This book is a part of the Savitri Series which embraces the interpretation of the total works of Sri Aurobindo. This selection is confined to eighty-four verses of Savitri. The selection contains introduction, headlines and sub-headlines and commentary. The book is intended for Colleges and Universities where portions of Savitri have been set without Commentary or headlines or sub-headlines. The selections are complete and the commentary and headlines and sub-headlines are intended to make intelligible the sense and substance of the Epic.
The Author Syed Mehdi Imam is the eldest son of the Late Hon. Justice Hasan Imam. In 1909 at the age of about seven he went to England. His education was wholly in England. He entered the Dragon Preparatory School at Oxford, beginning the Greek Language at the age of nine. Then he entered Harrow Public School at the age of thirteen and continued the study of Greek and Latin till the age of eighteen. Thereafter he joined Oriel College Oxford completing in Greek and Latin the highest course in the classical language called "Literae Humaniores". He joined the English Bar, and practised from 1925 to 1957 in the High Court of Patna and in the Supreme Court. He was appointed standing counsel of Bihar in 1946. He renounced the Legal profession and joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1957. In 1937 he published "The Poetry of the invisible through Allen and Unwin. Later he published "The Folklore of Ancient Greece and scenes from Indian Mythology" through Macmillan & Co. His pending publication is The Savitri Series which covers in Five Volumes in the form of the Dialogue of Plato an explanation of the total works of the 30 Volumes of Sri Aurobindo. The Author's last and recent publication is "The Drama of Prince Arjuna" which gives in Dramatic form, a modernisation of the main principles of Gita. The Author has travelled nine times from 1909 to 1979 round Western Europe and has given lectures on Poetry and religions throughout England and India.
What is `Savitri'
Savitri means light. Savitri is the Epic poem of Sri Aurobindo. It is his major work. Savitri is the light of God. The poem deals with the light of God which transforms the mind of man into the light of God.
The Present Selection
The present Selection is a Selection from Savitri. It is connected with headlines and sub-head lines and accompanied by commentary and notes which are essential for the proper appreciation of the Epic. The subject covers the whole of Savitri in brief selection. The whole of Savitri moves into a single pattern. Savitri is unified. The poem is integrated. The Selections read as a continuous movement of the Epic.
The Nature of the Selection
The present selection is intended for Colleges and universities and students for the higher class in English. Savitri is set in the University syllabus but without unification and support of a commentary head lines or notes. In my opinion the selection is fit to be prescribed in university syllabuses in India.
I would also recommend the book to Educational authorities in India and particularly to the authorities of UNESCO where this selection may be a part of the UNESCO library of the great literature of India, now in English comparable to ancient literatures of the Vedas and Upanishads.
The Scope of the Selections
Of the thirty volumes of the Collected works of Sri Aurobindo which now stand on the book-shelf of world readers, the greatest and most perfect in style and finish, in depth and range is Savitri. This great work consisting of nearly twenty-four thousand lines runs into eight hundred pages of print. The massive pro-portions of this masterpiece of literature demands condensation. We have therefore reduced Savitri into eighty-four critical passages supplemented by commentary, notes and appendices. Our purpose is to present the point and substance of the poem in the briefest compass.
For the clarity of understanding each selection is connected with a headline and sub-headline. Thereafter follows the text. Below the text is a commentary which echoes the sense of Savitri in language of rhythmic prose akin to poetry. Then in close sequence come the detailed notes of extreme conciseness which seek in flashes to reveal the subterranean depths of the verses of Savitri.
These selections are intended to prepare the first readers of Savitri with the knowledge of the main movements of the poem. When the audience of the future have been awakened to the wonders of the Epic which challenges the grandeur of Paradise Lost and the Divine Comedy the perusing public will not fail to press forward to the reading of the complete Savitri.
The Integral Yoga
The base of the integral Yoga which lies in the background of Savitri is not transcendence out of Matter and Mind into the Light of God. The yoga of Sri Aurobindo envisages a trans-formation of Mind, Matter and Life into Super mind. It distinguishes between a flight into the abode of God, and a permanent transformation of the earth-life into Light. For the better understanding of the point, we may use an image. When a caterpillar goes into sleep in its chrysalis of matter and then finds a new awakening as the body of a butterfly in the environment of the new air, this is the transformation of the form of the caterpillar. It is not an escape but a transmutation. In the realisation of the Yoga Sri Aurobindo saw that the main constituents of our being, our Body, our Mind, our Life were asleep in a world of nascence. He also discovered in the depths of our being that the Light of God was secretly concealed in Matter, Mind and Life. That Light Sri Aurobindo called the Light of Super mind. Sri Aurobindo also watched the emergence of the Supramental Light from Matter, Mind and Life into the Light of God under the descent of the Supramental Force- In the long preparations of his Yoga he noted the ascents of Mind transcendencies into Supermind. He realised that these ascensions from Mind into Supermind did not truly transmute the field of Matter. Then he perceived that in the scheme of the ascensions there was implicit a descent of the Force. This he called the Force of the Supramental Light. Thus his yoga took a double turn. It took the way of the ascent and the way of the descent of the force. From his repeated ascensions from Mind to Super-mind, and from the repeated descents of the. Super mind into Mind, Sri Aurobindo marked the gradual transformation of his body into Super mind. In our imagery the caterpillar was turned into the butterfly in a new body and in a new range of being. In a word, he experienced the complete transmutation of Body and Mind into the Supramental Light.
In the gradual growth of his yoga, in the supramental consciousness, he moved into the fields of the subtle substances which he called the fields of ascending Matter. The lowest field of Matter he called the field of the Mind of Night. The entanglement of the soul in the lower substance he called the Knot of Matter. From the Mind of Night he rose into the next grade of substance which he called the world of the Intuitive Mind. Then he ascended into the next grade of substance the Mind of Light.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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