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The next part of Savitri we shall discuss is as followed.

Once she half looked behind for her veiled sun,

Then, thoughtful, went to her immortal work.
Earth felt the Imperishable's passage close:
The waking ear of Nature heard her steps
And wideness turned to her its limitless eye,
And, scattered on sealed depths, her luminous smile
Kindled to fire the silence of the worlds.
All grew a consecration and a rite.
Air was a vibrant link between earth and heaven;
The wide-winged hymn of a great priestly wind
Arose and failed upon the altar hills;
The high boughs prayed in a revealing sky.


Kindle = enlighten.

Altar = Platform for Sacred Sacrifices (Vedi or Yajna Kunda in Sanskrit).

Boughs = Large branches or trees.

Consecration = Sacred, Holy.

Rite = Worship, Religious Ceremony, Sacred Action.

In our last post we discussed how Goddess Usha unveils herself to the Nature. She promises “a
recondite beauty and bliss” to the Nature and sets Her supernatural Divine Gaze on Nature and
its effects will now be seen. Also he discussed about the herald manifestation of the Supreme,
which is lending us the thoughts and an image of certainty of such manifestation. Goddess Usha
then observes, “Spaces are ready for her feet”.

Before we continue, we should recall some previous lines we have discussed. We know that
Goddess Usha called the Nature to take up the adventure of consciousness and joy. She also lent
a vision and a sense to the Nature to see the consciousness and joy. This is the beginning of this
adventurous journey. The Nature so far has seen the consciousness in the form of Goddess Usha,
when she sets Her gaze upon it. That is why it could feel the “epiphany” or herald manifestation
of His. Also we saw the description of Goddess as “A heart of silence in the hands of joy”. Here
if we can co-relate silence and consciousness we can also say that Nature is going to feel the joy,
through Goddess Usha only. Let us see how this happens now.

Once she half looked behind for her veiled sun,

Then, thoughtful, went to her immortal work.

Goddess Usha who is from far beatitudes, an ambassadress from the eternity, from the Supreme,
she is the one who is going to manifest His Light, looks for while behind at the Supreme the Sun
of Truth who is veiled behind her. “Then, thoughtful, went to her immortal work”. This is a very
human explanation. Those who are really content-full, before taking up a task, will recall their
previous experiences, even though they handles such tasks many times before.
When Goddess Usha begins her immortal work, when she does so:

Earth felt the Imperishable’s passage close.

As Goddess Usha starts her immortal work, and marches towards the Nature, Earth felt the
passage to Supreme, very close. Here the Supreme is called as “the Imperishable”, that is the one
who never perishes – “Avinaasha”. Passage of Imperishable means passage “to” Supreme. This
passage is nothing but Goddess Usha herself. As she approaches the Nature, it feels Her as the
“Passage to Supreme”. All the aspects of the universe are controller by Him and The Mother
executes them. Therefore, She is the passage to Him. In Shri Mad Bhagavad Gita also we can see
this aspect. Therefore we all should adore the Universal Mother.

The waking ear of Nature heard her steps

And wideness turned to her its limitless eye,
And, scattered on sealed depths, her luminous smile
Kindled to fire the silence of the worlds.

Till now, the Nature was asleep or the inconscience prevailing has just now failed. Therefore
now it is waking up to consciousness as a result of actions of Goddess Usha. That is why it is
referred as “waking ear” of Nature heard her footsteps as Goddess Usha marches towards it.
“And wideness turned to her its limitless eye” that is the wide, the vast Nature turn its eyes
towards Her. As she approaches her luminous smile is “scattered” or spread over the “sealed
depths” of the Nature. Here “sealed depths” means that still the Nature is somewhat not
responding to Her completely or to the Divine call. But Her smile is not a human smile; her
smile is a “luminous smile”, which enlightens the silence of the worlds. The Nature, which was
silent till now, is set ablaze with an aspiration. That is the sealed depths are now open and the
Nature surrenders itself completely to Goddess Usha. When we see a photograph of The Mother
smiling and looking at us, that smile enters our Hearts straight through our eyes, and we can feel
some enlightment in us. Even those people who have never seen Her photograph can feel it.

Where there was silence now there is articulation. Not just any articulation or some sounds
coming, it is like a high priest chanting mantras and hymns.

All grew a consecration and a rite.

