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At the Feet of The Mother

Call of the Mother (LP08)

Today we read several poems that mark a transition of Sri Aurobindo from a remarkable and brilliant person into a budding revolutionary and a yogi. The following poems have been read: (1) The Spring Child; (2) A Doubt; (3) Awake Mother (The Mother Awakes); (4) The Vedantin’s Prayer (a full text is given below).


The Spring Child

Of Spring is her name for whose bud and blooming
    We praise today the Giver,—
Of Spring and its sweetness clings about her
For her face is Spring and Spring’s without her,
    As loth to leave her.

See, it is summer; the brilliant sunlight
    Lies hard on stream and plain,
And all things wither with heats diurnal;
But she! how vanished things and vernal
    In her remain.

And almost indeed we repine and marvel
    To watch her bloom and grow;
For half we had thought our sweet bud could never
Bloom out, but must surely remain for ever
    The child we know.

But now though summer must come and autumn
    In God’s high governing
Yet I deem that her soul with soft insistence
Shall guard through all change the sweet existence
    And charm of Spring.

O dear child soul, our loved and cherished,
    For this thy days had birth,
Like some tender flower on a grey stone portal
To sweeten and flush with childhood immortal
    The ageing earth.

There are flowers in God’s garden of prouder blooming
    Brilliant and bold and bright,
The tulip and rose are fierier and brighter,
But this has a softer hue, a whiter
    And milder light.

Long be thy days in rain and sunshine,
    Often thy spring relume,
Gladdening thy mother’s heart with thy beauty,
Flowerlike doing thy gentle duty
    To be loved and bloom.

A Doubt

Many boons the new years make us
    But the old world’s gifts were three,
Dove of Cypris, wine of Bacchus,
    Pan’s sweet pipe in Sicily.

Love, wine, song, the core of living
    Sweetest, oldest, musicalest.
If at end of forward striving
    These, Life’s first, proved also best?


Awake Mother (The Mother Awakes)

It is midnight; the world is asleep in silence,
The Earth is asleep in the lap of darkness;
Asleep are the heavens, breathless the wrathful winds;
The stars twinkle not in the dense blackness of the clouds.
The birds wrap their eyes with their wings
And rest self-absorbed in their nests;
Animals wander not, nor are footsteps heard.
Then the Mother awakes;
The Mother awakes with a terrible cry.
The Mother awakes; opens Her frightful eyes, As though a pair of suns.

The Mother awakes, not a leaf moves;
The still flame of the lamp is dying in the room:
In the lonely paths of the city, in the fields and the woodlands and the hills
Plunges in sleep all life.
The surges of the sea-waters
Break not in laughter upon the shores:
Utterly still, unmoving, the ocean is voiceless.
Why then does the Mother awake?
Who can tell what has She heard and is awake?
In the night whose is the silent prayer that has awakened the Mother
To rise with a terrible cry?

When the Mother fell asleep, who ever hoped
That even in the midst of blind darkness She will awake?
Sunk in the night, void of hope, the heart broken for good in sorrow
Even in sleep is startled to hear the fall of a leaf.
The royal Fortune of the mightly Asura,
Proud and cunning and overpowering,
Has besieged the earth.
Suddenly a terrible cry is heard, the cry of the Mother;
Suddenly like the roar of hundreds of oceans is heard the voice of the Mother;
To awaken Her sons called aloud the Mother Like a thunder-clap.

With a grieving heaving heart was there none awake
In the darkest of night for the sake of the Mother?
A few only with saffron robes covering their bodies
Sat in the temple with the bare sword in hand,
Devotees of the terrible Mother,
To anoint with their own blood
The Mother’s feet, wakeful they passed the night.
Hence rose the Mother:
With a mighty thirst, in wrath awoke the Mother;
With a lion’s roar filling the universe awoke the Mother To awaken the world.

A raucous laughter spurts out of Her mouth, a lightning flash gleams in Her eyes;
Frightful is the blood-red flower of Her anger,
In wrath She swings in Her hands the heads of two titans.
The Mother rises and sends out a grim invocation.

Who art thou at this dead of night swinging the titan heads in Thy hands?
Thou sprayest rain of blood over the land.
The two eyes are like hearths of fire; fearful is the Mother,
Shaking the earth She roams about.

With a loud roar “Arise! Arise!”
Thy voice rises to chase
All sweet indolence.
It is our Mother!
She comes, on Her forehead burns Her eye of death.
Dancing to the rhythm of the clanging of Her necklace of human skulls,
Lo! the Mother comes.

“Arise, arise,” a violent voice calls
Gods and titans and men, all,
A cruel roar here, a high cry of joy there.
It is my Mother!
With burning eye of death upon Her forehead comes our Mother.
Our Mother comes, the human skulls of Her garland dance to tune.
In the midst of storm and battle, sword crashes against sword, body to body resounding;
Fire rains and rushes about in the fight, the skies are deafened
With all the fierce noises, the ears burst, the earth sways,
Blood flows and flows free as though flowing streams.
When, oh when shall we know the Mother?
When Her call goes out like the ocean roar
Wiping off with Her mighty breath the whole kingdom of the titans and the violent goddess comes smiling
Then shall we know the Mother.
The Mother, when She dances bathing in the stream of flowing blood
Then surely we know, it is the Mother awakened at last.


The Vedantin’s Prayer

Spirit Supreme
    Who musest in the silence of the heart,
Eternal gleam,

Thou only Art!
    Ah, wherefore with this darkness am I veiled,
My sunlit part

By clouds assailed?
    Why am I thus disfigured by desire,
Distracted, haled,

Scorched by the fire
    Of fitful passions, from thy peace out-thrust
Into the gyre

Of every gust?
    Betrayed to grief, o’ertaken with dismay,
Surprised by lust?

Let not my grey
    Blood-clotted past repel thy sovereign ruth,
Nor even delay,

O lonely Truth!
    Nor let the specious gods who ape Thee still
Deceive my youth.

These clamours still;
    For I would hear the eternal voice and know
The eternal Will.

This brilliant show
    Cumbering the threshold of eternity

The undimmed eye,
    The heart grown young and clear. Rebuke in me
These hopes that cry

So deafeningly,
    Remove my sullied centuries, restore
My purity.

O hidden door
    Of Knowledge, open! Strength, fulfil thyself!
Love, outpour!

[Sri Aurobindo, Collected Poems, CWSA 2]

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