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At the Feet of The Mother

Savitri Study Class 18-06 “The Crucial Choice”, pp. 474-476

Savitri Study Class with Dr Alok Pandey, Book 7 Canto 2

Savitri is face to face with the enormity of her grief as well as the enormity of her love. She must choose, for it is a moment of her destiny that is closing upon her. Even as she sits contemplating the curve of destiny she must choose, she hears an inner Command descending from the heights, a command that is a mandate and a reminder of her work and her mission.

As in the vigilance of the sleepless night
Through the slow heavy-footed silent hours,
Repressing in her bosom its load of grief,
She sat staring at the dumb tread of Time
And the approach of ever-nearing Fate,
A summons from her being’s summit came,
A sound, a call that broke the seals of Night.
Above her brows where will and knowledge meet
A mighty Voice invaded mortal space.
It seemed to come from inaccessible heights
And yet was intimate with all the world
And knew the meaning of the steps of Time
And saw eternal destiny’s changeless scene
Filling the far prospect of the cosmic gaze.
As the Voice touched, her body became a stark
And rigid golden statue of motionless trance,
A stone of God lit by an amethyst soul.
Around her body’s stillness all grew still:
Her heart listened to its slow measured beats,
Her mind renouncing thought heard and was mute:
“Why camest thou to this dumb deathbound earth,
This ignorant life beneath indifferent skies
Tied like a sacrifice on the altar of Time,
O spirit, O immortal energy,
If ’twas to nurse grief in a helpless heart
Or with hard tearless eyes await thy doom?
Arise, O soul, and vanquish Time and Death.”
But Savitri’s heart replied in the dim night:
“My strength is taken from me and given to Death.
Why should I lift my hands to the shut heavens
Or struggle with mute inevitable Fate
Or hope in vain to uplift an ignorant race
Who hug their lot and mock the saviour Light
And see in Mind wisdom’s sole tabernacle,
In its harsh peak and its inconscient base
A rock of safety and an anchor of sleep?
Is there a God whom any cry can move?
He sits in peace and leaves the mortal’s strength
Impotent against his calm omnipotent Law
And Inconscience and the almighty hands of Death.
What need have I, what need has Satyavan
To avoid the black-meshed net, the dismal door,
Or call a mightier Light into life’s closed room,
A greater Law into man’s little world?
Why should I strive with earth’s unyielding laws
Or stave off death’s inevitable hour?
This surely is best to pactise with my fate
And follow close behind my lover’s steps
And pass through night from twilight to the sun
Across the tenebrous river that divides
The adjoining parishes of earth and heaven.
Then could we lie inarmed breast upon breast,
Untroubled by thought, untroubled by our hearts,
Forgetting man and life and time and its hours,
Forgetting eternity’s call, forgetting God.”
The Voice replied: “Is this enough, O spirit?
And what shall thy soul say when it wakes and knows
The work was left undone for which it came?
Or is this all for thy being born on earth
Charged with a mandate from eternity,
A listener to the voices of the years,
A follower of the footprints of the gods,
To pass and leave unchanged the old dusty laws?
Shall there be no new tables, no new Word,
No greater light come down upon the earth
Delivering her from her unconsciousness,
Man’s spirit from unalterable Fate?
Cam’st thou not down to open the doors of Fate,
The iron doors that seemed for ever closed,
And lead man to Truth’s wide and golden road
That runs through finite things to eternity?
Is this then the report that I must make,
My head bowed with shame before the Eternal’s seat,—
His power he kindled in thy body has failed,
His labourer returns, her task undone?”
Then Savitri’s heart fell mute, it spoke no word.
But holding back her troubled rebel heart,
Abrupt, erect and strong, calm like a hill,
Surmounting the seas of mortal ignorance,
Its peak immutable above mind’s air,
A Power within her answered the still Voice:
“I am thy portion here charged with thy work,
As thou myself seated for ever above,
Speak to my depths, O great and deathless Voice,
Command, for I am here to do thy will.”

Savitri: 474 – 476

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