Guiding Light of The Month

WHY all this noise, all this movement, this vain and futile agitation; why this whirlwind carrying men away like a swarm of flies caught in a storm? How sad is the sight of all that wasted energy, all those useless efforts! When will they stop dancing like puppets on a string, pulled they know not by whom or what? When will they find time to sit quietly and go within, to recollect themselves and open that inner door which screens from them Thy priceless treasures, Thy infinite boons? - The Mother

My father, I have chosen. This is done.


In silent bounds bordering the mortal's plane
Crossing a wide expanse of brilliant peace
Narad the heavenly sage from Paradise
Came chanting through the large and lustrous air.

Narad is Heaven's minstrel and messenger in one, but he can jumble his functions well so that his deeper purposes cannot at once be seen. What brings him from the spaces of heaven to "these rooms of a see-saw game of death and life?" As he wings and sings his way to Aswapati's abode, the seer rapidly reads as from an open book the secrets of life; the cosmic panorama unrolls before him, he passes from mind to the realm of material things; and what he sees, what he reads, he tunes to immortal song. As he gazes at the terrestrial play, his mood changes, his voice quivers with pathos and pity, and he chants the still sad music of humanity. He sings of the beginnings, "how stars were made and life began"; he sings of dumb matter and its veiled self, "its blind unerring occult mystery"; he sings the saga of darkness yearning towards the Light, of death aspiring to immortality; of man and the blossoming of his mind and the throb of his soul and the ache of his brooding Love; and also of his future and his destined rise to the godhead:
     
He sang of the glory and marvel still to be born,
Of Godhead throwing off at last its veil,
Of bodies made divine and life made bliss,
Immortal sweetness clasping immortal might,

As he steps into Aswapati's palace, Narad's face wears "a beautiful mask of antique joy", and the king and queen give him a royal welcome, and for an hour he feasts their ears with his "measured chant" bespeaking the tale of human joys and woes:

He sang to them of the lotus-heart of love
With all its thousand luminous buds of truth,...
And one day it shall hear a blissful voice
And in the garden of the Spouse shall bloom
When she is seized by her discovered lord.

Even as Narad sings of this transfiguring marvel, the miracle of the bud of the human heart's sudden efflorescence under the warmth of Love, there appears Savitri herself before them as if in quick fulfilment of the sage's prophetic song. Narad himself is taken aback, but as he flings on her "his vast immortal look", knowledge streams into him, and there is nothing that he cannot see. Yet he holds back this shaft of foreknowledge but rather gives vent to his seeming sense of wonder and glorious surmise. Who is this marvel, the flame-born, the beauty-arrayed? Can the halo of love bring about such a wondrous sea-change and cast a miracle-light on a human frame? Narad is so touched with ecstasy that he cries out to her:

From what green glimmer of glades
Retreating into dewy silences
Or half-seen verge of waters moon-betrayed
Bringst thou this glory of enchanted eyes?...
Reveal, O winged with light, whence thou hast flown
Hastening bright-hued through the green tangled earth,
Thy body rhythmical with the spring-bird's call.

Narad has travelled oft in the realms of this earth and the other earths; but this vision is like no other he has seen. Here is spring poised towards summer, here is morning making towards the noon, here girlhood glows into womanhood, and here is earth's hope straining towards fruition. Narad's sudden immortal gaze has seized the truth behind the layers of appearance, he knows Savitri's high destiny on earth, he knows too how her path will be strewn with difficulty and danger. Although he has striven to rein back knowledge, the words escape him all the same:

O thou who hast come to this great perilous world
Now only seen through the splendour of thy dreams,
Where hardly love and beauty can live safe,
Thyself a being dangerously great,...
As high, as happy might thy waking be!
If for all time doom could be left to sleep!

The dreaming—and the waking; and the shadow of doom in between, this is what Narad sees, and the word is almost spoken. The dream is vivid, being decked in golden hues. Savitri has been to an enchanted grove, she has drunk a joy from no earthly cup, her soul has "answered to a Word unknown". The "ravishing flutes of heaven" are still echoing in the secret chambers of her heart. The "thrill of a remembered clasp" burns into her still. But can reality rise to the expectation of the splendour of her dreams? Is the world of reality safe enough for love and beauty to live in peace? Isn't doom always round the comer, as it were!

      Narad has spoken one word too many; he checks himself too late. Aswapati has "marked the dubious close" and inferred behind the words a sinister hint, but he covers up his anxiety with tact and asks the sage rather to bless his child, who is his treasure and his sole hope and only heir:

Behold her, singer with the prescient gaze,
And let thy blessing chant that this fair child
Shall pour the nectar of a sorrowless life
Around her from her lucid heart of love,
Heal with her bliss the tired breast of earth
And cast like a happy snare felicity.

What can Narad say, knowing as he does that "words are vain and Fate is lord"? Assuming, therefore, a mere human curiosity, he asks about the "mission" from which Savitri has returned with "Paradise made visible in her eyes". Aswapati turns to Savitri, and she gives the answer in a few chosen words sufficient to the occasion:

I have obeyed my heart, I have heard its call.
On the borders of a dreaming wilderness
Mid Shalwa's giant hills and brooding woods
In his thatched hermitage Dyumatsena dwells,
Blind, exiled, outcast, once a mighty king.
The son of Dyumatsena, Satyavan,
I have met on the wild forest's lonely verge.
My father, I have chosen. This is done.

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

No comments: