Guiding Light of The Month

Grant, O Divine Teacher, that we may know and accomplish our mission upon earth better and better, more and more, that we may make full use of all the energies that are in us, and Thy sovereign Presence become manifest ever more perfectly in the silent depths of our soul, in all our thoughts, all our feelings, all our actions. - The Mother

Death in the forest


Something had come there conscious, vast and dire.

                                       


Botanical Name: Gomphrena Globosa
Common Name: Globe Amarnath
Spiritual Significance: Integral Immortality


Near her she felt a silent shade immense
Chilling the noon with darkness for its back.
An awful hush had fallen upon the place:                 
There was no cry of birds, no voice of beasts.

-       Savitri, Sri Aurobindo

From the Editor's desk (December 2018)



This month’s Newsletter moves on with Savitri’s journey. In the past few issues we saw Savitri’s inner journey, culminating in her discovery and identification with the Psychic Being. In this issue, we find the yearlong agony of the knowledge of Satyavan’s fate moving towards its expression before Savitri. We may recall here Narad’s prophesy, made exactly a year past before Savitri, Ashwapathy and the Queen Mother:

“In one brief year when this bright hour flies back

And perches careless on a branch of Time,

This sovereign glory ends heaven lent to earth,

This splendour vanishes from the mortal’s sky:
Heaven’s greatness came, but was too great to stay.
Twelve swift-winged months are given to him and her;
This day returning Satyavan must die.”
                                                 

“This day” had arrived and knocked on Savitri’s door. In a brief 5-paged canto, ‘Death in the Forest’, Sri Aurobindo brings us through the culmination of Savitri’s year-long ordeal. “This day returning”, Satyavan dies. In that one brief year, Savitri herself has progressed in her consciousness. We saw her inner greatness come up to the surface and doing its work of transformation. She now was a changed being, illumined by the knowledge of her innermost world, enriched largely by her identification with the Divine portion in her, the Psychic as well as her alignment with the higher worlds of Light above her. Even so, she suffered in her heart the pang of Satyavan’s impending death. Sri Aurobindo paints a graphic representation of the last earthly moments Satyavan and Savitri spend together. It is as intense as the agony and pang suffered by her. One sees the brave soul, Savitri, fronting it all, alone, unknown to others. What strength must be hers! When she sought the permission of Satyavan’s mother to walk into the forest with Satyavan for the last time before be would be slain by dire fate,

She spoke but with guarded lips and tranquil face
Lest some stray word or some betraying look
Should let pass into the mother’s unknowing breast, Slaying all happiness and need to live,

A dire foreknowledge of the grief to come.
Only the needed utterance passage found:

All else she pressed back into her anguished heart
And forced upon her speech an outward peace.”

One often faces in day to day life situations such as these, though usually of a far lesser magnitude, where one is besieged by the urge to be transparent opposed with the need to be opaque. However,  Savitri appears clear in this ‘conflict’. She is probably convinced of a greater good. She seemed to be buying time. So too did she watch over Satyavan, watching over his every move with an intensity, all concealed within her. Not once did she let loose the weight of what she was carrying within her. Not once did Satyavan suspect what was amiss in her heavy heart within.

Another poignant passage in this canto was when Satyavan wielded his axe for the third time and he fell, himself stricken by the axe of Death. The moment she dreaded comes before her, but now, Savitri showed her true self of power:

All grief and fear were dead within her now

And a great calm had fallen. The wish to lessen

His suffering, the impulse that opposes pain
Were the one mortal feeling left. It passed:
Griefless and strong she waited like the gods.

And we see another side of Savitri from hence; an epitome of still, godly strength she sat. The real task for which she came was about to begin; she was poised, and ready.