Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Then suddenly the narration freezes at the end of Canto 2

Mangesh Nadkarni
Introduction – 3

We have now acquainted ourselves with the legend of Satyavan and Savitri as it is found in the Mahabharata. The first draft of Savitri that Sri Aurobindo wrote between 1916 and 1918 was primarily a re-telling of this legend. But as he gradually discovered its potential to be the central vehicle of his spiritual message, he began recasting this first draft from about 1928, more systematically from about 1930, and continued working on it until a few weeks before he left his body in December 1950. He has himself explained in a letter why he took so long to finish Savitri:

…if I have not poetical genius, at least I can claim a sufficient, if not an infinite capacity for painstaking: that I have sufficiently shown by my long labour on Savitri. Or rather, since it was not labour in the ordinary sense, not a labour of painstaking construction, I may describe it as an infinite capacity for waiting and listening for the true inspiration and rejecting all that fell short of it, however good it might seem from a lower standard, until I got that which which I felt to be absolutely right.
(Letters on Savitri in Savitri (1993))

The final version of Savitri that thus emerged shows some departures that Sri Aurobindo has made from the original Mahabharata story. These departures are mostly of the nature of giving a great deal of expansion to some parts of the story and dealing with some other parts rather briefly. I do not think that the great Vyasa would have disapproved of any of these departures because in almost all cases they bring out what was implicit in Vyasa’s legend. Sri Aurobindo breathes a new life and power into this Vedic myth. Besides, these adaptations enhance the symbolic meaning of the story.

We will take up the issue of symbolism at a later point in our study. Here I would like to take a close look at some of the departures from the Mahabharata legend that we find in Savitri. Together with this I will also try to indicate how the entire epic is structured – what Books of the epic poem deal with what part of the story. This will provide you with a good road-map of Savitri and enable you to open the poem at any canto of any Book and immediately grasp what part of the story is being dealt with in that canto. We may not be able to complete the discussion of these topics in one instalment; it will have to be continued in one or more of the instalments to follow. We will, however, conclude this instalment as usual with an excerpt from the epic poem presented for your appreciation.

Departures in Savitri from the Mahabharata Legend

1. The Mahabharata Legend:

Aswapati is an ideal king firmly established in dharma. He has all the blessings of life but he is issue-less. So with the intention of getting a son he engages himself in arduous austerities for eighteen years. He thus worships goddess Savitri with all devotion. Pleased with his austerities and devotion, goddess Savitri emerges out of the sacrificial fire and grants him the boon of a daughter. She assures him that a beautiful and effulgent daughter will be born to him and that this boon is being bestowed upon him at the instance of Brahma, the Creator, himself. This part of the story is narrated in about 20 slokas in the Mahabharata legend. The description of Aswapati’s austerities or penance, however, takes actually no more than six lines.

Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri

Aswapati’s yajna or penance of eighteen years becomes in Sri Aurobindo’s epic “Aswapati’s Yoga”. Yajna or sacrifice is a Vedic concept which is often misunderstood. Its primary objective is not, as is generally believed, to obtain material prosperity during one’s life time and the blessings of heaven after death. Nor does its performance entail observance of certain rituals. It is basically a profound psychological or spiritual practice or discipline which enables man to pass from the world of mortal existence to the vast world of the immortal spirit. It is a path that leads to life immortal (amritatatwaaya gacchati), says the Rig Veda. Sacrifice in the Veda thus represents a symbolic process which enables man to rise into the highest spiritual status. In Savitri, this is the kind of sacrifice, sacrifice in the Vedic sense, that Aswapati undertakes.

The description of this yoga takes 10974 lines, spread over twenty-two cantos – cantos 3, 4 and 5 of Book I, all the fifteen cantos of Book II, and all the four cantos of Book III. It is worth examining why Sri Aurobindo needs such a vast canvas to describe what Vyasa manages to do in about six lines?

