Sri Aurobindo’s Earliest Draft of Savitri (1916): Fifth Installment

Dear Friends,

Sri Aurobindo had started working on the earliest draft of Savitri in August 1916. Nirodbaran, who has portrayed how Savitri reached its final form in his Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo, writes about this draft:

“The draft exists in two sections. The first comprising Book I and a few pages of Book II… Book I is complete, Book II unfinished. The spelling of the three chief characters is: Savithri, Uswapathy, Suthyavan. In the first Book, after a short description of Night and Dawn, there is a very brief account of the Yoga done by Uswapathy, then Savithri is born, grows up and goes out, at Uswapathy’s prompting, to find her mate. She finds Suthyavan. In the meantime Narad comes down to earth and visits Uswapathy’s palace. There is a talk between the two; Savithri returns from her quest and discovery, and a talk takes place among the three.” (pp. 173-174, 1995 edition)

We are happy to announce that Overman Foundation has received permission from Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to publish the earliest draft of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri in its online forum. We are extremely grateful to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, for giving us the said permission.

The first four installments of the earliest draft of Savitri were published in the online forum of Overman Foundation on 4 April, 9 April, 16 April and 23 April 2013 respectively.

The fifth installment—which marks the beginning of Book II of the epic—is published here.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee

Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

SÂVITHRÎ

BOOK II

So she was left alone in the huge wood
By Death the god confronted, holding still
Her husband’s corpse on her abandoned breast.
She measured not her loss with helpless thoughts,
She rose not up to face the dreadful god,
But over him she loved her soul leaned out
From a far stillness. There into some heaven
Of birth and silence lifted all that here
Is hope and sorrow and trembling passion, changed,
Losing their natures and what was once her heart
Became a hushed eternity of love.
Not in her body they grew. A strain delivered
Vibrant great chords of Force by Nature tuned
For her eternal music yet unheard
Which the stars dream of listening as they wheel.
So one day all our nature’s sins shall find
Their strong redemption; slain they shall ascend
Into the purity from which they erred,—
Discords redeemed to help a music large,
Transfigured, lifted up on fiery wings.
Her mortal being seized by dreadful hands
Felt the last agony of passionate change
That was its quivering into godhead. It grew
A high and lonely ecstasy of will
That left her like a mighty eagle poised
In the void: thought perished and her mind seemed slain.
But from a growing secrecy of light
The greater spirit in some world within
Griefless above her, yet herself, unveiled
Its frontal glories and miraculously
Outlined its body of power. Leaned from above
Ancient and strong as on a wind-free summit,
Calm, violent, fiery-footed, puissant-winged,
Over the abyss one brooded who was she.
Sole now that spirit turned its mastering gaze
On life and things as if inheriting
A work unfinished from her halting past
When yet the mind, a passionate learner, toiled
And the crude instruments were blindly moved.
And like a tree recovering from the wind
She raised her noble head. Fronting her eyes
Something stood there unearthly, sombre, grand,
A limitless denial of all being
That wore the wonder of a shape. The Form
Bore the deep pity of destroying gods
In its appalling eyes. Eternal Night
In the dire beauty of an immortal face
Pitying arose, receiving all that lives
Into its fathomless heart for ever. Its limbs
Were monuments of transience and beneath
Brows of unwearying calm large godlike lids
Silent beheld the writhing that is life.
The two opposed each other with their eyes,
Woman and universal god. They seemed
Two equal powers that stand unconquered, left
The last huge-purposed among trivial things,
Scanning each other in the eternal lists
Like vast antagonists before they meet
In world-wide combat to possess alone.
Then to her ears silencing earthly sounds,
Forbidding the heart-strings with its iron cry
Arose a sad and formidable voice
That seemed the whole adverse world’s. “Unclasp,” it said,
“Thy passionate influence and relax, O slave
Of Nature, thy grasp elemental. Wrap no more
This spirit’s body in the abandoned robe
That with its texture coarse concealed the gods.
Entomb thy passion in its living grave,
Confess thy days an error and endure
The inevitable end of hope and love.”
It ceased, she moved not, and it spoke again
Lowering its mighty key to human chords,
“Woman, thy husband suffers.” Sâvithrî
Renounced the lifeless body from her clasp.
Softly she laid it down on the smooth grass,
As oft she had laid her living husband’s head
When from their couch she rose in the white dawn
Called by her daily tasks. So now as called,
Unknowing to what work, because her spirit
Above watched flaming silent still, she rose,
Waiting whatever impulse should arise
Out of the eternal depths and cast its surge.
Then Death the King leaned boundless down, as leans
Night over tired lands, and as if freed
Out of a physical dream, leaving uncared for
His mind forsaken of that poor dead earth,
Another Suthyavân arose and stood
Between the mortal woman and the god.
He was or else he seemed a shape of light
Found shadowy to the feeling out of mind
Which missed the warmth of bright material suns.
Thus each sees what transcends his conscious touch
And dreams things greater than himself are dreams:
Therefore heaven’s shapes are distant to our view,—
The gleam of hopes we hardly dare believe,
Far luminous symbols of a truth unseen
Kept for a happier sense in higher worlds.
So now her senses, though rebuked, believed
The dead corpse real, this a silent shade.
Still for a while was that bright Suthyavân,
Between two realms he stood, not wavering,
But in a quiet strong expectancy
Like one who, sightless, listens for a command.
But now he moved away. Behind him Death
Went slowly like a shadowy herdsman dark
Behind some wanderer from his mournful herds.
And Sâvithrî followed her husband’s steps,
Planting her human feet where his had trod,
Into the silence of that other world.
At first they seemed to her still on earthly soil
To journey strangely with unhuman paces
Through a thick stress of woods. For though to her vision
Only were offered in a spaceless dream
The luminous spirit gliding stilly on
And the great shadow travelling behind,
Her senses felt a vague green world of trees
Surround them and in troubled branches knew
Uncertain treadings of a fitful wind,
Earth stood aloof yet near; it offered her
Its sweetness and its greenness mid a dream,
Its brilliance suave of well-loved vivid hues,
Sunlight arriving at its golden noon,
The birds’ calling or the sweet siege of cries:
She bore dim fragrances, far murmurs touched
But then the god grew mighty and remote
In alien spaces and the soul she loved
Lost its consenting nearness to her life.
They seemed to enlarge away, drawn by some great
Pale distance, from the warm control of earth
And her grown far. Now, now they would escape!
Then flaming from her body’s nest alarmed
Her violent spirit soared at Suthyavân,
As in a terror and a wrath divine
A winged she-eagle threatened in her young.
So with a rush of pinions and a cry
She crossed the borders of dividing sense.
Her trance knew not of sun or earth or world,
She knew not of herself or Sâvithrî;
All was one boundless grasp of unnamed force
And absolute possession,— quivering, seized
Its prey, joy, origin, Suthyavân alone.
But when her mind awoke once more in Time,
Compelled to shape the lineaments of things
And live in borders, the three moved together
Alone in a new world where souls were not,
But only living moods. A strange, still, weird
Country was round her, strange far skies above,
A doubting space where dreaming objects lived
Within themselves their one unchanging thought.
Weird was that road which like fear hastening
To that of which it had most terror, led
Phantasmal between those two conscious rocks
Sombre and high, gates brooding, whose stone thoughts
Lost their huge sense beyond in giant night.
Nearer they grew like dumb appalling jaws,
Waiting upon her road cruel and still,
The muzzle of a black enormous world.
And where the shadowy marches now he touched,
Turning arrested luminous Suthyavân
Looked back with wonderful eyes at Sâvithrî.
Then Death pealed forth his vast abysmal cry:
“Let not the dreadful goddess move thy soul,
Its time-born passion dreamed the strength of heaven,
To enlarge its vehement trespass into worlds
Helpless, where it shall perish like a thought
Safe only in its stumbling limits poor
Where he can crown himself mock sovereign.
Dare not beyond man’s faltering force, but waking
Tremble amid the silences immense
In which thy few weak chords of being die.
Impermanent creatures sorrowful foam of Time,
Your transient loves bind not the eternal gods.”
His dread voice ebbed in a consenting hush
Which grew intense, around, a wide and wordless
Whisper and sanction from the jaws of Night.
The woman answered not. Her naked soul
Stripped of its girdle of mortality
Against fixed destiny and the grooves of Law
Stood up in its sheer will, the primal force.

