All poetry references are from Savitri
by Sri Aurobindo, except for the excerpts taken from his poems "In the Battle" and
by Seyril Schochen
1995. Fifty years since the end of the darkest Night of the Soul she had ever died through. A night of years and tears in which she could find no key--sharp or flat--to the celestial harmonies she had dreamed of hearing since she was a child in Lakewood, Ohio, pumping away on an old upright player piano rolls of songs ranging from "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" to "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" ... with a few highly spiced arias from Il Troubadour and Aida to pacify her secret hunger.
1945. End of World War II, which was called "The Mother's War" by Sri Aurobindo (she learned 20 years later as He led her soul out of its night ... at last to find its saving music. But until that blessed time--)
1941. Barely saved from despair by a little boy-child waiting with her for his Soldier Daddy to come marching home from the funeral pyres and graves Over There. No celestial music Over There or over here. In fact, in the years before his birth in '41 when she and the gentle, fun-loving, witty, fabulously talented singer-actor who was to be his Daddy lived in New York, she had been stricken deaf and numb by the brass bands of the Children of Wotan marching down Manhattan's German Yorkville section American Nazi style. They were drumming up human blutwurst for the delicate essen of the holocaust already being spread Over There. Even up Fifth Avenue Wotan's Children goose-stepped blaring deafeningly for "that Jew in the White House Roosevelt" to bring US into the War on the side of the Axis.
To a presto of bomb and shell and the aeroplanes' fatal humming
We march, lit by Truth's death-pyre, to the world's satanic age.
1938. Sri Aurobindo, already working on the spiritual plane for defeat of the asuric forces marching "to make of earth a hell and call it heaven," had been attacked on the eve of the November 24th Darshan. Nirodbaran, one of the physicians called to attend him after the accident involving an impacted fracture of the right femur above the knee, describes the scene in Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo:
... 2 a.m. ... the emergency bell rang from the Mother's room. Purani rushed up and found the Mother at the top of the staircase. She said, "Sri Aurobindo has fallen down. Go and fetch Dr. Manilal." Fortunately he had come for the Darshan from Gujerat. Soon he arrived and saw Sri Aurobindo was lying on the floor in his bedroom ... He had stumbled over a tiger skin ... (and fallen) with his right knee striking the head of a tiger. Perhaps there was jubilation among the adverse forces crying, "Our enemy has fallen!"
Not perhaps. In protecting the Mother against the mockers of God, whose fuehrer was "master of fate, medium of her mysteries" building a new world order "On the bodies of perishing nations, mid the cry of the cataclysm coming" and over "The Mother of God" who lay bleeding in their black and gold sunrise, Sri Aurobindo had not protected Himself.
Yet that event was to open the strict seclusion of Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's evolutionary work, for conversations with the team of attendants upstairs ... and to give not only disciples there but all over the world guidance in our continuing war with the satanic forces: "The inner war without escape."
1995. New Year's Day in Savitri House--gift of Grace of the Eternal who had led her safely through so many near inner-death experiences into the sunlit paths of Baca Grande, Colorado. She contemplates the New Year greeting card she had so hopefully sent out from Swarthmore College where she was teaching at the end of the Second World War:
A photo of four-year-old son Peter, all smiles because his longed-for Soldier Daddy was expected back some time that year; next to the photo, the greeting she had printed:
THAT THE WORLD's
CHILDREN MAY SMILE
THIS NEW YEAR 1945
Martin, Seyril, Peter
Memories of Soldier Daddy's return to the States blur her vision. The old tears starting again. For Martin, the joyously singing tenor had come back from the war mute and withdrawn, a changed man. Physically unwounded. But deeply scarred emotionally, psychically, by his own war memories. His soul's song silenced ...
When General Patton's army liberated the hell-scourged concentration camp areas, Major Martin Rubin was put in charge of freeing prisoners of the Buchenwald Camp. As its commandant, his duties included providing its corpse-like inmates with clean blankets to cover their nakedness and enable them to return home from their cells in the hell and Nazi-operated gas chambers. Home to--where? To No Where--
Major Soldier Daddy never really recovered from that descent into the dark abyss. Something in him had died with the barely moving skeletons tottering out of hell to blink and huddle against the forgotten sunlight, paralyzed by the calculated process of dehumanization that turned them into semblances only of once-human beings ...
