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Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri

English, the richest of the world's languages in terms of its vast vocabulary, the number of journals, the number of articles, books, libraries, and many other measures, is poor on one point: because it is a modern language, it lacks original scriptural texts, or even many important mystical works.  These are usually from translation.  No matter which religion or mystical philosophy we subscribe to, we will usually find ourselves needing to read books in translation.  And translation is not a great means of approach to the original thinking.  There are any number of examples of this.  Anyone who knows Hebrew can be amazed at the ways in which the Bible has been so woefully mistranslated into English, and oftentimes the mis-translations become axiomatic to the faith. There are similar problems with translations from Sanskrit, Chinese, Arabic, Persian, Greek and other texts.  The Muslims, in their wisdom, insisted that the Quran should be read in Arabic.

When I read Sri Aurobindo's epic poem, it is with the appreciation that here is an inspired text that finally is written originally in English, by a master English-language poet, who had a fine understanding of classical Sanskrit texts.  He was also an original thinker, a philosopher and a mystic.  His poem is a piece of literature, a source of inspiration, and unique.  It may be the most important book to be composed in the English language.  It's certainly one of its most ambitious poems. 

The only reason that it goes unappreciated is that it is hard to read and understand.  It's hard even to understand the structure of the poem and its development.  Besides, since this is a work of mystical philosophy, comprehension depends on being versant in the ideas that motivate the poem. One really needs a guide.

English has a few other rather impenetrable works that are regarded as classics and worthy of study.  Savitri is valuable for the beauty of the language, for its deep inspirations, and for its mystical underpinnings.

Fortunately the internet has many resources to ease the approach to Savitri.  I'm collecting some of these under the category "savitri" in my Hubzilla Cards system, and will add some texts in the books sections of my files.

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