Very early in Canto Three of Book I we begin to see that Sri Aurobindo’s Aswapati is “a thinker and toiler in the ideal’s air” and that he is “A colonist from immorality”. Further details about him reveal to us that although he is described as King Aswapati in this epic poem too, he personifies in many ways the sensitive modern man in search of a perfect life for himself and his fellowmen here on earth. In his concerns and in his aspirations, he is almost our contemporary. He seems to be familiar with what the East and the West have so far contributed to make the human legacy so rich and varied – religion, spirituality, liberal arts, culture, science and technology. He too like his counterpart in Vyasa’s legend, performs austerities, not external rites and rituals, but he follows an inner spiritual discipline, a yoga. Why does he perform this yoga? In spite of what mankind has achieved through its long and difficult struggle, man’s life here on earth is still riddled with suffering, evil, limitations of various kinds and finally death. Man has tried in vain to change this situation through science and technology, through effecting changes in his social and economic institutions, through political revolutions. Nor have traditional religions and spiritual practices helped change this situation in any radical and permanent way. A realisation of this prompts Aswapati to seek a creative power, a Truth which will transform human life and bring to it an integral perfection, so far only dreamt of but not realised in reality. Towards this end he undertakes a triple yoga. Sri Aurobindo has explained in one of his letters the nature of this yoga (Letters on Savitri, in Savitri, 1993, page 778):

Aswapati’s Yoga falls into three parts. First, he is achieving his own spiritual self-fulfilment as the individual and this is described as the Yoga of the King. Next, he makes the ascent as a typical representative of the race to win the possibility of discovery and possession of all the planes of consciousness and this is described in the Second Book: but this is also yet only an individual victory. Finally, he aspires no longer for himself but for all, for a universal realisation and new creation. This is described in the Book of the Divine Mother.

Cantos 3 (“The Yoga of the King; The Yoga of the Soul’s Release”) and 5 (“The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Spirit’s Freedom and Greatness”) of Book I describe Aswapati’s yoga through which he attains his psycho-spiritual transformation. Canto 4 (“The Secret Knowledge”) describes the deeper knowledge which the yoga reveals to him. The world around us is to a large extent a creation of our ego and therefore as long as we remain closed within the cocoon of our ego, we can not see the world as it is. For that one needs to rise above one’s ego and take a stand in the consciousness of one’s soul. This is what Aswapati achieves during the first phase of his yoga. And then he realises that this world is as yet an imperfect manifestation of the Supreme Reality and it is destined to evolve further towards a great fulfilment, and a perfect manifestation of the Divine Reality. He also realises that for this to happen the Truth-Light must be found and with it “earth’s massive roots” must be struck so that the world may “manifest the unveiled Divine”.

This realisation prompts him to be a “Traveller of the Worlds”. He wishes to explore the various worlds; these are worlds made of substances other than the gross-physical substance of which our world is made. Until modern enlightenment put blinkers on our eyes and made us blind to all non-physical reality, religions and spiritual traditions in all parts of the world assumed the existence of these non-physical worlds. Aswapati’s experiences of this travel through all the worlds from the subtle physical to the highest manifested spiritual worlds are described in Book II. Canto 1 ( “The World-Stair” ) of Book II describes the varied worlds which Aswapati sees as a world-pile, a huge column of worlds rising from the plinth of Matter. It also describes how this macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm of our inner being. Thus Aswapati becomes a traveller basically of the inner worlds. He travels through four kinds of worlds – physical worlds (Canto 2), vital worlds (Cantos 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) mental worlds (Cantos 9, 10 and 11) and spiritual worlds (Cantos 12, 13, 14 and 15). It should, however, be noted that the description of Aswapati’s experience of the spiritual worlds in also found in Books I and III of the epic as well.

As he reaches the apex of the spiritual worlds, he feels strongly pushed into the world of Nirvanic experience. This is the theme of Canto 1 (“ The Pursuit of the Unknowable”) of Book III. Aswapati refuses to regard the Nirvanic state as the highest possible state attainable by man because that state takes him out of this world and leads him to a dissolution of his being and merger with the static Brahman. This amounts basically to an escape from this world and undoubtedly the escape brings a tremendous liberation from all that plagues man here in his earthly life – dualities of pleasure and pain, sense of being finite and limited etc. But Aswapati had undertaken this arduous route to find ways of bringing fulfilment and perfection to life in this world not to escape from it. So he deliberately retraces his steps from the Nirvanic region and takes a leap into the Transcendental world. He has to take this step because so far whatever he has done, and all the worlds he has explored have not revealed to him the secret of bringing perfection to life on earth. Here on the topmost verge of the Overmental world he feels the presence of the Supreme Divine Mother, the Creatrix of this world. All this is described in Canto 2 ( “ The Adoration of the Divine Mother”) of Book III. Here I would like to draw your attention to a glorious passage which you will find on pages 314 and 315. This passage is a mantric invocation, a veritable stuti “laud”, “ a hymn of praise’ offered to the Divine Mother. Sanskrit literature contains many wonderful examples of such hymns, and Sri Aurobindo has now created a few of these in English as well.