As a result of Her smile spreading over, the sealed depths are now open and the enlightening
effect of Her smile turns this Nature into a consecration, a holy and sacred place and all the
processes into rite, that is sacred actions of worship. This is a wonderful explanation. Her smile
is so powerful that when it enters in our heart, it purifies every corner of our heart making it a
place for Her. If she is supposed to live in our hearts, it should be a holy and sacred place.
Therefore she turns our hearts into “consecration” by Her smile and then enters and lives there
eternally. The only thing we should feel it. Also this is an answer to questions like “What will
happen once when we realize Her presence in ourselves?” But for this consciousness we have to
aspire and constantly pray in Her “ O Mother, let your smile spread through me and enlighten
every element of mine and blush away my ignorance. Make my heart your home and guide me
for everything I do. Make me an instrument of yours and let me work for you” then definitely
she will accept us as her instrument and Her instruments must always be holy, they must be
sacred. In such state of devotion, whatever we do it will be an action of Her worship. To achieve
this consciousness we have very good and an easier way. If we do all our activities, be it
anything, if we do them as Her work and our duty towards Her, it will definitely help us to grow
to this consciousness. Before taking up any task, if we pray in Her with the determination as “ O
Mother, I am going to do this. I will do it as your work, a work assigned by you to me. Please
lend me the ability to complete this task of yours”, then not only the success is assured, our
growth to such a conscious state takes place. And also once when the task is completed, the
results are obtained, we should never keep the credits with ourselves. We should dedicate them
to Her only, because it She who gave that opportunity and also it is She who gave us the ability
to tackle that task. Therefore, it is actually The Mother who completed the task and we were just
instruments. Here I would like to mention another example in our traditional Vaishnava
ceremonies. Before the start of any ritual, the particular person offering it chants the “Sankalpa
Mantra”. Sankalpa means determination. The mantra reads as “Shri Vishnu Preranayaa” – By
His encouragement – “Shri Vishnu Preethyartham” – and for His astonishment – “-idam
kaaryam- Aham Karishye” – I will perform this sacred action. Then only the the particular rite or
ritual starts. And then after the ritual is over, the person chants “Samarpana Mantra” which reads
as “Anena Yatha shakti – idam kaarya- Karmana” After performing this ritual up to my abilities
- “Shree Vasudeva Priyataam Priyatobhavatu” – O Supreme, may you be astonished – “Shri
Krishnaarpanamastu” – I dedicate any credits I have earned by this to you only. Therefore both
determination in the beginning of the task and then dedicating the same back to our masters upon
completion, are very important. If we can make a habit of this then certainly our consciousness
will grow to realize them within us.

This effect does not stop here. Sri Aurobindo continues as:

Air was a vibrant link between earth and heaven;

The wide-winged hymn of a great priestly wind
Arose and failed upon the altar hills;
The high boughs prayed in a revealing sky.

As the Nature turns into a consecration, every element of Nature now rejoices or responds to
Goddess Usha. Air, now turns into a living vibrant link between earth and heaven, as a media
between them to transfer the consciousness and joy. This is clarified when you go through the
next lines. When the wind blows, if we can concentrate, it sounds like a chanting of a hymn or
mantra like “Om” that too with all the rise and falls in the pitch as mentioned in Saama Veda. So
here when wind turns into life and blows greatly it is like a priest is chanting a mantra or hymn
on high scale pitch. When this wind blows over mountains or hills, it first rises and then fails or
spreads, similar to the chanting of a priest are sacrificed in the sacred fire of Yajna. Therefore
here the hills are compared to “altar” a platform for sacrifices, in Sanskrit Vedi or Yajna Kunda
or Yajna Bhoomi. That is air now turns into a priest performing a Yajna and the hills are his
Yajna Bhoomi and his chanting merging or sacrificed in the sacred fire of Yajna. The high
boughs or branches of the trees are as is praying and showing something on the skies. They are
like symbols of worshippers. Like this every element now adores the Universal Mother who has
arrived here with Her Divine Task, each in its own way. This is not just a poetic explanation or
expression. There is a concrete spirituality in these lines. When one realizes within, we can feel
His presence everywhere, and also we feel that every element of this Nature, every element of
ours, are chanting the hymns of His Supremacy. This is eternal. It continues all the time. Only
we fail to recognize it. One more example I can give you is when you are breathing just observe
how it sounds? It will sound like “Om”. The deeper your breath is higher is the pitch of the
hymn. We always breathe. But we never experience this because we are not conscious about it.
We should not forget that Savitri is also known as a record of Sri Aurobindo’s Sadhana. This is
the evidence of his Sadhana and thus his ability to render a concrete spiritual touch a
psychophysical or a mere physical activity. A wind rising over a hill is a mere physical activity.
Sri Aurobindo renders a concrete spiritual touch to it by calling the wind as a priest chanting a
hymn, which is sacrificed in the sacred fire of the altar, which are the hills. Any English poet has
never rendered such a spiritual concreteness. Sri Aurobindo gives such an epic to us. And by Her
Grace we are exploring it. Not only we should explore and know what it preaches, we should
live the values it preaches. The next step should be exactly be those values, according to the
message by The Mother: “To know is good, To Live is better, To Be, that is perfect.”