Integral Yoga Literature - By Sri Aurobindo

Selections from the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library

from Volume 13, Collected Poems


The contents of this document are copyright 1972, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry, India. You may make a digital copy or printout of this text for your personal, non-commercial use under the condition that you copy this document without modifications and in its entirety, including this copyright notice.

A Tree
The Miracle of Birth
Because Thou Art
Bride of the Fire
A God's Labour


With wind and the weather beating round me
    Up to the hill and the moorland I go.
Who will come with me? Who will climb with me?
    Wade through the brook and tramp through the snow?

Not in the petty circle of cities
    Cramped by your doors and your walls I dwell;
Over me God is blue in the welkin
    Against me the wind and the storm rebel.

I sport with solitude here in my regions,
    Of misadventure have me a friend.
Who would live largely? Who would live freely?
    Here to the wind-swept uplands ascend.

I am the lord of tempest and mountain,
    I am the Spirit of freedom and pride.
Stark must he be and a kinsman to danger
    Who shares my kingdom and walks at my side.

					     --(Alipore Jail 1908-09)


Someone leaping from the rocks
Past me ran with windblown locks
Like a startled bright surmise
Visible to mortal eyes, --
Just a cheek of frightened rose
That with sudden beauty glows,
Just a footstep like the wind
And a hurried glance behind,
And then nothing, -- as a thought
Escapes the mind ere it is caught.
Someone of the heavenly rout
From behind the veil ran out.     


A tree beside the sandy river-beach
    Holds up its topmost boughs
Like fingers towards the skies they cannot reach,
    Earth-bound, heaven amorous.

This is the soul of man. Body and brain
Hungry for earth our heavenly flight detain.


I saw my soul a traveller through Time;
    From life to life the cosmic ways it trod,
Obscure in the depths and on the heights sublime,
    Evolving from the worm into the god.

A spark of the eternal Fire, it came
    To build a house in Matter for the Unborn.
The inconscient sunless Night received the flame,
    In the brute seed of things dumb and forlorn

Life stirred and Thought outlined a gleaming shape
    Till on the stark inanimate earth could move,
Born to somnambulist Nature in her sleep
    A thinking creature who can hope and love.

Still by slow steps the miracle goes on,
The Immortal's gradual birth mid mire and stone.


At last I find a meaning of soul's birth
    Into this universe terrible and sweet,
I who have felt the hungry heart of earth
    Aspiring beyond heaven to Krishna's feet.

I have seen the beauty of immortal eyes,
    And heard the passion of the Lover's flute,
And known a deathless ecstasy's surprise
    And sorrow in my heart for ever mute.

Nearer and nearer now the music draws,
    Life shudders with a strange felicity;
All Nature is a wide enamoured pause
    Hoping her lord to touch, to clasp, to be.
For this one moment lived the ages past;
The world now throbs fulfilled in me at last.


Because Thou art All-beauty and All-bliss,
    My soul blind and enamoured yearns for Thee;
It bears thy mystic touch in all that is
    And thrills with the burden of that ecstasy.

Behind all eyes I meet Thy secret gaze
    And in each voice I hear Thy magic tune:
Thy sweetness haunts my heart through Nature's ways
    Nowhere it beats now from Thy snare immune.

It loves Thy body in all living things;
    Thy joy is there in every leaf and stone:
The moments bring thee on their fiery wings;
    Sight's endless artistry is Thou alone.

Time voyages with Thee upon its prow 
And all the futures passionate hope is Thou.


Bride of the Fire, clasp me now close,--
    Bride of the Fire!
I have shed the bloom of the earthly rose,
    I have slain desire.

Beauty of the Light, surround my life,--
    Beauty of the Light!
I have sacrificed longing and parted from grief,
    I can bear thy delight.

Image of ecstasy, thrill and enlace,--
    Image of bliss!
I would see only thy marvellous face,
    Feel only thy kiss.