At the head she stands of birth and toil and fate,
In their slow round the cycles turn to her call;
Alone her hands can change Time's dragon base.
Hers is the mystery the Night conceals;
The spirit's alchemist energy is hers;
She is the golden bridge, the wonderful fire.
The luminous heart of the Unknown is she,
A power of silence in the depths of God;
She is the Force, the inevitable Word,
The magnet of our difficult ascent,
The Sun from which we kindle all our suns,
The Light that leans from the unrealised Vasts,
The joy that beckons from the impossible,
The Might of all that never yet came down.
All Nature dumbly calls to her alone
To heal with her feet the aching throb of life
And break the seals on the dim soul of man
And kindle her fire in the closed heart of things.
All here shall be one day her sweetness' home,
All contraries prepare her harmony;
Towards her our knowledge climbs, our passion gropes;
In her miraculous rapture we shall dwell,
Her clasp shall turn to ecstasy our pain.
Our self shall be one self with all through her.
In her confirmed because transformed in her,
Our life shall find in its fulfilled response
Above, the boundless hushed beatitudes,
Below, the wonder of the embrace divine.

At last in this transcendental realm Aswapati sees the world of perfection he has been looking for – the Supramental world. In sections 3 and 4 of Canto 3 (“ The House of the Spirit and the New Creation”) of Book III is a description of what we can take to be the future Supramental creation. Nowhere in Book III does Sri Aurobindo use the word “Supermind’; it is referred to as a “vast Truth-Consciousness”. Consider these lines which describe this new world:

A new and marvellous creation rose.
Incalculable outflowing infinitudes
Laughing out an unmeasured happiness
Lived their innumerable unity;
(lines 224 – 227, page 323)

In Canto 4 (“The Vision and the Boon”) of Book III, Aswapati prays to the Divine Mother to send on earth an emanation of hers who alone would be able to bring down to earth this new consciousness he has found in the transcendental world. The Supreme Divine Mother advises Aswapati to be patient because in her view man is not yet ready for the descent of this new consciousness. But Aswapati is disconsolate, and strongly urges the Divine Mother to grant him his request for the sake of the long-suffering humanity. Finally, the Divine Mother accedes to his request and assures him that an incarnation of hers will be born on earth who will make it possible for man to conquer death and all the inadequacies it represents so that the Life Divine blossoms on earth. And the passage in which this assurance is given is once again one of the magic passages in Savitri.

O strong forerunner, I have heard thy cry.
One shall descend and break the iron Law,
Change Nature's doom by the lone spirit's power.
A limitless Mind that can contain the world,
A sweet and violent heart of ardent calms
Moved by the passions of the gods shall come.
All mights and greatnesses shall join in her;
Beauty shall walk celestial on the earth,
Delight shall sleep in the cloud-net of her hair,
And in her body as on his homing tree
Immortal Love shall beat his glorious wings.
A music of griefless things shall weave her charm;
The harps of the Perfect shall attune her voice,
The streams of Heaven shall murmur in her laugh,
Her lips shall be the honeycombs of God,
Her limbs his golden jars of ecstasy,
Her breasts the rapture-flowers of Paradise.
She shall bear Wisdom in her voiceless bosom,
Strength shall be with her like a conqueror's sword
And from her eyes the Eternal's bliss shall gaze.
A seed shall be sown in Death's tremendous hour,
A branch of heaven transplant to human soil;
Nature shall overleap her mortal step;
Fate shall be changed by an unchanging will.”

This brings us to the end of Book III and also of Part I of Savitri.

