Why Read Savitri?

In this section, we will post essays and other materials that explain the power and significance of Savitri to those who are new to the poem, and as a refresher for seasoned readers.

We begin at the beginning, with Sri Aurobindo’s Note on Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, quoted below:

“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 and 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

And the Mother summed up Savitri thus:

“… everything is there (in Savitri): 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. (Sri Aurobindo) 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.”

The Mother

For the official website of Savitri, the poem, please click here.  At this site you will find the entire text of Savitri, with the standard page numbers that we will use for the readings.  Also at this site are audio files of the Mother reading Savitri.

For the full article from which the Mother’s quote above is excerpted, and for other inspiring essays on Savitri, please open the two files below, which contain the special double issue on the poem (Summer & Fall 2011) of Collaboration, the Journal of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.  Our special thanks to Larry Seidlitz, Editor of Collaboration, for permission to post the PDF version of the special issue here in two parts.


To see other past issues of Collaboration, subscribe to the paper edition, and for further information about the Integral Yoga community, please visit: http://www.collaboration.org

For the Wikipedia entry on Savitri, please click here.