by Sri Aurobindo
Book Four - The Book of Birth and Quest
The Birth and Childhood of the Flame
A Maenad of the cycles of desire
Light she must not dare to touch,
Hastening towards a far-off unknown
Earth followed the endless journey of the Sun.
A mind but half-awake
in the swing of the void
On the bosom of Inconscience dreamed out
And bore this finite world of thought and deed
Across the immobile
trance of the Infinite.
A vast immutable silence with her ran:
of speed upon a jewelled wheel,
She communed with the mystic heart in
Amid the ambiguous stillness of the stars
She moved towards some
And her rhythm measured the long whirl of Time.
ceaseless motion round the purple rim
Day after day sped by like coloured
And through a glamour of shifting hues of air
The seasons drew in
linked significant dance
The symbol pageant of the changing year.
the burning languor of the soil
Paced Summer with his pomp of violent
And stamped his tyranny of torrid light
And the blue seal of a
great burnished sky.
Next through its fiery swoon or clotted
Rain-tide burst in upon torn wings of heat,
Startled with lightnings
air's unquiet drowse,
Lashed with life-giving streams the torpid
Overcast with flare and sound and storm-winged dark
star-defended doors of heaven's dim sleep,
Or from the gold eye of her
Covered with packed cloud-veils the earth's brown face.
of revolution crossed the time-field,
The clouds' unending march besieged
Tempests' pronunciamentos claimed the sky
And thunder drums
announced the embattled gods.
A traveller from unquiet neighbouring
The dense-maned monsoon rode neighing through earth's hours:
now the emissary javelins:
Enormous lightnings split the horizon's
And, hurled from the quarters as from contending camps,
heaven's edges steep and bare and blind:
A surge and hiss and onset of huge
The long straight sleet-drift, clamours of winged
Throngs of wind-faces, rushing of wind-feet
through the prone afflicted plains:
Heaven's waters trailed and dribbled
through the drowned land.
Then all was a swift stride, a sibilant
Or all was tempest's shout and water's fall.
A dimness sagged on
the grey floor of day,
Its dingy sprawling length joined morn to
Wallowing in sludge and shower it reached black dark.
Day a half
darkness wore as its dull dress.
Light looked into dawn's tarnished glass
Its own face there, twin to a half-lit night's:
Downpour and drip
and seeping mist swayed all
And turned dry soil to bog and reeking
Earth was a quagmire, heaven a dismal block.
None saw through dank
drenched weeks the dungeon sun.
Even when no turmoil vexed air's sombre
Or a faint ray glimmered through weeping clouds
As a sad smile
gleams veiled by returning tears,
All promised brightness failed at once
Or, soon condemned, died like a brief-lived hope.
Then a last
massive deluge thrashed dead mire
And a subsiding mutter left all
Or only the muddy creep of sinking floods
Or only a whisper and
green toss of trees.
Earth's mood now changed; she lay in lulled
The hours went by with slow contented tread:
A wide and tranquil
air remembered peace,
Earth was the comrade of a happy sun.
neared as of the approach of God,
A light of musing trance lit soil and
And an identity and ecstasy
Filled meditation's solitary heart.
dream loitered in the dumb mind of Space,
Time opened its chambers of
An exaltation entered and a hope:
An inmost self looked up to a
An inmost thought kindled a hidden flame
And the inner
sight adored an unseen sun.
Three thoughtful seasons passed with shining
And scanning one by one the pregnant hours
Watched for a flame that
lurked in luminous depths,
The vigil of some mighty birth to come.
led in the glory of her moons
And dreamed in the splendour of her lotus
And Winter and Dew-time laid their calm cool hands
bosom still in a half sleep
And deepened with hues of lax and mellow
The tranquil beauty of the waning year.
Then Spring, an ardent
lover, leaped through leaves
And caught the earth-bride in his eager
His advent was a fire of irised hues,
His arms were a circle of
the arrival of joy.
