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Sri Aurobindo

A passage from "Ilion"

(Book 8: The Book of the Gods)

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K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar: On Sri Aurobindo's Ilion

Veiled are the high gods always lest there should dawn on the mortal
Light too great from the skies and men to their destiny clear-eyed
Walk unsustained like the gods; then Night and Dawn were defeated
And of their masks the deities robbed would be slaves to their subjects.
Children of Immortality, gods who are joyous for ever,
Rapture is ours and eternity measures our lives by his aeons.
For we desireless toil who have joy in the fall as the triumph,
Knowledge eternal possessing we work for an end that is destined
Long already beyond by the Will of which Time is the courser.
Therefore death cannot alter our lives nor pain our enjoyment.
But in the world of mortals twilight is lord of its creatures.
Nothing they perfectly see, but all things seek and imagine,
Out of the clod who have come and would climb from their mire to our heavens
Blindly mistaking the throb of their mortal desires for our guidance.
Yet are the heavenly seats not easy even for the chosen:
Rough and remote is that path; that ascent is too hard for the death-bound.
Hard are God's terms and few can meet them of men who are mortal.
Mind resists; their breath is a clod; by their tools they are hampered.
How shall they win in their earth to our skies who are clay and a life-wind,
But that their hearts we invade? Our shocks on their lives come incessant,
Ease discourage and penetrate coarseness; sternness celestial
Forces their souls towards the skies and their bodies by anguish are sifted.
We in the mortal wake an immortal strength by our tortures
And by the flame of our lightnings choose out the vessels of godhead.
This is the nature of earth that to blows she responds and by scourgings
Travails excited; pain is the bed of her blossoms of pleasure.
Earth that was wakened by pain to life and by hunger to thinking
Left to her joys rests inert and content with her gains and her station.
But for the unbearable whips of the gods back soon to her matter
She would go glad and the goal would be missed and the aeons be wasted.
But for the god in their breasts unsatisfied, but for his spurrings
Soon would the hero turn beast and the sage reel back to the savage;
Man from his difficult heights would recoil and be mud in the earth-mud.
This by pain we prevent; we compel his feet to the journey.
But in their minds to impression made subject, by forms of things captured
Blind is the thought and presumptuous the hope and they swerve from our goading;
Blinded are human hearts by desire and fear and possession,
Darkened is knowledge on earth by hope the helper of mortals.
Now too from earth and her children voices of anger and weeping
Beat at our thrones; 'tis the grief and the wrath of fate-stricken creatures,
Mortals struggling with destiny, hearts that are slaves to their sorrow.
We unmoved by the cry will fulfil our unvarying purpose.
Troy shall fall at last and the ancient ages shall perish.
You who are lovers of Ilion turn from the moans of her people,
Chase from your hearts their prayers, blow back from your nostrils the incense.
Let not one nation resist by its glory the good of the ages.

Ilion: An Epic in Quantitative Hexameters
Book Eight, The Book of the Gods
(circa 1942)

Sri Aurobindo

in SABCL, Volume 5 "Collected Poems".
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA

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K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar: On Sri Aurobindo's Ilion (36 Kb)

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