Please note that the description of Aswapti’s yoga begins with Canto 3 of Book I and concludes with Canto 4 of Book III. The description of Aswapati’s yoga thus accounts for the whole Part I of the epic except Cantos 1 and 2 of Book I. How are these two cantos related to the rest of this epic? Canto 1 (“The Symbol Dawn”) of Book I describes the dawn of the day on which Satyavan was fated to die. Since the death and the resuscitation of Satyavan are the two central events of this story, we can say that the epic begins ‘in media res’, right in the middle of the action. Such a beginning is in keeping with the Western tradition. “The Symbol Dawn” is a description not only of the dawn of that fateful day, but it also evokes in a sensitive reader images of several other dawns as well. Then in the second section of this Canto we are told how Savitri too awoke on that morning as well. Then in Canto 2 (“The Issue”), we are given the first full view of Savitri as she looked on that fateful morning. (An excerpt from this canto was presented for your appreciation at the end of our instalment 2.) The issue of Savitri’s life is

Whether to bear with Ignorance and Death
Or hew the ways of Immortality,
To win or lose the godlike game for man,
Was her soul’s issue thrown with Destiny’s dice.
(Lines 233- 236, p. 17)

Then suddenly the narration freezes at the end of Canto 2 – around the forenoon of the fateful day. There is a flashback to Savitri’s antecedents. “A world’s desire compelled her mortal birth” says the very first line of Canto 3 of Book I. To understand this line – what was the world’s desire, and how it compelled Savitri’s birth, etc. we need to know of Aswapati and of his triple yoga. And this is described as we have seen in Cantos 3, 4 and 5 of Book I and in Books II and III. The narration of the story which freezes at the end of Canto 2 of Book I is picked up again in Book VIII. In the meanwhile the flashback keeps us busy with that part of the story which deals with Aswapati and his yoga, Savitri’s birth, her growing up into a beautiful maiden, her going into the world to seek a partner for life, her meeting with Satyavan and falling in love with him, Narad’s prophecy and the problems it creates for Savitri. All this brings us to Book VII, which describes what happened four days before the fateful day – Savitri takes up a very difficult yoga to prepare herself for the fateful day prophesied by Narad. Book VIII then picks up the story from where it was left in Canto II Book I and what happened after the forenoon of that day elapsed and the noon arrived. Satyavan died in the forest around noon that day.

Vyasa’s Legend

1. The Mahabharata story then goes on to report that when the child was born she was called Savitri, since she had been given by the goddess of that name. There is no reference at all here to the notion of Savitri being a divine incarnation, even if it was present in the Vedic origins of the myth. Here we are told how Savitri grew up into a fair and beautiful young girl like the Goddess of Fortune herself incarnate.

Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri

In Sri Aurobindo’s epic, the birth of Savitri is clearly the birth of an Avatar, of a divine incarnation. Aswapati had undertaken the arduous yoga to free humanity from the clutches of the forces of obscurity, inconscience, inertia and negation. This can be achieved only if the Supramental consciousness is brought down on earth. This is a stupendous task beyond the capacities of any normal human being. That is why he prays to the Supreme Divine Mother for an incarnation of hers on earth. . “Mission to earth some living form of thee” says Aswapati. Savitri’s birth is this birth of the Divine into a human body. This and her childhood which shows clearly the stamp of greatness of her spirit are described in Canto 1 (“The Birth and Childhood of the Flame”). As Savitri grows into a young maiden of exquisite inner and outer beauty, she also acquires a varied knowledge of many philosophies and sciences, of arts and crafts. Her eminence is recognised by all around her, and because of this no prince dares to approach her seeking her hand in marriage. All this is the theme of Canto 2 (“ The Growth of the Flame”) of Book IV.

Vyasa’s Legend

2. Savitri grows up into a radiantly beautiful young woman and looks like a goddess (devarupini). One auspicious day Savitri, pays a visit to the temple, offers prayers and oblations to the gods, and goes to see her father. When she approaches him, she touches his feet in obeisance and offers him the prasad and flowers she has brought from the temple. Aswapati sees that his daughter has grown to full youth and is beautiful like a goddess but feels distressed that she is yet unmarried. He deems it a failure on his part not to have found for her a suitable husband. Because of her great beauty and radiance, no prince dares to come forward. Aswapati therefore asks her to go out into the world to seek a young man who would be her companion for life.

Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri

The way Sri Aurobindo describes this event is somewhat different. Aswapati in Sri Aurobindo’s epic is a great and accomplished yogi. Therefore he is in communion with the spiritual planes and forces that constantly act on the human plane and mould the happenings and movements here. He has a strong feeling that man’s aspiration for a perfect life on earth is going to be fulfilled. Suddenly one day he hears a heavenly voice which says that a great destiny awaits mankind but man is unable to rise to it since “ The Gods are still too few in mortal forms”. As the Voice withdraws, he sees Savitri in front of him. This occasions another glorious description of Savitri, this time as seen by her father. (We will study this passage at the end of this instalment.) He sees her as a “shining answer from the gods” to all his perplexity about man’s future. Then suddenly his lips open up and there come out of his mouth “words from Fate” He tells her that her spirit has not come down like a star alone. There must be someone who is on earth, “ the second self her nature asks”. He asks her to venture through the deep world to find her companion for life. She must find this person who will give voice to what is yet mute in her. This command of her father sinks deep into Savitri’s consciousness and works like a mantra. She departs on her quest. All this is described in Canto 3 (“The Call to the Quest”) of Book IV. This is followed by Canto 4 (“ The Quest”) of Book IV. In this canto we have a travelogue of sorts, describing what Savitri saw during her year-long journey across the whole of Bharatvarsha (India of that time) – the urban scene as well as the rural scene and the scene in the forests where lived Rishis, and seekers of truth of various kinds. Almost a whole year has gone by in this journey, and on a bright day in summer she happens to come to a forest grove, which proves to be her journey’s end. We will continue this study of the points of departure that Sri Aurobindo has made in the story of Savitri and Satyavan in our next instalment.


Before concluding this instalment, as usual we will take a close look at a passage from Savitri. The passage I have chosen gives us another portrait of Savitri. In the previous instalment we saw Savitri as she looked on the morning of the fateful day of Satyavan’s death. The passage I am presenting below shows Savitri as seen by her father at the peak of her maidenly beauty and radiance. I have just mentioned in the foregoing paragraph how one day Savitri comes to meet her father. As we have noted, her flaming beauty keeps all would-be suitors away from her; they adore her from a distance. That morning she had gone to the temple to offer worship to the deity. (This is a detail we learn from Vyasa.) And immediately after offering the worship she comes to see Aswapati, her father. He has just heard a voice which prophesies a great future for mankind. As soon as the voice stops, Aswapati sees young and radiant Savitri approaching him. This is how he sees Savitri at that moment.

The Voice withdrew into its hidden skies.
But like a shining answer from the gods 110
Approached through sun-bright spaces Savitri.
Advancing amid tall heaven-pillaring trees,
Apparelled in her flickering-coloured robe
She seemed, burning towards the eternal realms,
A bright moved torch of incense and of flame 115
That from the sky-roofed temple-soil of earth
A pilgrim hand lifts in an invisible shrine.
There came the gift of a revealing hour:
He saw through depths that reinterpret all,
Limited not now by the dull body's eyes, 120
New-found through an arch of clear discovery,
This intimation of the world's delight,
This wonder of the divine Artist's make
Carved like a nectar-cup for thirsty gods,
This breathing Scripture of the Eternal's joy, 125
This net of sweetness woven of aureate fire.
Transformed the delicate image-face became
A deeper Nature's self-revealing sign,
A gold-leaf palimpsest of sacred births,
A grave world-symbol chiselled out of life. 130
Her brow, a copy of clear unstained heavens,
Was meditation's pedestal and defence,
The very room and smile of musing Space,
Its brooding line infinity's symbol curve.
Amid her tresses' cloudy multitude 135
Her long eyes shadowed as by wings of Night
Under that moon-gold forehead's dreaming breadth
Were seas of love and thought that held the world;
Marvelling at life and earth they saw truths far.
A deathless meaning filled her mortal limbs; 140
As in a golden vase's poignant line
They seemed to carry the rhythmic sob of bliss
Of earth's mute adoration towards heaven
Released in beauty's cry of living form
Towards the perfection of eternal things. 145
Transparent grown the ephemeral living dress
Bared the expressive deity to his view.
Escaped from surface sight and mortal sense
The seizing harmony of its shapes became
The strange significant icon of a Power 150
Renewing its inscrutable descent
Into a human figure of its works
That stood out in life's bold abrupt relief
On the soil of the evolving universe,
A godhead sculptured on a wall of thought, 155
Mirrored in the flowing hours and dimly shrined
In Matter as in a cathedral cave.
Annulled were the transient values of the mind,
The body's sense renounced its earthly look;
Immortal met immortal in their gaze. 160
Awaked from the close spell of daily use
That hides soul-truth with the outward form's disguise,
He saw through the familiar cherished limbs
The great and unknown spirit born his child.

