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Carved muzzle of a dim enormous world

by on September 30, 2012

Enigma of the Inconscient’s sculptural sleep,
Symbols of the approach to darkness old
And monuments of her titanic reign,
Opening to depths like dumb appalling jaws
That wait a traveller down a haunted path
Attracted to a mystery that slays,
They watched across her road, cruel and still;
Sentinels they stood of dumb Necessity,
Mute heads of vigilant and sullen gloom,
Carved muzzle of a dim enormous world.

Then to that chill sere heavy line arrived
Where his feet touched the shadowy marches’ brink,
Turning arrested luminous Satyavan
Looked back with his wonderful eyes at Savitri.

[p. 667]
Death has snatched the soul of Satyavan, and he is taking it to his abode in the deep South. The silent god grows mighty and remote and the one Savitri loves fails to consent nearness to life and to her here. But alarmed her violent spirit in a rush of puissance and a cry follows them in a mass of golden fire. Onward the three move in her soul-scene. A strange hushed weird country is round them. Here is a road running like fear that hastens towards what causes terror to it. Here are the symbols of the approach to old darkness. Here one meets the enigma of the Inconscient’s sculptural sleep. He is the builder of a world, building things and objects and shapes out of the total Nothing. In the rock of the Void he has cut out figures who serve him in their faithful greatness. When a traveller attracted by their mystery passes by them he is haunted and slain. The three are moving in an unstoppable procession, the luminous spirit of Satyavan, behind him Death, and behind them both mortal Savitri; he looks back at his beloved, but peals the abysmal shout of Death, telling Savitri to go back to the world to which she belongs, not to breathe where Time must die.

Let us scan the sonnet-like passage which has such a telling power in it.

Enig|ma of| the Incon|scient’s scul|ptural sleep,|
Symbols|of the| approach| to dark|ness old|
And mon|uments| of her| titan|ic reign,|
Opening| to depths| like dumb| appal|ling jaws|
That wait| a trav|eller down| a haun|ted path|
Attrac|ted to| a mys|tery| that slays,|
They watched| across| her road, | cruel| and still;|
Sentinels| they stood| of dumb| Neces|sity,|
Mute heads| of vig|ilant| and sul|len gloom,|
Carved muz|zle of| a dim| enor|mous world.|

Then to| that chill| sere heav|y line| arrived|
Where his| feet touched| the shad|owy marc|hes’ brink,|
Turning| arres|ted lum|inous Sat|yavan|
Looked back| with his won|derful eyes| at Sa|vitri.|

It is Death who has revealed wonderful eyes of Satyavan, how indeed luminous he is, the true Satyavan who had remained concealed in life. And, therefore, what else more wonderful can there be to Death than such a Satyavan! this ageless prized possession! He has to enter into the enigmatic sleep of Inconscience, that thus alone can Savitri step into it and do her work of revealing the true nature of Death also who, when transformed into his original self, shall prove to be the boon-giver to the soul of the earth. The poetry presenting the meaning of dark continent is charged with another force of light moving in the rhythm of the truth that is the substratum of all that is, including the creative Nothingness of the Void. The muzzle of the dim enormous world opens the grandeur of its design that through it one looks at the Supreme himself. Savitri had cut a door of entrance through the Void to step into the Transcendent and meet him who had functionally assumed a stern shape of the dark Death.

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