Reading Book I Canto II of Savitri by Sri Aurobindo

A few lines that capture the spirit of the text, here,

“… This slow and strange uneasy compromise
Of limiting Nature with a limitless Soul,

// My comments:

When SA wrote Savitri, he called it both a legend and a symbol. The legend was taken from the Mahabharatha, where he narrated the life and fable of Savitri and Satyavan. It’s quite a fascinating story where Savitri, a princess goes out and marries Satyavan a prince whose father was deposed and was sent to exile. Satyavan would die within a year of their marriage. However, Savitri’s courage and her strong dialectics with the god of death, the Yama, would bring back Satyavan to life and his father would get back his kingdom and all would be good.

But there was something more to it that then constituted the “symbol”. The little that I have read about SA, he framed this epic in favour of the thesis that it is possible to transcend death and suffering in life. (This has been the eternal quest from Buddha’s time). The little that I have learned about the philosophy of SA, this is about how humanity as a whole can transcend itself to represent the truly evolved human being. Seems to me that when he writes limitless soul, this might be what he cryptically presented here. Savitri is a great piece of work that need to be read at least three times before you start really see the meaning of the book. It’s a great piece of literature that lets you see meaning of life, a great source of life hacks, productivity, zen of living and so on.

Move on…

“…Where all must move between an ordered Chance
And an uncaring blind Necessity,”

Another expression that explains (albeit somewhat cryptically, for those of us who are not very familiar with SA’s view), that SA’s teaching of life is that, nothing happens by chance. Nothing is really stochastic; anything we experience is essentially rooted in something else, that may be very opaque to us.

And then here,

“Too high the fire spiritual dare not blaze.
If once it met the intense original flame,
An answering touch might shatter all measures made
And earth sink down with the weight of the Infinite…”

I am not sure how the concept of “height” here comes. Every time I read this, I think of MichelAngelo’s “creation of Adam” (, where the God touch comes from one sphere and the limp human touch reaches the God’s fingers and creates life. SA talks about a sublime almost ethereal experience somewhere that when we “touch” it, can transform not only just us, but the world around us as well. Note the words, “shatter”, “sink”.

Deeply disturbing experience.

Disruptive in what we call it these days.

“…A gaol is this immense material world:
Across each road stands armed a stone-eyed Law,
At every gate the huge dim sentinels pace,
A grey tribunal of the Ignorance,
An Inquisition of the priests of Night,
In judgment sit on the adventurer soul
And the dual tables and Karmic norm
Restrain the Titan in us and the God
Pain with its lash, joy with its silver bribe
Guard the Wheel’s circling immobility. “

Living an uncluttered zen life is like jailbreaking the entrapments.

SA has often written about the dim sentinels and “priests of Night”;  (a very personal note: I really have not read in depth much of SA’s other works, I started discovering Savitri really recently and got engrossed reading it, its cryptic but very interesting read. I plan to explore and lay down my feelings on the third reading in these pages in future posts as much as I can. Some days will be like this, with explanations, other days, if I cannot get my head around it, it may remain unannotated. By no means I want to comment on everything. It’s much better to enjoy the book and not think too much about it, as Mother is said to have advised. I see now possibly why if she indeed said that). Reading Sav alone, it seems to me that SA used to believe that Divinity and Nescience or Dark forces were like two sides of the same coin. They rose in parallel.

But you can sense the anguish in these lines where he sees how creativity and true free spirit is chained by straps. He laments about the fixity of life; about the fact that we are in chains. “Man was born free but everywhere he is in chains” (Emerson)

“A bond is put on the high climbing mind
A seal on the too large wide open heart.
Death stays the journeying discoverer, Life.
Thus is the throne of the Inconscient safe
While the tardy coils of the aeons pass
And the Animal browses in the sacred fence
And the gold Hawk can cross the skies no more. “

The “sacred” fence. The venerable fence. This utter call to rebel against our self imposed limitations is very defiant.


I am reading Savitri by Sri Aurobindo, canto two, the issue

He brackets the theme of the book (starting point of the story around which the symbolism was built.)

"An absolute supernatural darkness falls
On man sometimes when he draws near to God
An hour arrives when fail all Nature's means
Forced out from the protecting Ignorance
And flung back on his naked primal need
He at length must cast from him his surface soul
And be the ungarbed entity within "