Savitri is Sri Aurobindo’s major poetic work, an epic in blank-verse of about 24,000 lines in which a tale from the Mahabharata becomes a symbol of the human soul’s spiritual quest and destiny.
“The tale of Satyavan and Savitri”, Sri Aurobindo noted, “is recited in the Mahabharata as a story of conjugal love conquering death”. Sri Aurobindo has widened the original legend and turned it into a symbol in which the soul of man, represented by Satyavan, is delivered from the grip of death and ignorance through the love and power of the Divine Mother, incarnated upon earth as Savitri.
Sri Aurobindo worked on this poem for more than thirty years. When a disciple asked why he kept rewriting it, he replied: “That is very simple. I used Savitri as a means of ascension. I began it on a certain mental level, each time I could reach a higher level I rewrote it from that level. . . In fact Savitri has not been regarded by me as a poem to be written and finished, but as a field of experimentation to see how far poetry could be written from one’s own yogic consciousnes and how that could be made creative.”
The Mother considered Savitri to be “the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s vision” and called it “that marvellous prophetic poem which will be humanity’s guide towards its future realisation.”
“O strong forerunner, I have heard thy cry.
One shall descend and break the iron Law,
Change Nature’s doom by the lone spirit’s power.
A limitless Mind that can contain the world,
A sweet and violent heart of ardent calms
Moved by the passions of the gods shall come.
All mights and greatnesses shall join in her;
Beauty shall walk celestial on the earth,
Delight shall sleep in the cloud-net of her hair,
And in her body as on his homing tree
Immortal Love shall beat his glorious wings.
A music of griefless things shall weave her charm;
The harps of the Perfect shall attune her voice,
The streams of Heaven shall murmur in her laugh,
Her lips shall be the honeycombs of God,
Her limbs his golden jars of ecstasy,
Her breasts the rapture-flowers of Paradise.
She shall bear Wisdom in her voiceless bosom,
Strength shall be with her like a conqueror”s sword
And from her eyes the Eternal”s bliss shall gaze.
A seed shall be sown in Death”s tremendous hour,
A branch of heaven transplant to human soil;
Nature shall overleap her mortal step;
Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will.”
– Sri Aurobindo, Savitri
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