January 23, 2007

The Dark Foreknowledge

Re: 02: Hard is it to Persuade Earth-Nature's Change by RY Deshpande on Tue 23 Jan 2007 02:53 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
After the discovery of love Savitri must discover death. She has met Satyavan in the distant Shalwa Woods one fine summer morning and, at once, they have decided to be together. It was love at first sight and all was settled in that significant moment. It was in fact a multiply significant moment, not only for Satyavan and Savitri, but for the entire evolutionary creation. They did not fall in love, rather they rose in love; they rose to another splendour, godheads greater by the fall; it is we who in love fall, in love we fall. Their united life began again in human forms, their coming together marking the arrival of “a greater age”. Young and beautiful and reddened with a bride’s joy, dreamy Savitri returns to the palace to disclose to her eager parents the discovery she has made in the far-away secluded land. But she already finds in the palace-hall Narad the heavenly sage in their company, he singing the song of creation to them. (Savitri, p. 417)
He sang to them of the lotus-heart of love
With all its thousand luminous buds of truth,
Which quivering sleeps veiled by apparent things.
It trembles at each touch, it strives to wake
And one day it shall hear a blissful voice
And in the garden of the Spouse shall bloom
When she is seized by her discovered lord.
But soon Narad is going to announce something apparently ominous, the foreboding deep-rooted evil indeed. However, he announces it perhaps with a grave serious concern. Savitri has come to know love; it is necessary that she must also know death. Eventually Narad discloses that Satyavan, whom Savitri has chosen for a husband, is doomed to die exactly one year after the marriage, samvatsaréņa kşīņāyurdéhanyāsam karişyati, or as we have in Savitri:
Twelve swift-winged months are given to him and to her;
This day returning Satyavan must die.
Savitri yet remains firm in her resolve and starts living in her new home. She adapts herself to the life of the hermitage and looks after the physical needs of her parents-in-law, speaking always to them with a sense of humility and reverence. She also performs, with noble composure and grace, the various household routines, of attending to the kitchen-fire and using broom and jar. In a like manner, and always remaining calm and contented, employing soft and sweet language, mindful of her husband’s wants and desires, in their community life and in their privacy, she keeps Satyavan happy. This way, and absorbed in tapasya, a lot of time goes by. But about the prophecy of Satyavan’s death no one knows, neither Satyavan, nor his parents, nor the ministers in the court of her father’s kingdom, not even the rishis in the hermitages though they might have felt something of the sort; it remains a secret of the palace, known only to her and her parents. “A dark foreknowledge separated her from all of whom she was the star and stay; too great to impart the peril and the pain, in her torn depths she kept the grief to come.” The secret was meant to remain the palace secret only. Just imagine if Satyavan had come to know about it! But, then, it also reveals the tremendous power of the woman who in her heart could keep such a calamitous possibility secret from her intimate ones, including her husband. That itself is the yogic preparation of Savitri and a great deal of her success rests on it. The human instrument did not fail in the hour of reckoning.
But, within, the virtuous woman suffered greatly. With each rising sun, or while sleeping in the night, at every passing moment, she remembered Narad’s words and felt the cruel day approaching closer. When she counted that only four days were left, and Satyavan would be living no more afterwards, she resolved to perform the three-night vow, trīrātra vŗta, of fasting and standing at one single place through the entire period. Another Shakti living beyond the domains of the three nights,—of the physical, the vital, and the mental,—entered into her soul and she was now ready to confront the firm and uncompromising God of Death, Yama. The mystic truth is that the balance between Fate and Freewill can be reversed by the greater spirits. By doing yoga Savitri must rise to the greatness of her own spirit. That certainly is the merit, the purpose, of Narad’s disclosing the death of Satyavan. RYD

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