Lesson 40: Meeting Scorn with Scorn

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Meeting Scorn with Scorn


Although an infinite number of possibilities exist within any given finite moment, the mind and its perceptual fields are restricted by the narrow field of solutions it has used in the past to survive and thus, repeats the past through the templating of the old on the new.

The confrontation between Savitri and Death is lengthy and worthy of a slow read numerous times. When I read these chapters, I find it impossible not to remember my own experiences with fear and loss of hope. The convincing and relentless dialogue of the shadow within you is unabated by your desire for prosperity, meaning and connection. Aspire as you might, this battle is going to require something much different from you.

“Hast thou god-wings or feet that tread my stars,

Frail creature with the courage that aspires,

Forgetting thy bounds of thought, thy mortal role?

Their orbs were coiled before thy soul was formed.

I, Death, created them out of my void;

All things I have built in them and I destroy.

I made the worlds my net, each joy a mesh.

A Hunger amorous of its suffering prey,

Life that devours, my image see in things.

Mortal, whose spirit is my wandering breath,

Whose transcience was imagined by my smile,

Flee clutching thy poor gains to thy trembling breast

Pierced by my pangs Time shall not soon appease.

Blind slave of my deaf force whom I compel

To sin that I may punish, to desire

That I may scourge thee with despair and grief

And thou come bleeding to me at the last,

Thy nothingness recognized, my greatness known,

Turn nor attempt forbidden happy fields

Meant for the souls that can obey my law,

Lest in their somber shrines thy tread awake

From their uneasy iron-hearted sleep

The Furies who avenge fulfilled desire.”


Savitri answers the dreaded Lord with scorn.

“Who is this God imagined by thy night,

Contemptuously creating worlds disdained,

Who made for vanity the brilliant stars?

Not he who has reared his temple in my thoughts

And made his sacred floor my human heart.

My God is will and triumphs in his paths,

My God is love and sweetly suffers all.

To him I have offered hope for sacrifice

And gave my longings as a sacrament

Who shall prohibit or hedge in his course,

The wonderful, the charioteer, the swift?

A traveler of the million roads of life,

His steps familiar with the lights of heaven

Tread without pain the sword-paved courts of hell;

There he descends to edge eternal joy.

Love’s golden wings have power to fan thy void.

The eyes of love gaze starlike through death’s night,

The feet of love tread naked hardest worlds.

He labours in the depths, exults on the heights;

He shall remake thy universe, O Death.”


Death answers:

“What is thy hope? to what dost thou aspire?

This is the body’s sweetest lure of bliss,

Assailed by pain, a frail precarious form,

To please for a few years thy faltering sense

With honey of physical longings and the heart’s fire

And, a vain oneness seeking, to embrace

The brilliant idol of a fugitive hour.

And thou, what art thou, soul, thou glorious dream

Of brief emotions made and glimmering thoughts,

A thin dance of fireflies speeding through the night,

A sparkling ferment in life’s sunlit mire?
Wilt thou claim immortality, O heart,

Crying against the eternal witnesses

That thou and he are endless powers and last?

Death only lasts and the inconscient Void.

I only am eternal and endure.

I am the shapeless formidable Vast.

I am emptiness that men call Space.

I am a timeless nothingness carrying all,

I am the Illimitable, the mute Alone.

I, Death, am He, there is no other God.

All from my depths are born, they live by death;

All to my depths return and are no more.

I have made a world by my inconscient Force.

My Force is Nature that creates and slays

The hearts that hope, the limbs that long to live,

I have made man her instrument and slave,

His body I made my banquet, his life my food.

Man has no other help but only Death;

He comes to me at his end for rest and peace.

I, Death, am the one refuge of thy soul.

The Gods to whom man prays can help not man;

They are my imaginations and my moods

Reflected in him by illusion’s power.

That which thou seest as thy immortal self

Is a shadowy icon of my infinite,

Is Death in thee dreaming of eternity,

I am the Immobile in which all things move,

I am the nude Inane in which they cease:

I have no body and no tongue to speak,

I commune not with human eye and ear;

Only thy thought gave a figure to my void.

Because, O aspirant to divinity,

Thou callest me to wrestle with thy soul,

I have assumed a face, a form, a voice.

But if there were a Being witnessing all,

How should he help thy passionate desire?

Aloof he watches sole and absolute,

Indifferent to they cry in nameless calm.

His being is pure, unwounded, motionless, one.

One endless watches the inconscient scene

Where all things perish, as the foam the stars.

The One lives for ever. There no Satyavan

Changing was born and there no Savitri

Claims from brief life her bride of joy. There love

Came never with his fretful eyes of tears,

Nor time is there nor the vain vasts of Space.

It wears no living face, it has no name,

No gaze, no heart that throbs, it asks no second

To aid its being or to share its joys.

It is delight immortality alone.

If thou desirest immortality,

Be then alone sufficient to thy soul,

Live in thyself, forget the man thou lov’st,

My last grand death shall rescue thee from life;

Then shalt thou rise into thy unmoved source.”


Unyielding, Savitri replies.

“O Death, who reasonest, I reason not,

Reason that scans and breaks, but cannot build

Or builds in vain because she doubts her work.

I am, I love, I see, I act, I will.”


Death counters.

“Know also, Knowing, thou shalt cease to love

And cease to will, delivered from thy heart.

So shalt thou rest for ever and be still,

Consenting to the impermanence of things.”


The flame, Savitri, rises.

“When I have loved for ever, I shall know,

Love in me knows the truth all changing mask.

I know that knowledge is a vast embrace:

I know that every being is myself,

In every heart is hidden the myriad One.

I know the calm Transcendent bears the world,

The veiled Inhabitant, the silent Lord:

I feel his secret act, his intimate fire,

I hear the murmur of the cosmic Voice.

I know my coming was a wave from God.

For all his suns were conscient in my birth,

And one who lives in us came veiled by death.

Then was man born among the monstrous stars

Dowered with a mind and heart to conquer thee.”

Take the time to read exchanges out loud. It is likely that when you read Death’s admonitions, you are likely to remember someone’s voice, a voice from the past that reminds you of the challenges you faced, perhaps someone who harmed you. When you read Savitri’s replies, you are likely to feel something move inside of you, something that causes you to feel if for only a brief moment, a strength and a certainty that your coming, too, “…was a wave from God.”  

Consciousness is achieved by no other means than Self-realization. Consciousness is the only thing that matters. Consciousness eradicates by way of clarity the deeply buried misconceptions you have about yourself, that you are flawed, damaged, a slave to the endless search for meaning. It reveals by way of truth your eternal being, your true Self as a mirror image of the Divine and the purpose of your birth.

Consciousness is power. Consciousness is who you are. Your realization of this is the very thing around which everything in your life revolves. And when you do, you will be able to face your shadow, the shadow you created as a mechanism of ascension, with a new perception of your beautiful Self and the world. Now, the infinite possibilities can be considered and realized.