden house,
The temple of sweetness and the fiery aisle. (p.391)

He begins Canto II by telling us that Savitri remembered everything that happened on this day of fate. It was the day when she and Satyavan become one, in their own personal private wedding.

This is a great truth of what happens between couples. Both before and after they make public vows of marriage, deep within themselves they are making vows to each other. Throughout their lives together, the progress of their union is also a series of promises that they make to each other inside. They come from continuing realizations of themselves and their partner. They come from deciding what they will be to their mate, what they will do, how they will behave. What will they give to each other. All this goes on inside – goes on as long as it's a real relationship.

They may never say these things out loud. They don't have to say them – they have to become them. And of course they can talk about them. But to be, and to act, is far more important than words in this case.

However, often couples make their real wedding vows to each other, in their own close, private time together. They have their own private wedding just between the two of them, before they take part in a public organized wedding.

Back in the 1950s, Prince Rainier of Monaco married an American move star. Her name was Grace Kelly. She was extremely beautiful; she was a model, and was a very good and a very gifted actress. They met at some kind of official function. And they were married soon afterwards. Grace Kelly had starred in several very popular films – so she was quite famous.

Monaco is a tiny country. In fact, it is smaller than the MGM Studios in Culver City, California, where Grace Kelly worked. But Monaco was well-known: it had very famous gambling casinos.

The whole world was interested in the marriage of the prince and the beautiful movie star. Afterwards, she was always known as Princess Grace.

After the wedding, one of the attendants who worked in Prince Rainier's palace said that two nights before their big famous wedding, the prince and his bride went down alone into the palace gardens. And there in the garden summer-house, they made their own personal wedding. They gave their personal vows to each other. And they were married in public two days later.

In this part of Canto III, we are in the forest glade with Satyavan and his bride, also before their traditional marriage ceremony. And here, their two souls join, and they become one. They have their own marriage.

And here Sri Aurobindo gives us the experience of the real marriage that binds couples together. The experience of what they do in their inner beings, when they join their two souls in marriage.

All through “The Book of Love”, Sri Aurobindo gives us truths of the union between a man and a woman. He writes so beautifully; and it's kind of insulting to call “The Book of Love” a ‘marriage manual’ – but it is a set of written instructions for couples, if one can take it that way. The facts are here when one can step back a little and receive their truth.

When a man and woman become one, certain things take place. If we are truly married, or truly with someone, these things happen to us. We feel it, even if we can't express it in words. And yet, if we look back at the treasured love songs of every country, we can find that people write music about these things over and over, through history.

When Savitri first really looks at Satyavan with her heart, she knows that he is nearer to her than her own heartstrings. Her whole being opened, and she creates the world again, anew, for herself, with all the hopes and dreams which have lain silent and hidden inside her until now.

Then her soul “flung wide its doors” to Satyavan. “Feelings as when a universe takes birth” (p.395) swept through her breast.

An alchemy worked, the transmutation came;
The missioned face had wrought the Master’s spell.
In the nameless light of two approaching eyes
A swift and fated turning of her days
Appeared and stretched to a gleam of unknown worlds. (p.395)

And Satyavan too is affected by this. He tells her, she has brought him “A strange new world” (p.408), and he is changed by her look. And he knows that everything in his life has been for this moment, when he can have her.

Marriage is a sacrament. It is a rite of passage from one stage of life to another. And its reality is total commitment when it is real marriage. In the Bible, it's written: “A man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

We have this in a kind of cosmic prototype near the source of creation. In Book II, “The Book of the Traveler of the Worlds”, when the king sees the Divine Mother for the first time, right in front of her – something she has created, brought forth out of herself – right in front of her, he sees “the deathless Two-in-One” (p.295):

A single being in two bodies clasped,
A diarchy of two united souls,
Seated absorbed in deep creative joy;
Their trance of bliss sustained the mobile world. (p.295)

This is from ancient India – very deep teachings – but there's a popular saying that goes, “Love makes the world go 'round.” In Indian spiritual tradition, the union between a woman and a man is again the truth of the Supreme consciousness and his Power of creation – what they call his Shakti, his Power. And she is also the creation itself. The manifestation of the Supreme in the creation, in her as his Power.

The Supreme is seen as a man, and his Power is a woman: a part of himself, yet put forth out from himself as his whole creation. They are called the “eternal Lord and Spouse” (p.411). In this destined meeting-place, with Savitri and Satyavan, Sri Aurobindo says:

The wedding of the eternal Lord and Spouse
Took place again on earth in human forms (p.411)

And so it does in all real marriages. When Savitri's father, King Aswapati, the Traveler of the Worlds, is doing his own yoga, the most important realization he attains is what Sri Aurobindo calls “The Secret Knowledge”. The secret knowledge is the Two who are one.

This is the knot that ties together the stars:
The Two who are one are the secret of all power,
The Two who are one are the might and right in things.
...all is their play:
This whole wide world is only he and she. (p.63)

The eternal Lord and Spouse love each other in all beings, and in all things. They are love itself.

When people are in love, they feel as if they can do anything. This is the power of the Creator and his mate – his Power of creation. This has surfaced in their being when love first comes to them. If they're pure enough in their love, and they can keep it, this will remain and grow. Otherwise, it gets covered over by their usual surface personality. People who are doing yoga and are really working to be more conscious of what goes on inside themselves, and to purify themselves, have a good chance of keeping all of this beauty and love and strength.

And when people are pure enough and sensitive enough, they also feel as though the woman is a part of the man, not that the man is a part of the woman. This is not a belittlement of the woman. This doesn't make her inferior to the man. It is a fulfillment of their beings, in cosmic truth.

In today's world, where woman's equality is a very big issue, people need to think that men and women are exactly equal, and exactly the same. But that's not the issue. The issue is no more domination, no more abuse. It's another kind of equality. And everyone feels it's time for women to take their place in the world – but not for a woman to be a ‘man’ in the workplace. Or a man in government. (Or anywhere else, for that matter.) Now she will live her own truth. And this will enable the man to live his own truth. Both will be free.

When Satyavan takes Savitri into his arms – there, in the forest, alone – Sri Aurobindo first writes what Savitri feels. He says:

In a wide moment of two souls that meet
She felt her being flow into him as in waves
A river pours into a mighty sea.
As when a soul is merging into God
To live in Him for ever and know His joy,
Her consciousness grew aware of him alone
And all her separate self was lost in his. (p.410)

Then Sri Aurobindo writes what Satyavan feels.

He was aware of her enveloping him
And let her penetrate his very soul
As is a world by the world’s spirit filled,
As the mortal wakes into Eternity,
As the finite opens to the Infinite. (p.410)

They are one.

All throughout “The Book of Love”, Sri Aurobindo uses some few lines (considering the size of the subject), to tell us about many things that happen to Satyavan and Savitri, in their first meeting. All of these things can happen to us – and often they do happen. But they can happen over much longer periods of time. It depends on our consciousness – how purified we are, of lower movements, and how much we're able to perceive these things in ourselves. It also depends on how hard we work to keep them, and how much we're willing to accept these deep and complete changes in our being and in our lives. Because it becomes a complete new world.

Mother said that all love is Divine Love seeking to realize its aim in us. And the more we can keep it, the greater is our love. Divine Love is the ultimate giving. When we can be free of wanting to control, so that we can take what we want, and instead we can continue to give – we will receive all that we want through the action of Divine Love and its grace.

In the very early days of the Ashram, between 1918 and 1926, when there were very few sadhaks, after the meditation at 4:00 (or at 4:30) in the afternoon, some of the sadhaks would go to Sri Aurobindo's room. They would ask him questions, and he would speak to them on different subjects. A.B. Purani, who had been with Sri Aurobindo in his revolutionary days, took notes. Later these notes were published in a very large volume, called Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo.

On November 25th, 1924, Sri Aurobindo answered a letter asking about marriage as ordinary life (for reproduction), and marriage as the meeting together of the soul – the psychic being – of the man and the woman. The union of soul with soul in marriage. About the meeting of souls, Sri Aurobindo said:

“In the higher life there are two types, two gradations, of meeting of man and woman. One is the psychic union, the other is the spiritual.
         The man of high idealism – the poet, the artist – has a developed psychic being. In the ordinary man, it is not developed. For a psychically developed man to get a woman of the right type is rather difficult. But if such a union could come about it would be a great help to both of them.”[1]

Here in Savitri, Satyavan has described his life in terms of his spiritual seeking. And he says that now that Savitri has come, he will get what he has been searching for. And now Sri Aurobindo is going to speak about the spiritual union. The letter about marriage asked Sri Aurobindo how to find the right sort of woman for marriage. And Sri Aurobindo said:

“There is no hard and fast rule in these things. It is all to be found out by an inner perception. It is not a science, it is an art.”[2]

And then he spoke of the spiritual relation. He said:

“The spiritual relation between man and woman is the most difficult to achieve. The man seeking the higher divine life, the seeker after divine Consciousness and the Truth, – who is Purusha...”

(And ‘Purusha’ here means the Supreme Lord, who has his Shakti – his creative Energy – as we just talked about.)

“– if he meets the woman of the right type, the woman who is his Shakti, then his spiritual life, the life which he is to manifest, is enriched and becomes full. In this case also there is the psychic union between the two.
         In the case of those who have the psychic union of the proper kind to start with, the spiritual relation may gradually develop and manifest itself.”[3]

And then he said:

“In the spiritual union the woman who is the Shakti must be really a Power – that is to say, a powerful personality who can receive the help from the Purusha in the proper way. Each must be of real help to the other: this relation is the most difficult to attain.”[4]

And of course we know that in this case, Savitri is going to save her husband's life. She is a real Shakti; she has the power, and she will use it. And Sri Aurobindo says:

“These difficulties [of finding a Shakti and living a spiritual life with her] come to the Sadhaka [the one who is still seeking]; to the Siddha, the perfected soul, there is no difficulty. He knows fully well what is to be manifested. If his Shakti is there he knows where she is and he will get her.”[5]

Then a disciple asked Sri Aurobindo if the Shakti – the woman who is the man's Shakti – is necessary for the supramental yoga: the yoga that Sri Aurobindo has brought. Sri Aurobindo said:

“The Shakti is not necessary for the yoga: without the Shakti full knowledge, consciousness, power and ananda can be attained. But if these elements are to be brought to and manifested in life then the Shakti is necessary. If there is no Shakti then he cannot bring down the Knowledge, Power, Ananda etc. that are in him into life. He can, in that case, only prepare the way for the work to be done at a future time.”[6]

And this reflects again the concept that the Supreme Master puts out from himself his Power, the Divine Mother, to be his world – the world that we are.

In the Ashram, when Mother came to live with Sri Aurobindo, he said then his real work for the world started. He said that his work would have been impossible without her. He also said they were equal; he said they had the same consciousness. And Mother said that often.

When Sri Aurobindo describes the union of Savitri and Satyavan, he uses some unfamiliar words, and some of the things that are used in an Indian marriage. These customs come from the idea that it is the marriage of the eternal Lord and Spouse. And practically everything he describes has a marriage meaning – a marriage meaning familiar and dear to the Indian heart.

In an Indian marriage, the woman places a flower garland on the breast of the man. Here Savitri makes a garland of the wildflowers growing in the forest glade. She comes and lays it on the bosom of Satyavan.

It is the custom in India to touch the feet of someone we love and respect. In many families, children will bow and touch the parents' feet every morning. And this is a part of an Indian wedding: after the wife has garlanded the husband, she touches his feet. And here, Savitri bows and touches Satyavan's feet “with worshipping hands” (p.410).

And the idea that there is a complete self-giving, and the idea that a woman serves her husband as though he were the divine Lord. Sri Aurobindo tells us that Saviri made her life Satyavan's world, “for him to tread”. And she made her body “the room of his delight”. Then she made her heart “a remembrancer of bliss” (p.410). The definition of ‘remembrance’, as different from ‘memory’ – ‘remembrance’ is the ability to keep the memory of something. A ‘remembrancer’ is someone who reminds about something. So Savitri's heart has become something that will always bring her and always remind her the bliss she has with Satyavan. She will always live in the bliss of their union.

In an Indian wedding, the couples are usually married in a very small structure; they call it a ‘cupola’. Here, the glowing day itself – the very day – becomes their cupola.

Usually the couple's wrists are tied together by the priest, to symbolize that they are bound to each other. Here Sri Aurobindo writes that “Fate tied a knot with morning’s halo threads” (p.411). Their marriage is made by “the ministry of an auspice-hour”. ‘Auspice’ is a prophetic sign – especially a favorable prophetic sign. So this is a time, a prophecy, of something very favorable.

They are “Heart-bound” (not wrist-bound! but heart-bound), “before the sun, their marriage fire”, like the marriage-fire that is in all Indian weddings. The sacred verse, usually chanted by the pandit, is spoken by “the priest-wind” (p.411). And the whispering leaves are the choir – the choir that sings as love's twain join together and grow one.

And so, as Sri Aurobindo says:

The natural miracle was wrought once more:
In the immutable ideal world
One human moment was eternal made. (p.411)

So, Savitri. Book Five, Canto III: “Satyavan and Savitri”, part 3. Satyavan has already said to Savitri this:

Come nearer to me from thy car of light
On this green sward disdaining not our soil.
For here are secret spaces made for thee
Whose caves of emerald long to screen thy form.
Wilt thou not make this mortal bliss thy sphere?
Descend, O happiness, with thy moon-gold feet
Enrich earth’s floors upon whose sleep we lie. (p.408)

And now he says...