His voice was a call to the Transcendent's
Whose secret touch upon our mortal lives
Keeps ever new the thrill
that made the world,
Remoulds an ancient sweetness to new shapes
guards intact unchanged by death and Time
The answer of our hearts to
And keeps for ever new, yet still the same,
The throb that
ever wakes to the old delight
And beauty and rapture and the joy to
His coming brought the magic and the spell;
At his touch life's
tired heart grew glad and young;
He made joy a willing prisoner in her
His grasp was a young god's upon earth's limbs:
Changed by the
passion of his divine outbreak
He made her body beautiful with his
Impatient for felicity he came,
High-fluting with the coïl's
His peacock turban trailing on the trees;
His breath was a
warm summons to delight,
The dense voluptuous azure was his gaze.
celestial urge surprised the blood
Rich with the instinct of God's sensuous
Revealed in beauty, a cadence was abroad
Insistent on the
rapture-thrill in life:
Immortal movements touched the fleeting hours.
godlike packed intensity of sense
Made it a passionate pleasure even to
All sights and voices wove a single charm.
The life of the
enchanted globe became
A storm of sweetness and of light and song,
revel of colour and of ecstasy,
A hymn of rays, a litany of cries:
strain of choral priestly music sang
And, swung on the swaying censer of the
A sacrifice of perfume filled the hours.
Asocas burned in crimson
spots of flame,
Pure like the breath of an unstained desire
jasmines haunted the enamoured air,
Pale mango-blossoms fed the liquid
Of the love-maddened coïl, and the brown bee
fragrance mid the honey-buds.
The sunlight was a great god's golden
All Nature was at beauty's festival.
In this high signal
moment of the gods
Answering earth's yearning and her cry for bliss,
greatness from our other countries came.
A silence in the noise of earthly
Immutably revealed the secret Word,
A mightier influx filled the
A lamp was lit, a sacred image made.
A mediating ray had
touched the earth
Bridging the gulf between man's mind and God's;
brightness linked our transience to the Unknown.
A spirit of its celestial
Translating heaven into a human shape
Descended into earth's
And wept not fallen to mortality,
But looked on all with
large and tranquil eyes.
One had returned from the transcendent
And bore anew the load of mortal breath,
Who had striven of old
with our darkness and our pain;
She took again her divine unfinished
Survivor of death and the aeonic years,
Once more with her
fathomless heart she fronted Time.
Again there was renewed, again
The ancient closeness by earth-vision veiled,
The secret contact
broken off in Time,
A consanguinity of earth and heaven,
human portion toiling here
And an as yet unborn and limitless
Again the mystic deep attempt began,
The daring wager of the
For since upon this blind and whirling globe
first quivered with the illumining mind
And life invaded the material
Afflicting Inconscience with the need to feel,
Since in Infinity's
silence woke a word,
A Mother-wisdom works in Nature's breast
delight on the heart of toil and want
And press perfection on life's
Impose heaven-sentience on the obscure abyss
dumb Matter conscious of its God.
Although our fallen minds forget to
Although our human stuff resists or breaks,
She keeps her will
that hopes to divinise clay;
Failure cannot repress, defeat
Time cannot weary her nor the Void subdue,
The ages have not
made her passion less;
No victory she admits of Death or Fate.
drives the soul to new attempt;
Always her magical infinitude
aspire the inert brute elements;
As one who has all infinity to
She scatters the seed of the Eternal's strength
On a half-animate
and crumbling mould,
Plants heaven's delight in the heart's passionate
Pours godhead's seekings into a bare beast frame,
in a mask of death.
Once more that Will put on an earthly shape.
empowered from Truth's immutable seat
Was framed for vision and interpreting
And instruments were sovereignly designed
To express divinity in
Outlined by the pressure of this new descent
lovelier body formed than earth had known.
As yet a prophecy only and a
The glowing arc of a charmed unseen whole,
It came into the sky of
Bright like the crescent horn of a gold moon
Returning in a
faint illumined eve.
At first glimmering like an unshaped idea
she lay sheltered in wordless sleep,
Involved and drowned in Matter's giant
An infant heart of the deep-caved world-plan
In cradle of divine
By the universal ecstasy of the suns.
Power in the half-wakened frame
Nursed a transcendent birth's dumb glorious
For which this vivid tenement was made.
But soon the link of soul
with form grew sure;
Flooded was the dim cave with slow conscient
The seed grew into a delicate marvellous bud,
The bud disclosed a
great and heavenly bloom.
At once she seemed to found a mightier
Arrived upon the strange and dubious globe
The child remembering
inly a far home
Lived guarded in her spirit's luminous cell,
men in her diviner kind.
Even in her childish movements could be felt
nearness of a light still kept from earth,
Feelings that only eternity could
Thoughts natural and native to the gods.