So like arrested thoughts upon a verge
Where light begins to cease, they stood; vast Night
Beyond desired her soul. Then Sâvithrî
Compelled her foot towards the yawning mouth
And danger of the ageless waste. Moulding
Their grander motion on her human tread
They stirred. All as in dreams went gliding on.
So was the balance of the world reversed;
The mortal ruled, the god and spirit obeyed:
For she behind was leader of the march
And they in front were followers of her will.
They entered the dumb portals of the past,
They left the rock-gate’s doubting walls behind;
The twilit vestibules of a tenebrous world
Received them where they seemed to move and yet
Be still, nowhere advancing, yet to pass,
A dim procession in a picture dim,
Not conscious forms. Then huge and growing night
Cavernous, monstrous, in a strangling mass
Silent, devoured them like a lion’s throat,
The dumb spiritual agony of a dream.
The thought that strives in things failed there, unmade:
They ended, all their dream of living done,
Convinced at last that they had never been.
Huge darkness closed around her cage of sense
As round a bullock in the forest tied
By hunters closes in no empty night.
She saw no more the dim tremendous god,
Her eyes had lost their luminous Suthyavân
But not for this her spirit failed. It knew
More deeply than the bounded senses can
Which seek externally and find to lose,
Its object loved, as when on earth they lived
She felt him straying through the glades, the glades
A scene in her, their clefts her being’s vistas
Offering their secrets to his search and joy,
Because whatever spot his cherished feet
Preferred, must be at once her soul embracing
His body, suffering his tread. Slow years—
Time vacant measured itself by anguish long,—
Like one who walks resisting a black dream
Through an unreal darkness empty and drear
She lived in spite of death, stifled with void
As in a blindness of extinguished souls.
Then tardily a reluctant gleam drew near
Like promise of life to those who lie forgotten
By Nature, cast into her naked night.
The black and writhing gloom widened its coils,—
For now it felt its giant reign attacked—
And suffered shrinking from the approach of hope:
But tyrannous still in its huge soulless strength
Writhing and coiling ruled her struggling lids
Which slowly conquered back their brilliant right.
One felt once more the treading of a god
And out of the dumb darkness Suthyavân
Her husband grew into a luminous shade.
Death missioned forth once more his lethal voice:
“Hast thou beheld thy source, O transient heart?
Knowing from what the dream thou art was made,
Still dost thou always hope to last and love?”
The woman answered not. Her spirit repelled
The voice of Night that knew and Death that thought;
She knew the mighty sources of her life
And knew herself eternal without birth.

(To be continued)

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Sri Aurobindo’s Earliest Draft of Savitri (1916): Fourth Installment

Dear Friends,

Sri Aurobindo had started working on the earliest draft of Savitri in August 1916. Nirodbaran, who has portrayed how Savitri reached its final form in his Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo, writes about this draft:

“The draft exists in two sections. The first comprising Book I and a few pages of Book II… Book I is complete, Book II unfinished. The spelling of the three chief characters is: Savithri, Uswapathy, Suthyavan. In the first Book, after a short description of Night and Dawn, there is a very brief account of the Yoga done by Uswapathy, then Savithri is born, grows up and goes out, at Uswapathy’s prompting, to find her mate. She finds Suthyavan. In the meantime Narad comes down to earth and visits Uswapathy’s palace. There is a talk between the two; Savithri returns from her quest and discovery, and a talk takes place among the three.” (pp. 173-174, 1995 edition)

We are happy to announce that Overman Foundation has received permission from Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to publish the earliest draft of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri in its online forum. We are extremely grateful to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, for giving us the said permission.

The first three installments of the earliest draft of Savitri were published in the online forum of Overman Foundation on 4 April, 9 April and 16 April 2013 respectively. The fourth installment which marks the end of Book I of the epic is published here.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee

Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

SÂVITHRÎ

BOOK I

(Continued)

In haste the father cried aloud, “O girl,
Around a fated head thy wings have flown.
Mount, mount thy car and travelling through the lands
Choose one more happy for thy fruitful couch.
Let not the obscure hand seal up too soon
The sweet perennial fountain of thy joys.
Not with this boy thy virgin life shall flower,
But the long glory of thy days lies dead
And vain the promise of the flaming gods.”
But Sâvithrî replied with steadfast eyes
That saw the forest verge and Suthyavân;
“Once I have chosen, once the garland fell.
Whether for death or life, for joy or tears,
Two hearts have joined and shall not be divorced
By human wills or by the gods’ strong hands.”
So spoke she from her sweet and violent soul
Awakened to dangerous earth; but Uswapathy
Made answer to her from the father’s heart:
“My daughter, who in this frail world belongs
To whom? Who is the husband? who the child?
Are they not shadows in thy dreaming mind?
The body thou hast loved, dissolved, is given,
Lost in the brute unchanging stuff of worlds,
To indifferent mighty Nature who shall make it
Crude matter for the joy of others’ lives.
But for our souls, upon the wheel of God
For ever turning they arrive and go
Vain atoms in the whirling cycles vain,
Married and sundered in the magic round
Of the great Dancer of the boundless dance.
Thy emotions are but sweet and dying notes
In his wild music changed compellingly
From hour to hour. To cry to an unseized bliss
Is the music’s meaning. Caught, the rhythm fades,
The sense has fled! only coarse-fibred joys
Are given us that abase with useless pain.
Sated the lax heart loathes its old desires;
Love dies before the lover. None belongs
Even to his nearest, but all to one far Self
Constant, alone and hushed who cares for none.
O child, obey not then thy clamorous heart’s
Insistence, thinking thy desires divine.
Live by a calmer law. Strengthen thy life
By work and thought, give succor to thy soul,
With rich utilities help others’ days,
So shalt thou greaten to abiding peace.”
But Sâvithrî replied with steadfast eyes,—
Calm now her heart and tender like the moon.
“Now have I known my glad reality
Beyond my body in another’s being;
I have perceived the changeless soul of Love.
How then shall I desire a lonely good,
Or slay, aspiring to white vacant peace,
The hope divine with which my soul leaped forth
From flame eternal, rapture of one vast Heart
And tireless of the sweet abysms of Time
Deep possibility always to love?
This, this is first, last joy, against whose throb
The riches of a thousand fortunate years
Feel poverty. What to me are death and life
And other men and children and my days,
Since only for my soul in Suthyavân
I treasure the rich occasion of my birth
And sunlight and the emerald ways he treads,—
If for a year, that year is all my life.
Once only can the die for ever fall
And, being thrown, no god can alter more
Its endless moment. Once the word leaps forth
And being spoken sounds immortally
For ever in the memory of Time.
Only once can my heart of woman choose.
For what my heart has seen, my lips can speak
That only and my servant body do.
This is the yoke that God has laid on me
And on the road He traced my life must run.”
She spoke and Nârad smiled and rising high
Sprang like a fire into his roseate heavens
Chanting the anthem of triumphant love.
So was it as the heart of Sâvithrî
Tender and adamant decreed. Her father
Journeying with brilliant squadrons and a voice
Immense of chariots bore her from her bowers
Of golden beauty to the rude bare hut
Of Dyumathsena in the dim-souled huge
Inhuman forest far from cheerful sound
Of man’s blithe converse mid his crowded days.
Leaving behind their glittering companies
The king and his two queens with thorns assailed
And stumbling feet on the faint gloomy path
Reached the rough-hewn ascetic hut and gave
Their cherished nurseling to the blind old king
And that poor labour-worn and ageing queen
To be their daughter and their servant there
Through the hard strenuous days. With tearful eyes
And a dull burden on their hearts they blessed
The brief-lived husband of her fatal choice,
Then went back to their life of vacant pomp
Empty of her. There for one year she dwelt
With Suthyavân and with his parents sole
In the tremendous wood amid the cry
Of crickets and the tiger’s nightly roar,
Defenceless to the forest’s whisper vast
And sunlight and the moonlight and the rain.
For now the grief she had trod down seized on her;
And though she served all diligently, nor spared
Strict labour with the broom and jar and well
And gentle personal tending and the piled fire
Of altar and kitchen, no task to others allowed
Her woman’s strength might do, not with these things
Her heart was, but with love and secret pain
She dwelt like a dumb priest with hidden gods.
Her spirit like a sea of living fire
Possessed her lover, clinging—one vast embrace
Around its threatened mate. Her quivering passion
Intolerant of the poverty of Time
Strove to expend whole centuries in a day.
Ever her mind remembered Nârad’s date
And, trembling sad accountant of its riches,
Reckoned the insufficient dawns between.
So feeding sorrow and terror with her heart
She lived in dread expectancy: or else
Fled from it vainly into abysms of bliss
To meet worse after-sorrow; for then she felt
Each day a golden page torn cruelly out
From her too slender account of joy. She uttered
No moan, but by her natural silence helped
Lived lonely in the secret clutch of tears.
Often she yearned to cry, “O Suthyavân,
O lover of my soul, give more, give more
Of love while yet thou canst to her thou lovst;
For soon we part and who shall know how long
Before the great wheel in its monstrous round
Restore us to ourselves?” For well she knew
She must not clutch that happiness to die
With him and follow seizing on his robe,
Travelling our other countries, voyagers glad
Into the sweet or terrible beyond,
Since that poor king and queen would need her long
To help the empty remnant of their life.
Strong she pressed back the cry into her soul
And dwelt within silent, unhelped, alone.
And still she knew that only surface seas
Were spume to these loud winds; a greater spirit
Calm-winged and watching all to every pain
Assented largely in its strength and joy.
Nor would she once have given tortured days
Half hell, half heaven, of terror and delight
For all the griefless bliss that Time could give
Without him. Suthyavân with the dim answer
Of our thought-blinded hearts perceived her clasp
Of love and anguish round him, vaguely knew
Some doom behind, and what his days could spare
From labour in the forest hewing wood
With his strong arm or gathering sacred grass
Or hunting food in the far sylvan glades
Or service to his father’s sightless life
He gave to her and strove to increase brief time
With lavish softness of heart-seeking words
And all the inadequate signs that love must use.
All was too little for her dreadful need.
Yet grew they into each other ever more
Until it seemed no power could rend apart
Since even the body’s walls might not divide.
For when he wandered in the forest, still
Her conscious spirit walked with his and knew
His actions as if in herself he moved.
He, less aware, thrilled with her from afar.
Grief, fear became the food of mighty love.
Tortured more fiercely, more her soul dilated
Till measureless it grew in strength divine,
An anvil for the blows of Fate and Time,
Unslayable like the gods. Last grief became
Calm, dull-eyed, resolute as if awaiting
Some unknown issue of its fiery struggle,
Some deed in which it might for ever cease
Victorious over itself and death and tears.
Fast the days fled. The rains rushed by; autumn
Hastened his pace serene; winter and dew
Their glories moist or cold ended too soon;
Spring bounded by armed with the cuckoo’s plaint,
Piercing her heart with beauty of his flowers.
Then summer like a stately king came in
In opulent purple and in burning gold.
She hated not his mornings and his eves,
But rather besought that they would linger out
Their careless glories, though he seemed to her
Indifferent doom in heartless splendour clad
Who hid with his bright hands the death of joy.
Swiftly the fated day came striding on.

Now it was here in this great golden dawn
By her yet sleeping husband lain she gazed
Into her past like one about to die
Looks back upon the sunlit fields of life
Where he too ran and sported with the rest,
Lifting his head above the huge dark stream
Before he plunges down. She lived again
The whole year in a swift and eddying race
Of memories. Then she arose and service done
Bowed down to the great goddess simply carved
By Suthyavân upon a forest-stone.
What prayer she breathed, her soul and Doorga knew.
Perhaps she felt in the dim forest huge
The infinite mother watching over her child,
Perhaps the shrouded Voice spoke some still word.
At last came to the pale mother queen
And spoke: “For one full year that I have served
Thee and the aged king and my dear lord
I have not gone into the silences
Of this great forest that enringed my thoughts
With mystery nor in its green miracles
Wandered, but this small clearing was my world.
Now has a strong desire seized all my heart
To go with Suthyavân holding his hand
Into the life that he has loved and touch
Herbs he has trod and know the forest flowers
And hear at ease the birds and scurrying life
That starts and ceases, rich far rustle of boughs
And all the mystic whispering of woods.
Release me now and let my heart have rest.”
She answered, “Do as thy wise mind decrees,
O calm child-sovereign with the eyes that rule.
I hold thee a strong goddess who has come
Pitying our barren days, so dost thou serve
Even as a slave might, so art thou beyond
All that thou doest, all our minds conceive
Like the strong sun that serves earth from above.”
So the doomed husband and the wife who knew
Went with linked hands into that solemn world
Together. Suthyavân walked full of joy
Because she moved beside him through the green.
He showed her all the forest’s riches, flowers
Innumerable of every colour and hue
And soft thick clinging creepers green and red
And strange rich-plumaged birds, to every cry
That haunted sweetly distant boughs, replied
With the shrill singer’s name more sweetly called.
He spoke of all the things he loved: they were
His boyhood’s comrades and his playfellows,
Coevals and companions of his life
Here in this world whose every mood he knew.
Their thoughts which for the common mind are blank,
He shared, to every wild emotion felt
An answer. Deeply she listened, but to hear
The voice that soon would cease from tender words
And treasure its sweet cadences beloved
For lonely memory. Little dwelt her mind
Upon their sense; of death, not life she thought.
Love in her bosom hurt with the jagged edges
Of anguish moaned at every step with pain
Crying, “Now, now perhaps his voice will hush
For ever.” Even by some vague touch oppressed
Sometimes her eyes looked round as if their orbs
Might see the dim and dreadful god approach.

But Suthyavân had paused. He meant to finish
His labour here that happy, linked, uncaring
They two might wander free in the green deep
Primeval mystery of the forest’s heart.
Wordless but near she watched, no turn to lose
Of the bright face and body which she loved.
Her life was now in seconds, not in hours
And every moment she economised
Like a pale merchant leaned above his store,
The miser of his poor remaining gold.
But Suthyavân wielded a joyous axe.
He sang high snatches of a sage’s chant
That pealed of conquered death and demons slain,
And sometimes paused to cry to her sweet speech
Of love or mockery tenderer than love.
She like a pantheress leaped upon his words
And carried them into her cavern heart.
But as he worked, his doom upon him came.
The violent and hungry hounds of pain
Travelled through his body biting as they passed
Silently and all his suffering breath besieged
Strove to rend life’s strong heart-cords and be free.
Then helped, as if a beast had left its prey,
A moment in a wave of rich relief
Reborn to strength and happy ease he stood,
Rejoicing, and resumed his confident toil
But with less seeing strokes. Now the great woodsman
Hewed at him, and his labour ceased. Lifting
His arm he flung away the poignant axe
Far from him like an instrument of pain:
She came to him in silent anguish and clasped,
And he cried to her, “Sâvithrî, a pang
Cleaves through my head and breast as if the axe
Were piercing there and not the living branch.
Such agony rends me as the tree must feel
When it is sundered. Let me lay my head
Upon thy lap and guard me with thy hands.
Perhaps because thou touchest, death may pass.”
Then Sâvithrî sat under branches wide,
Cool, green against the sun; not the hurt tree
Which his keen axe had cloven, that she shunned,—
But leaned beneath a fortunate kingly trunk
She guarded him in her bosom and strove to soothe
His anguished brow and body with her hands.
All grief and fear were dead within her now
And a great calm had fallen. The wish to lessen
His suffering, the impulse that opposes pain
Was the one mortal feeling left. It passed;
Griefless and strong she waited like the gods.
But now his sweet familiar hue was changed
Into a tarnished greyness and his eyes
Dimmed over, forsaken of the clear light she loved.
Only the dull and physical mind was left,
Vacant of the bright spirit’s luminous gaze.
But once before it faded wholly back
He cried out in a clinging last despair,
“Sâvithrî, Sâvithrî, O Sâvithrî,
Lean down, my soul, and kiss me while I die.”
And even as her pallid lips pressed his,
He failed, losing last sweetness of response;
His cheek pressed down her golden arm. She sought
His mouth still with her living mouth, as if
She could persuade his soul back with her kiss;
Then grew aware they were no more alone.
Something had come there conscious, vast and dire.
Near her she felt a silent shade immense
Chilling the noon with darkness for its back.
She knew that visible Death was standing there
And Suthyavân had passed from her embrace.

(To be continued)

*

A Review of Sadguru Omkar’s “Confessions, Upadesh and Talks” by B.V. Pramod

Sadguru Omkar

Confessions, Upadesh and Talks: Author: Sadguru Omkar. Number of pages: 305. Price: Rs. 180 (Soft-cover). Distributor: Overman Foundation, Kolkata.

Kafka had said “If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skulls, then why do we read it?… A book must be an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us.” Well…after reading Sadguru’s only available book, this is what I felt: Sadguru’s revolutionary ideas not only strikes your mind and wakes you up from a slumber to look at life through fresh eyes, but also makes you stand aside and observe events and people dispassionately.

As far as my knowledge goes this is the only book of Sadguru available in the market. It’s a collection of his earlier works “Upadesh” and “Selected Talks”. Another section “Confessions” which was never published is also included in the book. The book consists of 3 sections: Confessions, Talks and Upadesh, written and spoken during different phases of Sadguru’s life. Some of the contents were published as articles in “Organiser” and “Vedanta kesari”. The 3 sections clearly show the variation and change in perspective of Sadguru towards things and happenings as he evolved inside. The sections consists of talks arranged in paragraphs. “Confessions” was written when he was in prison on the margins of paper he was able to get there. They show the despair, pain and anguish he suffered during that period and the struggle to get out of it. The writings oscillate between faith and hopelessness, despair and joy, human limitations and the anger about the helplessness of being unable to over come it. Even though this may appear at first sight as an outpouring of despair and helplessness it contains pearls of wisdom and deep truths as rightly observed by Aurobindo, when Sadguru showed them to him.

The next two sections Upadesh and Talks cover the various discourses and talks delivered to disciples and general public over a wide period of time after reaching the ultimate. They cover a wide range of topics and problems faced by individuals and society in general. Here one can see Sadguru’s views on various isms, burning topics, human endeavours, goal of life, how to look at life and in general what life is all about. The contents are not arranged on subject lines but just listed one after another. After going through them one will realise that Sadguru has very much covered a wide range of topics and the matter in it is applicable to lot of areas. This makes the book a sort of philosophical treatise. Sadguru doesn’t prefer to call his teachings philosophy, as he feels that there can be no single philosophy suitable for every one, nor can it be stable so as to be applicable for all ages. His sayings are as relevant today as it was when they were spoken and will be relevant for times to come. The beauty, depth and relevance of its contents for times to come are what makes the book special.

Sadguru’s book is full of ideas and views seen from a different perspective. It’s not an analysis of people and events from a mental realm but from a reservoir of knowledge above it, which’s clearly a result of spiritual Sadhana. One will realise that seeing through the mind and analysing based on that is not sufficient. Mind is filled with its “isms”, biases, likes, dislikes and prejudices, so it sees and analyzes on that basis and not with out. Such an analysis will be always incomplete and incorrect.

Sadguru’s teachings are affirmative and all inclusive. He understood and respected each individual’s need, capability, strength and shortcomings and spoke accordingly. He taught Atma Vidya, which is the path of discovering one’s true nature and its potentialities. Throughout the book, the stress on Atma Vidya is evident and they form the crux of his teachings. A close look at the teachings show that they are influenced by Upanishads and based upon them. Repetition of thoughts and their stress on knowing one self is similar to the Upanishadic way. He does not believe in bracketing, labelling or blaming people. His teachings stress on knowledge and joy as the ultimate goals to strive for.

The beauty of the book lies in its clarity. Simple, powerful statements filled with deep insight are its highlights. His statements are precise and to the point. The depth of his understanding and the way it’s conveyed in a straight forward manner leaves one amazed. A good book should not only inspire, make a person think and take some action based on that, but also transform him. It should inspire him to inculcate, imbibe those ideals and work towards them. I feel his teachings have that potential.

B.V. Pramod
(Courtesy: http://www.sadguruomkar.blogspot.in)

*

Sri Aurobindo’s Earliest Draft of Savitri (1916): Third Installment

Dear Friends,

Sri Aurobindo had started working on the earliest draft of Savitri in August 1916. Nirodbaran, who has portrayed how Savitri reached its final form in his Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo, writes about this draft:

“The draft exists in two sections. The first comprising Book I and a few pages of Book II… Book I is complete, Book II unfinished. The spelling of the three chief characters is: Savithri, Uswapathy, Suthyavan. In the first Book, after a short description of Night and Dawn, there is a very brief account of the Yoga done by Uswapathy, then Savithri is born, grows up and goes out, at Uswapathy’s prompting, to find her mate. She finds Suthyavan. In the meantime Narad comes down to earth and visits Uswapathy’s palace. There is a talk between the two; Savithri returns from her quest and discovery, and a talk takes place among the three.” (pp. 173-174, 1995 edition)

We are happy to announce that Overman Foundation has received permission from Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to publish the earliest draft of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri in its online forum. We are extremely grateful to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, for giving us the said permission.

The first and second installments of the earliest draft of Savitri were published in the online forum of Overman Foundation on 4 April and 9 April 2013 respectively. The third installment of the epic is published here.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee

Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

SÂVITHRÎ

BOOK I

(Continued)

But now to a Nature more remote, self-hidden
From all but its own vision deep and wild,
Attracted by the forest’s sombre call
Her chariot hastened, skirting prouder glades
Where the green stragglers lingered in the light
Behind immenser seas of foliage, rear
Of a tremendous solitude of trees.
Here in a lifting of the vast secrecy
Where plunged a narrow cleft, a track ran hewn
To screened infinities from a farewell space
Of sunlight, she beheld kingly youth
Magnificent in the morning of his force,
Clad in a rough robe sewn of forest bark,
Taming a wild horse to his gentle hand.
Still by its inner musings sealed from life,
Aware of Nature, vague as yet to man,
Her wandering gaze the splendid beast admired,
Not yet the master creature. Then it woke.
Half-turned to her over its tangled mane
She saw, she knew, as if oft seen before,
Eyes and a face rich, noble, high and swift
Like the gods’ morning. She cried out like a bird
Who hears her mate upon a distant bough
And by her musical bidding seized and stilled,
Hooves trampling fast and crashing chariot ceased,
The unwilling horses pawing yet for speed.
But Suthyavân who heard the liquid voice
Wedding the summer air stood marvelling:
Himself, his task, his victory forgot,
He left the rapid creature to its will.
It seemed to him vaguely as if the sweet call
Were to the chariot-horses of his life
Turning their speed towards a glorious goal.
He came, they met, wide wondering eyes gazed close
Into bright eyes and deep, their comrade orbs.
Touched by the warning finger of sweet love
The soul can recognise its answering soul
Across dividing Time. Upon life’s ways
Absorbed wrapped traveller, turning, it recovers
Familiar splendours in an unknown face
And thrills again to the old immortal love
Wearing a new sweet body for delight.
But the mind only thinks, “Behold the one
For whom my life has waited long unfilled!
Behold the sudden sovereign of my days.”
Love dwells in us like an unopened flower.
Roaming in his charmed sleep mid thoughts and things
The child-god is at play; but through it all
He lingers for the touch that he shall know
And when it comes, wakes blindly to a voice,
A look, a smile, the meaning of a face.
He seizes on some sign of outward charm
To guide him by the groping mind obscured,
Desires the image for the godhead’s sake
And takes the body for the sculptured soul.
Her heart unveiled, his now to meet her turned.
Attracted as in heaven star by star
They wondered at each other and rejoiced.

