What Basically is Savitri? – A Brief Commentary

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Editor’s note: About Savitri, the Mother once said that it is a “complete system of yoga which can serve as a guide for those who want to follow the integral sadhana” (CWM, Vol. 13, p. 24)

The following brief commentary on Savitri by Amal Kiran dated 21.2.1980 — 102nd birth anniversary of the Mother — was published in the Ashram monthly journal Mother India, October 2003, pp. 834-36. We have made a few minor formatting revisions for this digital presentation.


What basically is Savitri? It can be regarded, in its own language, as

Sight’s sound-waves breaking from the soul’s great deeps.

~ Savitri, CWSA, Vol. 34, p. 383

So to approach it I would try to concentrate in the heart-centre and plunge into it until I felt it as not only intense but also immense—and in that secrecy of warm wideness I would become all eyes and ears bent upon feeling Savitri as the outflow of my own true self.

Here would be an attempt to enter into Sri Aurobindo through my own profundities, and catching a sense of identity with him, achieve in the form of this poem’s super-art what the Rigvedic Rishis termed “the seeing and hearing of the Truth”. Whatever is spiritually visioned has an inherent vibration which renders itself into a voice, an audible rhythm of the inmost being’s self-visualisation.

To experience Savitri‘s spirit-disclosures in this intimate audiovisual manner within some psychic solitude of fathomless peace conjoined with power: there you have my ideal apropos of a phrase from Sri Aurobindo’s epic.

But I may add that such an account as the above does not exhaust the reality of true readership.

As Sri Aurobindo explains in The Future Poetry, the Mantra is seen-heard in the heart’s abysm at the same time that it is sensed as descended from a height of heights. This sensing, if it is to be acute, reflects the experience we meet in those sapphics of Sri Aurobindo:

Swiftly, swiftly crossing the golden spaces
Knowledge leaps, a torrent of rapid lightnings.
Thoughts that left the Ineffable’s flaming mansions
    Blaze in my spirit.

Slow my heart-beats’ rhythm like a giant hammer’s;
Missioned voices drive to me from God’s doorway
Words that live not save upon Nature’s summits,
    Ecstasy’s chariots.

~ Sri Aurobindo, Collected Poems: Descent

I should like to set my imagination a-thrill with the rapture-roll of these lines and with the picture they conjure up of a mighty descent from the Superconscient Ether into the human spirit and of a vast receptivity in that spirit’s central organ.

The central organ experiences at once an expansion and a subdual—its pulsation loses all common excitement and narrow sensation, it comes to know great prolonged gaps of silence between one throb and another.

Within such a reflex and echo of the Rigveda’s parame vyoman, the supreme Void where all the Gods are seated together and the Mantra goes eternally vibrating—within that superhumanised heart the revelatory utterance of a poem like Savitri can be realised in all the authenticity of its marvellous origin at the top of Nature, the Overmind-Supermind level.

And how does that utterance precipitate itself with its sight-sound?

Sri Aurobindo uses an image from the Rigveda: the chariot. It is as a mobile well-framed carrier of a luminous load that the Mantra arrives and appears in the mortal’s consciousness. What psychological fact is shadowed out by this arrival and appearance in the shape of a skilfully fashioned vehicle on two wheels which resemble—to quote an Upanishadic idea—a stable centre from which and into which run the diverse lines of our nature like circling spokes?

According to the Rigveda, such arrival and appearance point to the domain of the mind in a state of in-drawnness which yet has a calm connection with all the parts of the being and which lends itself to the formative élan from the lofty home of Truth and from the deep answering heart.

The indrawn illuminated mentality is the workshop here below of the hidden Gods. There, like an inspired cartwright, the seer gives a particularised mould to the messages that move from everlasting to everlasting. Rather, the mould which is already existent on Nature’s summits gets its true replica for man in the shaping recesses of the mind.

Ecstasy’s chariots are projected into the cast of human language through the services of a mental seerhood. Hence Savitri‘s missioned voices from God’s doorway call not only for a heart-consciousness of the right order but also for a mind-awareness properly tuned up.

To cut all this esoteric cackle of mine, I may sum up by saying that we should somehow so train ourselves in heart and mind that Savitri may be more than a superb communication to us. It should be a miraculous communion in which we shall feel as though we were its co-creators with Sri Aurobindo.

The Mother’s Presence

The Mother’s presence is extremely intense today. As it should be to all who have pledged their future to her and to whom 21 February, along with 15 August, is the greatest occasion in history. Because on this occasion something beyond history, a Grace of the Eternal, entered the historical stream to give it not only what it could never deserve but also what it could never dream of and desire.

For this stream belongs to the cosmic movement which has the transcendent behind it but never directly in it. Its culmination would be the highest stratum of the world of the Gods, where the Many stand unified and harmonised in a Godhead synthesising in a single summum bonum the diverse goals of the various religions.

The culmination would be the glory and passion of a World Religion such as would have been founded if the luminous creation of the Overmind plane had been precipitated in the wake of the Descent on 24 November 1926 and not been set aside by the Mother at the command of Sri Aurobindo.

Sri Aurobindo wanted not this natural crowning of the cosmic movement but the evocation of the Ineffable that was behind it, the secret Supermind transcendent of all religions.That realisation would be rather the gift of a Super-Nature than Nature’s own deserved and desired achievement in the course of history—in short, a Grace of the Eternal.

Such Grace can only be received and never demanded as a right. And it has been offered to terrestrial evolution by the birth of the Divine Mother amongst us, side by side with that of Sri Aurobindo the Supramental Avatar.

From the viewpoint of Nature and history the dual embodiment of the Supermind is asking for the impossible. Have not all the prophets and saviours declared that however irradiated the earth might be by the Spirit, the grand finale is always Yonder, never Here?

Out of the mind, away from the life-force, far from the body we must ultimately go if the Supreme is to be our unchanging and everlasting home. This has been the master-message of every system of spirituality.

Even Vaishnavism and Tantra, which attempted to lay reshaping hands on embodied existence, knew how short they fell of the power of true transformation. They too pointed in the end to an earth-exceeding Within or a world-forgetting Beyond. All spiritual insight in the past has said that it is chimerical to hope for a mind all-knowing, a life-force all-effecting, a physical being which is perpetually young, immune to disease, free from death.

Alone the Mother and Sri Aurobindo have proclaimed:

Earth’s winged chimeras are Truth’s steeds in Heaven,
The impossible God’s sign of things to be.

~ Savitri, CWSA, Vol. 33, p. 52

And today—the 102ⁿᵈ anniversary of the Supernal Beloved’s birth—the sign of the future to which our souls have been dedicated glowed bright in our consciousness, as though once again that Beloved were concretely in front of us and lavishing on us her unforgettable time-transfiguring smile.

Read more about
Sri Aurobindo’s and Rishi Vyasa’s Savitri

~ Design: Beloo Mehra

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