As needing nothing but
its own rapt flight
Her nature dwelt in a strong separate air
strange bird with large rich-coloured breast
That sojourns on a secret
Lost in the emerald glory of the woods
Or flies above
divine unreachable tops.
Harmoniously she impressed the earth with
Aligned to a swift rhythm of sheer delight
And singing to
themselves her days went by;
Each minute was a throb of beauty's
The hours were tuned to a sweet-toned content
Which asked for
nothing, but took all life gave
Sovereignly as her nature's inborn
Near was her spirit to its parent Sun,
The Breath within to the
The first fair life that breaks from Nature's swoon,
in a line of rapture to the skies;
Absorbed in its own happy urge it
Sufficient to itself, yet turned to all:
It has no seen communion
with its world,
No open converse with surrounding things.
There is a
oneness native and occult
That needs no instruments and erects no
In unison it grows with all that is.
All contacts it assumes into
Laugh-tossed consents to the wind's kiss and
Transmutingly the shocks of sun and breeze:
A blissful yearning
riots in its leaves,
A magic passion trembles in its blooms,
aspire in hushed felicity.
An occult godhead of this beauty is cause,
spirit and intimate guest of all this charm,
This sweetness's priestess and
this reverie's muse.
Invisibly protected from our sense
The Dryad lives
drenched in a deeper ray
And feels another air of storms and calms
quivers inwardly with mystic rain.
This at a heavenlier height was shown in
Even when she bent to meet earth's intimacies
Her spirit kept the
stature of the gods;
It stooped but was not lost in Matter's reign.
world translated was her gleaming mind,
And marvel-mooned bright crowding
Fed with spiritual sustenance of dreams
The ideal goddess in
her house of gold.
Aware of forms to which our eyes are closed,
of nearnesses we cannot feel,
The Power within her shaped her moulding
In deeper figures than our surface types.
An invisible sunlight ran
within her veins
And flooded her brain with heavenly brilliances
woke a wider sight than earth could know.
Outlined in the sincerity of that
Her springing childlike thoughts were richly turned
patterns of her soul's deep truth,
And from her eyes she cast another
On all around her than man's ignorant view.
All objects were to her
shapes of living selves
And she perceived a message from her kin
awakening touch of outward things.
Each was a symbol power, a vivid
In the circuit of infinities half-known;
Nothing was alien or
Nothing without its meaning or its call.
For with a greater
Nature she was one.
As from the soil sprang glory of branch and
As from the animal's life rose thinking man,
A new epiphany
appeared in her.
A mind of light, a life of rhythmic force,
instinct with hidden divinity
Prepared an image of the coming god;
when the slow rhyme of the expanding years
And the rich murmurous swarm-work
of the days
Had honey-packed her sense and filled her
Accomplishing the moon-orb of her grace,
Self-guarded in the
silence of her strength
Her solitary greatness was not less.
godhead to the surface pressed,
A sun replacing childhood's
Sovereign in a blue and lonely sky.
Upward it rose to grasp the
The strong Inhabitant turned to watch her field.
light assumed her spirit brow
And sweet and solemn grew her musing
Celestial-human deep warm slumbrous fires
Woke in the long fringed
glory of her eyes
Like altar-burnings in a mysteried shrine.
Out of those
crystal windows gleamed a will
That brought a large significance to
Holding her forehead's candid stainless space
Behind the student
arch a noble power
Of wisdom looked from light on transient things.
scout of victory in a vigil tower,
Her aspiration called high destiny
A silent warrior paced in her city of strength
Truth's diamond throne.
A nectarous haloed moon her passionate
Loved all and spoke no word and made no sign,
But kept her bosom's
A blissful ardent moved and voiceless world.
swift and joyful ran the wave of life
Within her like a stream in
Many high gods dwelt in one beautiful home;
Yet was her
nature's orb a perfect whole,
Harmonious like a chant with many
Immense and various like a universe.
The body that held this
greatness seemed almost
An image made of heaven's transparent light.
charm recalled things seen in vision's hours,
A golden bridge spanning a
A moon-touched palm-tree single by a lake
Companion of the
wide and glimmering peace,
A murmur as of leaves in Paradise
feet of the Immortals pass,
A fiery halo over sleeping hills,
and starry head alone in Night.
in "Savitri" - SABCL Volume 29
- (pages 349-358)
published by Sri
Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA