Loretta reads Savitri:Five.II "Satyavan" part 1

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Transcript of:
Savitri: Book Five, Canto II (part 1 of 2)
by Loretta, 2018 (18:36)
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Savitri Book 5 Canto II icon.jpg  Loretta reads Savitri
Book Five: The Book of Love
Canto II: Satyavan
Part 1 of 2, pages 392-395
Loretta Savitri single icon.png

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Today is the day when Savitri will find her mate, Satyavan. It is a day of fate. Sri Aurobindo opens this canto with the words:

All she remembered on this day of Fate (p.392)

And then he goes on to describe the beautiful place of their meeting, as it is seen through Savitri's eyes. Sunshine; groves, full of flowers; the green grasses; the breeze is like a sigh of happiness. The endless woods, the high mountains. He says:

Earth in this beautiful refuge free from cares
Murmured to the soul a song of strength and peace. (p.392)

And then:

Here first she met on the uncertain earth
The one for whom her heart had come so far. (p.393)

There's an author's note at the beginning of the book, where Sri Aurobindo says, “Satyavan is the soul carrying the divine truth of being within itself but descended into the grip of death and ignorance” (xvii). And in other places he says that the Supreme Master – the Supreme – is the soul. And the Divine Mother is nature.

In Book One, Canto IV, he explains how the Supreme is incarnated in a human body, by saying that he has a “mortal session in body’s house”. That he is “An aimless traveller between birth and death” (p.65). He says:

The All-Conscious ventured into Ignorance,
The All-Blissful bore to be insensible.
Incarnate in a world of strife and pain,
He puts on joy and sorrow like a robe
And drinks experience like a strengthening wine. (p.66)

The Supreme does all this through his divine Force, the Divine Mother. Her only desire is to bring him into his full consciousness, through all the evolution of the universe – the universe that she creates, and that she is. He, the soul; she, nature.

Here, as Satyavan, the Supreme Master is the soul. In the author's note at the beginning of the book, Sri Aurobindo says that “Savitri is the Divine Word, daughter of the Sun, goddess of the supreme Truth who comes down and is born to save” (p.xvii). And elsewhere he has also said that she is the Divine Mother. She is meeting her lord in light and in darkness.

This is our destiny – our purpose of existence. It is realized through many, many births and experiences. Satyavan is the highest of mankind in his development, the crest of the wave of God – the wave of God that is the universe. Here we first see him as Savitri first sees him:

A tablet of young wisdom was his brow;
Freedom’s imperious beauty curved his limbs,
The joy of life was on his open face.
His look was a wide daybreak of the gods,
His head was a youthful Rishi’s touched with light,
His body was a lover’s and a king’s. (p.393)

Then Sri Aurobindo tells us how this beautiful being, led by the wisdom of an adverse fate, has been shaped and molded by growing up in the solitary forest and wilderness. He is “A foster-child of beauty and solitude”, and “A brother of the sunshine and the sky” (p.393). He has learned life in communion with the ancient Mother, our earth. As he has lived and worked, in all that the forest of the earth has to give to man.

He has learned from the voices of the sun, the voices of the star and flame. He has learned from stream, and woods, and wild things. He is ”A Veda-knower of the unwritten book” (p.393), becoming wise through life itself. “The mastery free natures have was his”. He was “One with the single Spirit inhabiting all” (p.394).

And on this fateful day – fateful for him, as well as for Savitri – the spirit's spell of destiny on his feet has drawn him away from his usual paths, into the beautiful sunlit spaces. Savitri is just passing through – “The golden virgin in her carven car” (p.384). And on this day of fate, on her fate-led journey, she sees him for the first time at the edge of the green forest in the sunlight. Between “green relief and golden ray” (p.393).

At first, Savitri sees Satyavan only as a harmonious part of the beautiful scenery. Through this whole long journey, she's been searching for her life's partner – but she doesn't expect to find him here, in the wild solitary woods (!). Sri Aurobindo writes:

The heedless scout beneath her tenting lids
Admired indifferent beauty and cared not
To wake her body’s spirit to its king. (p.395)

But she does not pass on as she had thought she was going to do. Because suddenly, her vision settled. And touched by the god, her vision was caught – and Savitri was caught. And all was changed.

For suddenly her heart looked out at him,
And knew one nearer than its own close strings. (p.395)

The Book of Love, “Satyavan”...


