Guiding Light of The Month

O Lord, how ardently do I call and implore Thy love! Grant that my aspiration may be intense enough to awaken the same aspiration everywhere: oh, may good- ness, justice and peace reign as supreme masters, may ignorant egoism be overcome, darkness be suddenly illu- minated by Thy pure Light; may the blind see, the deaf hear, may Thy law be proclaimed in every place and, in a constantly progressive union, in an ever more perfect harmony, may all, like one single being, stretch out their arms towards Thee to identify themselves with Thee and manifest Thee upon earth. - The Mother

Her rapid fingers taught a flower song

There is recognition in the depths of their being, joy wells up, yet they strive for understanding speech. There is resistance from "the screen of the external sense", the inner sight is impeded, the right words are slow in coming. Satyavan first comes out of the trance of fascination and apostrophises her as one might a goddess who has swum across one's view:

      Whence hast thou dawned filling my spirit's days,
      Brighter than summer, brighter than my flowers,
      Into the lonely borders of my life,
      O Sunlight moulded like a golden maid?

Not unused to the denizens of the upper air, Satyavan has in the past heard the "centaur's wizard song", glimpsed the apsaras in their abandon, and "beheld the princes of the Sun"; has she come too from "the Thunderer's worlds?" Perhaps she will condescend to abide with mortals:

      If our time-vexed affections thou canst feel,
      Earth's ease of simple things can satisfy,
      If thy glance can dwell content on earthly soil,
      And this celestial summary of delight,
      Thy golden body, dally with fatigue
      Oppressing with its grace our terrain, while
      The frail sweet passing taste of earthly food
      Delays thee and the torrent's leaping wine,
      Descend. Let thy journey cease, come down to us.

His father's hermitage is near, where "bare, simple is the sylvan hermit-life"; there she can find a "resting chamber" fit for her.

      Savitri, shaking herself free from the magic web of his echoing voice, tells her name—"I am Savitri, Princess of Madra"—and asks in turn for his, and why he is content to abide in the forest's inaccessible solitudes. He tells his story too; he is Satyavan, the Shalwa King Dyumatsena's son—but a king no more, for he has lost eyesight and kingdom both:

      Outcast from empire of the outer light,
      Lost to the comradeship of seeing men,
      He sojourns in two solitudes, within
      And in the solemn rustle of the woods.

And so has Satyavan been led to cultivate "the frankness of the primal earth", with the sunlight's companionship in day-time, and "the moonbeam's silver ecstasy" shaping his sleep at night. Nature's ministry has been gentle and unfailing, and has given him intimations vast and profound; kingfisher, swan, pranked butterfly, peacock, spotted deer, these and other "high beauty's visitants" have found ways of reaching to his soul. Above all he says,

I carved my vision out of wood and stone;
I caught the echoes of a word supreme
And metred the rhythm-beats of infinity
And listened through music for the eternal Voice.

He has seen fragments of humanity, the Self obscured beyond recognition, each living "in himself and for himself alone"; and he has "sat with the forest sages in their trance" and pierced the veil of the many to reach the presence of the One. Yet matter's stubborn resistance to change has defeated him, he has failed to convert the Inconscience, and Death and the Void are giant spectres still. If only Savitri would share Satyavan's life, could they not with their joint efforts succeed where singly he had failed?

      But Savitri would like Satyavan to continue speaking—it is music to her ears—till her spirit's intimations arm her 'mortal mind' with the power to see and the will to accept. And Satyavan's heart melts in "many-coloured waves of speech" and floods her with the joy of growing recognition. Satyavan describes his ardours and longings, his strivings and realisations; he has roamed in dark caverns with thought for his lantern; he has made a deep study of logic and semantics, ethics and metaphysics; he has seen through matter's atomic universe, its "secret laws and sorceries"; he has explored aesthetics, and sought in beauty and art the clue to the still elusive ultimate Truth; yet one or the other has always failed him, the hither or the thither shore. But Savitri's very appearance is like a cure for all Satyavan's earlier frustrations. From his heart's depths comes the cry:

       A strange new world swims to me in thy gaze
       Approaching like a star from unknown heavens;
       A cry of spheres comes with thee and a song
      Of flaming gods...
      Come nearer to me from thy car of light
      On this green sward disdaining not our soil...
      O my bright beauty's princess Savitri,
      By my delight and thy own joy compelled
      Enter my life, thy chamber and thy shrine.

"I know that thou and only thou art he," says Savitri as she steps down from her car "with a soft and faltering haste". Then follows a passage of great sensuous beauty touched also by the accents of the purer poetry of the soul. The woman whose whole response has been awakened offering her love and herself to the man who has kindled this fire of ardour and adoration in her, is the archetype of the world's most thrilling and most moving romantic poetry. There is a traditional ritual about this sacrificial offering which is the basis of life's perennial resurrection. In India from times immemorial it is the girl who advances, bashfully yet bravely, with garland in hand, and so does Savitri here:

      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,...
      She bowed and touched his feet with
      worshipping hands;...

Satyavan humbly bends to receive her and gather her into an embrace, and Savitri feels "her being flow into him as in waves/A river pours into a mighty sea". The river has found the sea, the mortal has wakened into Eternity. This is the phoenix hour, the time of their ineffable union. They are married already in the eyes of Heaven, and the symbol rites take their own course:

      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:...

The priest-wind chants the mantras, the leaves hymn the "choral whisperings", and "one human moment was eternal made".

      Now Satyavan leads Savitri to their future home, and calm and content possess her heart. But before she can rest in this felicity she needs must return to Madra and tell Aswapati the choice she has made. But she will return, nor ever again agree to part from Satyavan. So saying she mounts her car once more, and speeds "swift-reined, swift-hearted" towards her parental home; but in the "still lucidities of sight's inner world" she is with Satyavan still in his hermit thatch behind the nave of forest trees.

(“Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri – A study of the cosmic epic”, Dr. Premanandakumar, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry)

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