Home Page | Works by the Mother | 04 Volume

The Mother


Volume 4

March 13, 1963

(Mother opens “Savitri.” She intended to translate “The Debate of Love and Death.” The book opens “by chance” on the last lines of Death's defeat, which Mother reads aloud:)

And [Death] left crumbling the shape that he had worn,

Abandoning hope to make man's soul his prey

And force to be mortal the immortal spirit.


No matter where you open, no matter where you read, it's wonderful! Immediately it's wonderful – strange, these three lines, aren't they....

Abandoning hope to make man's soul his prey

And force to be mortal the immortal spirit.


These people could very easily lure me: for a long time they have been asking me to read them the whole of Savitri – quite a work! But this [translation] work is irresistible.

So, in fact (the trouble is, my notebook won't be thick enough!), in fact I would like to translate all of the “Debate” [of Love and Death], it's so wonderful.

(Mother leafs through the book)

When she says... I don't remember the words, she says:

My God is love1

Oh, that's....

(Mother goes back to the beginning of Book X, Canto IV)


The Dream Twilight of the Earthly Real

Look at this:

Or in bodies motionless like statues, fixed

In tranced cessations of their sleepless thought

Sat sleeping souls, and this too was a dream.


They are the ones who want to attain Nirvana.... “And this too was a dream”!

(Mother looks further)

It begins here:

Once more arose the great destroying Voice:

Across the fruitless labour of the worlds

His huge denial's all-defeating might

Pursued the ignorant march of dolorous Time.


Here is where I should begin.

Book X is long: “The Book of the Double Twilight.”... Of course, if I start reading...

You'll end up at the beginning!

I would do the whole book!

(Mother leafs back)

“The Gospel of Death and Vanity of the Ideal”

This is invaluable to answer all, all, all the arguments people use.

(Mother leafs further)

Ah, here we are! “The Debate of Love and Death.”

That's where it begins.

It's Canto III.

There's a passage underlined here.

If it's underlined, it's not by me!... No, that's the place where I stopped when I was reading: I used to mark in red the place where I stopped.

He says... (Death to Savitri, in a supremely ironic tone):

... Art thou indeed so strong, O heart,

O Soul, so free?...

(X. III . 63 6)

It's wonderful!

So we would have to start at the beginning of the “Book of the Double Twilight,” Book X. Let's see how it goes....

(Mother reads)

All still was darkness dread and desolate;

There was no change nor any hope of change.

In this black dream which was a house of Void,

A walk to Nowhere in a land of Nought,

Ever they drifted without aim or goal....


My God, how wonderful! It's wonderful.

(Mother turns the pages)

And Book XII [“The Return to the Earth”].... I don't know.

(Mother reads the concluding lines of “Savitri”:)

Night, splendid with the moon dreaming in heaven

In silver peace, possessed her luminous reign.

She brooded through her stillness on a thought

Deep-guarded by her mystic folds of light,

And in her bosom nursed a greater dawn.


It heralds the Supermind.

But I had a feeling he hadn't completed his revision. When I read this, I felt it wasn't the end, just as when I read the last chapter of the “Yoga of Self-Perfection,”2 I felt it was unfinished. He left it unfinished. And he said so. He said, “No, I will not go down to this mental level any more.”

But in Savitri's case... (I didn't look after it, you know), he had around him Purani, that Chinmayi, and... (what's his name?) Nirod – they all swarmed around him. So I didn't look after Savitri. I read Savitri two years ago, I had never read it before. And I am so glad! Because I read it at the time I could understand it – and I realized that none of those people had understood ONE BIT of it. Both things at the same time.


Let's see, open a page at random, I want to see if you find something interesting – concentrate a moment and open the book, I'll read it to you.

Just put your finger.... Do you want a blade? (Mother gives Satprem a letter opener)

(Satprem concentrates and opens the book)


In the passion of its solitary dream

It lay [the heart of the King] like a closed soundless oratory

Where sleeps a consecrated argent floor

Lit by a single and untrembling ray

And an invisible Presence kneels in prayer

Pretty lovely!

Oh, it's good.... Let me go back a little:

In the luminous stillness of its mute appeal

It looked up to the heights it could not see;

It yearned from the longing depths it could not leave.

In the centre of its vast and fateful trance

Half way between his free and fallen selves,

Interceding twixt God's day and the mortal night,

Accepting worship as its single law,

Accepting bliss as the sole cause of things,

Refusing the austere joy which none can share,

Refusing the calm that lives for calm alone,

To her it turned for whom it willed to be.

In the passion of its solitary dream

It lay like a closed soundless oratory

Where sleeps a consecrated argent floor

Lit by a single and untrembling ray

And an invisible Presence kneels in prayer.

On some deep breast of liberating peace

All else was satisfied with quietude;

This only knew there was a truth beyond.

All other parts were dumb in centred sleep

Consenting to the slow deliberate Power

Which tolerates the world's error and its grief,

Consenting to the cosmic long delay,

Timelessly waiting through the patient years

Her coming they had asked for earth and men;

This was the fiery point that called her now.

Extinction could not quench that lonely fire;

Its seeing filled the blank of mind and will;

Thought dead, its changeless force abode and grew....

I can't see clearly any more.... But I know what this is about: it's when the King3 makes his last surrender to the universal Mother – he annuls himself before the universal Mother, and She gives him the mission he must fulfill.

Its seeing filled the blank of mind and will;

Thought dead, its changeless force abode and grew.

Armed with the intuition of a bliss

To which some moved tranquillity was the key,

It persevered through life's huge emptiness

Amid the blank denials of the world.

It sent its voiceless prayer to the Unknown;

It listened for the footsteps of its hopes

Returning through the void immensities,

It waited for the fiat of the Word

That comes through the still self from the Supreme.


Well, this is certainly a beautiful choice!

That's it, there's no doubt.

When he wakes up from that state, he has a vision of the universal Mother, and receives his mission.

This is very good, a very good indication.

It's captivating, Savitri!

I believe it's his Message – all the rest is preparation, while Savitri is the Message. Unfortunately, there were two morons here who fancied correcting him – while he was alive! (A. especially, he's a poet.) Hence all those Letters on Poetry Sri Aurobindo wrote. I've always refused to read them – I find it outrageous. He was forced to explain a whole “poetic technique” – the very idea! It's just the contrary: it comes down from above, and AFTERWARDS you explain. Like a punch in sawdust: inspiration comes down, and afterwards you explain why it's all arranged as it is – but that just doesn't interest me!


So you came (you see, it's the answer) to manifest (it's very good, I like this answer very much), to manifest the bliss above. You understand? He goes beyond all past attempts to unite with the Supreme, because none of them satisfies him – he aspires for something more. So when everything is annulled, he enters a Nothingness, then comes out of it with the capacity to unite with the new Bliss.

That's it, it's good!


1 “My God is love and sweetly suffers all.” (IX.II.591)


2 The last chapter of the Synthesis of Yoga: “Towards the Supramental Time Vision.”


3 In Savitri, the King represents the human aspiration to discover the Earth's secret beyond all already explored spiritual knowledge.









in French

in German