Savitri is an epic poem composed in blank verse by Sri Aurobindo. Just as Dante’s Divine Comedy describes his travels through Hell, Heaven and Purgatory, similarly Savitri can be seen as narration of the spiritual journey undertaken by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as part of their Integral Yoga. It details the varied occult worlds they witnessed, the states of consciousness they experienced, and the work of Supramental Transformation that they undertook in their life.
See these links for a good overview
- Gopal Bhattacharya’s talk on Savitri
- Summary of Savitri by Jyotipriya
- Savitri (wikipedia page)
- Tehmi’s summary of Savitri
- Summary of some cantos by Will Moss
Brief description of the twelve sections of Savitri
- The book of beginning : discusses the Yoga undertaken by Aswapati for his individual self-realization.
- The book of the Traveller : Here, Aswapati explores the various planes of consciousness.
- The book of the Divine Mother : Aswapati continues his Yoga for a Universal realization and New creation.
- The book of the Birth and Quest : This book narrates the birth of Savitri, her growth and finally her setting out on the quest to find her husband.
- The book of Love : The meeting of Satyavan and Savitri.
- The book of Fate : In this book, Savitri learns of the fate that awaits Satyavan.
- The book of Yoga : Savitri’s Yoga consisting of her realization of the psychic being, Nirvana and Cosmic Consciousness.
- The book of Death : The death of Satyavan as fated.
- The book of Eternal Night : Savitri undertakes the Yoga of Transformation of Death to bring back Satyavan.
- The book of the double Twilight : Savitri continues the Yoga of Transformation of Death.
- The book of everlasting day : Savitri continues the Yoga of Transformation of Death.
- Epilogue : Conquest of Death and return of Savitri (Divine Mother) with the Satyavan(Earth’s soul).
In the words of Sri Aurobindo
“The tale of Satyavan and Savitri is recited in the Mahabharata as a story of conjugal love conquering death. But this legend is, as shown by many features of the human tale, one of the many symbolic myths of the Vedic cycle.
- Satyavan is the soul carrying the divine truth of being within itself but descended into the grip of death and ignorance.
- Savitri is the Divine Word, daughter of the Sun, goddess of the supreme Truth who comes down and is born to save.
- Aswapati, the Lord of the Horse, her human father, is the Lord of Tapasya, the concentrated energy of spiritual endeavour that helps us to rise from the mortal to the immortal planes.
- Dyumatsena, Lord of the Shining Hosts, father of Satyavan, is the Divine Mind here fallen blind, losing its celestial kingdom of vision, and through that loss its kingdom of glory.
Still this is not a mere allegory, the characters are not personified qualities, but incarnations or emanations of living and conscious Forces with whom we can enter into concrete touch and they take human bodies in order to help man and show him the way from his mortal state to a divine consciousness and immortal life.”
(Sri Aurobindo. On Himself p 265)
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 (Book of the Traveller): but this too is as yet only an individual victory.
- Finally, he aspires no longer for himself but for all, for a universal realisation and new creation. That is described in the Book of the Divine Mother.
(Sri Aurobindo in a letter to Amalkiran, Letters on Poetry and Art, p 330)
In the words of the Mother Mirra Alfassa
“…everything is there (in the poem): mysticism, occultism, philosophy, the history of evolution, the history of man, of the gods, of creation, of Nature. How the universe was created, why, for what purpose, what destiny – all is there. You can find all the answers to all your questions there. Everything is explained, even the future of man and of the evolution, all that nobody yet knows. He has described it all in beautiful and clear words so that spiritual adventurers who wish to solve the mysteries of the world may understand it more easily. But this mystery is well hidden behind the words and lines and one must rise to the required level of true consciousness to discover it. All prophesies, all that is going to come is presented with the precise and wonderful clarity. Sri Aurobindo gives you here the key to find the Truth, to discover the Consciousness, to solve the problem of what the universe is. He has also indicated how to open the door of the Inconscience so that the light may penetrate there and transform it. He has shown the path, the way to liberate oneself from the ignorance and climb up to the superconscience; each stage, each plane of consciousness, how they can be scaled, how one can cross even the barrier of death and attain immortality. You will find the whole journey in detail, and as you go forward you can discover things altogether unknown to man.”
Savitri is really a condensation, a concentration of the universal Mother – the eternal universal Mother, Mother of all universes from all eternity – in an earthly personality for the Earth’s salvation. And Satyavan is the soul of the Earth, the Earth’s jiva. So when the Lord says, ‘he whom you love and whom you have chosen,’ it means the earth. All the details are there! When she comes back down, when Death has yielded at last, when all has been settled and the Supreme tells her, ‘Go, go with him, the one you have chosen,’ how does Sri Aurobindo describe it? He says that she very carefully takes the SOUL of Satyavan into her arms, like a little child, to pass through all the realms and come back down to earth. Everything is there! He hasn’t forgotten a single detail to make it easy to understand – for someone who knows how to understand. And it is when Savitri reaches the earth that Satyavan regains his full human stature.
(Mother’s Agenda, Jan 22 1961)
Click on savitri-books
- Glossary (and in book form as “Lexicon of an Infinite Mind“)
- see the Ashram website for a Adobe PDF copy.
- Mother’s talk on How to read Savitri. Also available here
- Savitri Bhavan in Auroville
- Invocation Journal published by Savitri Bhavan
- Savitri (German)
- Savitri (Italian)
- Savitri (Spanish)
- Savitri (Spanish wikipedia page)
- Blog on Savitri
- Another blog – Read Savitri with a blank mind
- Fifty Lectures on Savitri by Mangesh Nadkarni (this is a pdf file)
- M.P. Pandit’s readings on Savitri (audio files)
- Nirodbaran’s recitation of Savitri (audio files)
- More articles on Savitri
- A.B. Purani. Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri – an approach and study (online)
- M.P. Pandit. Introducing Savitri (sabda)
- M.P. Pandit. Lectures on Savitri (sabda)
- M.P. Pandit. A Summary of Savitri (sabda). The book has been posted online.
- M.P. Pandit. Yoga in Sri Aurobindo’s epic Savitri (sabda) (discusses verses pertaining to Yoga practice in Savitri)
- Jugal Kishore Mukherjee. The ascent of sight in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri
- Mangesh Nadkarni. Savitri – a brief introduction (sabda)
- Asoka Ganguli. Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri (sabda)
- Bibliography of Savitri (original version here)
- For more books, search for title “Savitri” in the SABDA catalog