First Suthyavân: “Who art thou, virgin bright?
My mind might dream perhaps and my heart fear,
Risen on a morning of the gods thou drivest
Thy horses from the Thunderer’s luminous worlds.
For they have wandered in the silent hours
And lingered in the slumbrous noonday woods
And know that gods from heaven walk abroad.
If such thou art, pause once before thou fade
Like a bright thought too glorious for our hold.
But if thy heart was made for human love,
My eyes grow glad to know and my bosom rejoices
That mortal sweetness smiles between thy lids,
Thy heart can beat beneath a human gaze,
This golden body dally with fatigue
And the sweet taste and joy of earthly food
Attract thee. From thy journey cease; come down.
Close is my father’s woodland hermitage.
There follow me. Though rude and poor our life,
The woods are round it and the heavens above
Look down at a rich secrecy and hush.
The forest gods have taken it in their arms
And brightly apparelled it in green and gold.”
And the girl, musing, “I am Sâvithrî,
Princess of Madra. Who art thou? what name
Musical on earth? What trunk of ancient kings
Has flowered in thee upon its happy branch?
Why is thy dwelling in the pathless wood
Far from the deeds thy glorious youth demands?”
And he: “King Dyumathsen in Shalwa reigned
Through all the tract that from beyond these tops
Turns looking back towards the southern heavens.
But the bright gods recalled the gifts they gave,
Took from his eyes their glad and helping ray
And led the uncertain goddess from his side.
He sojourns in the deep and solemn woods.
Son of that king, I, Suthyavân, have lived
In their huge vital murmur kin to me,
Nursed by their vastness; Chitrâshwa too they name me;
For the early child-god took my hand to limn
The bright and bounding swiftnesses that stray
Wind-maned in our pastures. So my mind approached
Before I lived in its wide natural haunts
The dumb great animal consciousness of earth
Now grown so close. Gold princess Sâvithrî,
High is my life and happy I find my state
Possessing royally the earth and skies;
But I have seen thee; these seem not enough:
New rich deep things felicitous I desire;
And heaven and earth are in a moment changed.
O, if thou art the source, draw nearer yet
Down on this sward disdaining not our soil,
For here are spaces emerald to thy tread,
Descend, O happiness. Let thy golden feet
Enrich the rough floors on whose earth we dwell.”
She said: “My heart turns to my father’s house
And yet will stay here on this forest verge.
Now of more wandering it has no need.”
Down came she with a soft, bright, faltering haste,
Her gleaming feet upon the green-gold sward,
And like pale brilliant wandering moths her hands
Claimed from the sylvan verge’s sunlit arms
Bright comrades of the summer and the breeze
And twined a natural garland deep and pure
Fit for their love. This with glad unshamed eyes
Upraised in hands that trembled with delight
Lingering around the neck of him she chose,
She hung,—such the fair symbol of those days,—
Upon his bosom coveted by her love.
Nor with that equal bond ceased satisfied
Her heart, but as before a sudden god
She bowed down to his feet and touched the hem
Of his coarse raiment with her worshipping hands.
He took them in his own; the sweet first touch
Of all their closeness through long intimate years
Feeling each other for the soul behind,
Joined them for bliss upon his bosom. They parted,
She to her father’s rich and sculptured halls,
He to the cottage rude she hoped for, thatched
With leaves, built of hewn forest-boughs, where lingered
In toil and penury of their fallen state
His parents bearing patiently their days.
Thus were they wedded and the knot was bound.

Attracted by the golden summer earth
Nârad the heavenly sage from Paradise
Came harping through the quivering lustrous air.
Rapturous and drunken with the wine of God
He poured upon the world his mighty chant
Casting the harmonies of his heaven-born voice
Unwearied. By the sweetness of his song
Earth the dumb sufferer was awhile appeased
And all heaven’s kindled regions shook, alight
With his heart’s ceaseless joy. He sang the name
Of Vishnu and the secret of the stars
And the beginnings of the conscious world.
He hymned Delight and Love that knows not death:
He sang the rapture of the Heart divine
That calls our spirits and of discords healed
And pleasure that shall die in a white bliss
And sin delivered from itself by love
And immortality surprising earth.
And as he sang, the demons wept with joy:
They dreamed of the defeat for which they hope
When with their chosen dreadful labour done
They shall return to him who sent them forth.
So harping, singing came the man divine
To men obscured on earth. The glory down
Like a persistent streak of lightning fell,
Nearing, until the rapt eyes of the sage
Looked forth from luminous cloud and, strangely limned,
His face, a beautiful mask of antique joy,
Appeared from light, descending where arose
King Uswapathy’s palace to the winds
In Madra, flowering up in delicate stone.
There welcomed by the strong and thoughtful king
Who ceased from common life and care and sat
Inclining to the high and rhythmic voice,
Seated on sacred grass the heavenly seer
Spoke of the toils of men and what the gods
Strive for on earth, and joy that throbs behind
The marvel and the mystery of pain.
He sang to him of the lotus heart of love
With all its thousand luminous buds of truth
That quivering sleeps veiled by apparent things.
It trembles at every touch, it strives to wake
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 he sang, came with a voice of hooves
As of her swift heart hastening, Sâvithrî.
Changed with the halo of her love she came,
Her radiant tread glimmering across the floor,
A happy wonder in her fathomless eyes.
And happily her stately head she bowed
Before her father and her shining gaze
Saw like a rose of wonder and adored
Sweetness and glory of that Son of Heaven.
But Nârad casting on her from his eyes
Celestial the unwounded light of heaven
Griefless, “From what wild border, Sâvithrî,
Turns back thy wheels’ far quest with wonderful earth
Satisfied, singing of sweet haste to bliss
As one who brings hushed treasure for his soul,
Rapt burdens and rich secrets from some shrine
Where sits a godhead mystic in the stone?
What divine floods bathed pure thy pilgrim limbs
And burdened heart? or as from marvellous lands,
Verges of wonder and horizons strange,
Landscapes of mystery, rivers of delight,
Flew once the Bird who from the flaming kings
Of pain ravished the ambrosia for the gods,
Exultantly—so fleest thou bright-winged back
Rejoicing with some flushed and heavenly fruit
Seized in the dangerous woodlands of desire?
Such light is seen beneath thy mortal lids.”
Then Uswapathy, “An unknown face one seeks
Among the indifferent visages of earth,
Known to the secret sense our clay conceals:
And when it opens, even such light can dawn!
For we are seekers of our hidden suns.
To find its own lord since to her through earth
He came not yet, this sweetness ventured forth.
Now she brings back her dedicated soul.
Reveal, my child, the name thy heart has learned.”
Shining she answered, “Suthyavân, an exile
In the huge and desolate forests, is my lord.
My father, I have chosen, this is done.”
And Uswapathy wordless for a space
Answered his child, “What thou hast chosen and done,
The silent god within thee shall approve.
In the rich commerce of this mystic world
Where all things given wonderfully return,
Life for its offering, bare of every claim
The heart has prostrated before the adored
Satisfied with its privilege to love.
Dimly it knows, descended from the skies,
Its sweet lost fortune by that gift restored,
Deep price at which the costly worlds were born
Self-giving the great merchandise of God.”
Sâvithrî answered not. Her happy eyes
Hooded with light from an immortal source
And finding hidden glories on the earth
Smiled at thought whispering, confident of bliss.

But Nârad now, the seer, lifted his voice
That sang the first thoughts of the new-born gods,
Turning on her the rapt celestial eyes
Bare to whose gaze Time toils, his unseen works
Detected: “Wilder-sweet thy curves, O life,
Following the stream of Time through the unknown
Than sealed thought dreams of! Wandering soul, thy wings
Strike hidden goals. A god’s tremendous touch
Seems pain unbearable to mortal nerves,
But high that agony climbs, the flower of flame
In whose fierce seed is the sweet tree of heaven.
Endurance first the ethereal kings trod out
Pacing the measures of the dateless road;
Serene rose next equality from the stars
Weaving her vast and rhythmed walk; thrilling
Their large third rapturous stride discovered bliss.
But blind and swift the great-maned life of earth
Alarmed by grief swerved from their dreadful path.
She dulled the pang to her children, heeding not
In the fond passion of her mother mind
That they who toil self-given into the hands
Of her great sorrows and arise grow gods,
Possessors of the eternal joys unseen,
The master souls who are for ever glad.
By pain there works a spirit from the clod;
By pain eternal Night gave forth the suns;
By pain the wise Immortals knew and chose
The leaders of the dark and mighty march,
The swift and radiant who shall help the world.
From sojourn in some high preparing skies,
From rapture in the worlds of flame and light
Obscured they come, down on the yearning earth,
Conscious of their lost heavens. Soul who hast lived
Guarded in thy sweet happy heavenly self
From life’s great hands,—but now the gods have touched,—
Awake by sorrow, daughter of the sun.”
But high the King cried back to the bright seer,
“Ominous thy thoughts are, Nârad, to our hearts
Which only ask brief joy for their brief life.
Flame not too high beyond the mortal’s ken.
What soul aspires to grief or uncompelled
Would taste of torture? If from joy to joy
Chanting man climbed, then might we grow to gods.
Too endless is the sad and stern ascent,
Too slippery and precipitous the path.
Rather if the thought silent in the wise
That knows its wisdom vain to help mankind
Close not thy lips, our blinded will succour,
That it may see the pitfall and the escape.
Because to our footsteps light has been denied,
Like children travelling to an unseen goal
In night-hung paths in forest or morass
We fearfully retrace some happy steps,
We call to each other at some doubtful bend
Guarding from winds some flickering torch of hope.
We wander. If the mist could once be rent,—
Chased never by the reason’s pallid light,—
Which from the first was settled round our way,
The dire immortal bows that ring our walk
Stringless would fall and Fate to Will be bound.
O Will is God concealed and Fate his bride.
But now in her immense and passionate mind
Shaping unruled the cycles of the stars,
With thoughts eternal, violent, large of pace,
She takes the little centuries in her stride
And holds him hooded in her mighty hands.
She knows without him all her strength were vain.
Two powers toil and meet in every field,
She clasps him bound lest he desert her arms,
She hides him in her breast to guide the suns.”
But Nârad still with that celestial gaze:
“Why vainly must thou ask for light in front?
Safe doors cry opening, but the doomed pass on.
None can renounce the chain his soul desires
Until a will eternal has been done.
Man by his nature to great grief is drawn;
For a mysterious Power compels his steps
And Life is stronger than the trembling mind.”
With troubled heart King Uswapathy heard;
He reined his rearing thoughts to make reply:
“Still must man seek for light and quest in front,
Chained to his passion on the labouring earth.
Yearning to clasp an enemy of her heart
Is cruellest grief for woman’s subject life,
A bitter think to love! Or two may cling
United yet some natural fault in him
Turn even their close daily tenderness
A cherished suffering and a tortured joy.
Which of these swords shall pierce my child, O sage?”
But Nârad smiling with immortal lips:
“Fear not such coarser trembling shall be struck
From spirits who are harps the gods have made.
Gentle as the soft bud the spring desires,
Pure like a stream that kisses lonely banks,
Like a hill high-gazing where a fruited grove
Has made a murmuring nest for southern winds,
Calm and delightful is young Suthyavân.
The Happy in their sweet ether have not hearts
More wide and blissful than this forest boy’s.
His nature deep and true lives with the god
In common things and that large-eyed communion
Has learned by which man’s veilless mind wakes free,
Griefless, uplifted; its wonderful domains
Grow luminous fields thronged with the tread of gods.
Alas, if death into the elements
From which his gracious envelope was built,
Shatter this vase before it breathe its sweets,
As if earth could not keep a divine thing!
In one brief year when this bright hour flies back
Through Time, the shrouded night surrounds his soul.”

(To be continued)

*

Excerpts from Sadguru Omkar’s “Confessions, Upadesh and Talks”

Sadguru Omkar

Dear Friends, 

Some time ago Overman Foundation had taken up the distribution of Sadguru Omkar’s book “Confessions, Upadesh and Talks” (ISBN 81-88643-25-4, Price: Rs. 180, pp. 305). Sadguru Omkar (1889—1978)—formerly known as Nilkantha Brahmnachari—was involved in national revolutionary activities from his school days. The group of which he was a part was closely connected with the Jugantar group of Bengal. Because of his revolutionary activities he had to take refuge in the French territory of Pondicherry. When Sri Aurobindo arrived at Pondicherry on 4 April 1910 Sadguru Omkar was among those who went to receive him. He was connected with the Mopla agrarian revolution in Kerala and imprisoned for more than eleven years for his involvement in the Ash murder case. In prison the transformation from a revolutionary to a spiritual Sadhaka took place as vividly described in his notes which he later collected as ‘Confessions on the way towards Peace’. After his release from prison he took the ‘Confessions’ to Sri Aurobindo who wrote a small foreword the next day. He settled down at the lower Nandi Hills in 1930 and built a small Ashram near a Shiva Temple.

For the benefit of the readers of our online forum, we are quoting some thought-provoking excerpts from Sadguru Omkar’s book.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

[1]

“Don’t attempt to reform life, my friend; you shall never succeed. You are a product of life and always influenced by it. Life knows when you soar high, how to bring you down to the normal level. Life always succeeds in reforming the reformers bringing them down to the normal level… understand life in all its grades of Satwa, rajas and tamas and all its aspects, give room to all, and live your own life, full, whole and perfect. Don’t try to become more virtuous than life. Life will take a terrible vengeance and inflict on you a corresponding vice for compensation and balance.

[2]

“Why do you fight shy of Atman? That it may lead you to religion and superstition? No, my friend. When Atman comes, religion goes. When truth comes, falsehood goes. When knowledge comes, superstition goes. Atman is personal experience and knowledge. What can be more truthful than personal experience? Discover Atman, my friend, by Sadhana; know the Atman and realize the Atman. By Sadhana you discovered and developed your mind potential including intellect. By Sadhana you can discover and develop your life potential, power potential, and joy potential. Say, “I am Atman of unlimited potential. I grow unlimited. I achieve unlimited. I enjoy unlimited.” Self-unlimited is Atman. Don’t be a mouse and say, “I am but body and mind tossed about by nature, subject to environment and end by becoming a nothing.” You are a master of nature, husband of the nature in you.”

[3]

“There is not one God, my friend, but many and mainly three. The first God resides in the imagination of men. He is creator, protector and destroyer. He gives his devotees all they want, forgives all sins, if penitent, provides them with heavenly joys after death and consigns their enemies to the blazing fires of hell. He is the most desirable, most agreeable and adaptable of all Gods. He is in demand by large sections of humanity. The second God resides in the reason of men. He may or may not be a person, but He is force, power, law and rhythm of the universe. His contact is neither possible nor necessary. Man has to do with the law and understand and adapt himself to it. The third God resides in the being of man. He is pure being out of which individual being arise, live and merge again. He is pure consciousness out of which individual consciousness arises. He is pure bliss out of which individual bliss arises. He is not personal or individual but cosmic, one without a second. No contact or knowledge of Him is possible. He is realized in the being of individual man as Atman. He is Brahman the whole.”

[4]

“The patriot turns into a politician for power and profit. The beloved leader of the people becomes a tyrant and plays havoc with people’s wealth and lives. The ardent lover becomes husband and master of body and mind of the wife. The wandering Sanyasi becomes Mahant with thrones and chariots and endless jagirs. The period of struggle brings out the best in man. The period of fruition the worst. Perpetual struggle keeps you ever in trim. Struggle for self, my friend, which is endless and ever progressive and the higher you reach the better you become.”

[5]

“Become yourself first the whole of yourself. That is Atma-Vidya; that is Atma-Sadhana; that is Atma-Shakti; that is Atma-Ananda; that is a spiritual person. The spiritual is the only whole, the mental is a part, the physical is a part. Become spiritual first with knowledge of your unlimited potential, in contact with your unlimited potential. How can any person maintain wholeness and fullness without the backing of unlimited potential? That is your Atman. Realize your Atman first and become whole. Then your life will become full, whole and perfect. Then begin your career. Your career will find fulfilment. Then begin your sex-life. Your sex-life will find fulfilment. Then begin your family life, social life, national life. Then you find fulfilment in each. You are part so long as you live in the body and in the mind. You are whole when you reach the Atman. Become whole first my friend. 

[6]

“Effort is the real joy my friend, not realization. Man is a creative and working being in his core and nothing gives him more satisfaction than work and more work and always work. Looked at deeply, there is always an element of disappointment in consummation and seizing of the fruits of work. For, it robs you though for the time being, of the enthusiasm, pride and satisfaction, which work alone can generate in you.

Again the purpose of work does not stop with the enjoyment of its fruits. Enjoyment is not a dead end. All enjoyments and experience have a purpose within, that is, knowledge. The child not only enjoys the toy, but knows all about it and then throws it away demanding a better one. Knowledge is the purpose and result of all experience. Enjoyment is only incidental. Therefore it is said that desire, effort and knowledge—Ichcha, Kriya and Gnana—are the three constituent elements of human personality.”

[7]

“God sends equally noble souls with noble ideals to destroy a Nation as He does to construct one, for destruction is as much a planned and phased programme with GOD as construction.”