(Pages 372 – 373)

“The Voice” in line 109 refers to the voice just heard by Aswapati. This Voice now recedes into its unseen source. As if as an answer from the gods to what the Voice had said, Savitri, bright, and resplendent with the glory of youth, appeared on the scene. The Voice talked about a glorious future for man and mentioned what had thwarted the coming of this future so far – there are not enough Gods on earth yet. You can see the clear suggestion here – Savitri is born to make good this inadequacy in man. Her life’s mission is to transform the half animal and half divine human race into a fully divine one. (Lines 110 – 111)

Savitri came advancing through a column of tall trees; she was wearing a colourful apparel. What did she look like? She looked like a moving torch of incense and flame burning towards the eternal realms above held aloft by a pilgrim’s hand in an invisible shrine which had the sky as its roof and the earth as its ground soil. (Lines 112 – 117) The appropriateness of this comparison of Savitri to a torch of incense and flame held aloft by a pilgrim hardly needs any comments. But notice that the poet is taking us with every such deft stroke closer and closer to the inner being of Savitri. He doesn’t seem particularly interested in portraying for us a clear image of the outward form of Savitri.

This sight of Savitri brings to Aswapati a sudden revelation. He now begins to see with a deeper sight and this sight enables him to see more truly than the mere superficial physical sight. He now suddenly sees Savitri as the embodiment of the delight behind this world. Then in four lines the poet raises this description step by step to a height where our understanding and imagination feel almost breathless in wonder. Savitri is a wonderful creation of the Divine artist who has carved her like a nectar cup for thirsty gods. She is described as the breathing Scripture of the Eternal’s joy and a net of sweetness woven out of golden fire. (Lines 118 – 126)

Now the poet describes Savitri’s delicate face, her brow, her long, dark and thick hair and her eyes and then her limbs. Each one of these brings to the transformed sight of Aswapati intimations of her inner nature. Her delicate face is like a parchment made of gold-leaf on which are seen letters which remind us of her several sacred births in the past; she looks like a serene world-symbol chiselled out of life. (Lines 127 – 130) Her eyebrows and the forehead which together make her facial expression give one the impression of clear, stainless heavens; her forehead in particular, looks like a powerful and secure seat of meditation. The curve of her eyebrows look like the brooding line of infinity. (Lines 131 – 134) Then comes the description of her eyes under the dreaming breadth of her forehead amid her thick dark tresses of hair; they are like seas of love and deep contemplation; they look at the world around them and marvel at it and see the distant truths. (Lines 135 – 139)

Her limbs seem to suggest a deathless meaning. Like the contours of a golden vase, they seem to carry the rhythmic cry of bliss of the silent adoration of the things upon earth for the perfection their heavenly counterparts manifest. (Lines 140 – 145) The outer physical form of Savitri had grown transparent to Aswapati’s vision and he could see through it the manifesting deity within. (Lines 146 – 147) The external sight and sense could not capture the full significance of the harmony of the outlines of her form since it seemed to be a symbol of a Power. This is the power that is born again and again through a mysterious descent into a human figure. This line brings to mind the great lines in the Gita in which the Lord explains the mystery of Avatarhood: “ though I am the Lord of all existences, yet I stand upon my own Nature and I come into birth by my self-Maya (Gita IV: 6). Each time the Avatar stands in bold relief in this evolving universe. He is a veritable godhead who leaves a permanent mark on the thought of the race like a sculpture mounted on the wall of thought, and his influence is reflected in the flowing stream of time and permanently enshrined in the temple-cave of matter. (Lines 148 – 155)

Aswapati now undergoes a great change and the ephemeral values of the mind undergo a change; the body’s sense gave up its limited earthly range, and the immortal in him met the immortal in Savitri. (Lines 156 – 160) He is now awakened from the limiting spell of the ordinary consciousness which is incapable of seeing the soul-truth because of the disguise of the outward form; he now saw through the loved and familiar figure of his daughter, the great and unknown spirit who was born as his child. (Lines 161 – 164).
(Mangesh Nadkarni retired as professor of Linguistics a few years ago. He enjoys sharing with as many people as possible what he receives from his study of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother)

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