Canto Two
Satyavan
 
All she remembered on this day of Fate,
The road that hazarded not the solemn depths
But turned away to flee to human homes,
The wilderness with its mighty monotone,
The morning like a lustrous seer above,
The passion of the summits lost in heaven,
The titan murmur of the endless woods.
As if a wicket gate to joy were there
Ringed in with voiceless hint and magic sign,
Upon the margin of an unknown world
Reclined the curve of a sun-held recess;
Groves with strange flowers like eyes of gazing nymphs
Peered from their secrecy into open space,
Boughs whispering to a constancy of light
Sheltered a dim and screened felicity,
And slowly a supine inconstant breeze
Ran like a fleeting sigh of happiness
Over slumbrous grasses pranked with green and gold.
Hidden in the forest’s bosom of loneliness
Amid the leaves the inmate voices called,
Sweet like desires enamoured and unseen,
Cry answering to low insistent cry.
Behind slept emerald dumb remotenesses,
Haunt of a Nature passionate, veiled, denied
To all but her own vision lost and wild.
Earth in this beautiful refuge free from cares
Murmured to the soul a song of strength and peace.
Only one sign was there of a human tread:
A single path, shot thin and arrowlike
Into this bosom of vast and secret life,
Pierced its enormous dream of solitude.
Here first she met on the uncertain earth p.393
The one for whom her heart had come so far.
As might a soul on Nature’s background limned
Stand out for a moment in a house of dream
Created by the ardent breath of life,
So he appeared against the forest verge
Inset twixt green relief and golden ray.
As if a weapon of the living Light,
Erect and lofty like a spear of God
His figure led the splendour of the morn.
Noble and clear as the broad peaceful heavens
A tablet of young wisdom was his brow;
Freedom’s imperious beauty curved his limbs,
The joy of life was on his open face.
His look was a wide daybreak of the gods,
His head was a youthful Rishi’s touched with light,
His body was a lover’s and a king’s.
In the magnificent dawning of his force
Built like a moving statue of delight
He illumined the border of the forest page.
Out of the ignorant eager toil of the years
Abandoning man’s loud drama he had come
Led by the wisdom of an adverse Fate
To meet the ancient Mother in her groves.
In her divine communion he had grown
A foster-child of beauty and solitude,
Heir to the centuries of the lonely wise,
A brother of the sunshine and the sky,
A wanderer communing with depth and marge.
A Veda-knower of the unwritten book
Perusing the mystic scripture of her forms,
He had caught her hierophant significances,
Her sphered immense imaginations learned,
Taught by sublimities of stream and wood
And voices of the sun and star and flame
And chant of the magic singers on the boughs
And the dumb teaching of four-footed things. p.394
Helping with confident steps her slow great hands
He leaned to her influence like a flower to rain
And, like the flower and tree a natural growth,
Widened with the touches of her shaping hours.
The mastery free natures have was his
And their assent to joy and spacious calm;
One with the single Spirit inhabiting all,
He laid experience at the Godhead’s feet;
His mind was open to her infinite mind,
His acts were rhythmic with her primal force;
He had subdued his mortal thought to hers.
That day he had turned from his accustomed paths;
For One who, knowing every moment’s load,
Can move in all our studied or careless steps,
Had laid the spell of destiny on his feet
And drawn him to the forest’s flowering verge.
      At first her glance that took life’s million shapes
Impartially to people its treasure-house
Along with sky and flower and hill and star,
Dwelt rather on the bright harmonious scene.
It saw the green-gold of the slumbrous sward,
The grasses quivering with the slow wind’s tread,
The branches haunted by the wild bird’s call.
Awake to Nature, vague as yet to life,
The eager prisoner from the Infinite,
The immortal wrestler in its mortal house,
Its pride, power, passion of a striving God,
It saw this image of veiled deity,
This thinking master creature of the earth,
This last result of the beauty of the stars,
But only saw like fair and common forms
The artist spirit needs not for its work
And puts aside in memory’s shadowy rooms.
A look, a turn decides our ill-poised fate.
Thus in the hour that most concerned her all,
Wandering unwarned by the slow surface mind, p.395
The heedless scout beneath her tenting lids
Admired indifferent beauty and cared not
To wake her body’s spirit to its king.
So might she have passed by on chance ignorant roads
Missing the call of Heaven, losing life’s aim,
But the god touched in time her conscious soul.
Her vision settled, caught and all was changed.
Her mind at first dwelt in ideal dreams,
Those intimate transmuters of earth’s signs
That make known things a hint of unseen spheres,
And saw in him the genius of the spot,
A symbol figure standing mid earth’s scenes,
A king of life outlined in delicate air.
Yet this was but a moment’s reverie;
For suddenly her heart looked out at him,
The passionate seeing used thought cannot match,
And knew one nearer than its own close strings.
All in a moment was surprised and seized,
All in inconscient ecstasy lain wrapped
Or under imagination’s coloured lids
Held up in a large mirror-air of dream,
Broke forth in flame to recreate the world,
And in that flame to new things she was born.
...