[8]

“You are seeing through your eyes. But you are not consciously seeing. Become conscious of your sight, bring your sight into the focus of your consciousness and your eyes sparkle. Bring your chest into the focus of your consciousness and your chest heaves and your heart becomes strong. Bring your belly into the focus of your consciousness and your digestion becomes stronger. Affirm and repeat again and again, countless times, “I am Atman, I am all energy. I am full of energy. I am made of energy. I am nothing but energy. I cannot lack energy.””

[9]

“When you feel frustrated and depressed as it happens to all of us some time or other, what do you do? You sit quiet and endure it till the mood passes and a brighter mood appears and you argue and argue within yourself as to the cause and remedy for the event which brought in the depression. Not so, the Atma-Vetta. When he feels the depression is likely to come upon him, he seeks a quiet place or room and sits comfortably in his usual Asana posture, does some breathing and then repeats: “I am Atman. I am all power. I am all success. I am all joy.” A practised Sadhaka gets over the mood very quickly and regains his brightness and cheer. And a perfected Sadhaka never gets depressed.”

[10]

“By the time you have learnt all the lessons of a virtuous and happy life you become old and will have to quit. By the time you master all the lessons of the fifth class your term comes to an end. You quit and go to the 6th. Life is a school where you are not allowed to stay after learning.”

[11]

“Why do you introduce problems where no problems are felt? To the young man who just begins to enjoy life, you may go and say that life is all sorrow; seek your remedy in Mukti. Allow him to carry on and discover the sorrow part of life himself and seek his own remedy in due course of his ripeness and maturity. Dharma, Artha, Kama and then Moksha is the correct order.”

[12]

“Troubles and sorrows. They keep you from falling; they keep you from being blown away. Troubles and sorrows are counter weights in life to keep balance.

Troubles and sorrows are like soap and water, without which you don’t keep pure and fresh. The baby dislikes soap and water-bath, resists and kicks. And so you do with troubles and sorrows.

Troubles and sorrows are a tonic. They provoke thought, provoke action and promote further growth. The will of destiny is not that we should be free from troubles and sorrows, but be clean, fresh, active and ever growing.”

[13]

“You are going to solve all problems of yours. Good. But do you realise that you are yourself a grand problem. You came as a problem, you grow as a problem, you proceed as a problem and you end as a problem. Your whole life is nothing but a series of problems. Existence is an ocean of problems on which you float for a while and you hug your two and a half problems and think of solving them once for all.

Problems are not such tame things for you to handle quietly in your laboratory. They are live forces and mightily complicated. Each is connected with many and the many are but parts and patterns of the whole and the whole is one mighty problem appearing, proceeding and solving itself. When you thus perceive the whole in the part and the part in the whole, then may you exclaim, “it is a grand leela, Brahman and Maya disport themselves eternally. Shiva and Shakti woo and unite and separate themselves eternally.” Then you may enter into the spirit of the game and lose your lonesome burden. Then may you say as I do, “I have no problems to solve.””

[14]

“Your faith does not depend on temples. Temples depend on your faith. You can make and unmake temples.”

[15]

“You think you are unlucky. You think again and again about your ill-luck, you fill your mind with ill-luck, your talks are always about ill-luck and you have smeared your looks deep with the colour of ill-luck. Where is the good luck going to come from? Good luck does not come near an unlucky face and front.

Forget your present ill-luck my friend and think and dwell more and more on the good luck you want and create and store a mass of good luck in your thought, word and looks and you see that good luck is at your command and service.”

[16]

“Pain and pleasure are not the criterion for good and bad in life. What is pain may be good and pleasure bad. Till you accept that pain is not an intruder but as necessary and legitimate a part of life as pleasure, your philosophy is not complete. Night and darkness are as much necessary and legitimate part of life as day and light. The world is well built, well balanced and well run my friend. Accept it as it is, as it was and as it is moving. Then you are in tune and happy, never otherwise.”

*

Sri Aurobindo’s Earliest Draft of Savitri (1916): Second Installment

Dear Friends,

Sri Aurobindo had started working on the earliest draft of Savitri in August 1916. Nirodbaran, who has portrayed how Savitri reached its final form in his Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo, writes about this draft:

“The draft exists in two sections. The first comprising Book I and a few pages of Book II… Book I is complete, Book II unfinished. The spelling of the three chief characters is: Savithri, Uswapathy, Suthyavan. In the first Book, after a short description of Night and Dawn, there is a very brief account of the Yoga done by Uswapathy, then Savithri is born, grows up and goes out, at Uswapathy’s prompting, to find her mate. She finds Suthyavan. In the meantime Narad comes down to earth and visits Uswapathy’s palace. There is a talk between the two; Savithri returns from her quest and discovery, and a talk takes place among the three.” (pp. 173-174, 1995 edition)

We are happy to announce that Overman Foundation has received permission from Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to publish the earliest draft of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri in its online forum. We are extremely grateful to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, for giving us the said permission.

The first installment of the earliest draft of Savitri was published in the online forum of Overman Foundation on 4 April 2013. The second installment is published here.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

*

SÂVITHRÎ

BOOK I

(Continued)

But on a morn when summer still was young

And the last cuckoo cried among the leaves,

While Uswapathy listened to the morn,

Out of the shadows of the white alcoves

Came Sâvithrî to his side burning in silence

Like a young torch of incense and of flames.

She bore her body like the sob of bliss

Of earth’s mute adoration towards heaven

Awakened in beauty’s living form. He saw,

Pensive, her sweetness woven of golden fire,

Carved like a nectar-cup for thirsty gods.

Then took the father on his knees the child;

Lifting her face he gazed down questioning

Into the wonder of her long veiled eyes,

Deep pools of thought and love as yet unstirred,

That marvelled still at life and saw things far.

There conscious of pure brooding depths he spoke,—

Those sister queens so willed who passionate watched

Their nursling with a tremulous delight,

Enamoured of her firm tender ways and words,

Her laughter, music of tranquility,

Her lustrous eyes waking in sweet large night,

Her limbs that were linked poems made of gold

And her slim moonbeam feet. “O child,” he said,

“Though sixteen years have ripened in thy brow

Thy life dreams still, shut in its own pure bud

Unburst by winds and ardent light. Fragrant

Thou bloomest like a lone forgotten flower

No hand has plucked to lay before the god.

The heavens perhaps guard thee for some great soul

Or too proud-missioned from a divine dawn

Thy light repels the common sons of men.

Go forth and bear the torch of a sweet quest,

Thy heart. For somewhere surely arrived on earth

Waiting unknown thy perfect comrade lives

Kept for thee by the recompensing gods.

Bird of the spaces, soul, I set thee free;

Venture into the world and find thy mate

Winging across far lands.” She went, obeying,

Like one who understands a form of words,

But waits to see their secret meaning dawn.

Her chariot rolled not among cities thronged,

Nor sought the clamorous markets of the land,

Nor sojourned in the palaces of kings;

But through green musing woods, past rough-browed hills,

Over wind-trod pastures and in happy groves

Glided its course like a swift lonely hope

Aware of a sweet mystery withheld

Among its dreams. Still were there remnants left

Of old primaeval spaces where one heard

The sweet and dumbly murmuring voice of earth

In the great passion of her sun-kissed trance

And quieted the all-seeking mind could feel

The unwearied clasp of her mute, patient love

And know for a soul the mother of our forms.

Vague-hearted, listening to a murmur long,

Rhythm of an immenser wordless thought

That gathers in the silence behind life

Like one who waits some sudden revealing stroke,

Through such bright scenes, her kindred spaces, led

By the veiled guardians of her deathless past,

She saw her road in her instinctive mind.

There the king-sages from their labour done

Lived happily with birds and beasts and dawn

And evening, watched with the bright constant stars,

Seeking the soul of things with boundless love,

Or sojourned inly with a voice profound

And a surprising light. Some sat aloof,

Pale hermits with the tiger-skin for robe.

Others with wives and children who grew built

Among these silent mighty influences

Into the towers of manhood they must be,

Unripe for burdens yet and wars, lived sparely

On the raw forest-fruits, kindled the flame

And chanted morn and eve the mystic’s hymn.