O my bright beauty’s princess Savitri,
By my delight and thy own joy compelled
Enter my life, thy chamber and thy shrine.
In the great quietness where spirits meet,
Led by my hushed desire into my woods
Let the dim rustling arches over thee lean;
One with the breath of things eternal live,
Thy heart-beats near to mine, till there shall leap
Enchanted from the fragrance of the flowers p.409
A moment which all murmurs shall recall
And every bird remember in its cry.”
Allured to her lashes by his passionate words
Her fathomless soul looked out at him from her eyes;
Passing her lips in liquid sounds it spoke.
This word alone she uttered and said all:
“O Satyavan, I have heard thee and I know;
I know that thou and only thou art he.”
Then down she came from her high carven car
Descending with a soft and faltering haste;
Her many-hued raiment glistening in the light
Hovered a moment over the wind-stirred grass,
Mixed with a glimmer of her body’s ray
Like lovely plumage of a settling bird.
Her gleaming feet upon the green-gold sward
Scattered a memory of wandering beams
And lightly pressed the unspoken desire of earth
Cherished in her too brief passing by the soil.
Then flitting like pale-brilliant moths her hands
Took from the sylvan verge’s sunlit arms
A load of their jewel-faces’ clustering swarms,
Companions of the spring-time and the breeze.
A candid garland set with simple forms
Her rapid fingers taught a flower song,
The stanzaed movement of a marriage hymn.
Profound in perfume and immersed in hue
They mixed their yearning’s coloured signs and made
The bloom of their purity and passion one.
A sacrament of joy in treasuring palms
She brought, flower-symbol of her offered life,
Then with raised hands that trembled a little now
At the very closeness that her soul desired,
This bond of sweetness, their bright union’s sign,
She laid on the bosom coveted by her love.
As if inclined before some gracious god p.410
Who has out of his mist of greatness shone
To fill with beauty his adorer’s hours,
She bowed and touched his feet with worshipping hands;
She made her life his world for him to tread
And made her body the room of his delight,
Her beating heart a remembrancer of bliss.
He bent to her and took into his own
Their married yearning joined like folded hopes;
As if a whole rich world suddenly possessed,
Wedded to all he had been, became himself,
An inexhaustible joy made his alone,
He gathered all Savitri into his clasp.
Around her his embrace became the sign
Of a locked closeness through slow intimate years,
A first sweet summary of delight to come,
One brevity intense of all long life.
In a wide moment of two souls that meet
She felt her being flow into him as in waves
A river pours into a mighty sea.
As when a soul is merging into God
To live in Him for ever and know His joy,
Her consciousness grew aware of him alone
And all her separate self was lost in his.
As a starry heaven encircles happy earth,
He shut her into himself in a circle of bliss
And shut the world into himself and her.
A boundless isolation made them one;
He was aware of her enveloping him
And let her penetrate his very soul
As is a world by the world’s spirit filled,
As the mortal wakes into Eternity,
As the finite opens to the Infinite.
Thus were they in each other lost awhile,
Then drawing back from their long ecstasy’s trance
Came into a new self and a new world
Each now was a part of the other’s unity, p.411
The world was but their twin self-finding’s scene
Or their own wedded being’s vaster frame.
On the high glowing cupola of the day
Fate tied a knot with morning’s halo threads
While by the ministry of an auspice-hour
Heart-bound before the sun, their marriage fire,
The wedding of the eternal Lord and Spouse
Took place again on earth in human forms:
In a new act of the drama of the world
The united Two began a greater age.
In the silence and murmur of that emerald world
And the mutter of the priest-wind’s sacred verse,
Amid the choral whispering of the leaves
Love’s twain had joined together and grew one.
The natural miracle was wrought once more:
In the immutable ideal world
One human moment was eternal made.
     Then down the narrow path where their lives had met
He led and showed to her her future world,
Love’s refuge and corner of happy solitude.
At the path’s end through a green cleft in the trees
She saw a clustering line of hermit-roofs
And looked now first on her heart’s future home,
The thatch that covered the life of Satyavan.
Adorned with creepers and red climbing flowers
It seemed a sylvan beauty in her dreams
Slumbering with brown body and tumbled hair
In her chamber inviolate of emerald peace.
Around it stretched the forest’s anchorite mood
Lost in the depths of its own solitude.
Then moved by the deep joy she could not speak,
A little depth of it quivering in her words,
Her happy voice cried out to Satyavan:
“My heart will stay here on this forest verge
And close to this thatched roof while I am far: p.412
Now of more wandering it has no need.
But I must haste back to my father’s house
Which soon will lose one loved accustomed tread
And listen in vain for a once cherished voice.
For soon I shall return nor ever again
Oneness must sever its recovered bliss
Or fate sunder our lives while life is ours.”
Once more she mounted on the carven car
And under the ardour of a fiery noon
Less bright than the splendour of her thoughts and dreams
She sped swift-reined, swift-hearted but still saw
In still lucidities of sight’s inner world
Through the cool-scented wood’s luxurious gloom
On shadowy paths between great rugged trunks
Pace towards a tranquil clearing Satyavan.
A nave of trees enshrined the hermit thatch,
The new deep covert of her felicity,
Preferred to heaven her soul’s temple and home.
This now remained with her, her heart’s constant scene.

  1. Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p.124
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., p.125
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.