1985. Boulder, Colorado. On his own death-bed in Boulder (where they had settled to be near the Spaniers' Auroville Voice and Sri Aurobindo center), Soldier Daddy lay in a state of almost total paralysis. Witness of the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi camps, he could speak only with his eyes ... another victim of the supermen dreamed by Nietzsche: "A cross of the beast and demoniac" bringing in "the world's satanic age."
1995. Memories ... memories ... As if to cover her nakedness from their onslaught, she hugs close Sri Aurobindo's Collected Poems ... Savitri ... Letters ... "We consider the war as a fight between two forces, the Divine and the Asuric (demonic) ... The victory of one side (the Allies) would keep the path open for the evolutionary forces; the victory of the other side would drag back humanity, degrade it horribly and might lead even, at worst, to its eventual failure as a race, as others in the past evolution failed and perished."
In the BattleOften in the slow ages' long retreat
On Life's thin ridge through Time's enormous sea,
I have accepted death and borne defeat
To gain some vantage by my fall for Thee....
All around me now the Titan forces press;
This world is theirs, they hold its days in fee;
I am full of wounds and the fight merciless.
Is it not yet Thy hour of victory?
Of course! We are to be warriors of the Light in today's battle between the Divine and the demonic forces! Hasn't our Rishi urged us to enter the mighty game, the glorious strife "Until the goal predestined has been won"?
The RishiNot on the cliff
To be shattered has our ship set forth of old
Nor in the surge
To founder. Therefore, King, be royal, bold ...
Press on for ever laughing at the blows
Of wind and wave.
The haven must be reached; we rise from pyre,
We rise from grave,
We mould our future by our past desire,
We break, we save,
We find the music that we could not find--
And the origin of this "music found"? She puts on an audio tape of Mother playing the organ and gratefully, eagerly, continues reading:
Grieve not for wounds nor fear the violent storms,
For grief and pain
Are errors of the clouded soul; behind
They do not stain
The living spirit--
Origin and source of the saving music is the living spirit! ... She can hear it in Mother's organ music whose theme on this tape is--"Compassion of the Divine": "Quiet Power" climaxing in "Joy" ...
Emerging from its spell she stares at the New Year 1945 card with its prayer " THAT THE WORLD'S CHILDREN MAY SMILE THIS NEW YEAR --" 1995!! But the world's children are even now, every anguished moment, living--no, not living but dying--in the neo-satanic age of today. Every issue of the Christian Science Monitor on her reading table bears testimony to it.
March, 1995: Global Report: Under a photo of a child fleeing Russian attacks in Grozny: "Children under 15 have fought in at least 24 armed conflicts or have been forced into military service includ ing in Liberia, Somalia, Angola, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Mozambique ... 12 million children have been left homeless and more than 1 million separated from their families in wars during the past decade, according to the United Nations. More than 1.5 million have been killed and up to 5 million maimed. Documented cases exist of child soldiers sacrificed on the front lines, forced to traverse minefields or to kill their own relatives. The situation has grown so severe that the U.N. Secretary General commissioned a special study to come to some global solution." The study was launched by the former first lady of Mozambique, Graca Machel, at the start of this year.
Soberly, with an intense inner appeal to Mother for guidance, she reaches for Savitri: How is one to find the music of the spirit in the world of genocide, hatred, falsehood now raging over Mother Earth?
She opens to Book Nine, Canto I: "Towards the Black Void." Savitri, the lifeless body of her be loved in her arms, must prepare to face Death. To be in truth a Warrior of the Light, of the Spirit--How!?
Then suddenly there came on her the change
Which in tremendous moments of our lives
Can overtake sometimes the human soul
And hold it up towards its luminous source ...
Only the spirit sees and all is known.
Then a calm Power seated above our brows
Is seen, unshaken by our thoughts and deeds,
Its stillness bears the voices of the world:
Immobile, it moves Nature, looks on life.
It shapes immutably its far-seen ends ...
To mate with the Glory it sees, the spirit grows: ...
As into a heaven of strength and silence, thought
Is ravished, all this living mortal clay
Is seized and in a swift and fiery flood
Of touches shaped by a Harmonist unseen.
A new sight comes, new voices in us form
A body of the music of the gods.
The music of the spheres ... of the living spirit its sources ... formed and found ... within.
Shaken, but now by the joy of the Divine, its quiet power of compassion heard in Mother's music, she opens all her being to its promise: of how she too, "The passionate instrument" of the aeonic Will, can help the world's children to smile ... This New Year. And the next. Linking Time's years to Infinity.
Seyril Schochen lives in Baca Grande, Crestone, Colorado. Her play The Immortal Fire was recently performed in Hollywood.