They dwelt like spirits from Time’s dull yoke released,

Once more as infants pure, their radiant thoughts

Expecting silence. Mid these haunts of peace

Welcomed by the great mild ascetics, sweetly

Cherished by the calm bright-eyed women pure,

Resting on plains or among mountains large

Through hushed tranquility of forest nights

And when the first cried of the woodland woke,

Watching high dawn break through the giant hills,

Swift-wheeled she journeyed; so far-roaming came

By river-banks and spaces lapped in gold

Into the country of the Shalwa kings

And on its borders solitary and grand

Saw woodland verges trodden by wild deer

And wandered over by the peacock herds.

Cool-perfumed and with pleasure-burdened feet

The morning breezes faltered among flowers;

Light flooded heaven’s regions, all the land

Life flooded. On green earth, in sapphire skies

The free hare bounded and the shrill kite wheeled;

Doves cooed untiring in the easeful shade,

The snow-white cranes toiled clanging through the air

And flame-winged wild-drakes swam in silvery pools.

Her chariot journeyed echoing through a wide

Uncultured earth strewn with deep glades divine

That screened their sheltered murmurs from the sun.

Primaeval peace was there and in its bosom

Held undisturbed wild life of birds and beasts:

Man the artificer had not arrived,

Nor formal labour claimed for dull great cares

Fields tenanted by sunlight and the rain

And pastures of the free life of the earth.

(To be continued)

Sri Aurobindo’s Earliest Draft of Savitri (1916)

Dear Friends,

Sri Aurobindo had started working on the earliest draft of Savitri in August 1916. Nirodbaran, who has portrayed how Savitri reached its final form in his Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo, writes about this draft:

“The draft exists in two sections. The first comprising Book I and a few pages of Book II… Book I is complete, Book II unfinished. The spelling of the three chief characters is: Savithri, Uswapathy, Suthyavan. In the first Book, after a short description of Night and Dawn, there is a very brief account of the Yoga done by Uswapathy, then Savithri is born, grows up and goes out, at Uswapathy’s prompting, to find her mate. She finds Suthyavan. In the meantime Narad comes down to earth and visits Uswapathy’s palace. There is a talk between the two; Savithri returns from her quest and discovery, and a talk takes place among the three.” (pp. 173-174, 1995 edition)

We are happy to announce that Overman Foundation has received permission from Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to publish the earliest draft of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri in its online forum. We are extremely grateful to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, for giving us the said permission.

The first installment of the earliest draft of Savitri has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

*

SÂVITHRÎ

BOOK I

 

In a huge forest where the listening Night

Heard lonely voices and in the large hush

Was conscious of the sigh and tread of things

That have no sound for the rich heart of day,—

For now her phantom tribes were not abroad,

The panther’s eyes glared not, the tiger slept

Prone in his lair of jungle or deep grass,—

Startling the wide-browed dreamer Dawn arose.

Lain in her darker thoughtful sister’s robe

She pushed away the loving cloak that sealed

To rest her brilliant and imperious eyes

And waved the dim kind guardian from her side.

Raised were the wonderful lids that open heaven.

Vague for a while with sleep lightened her gaze.

Smiling the ever-youthful goddess rose,

Voluptuous in a purity divine,

Cast free her drifting robe of magic light,

And pressed her rosy fingers delicately

Upon the flushed cheek of the pallid world.

Flocking upon the ruddy verge her locks

Made splendid clots of morning gold, wind-lifted

To enrich the hues of space; and lucid limbs

Of secret spiritual beauty formed

Glimmered divinity through every veil.

Once she half-looked behind for her great sun,

Then thoughtful turned to her immortal work.

And Sâvithrî woke also in a world

That opened joyful eyes to life again

And rapturous heard the voices and the stir

Of morning. Not to joy she rose; for fear

Awoke with her and trembled at the dawn.

Sighing she laid her hand upon her bosom,

Nor knew why the close lingering ache was there,

So quiet, so old, so natural to its place,

Till memory came opening like a bud

Her strong sleep-shrouded soul. She gazed within

And saw the dumb white statue of pain erect

Within its temple waiting like a god

Daily oblation of her unwept tears.

Then all the cruelty of thought returned,

And lifting up wide beautiful heavy eyes

She gazed upon the bright and careless Dawn.

This was the day when Suthyavân must die.

 

Daughter of silence, Sâvithrî: her birth

Was like a glorious dawn long planned in heaven,

By obscure earth resisted long. Three years

Her father lived in vigils and in fasts

Like a still mind that gathers in its rays,

Hushing the waves of sense to a wide sleep.

Forced to look upward through its transient veils

Life in his members sank controlled and awed

By the strong gaze of immortality.

He dwelt among the hastening multitudes

Companioned only by his wide-winged spirit

Seated within in an eternal calm.

Plunged from this fretful surface into depths

Of being where the thought sinks large and pale

Like a tired god into mysterious seas,

Repressing speech and wasteful act he held

Man’s hidden strength safe from life’s troubled hands

And Nature motionless in a silent soul.

Thus all himself he made an offering pure

Held up by silence priestlike to the skies

And cast it at the burning Mother’s feet—

Heart of truth’s mighty musings in far heavens

On things withdrawn, immortal Sâvithrî,

The goddess born of sacrificial fire

Who rises chanting from an unseen sun

So rose she upon seven flaming tongues,

Uplifted the world’s vast rhythms in her limbs,

A body of music and an anthemed voice

Heard in the spaces that become the soul

Of God-rapt listeners. “Ask,” she cried, “the hope

For the blind light that strives concealed on earth

With death and the original darkness; I give

For earth, to help the patient mother’s life.

That to enlarge and with divine attempt

Amply new-sky, planting a tent of God

In desert space thy immortal kind was born.”

He asked for children beautiful and bold,

Eyed like the dawn and rapid like the seas,

Wise as the Flame that broods within the world.

“A flower from its burning heart profound,

In one I give thee all,” the Word replied,

“I give thee more than all that thou hast prayed,

Ray of my suns, a daughter. The ages dumb

Intended long her fiery birth.” She hushed,

Music that ceases in the ear of trance

Casting eternal cadences behind,

And vanished into her intenser skies

As disappears a flame in endless light,

Immortally extinguished. Then released

His soul drew back into the speed and noise

Of the vast business of created things

Out of its rapt abysm. He resumed

His burden and was strong for daily deeds,

Wise with the thoughts that skim the fathomless surge

Of Nature and wing back to hidden shores.

 

Now turned the year upon its cycle sweet

And the cool happy winter ceased in spring

Rich with the instinct of God’s sensuous love

Revealed in beauty. Over all the land

The proud asoca bloomed in crimson fire,

The kingshook blushed upon her bridal boughs,

The mango-blossom fed the liquid voice

Of the love-maddened cuckoo and the bee

Murmured in fragrance. Then a child was born

Who looked upon the world with tranquil eyes.

They named her Sâvithrî because her birth

Sprang from that power. They said, “A flame is born

Of sacrifice, a silence in the noise

Of earthly things reveals the secret Thought,

Love armed with strength comes down to help the world.”

Reared sweetly by her father’s bright-eyed queens

She grew like a young tree in silent bliss

Self-gathered that receives the shocks of earth

With wordless passion. Bathed in another light,

Firm, quivering inwardly with mystic rain,

Proud of the ravishing storm’s immense assault

The tree in other calms and tempests lives.

The shadowy touches of these outward things

It only knows as shapes of powers within.

Through a soft quiet joy her childhood moved

Like a small bird that with rich-coloured breast

Sings to himself upon a pleasant bough.

Escaping from this sweet serious bud a strong

And radiant woman flowered. Deep slumbrous fire

Was in the long-fringed glories of her eyes,

Behind her brows there sat a noble soul

Of vision that looked forth on earth through light

And like a nectarous moon her passionate heart

Loved all and spoke no word. Thus as she grew

Like a young palm-tree lonely by a lake,

Her name was heard upon the wondering earth,

The sons of kings beheld her from afar.

But none dared seize her glory; all forbore

To embrace a flame too searching for clay-bound hearts

Earth fashions for her daily uses small.

Sealed up in vessels of a coarser make

By brief-lived duller warmths inured, they shrink

From souls too swift and great; only they bear

The trivial grosser touches of the world,

Seize not its hidden fearless energies,

Clasp not its raptures that desire the strong.

Therefore the gods are few in mortal forms.

(To be continued)