Voice of Infinity, sound in my heart,--
    Call of the One!
Stamp there thy radiance, never to part,
    O living sun.


I have gathered my dreams in a silver air
    Between the gold and the blue
And wrapped them softly and left them there,
    My jeweled dreams of you.

I had hoped to build a rainbow bridge
    Marrying the soil to the sky
And sow in this dancing planet midge
    The moods of infinity.

But too bright were our heavens, too far away,
    Too frail their ethereal stuff;
Too splendid and sudden our light could not stay;
    The roots were not deep enough.

He who would bring the heavens here
    Must descend himself  into clay
And the burden of earthly nature bear
    And tread the dolorous way.

Coercing my godhead I have come down
    Here on the sordid earth,
Ignorant, labouring, human grown
    Twixt the gates of death and birth.

I have been digging deep and long
    Mid a horror of filth and mire
A bed for the golden river's song,
    A home for the deathless fire.

I have laboured and suffered in Matter's night
    To bring the fire to man;
But the hate of hell and human spite
    Are my meed since the world began.

For man's mind is the dupe of his animal self;
    Hoping its lusts to win,
He harbours within him a grisly Elf
    Enamoured of sorrow and sin.

The grey Elf shudders from heaven's flame
    And from all things glad and pure;
Only by pleasure and passion and pain
    His drama can endure.

All around is darkness and strife;
    For the lamps that men call suns
Are but halfway gleams on this stumbling life
    Cast by the Undying Ones.

Man lights his little torches of hope
    That lead to a failing edge;
A fragment of Truth is his widest scope,
    An inn his pilgrimage.

The Truth of truths men fear and deny,
    The Light of lights they refuse;
To ignorant gods they lift their cry
    Or a demon altar choose.

All that was found must again be sought,
    Each enemy slain revives,
Each battle for ever is fought and refought
    Through vistas of fruitless lives.

My gaping wounds are a thousand and one
    And the Titan kings assail,
But I cannot rest till my task is done
    And wrought the eternal will.

How they mock and sneer, both devils and men!
    "Thy hope is Chimera's head
Painting the sky with its fiery stain;
    Thou shalt fall and thy work lie dead.

"Who art thou that babblest of heavenly ease
    And joy and golden room
To us who are waifs on inconscient seas
    And bound to life's iron doom?

"This earth is ours, a field of Night
    For our petty flickering fires.
How shall it brook the sacred Light
    Or suffer a god's desires?

"Come, let us slay him and end his course!
    Then shall our hearts have release
From the burden and call of his glory and force
    And the curb of his wide white peace."

But the god is there in my mortal breast
    Who wrestles with error and fate
And tramples a road through mire and waste
    For the nameless Immaculate.

A voice cried, "Go where none have gone!
    Dig deeper, deeper  yet
Till thou reach the grim foundation stone
    And knock at the keyless gate."

I saw that a falsehood was planted deep
    At the very root of things
Where the grey Sphinx guards God's riddle sleep
    On the Dragon's outspread wings.

I left the surface gods of mind
    And life's unsatisfied seas
And plunged through the body's alleys blind
    To the nether mysteries.

I have delved through the dumb Earth's dreadful heart
    And heard her black mass's bell.
I have seen the source whence her agonies part
    And the inner reason of hell.

Above me the dragon murmurs moan
    And the goblin voices flit;
I have pierced the Void where Thought was born,
    I have walked in the bottomless pit.

On a desperate stair my feet have trod
    Armoured with boundless peace,
Bringing the fires of the splendour of God
    Into the human abyss.

He who I am was with me still;
    All veils are breaking now.
I have heard His voice and borne His will
    On my vast untroubled brow.

The gulf twixt the depths and the heights is bridged
    And the golden waters pour
Down the sapphire mountain rainbow-ridged
    And glimmer from shore to shore.

Heaven's fire is lit in the breast of the earth
    And the undying suns here burn;
Through a wonder cleft in the bounds of birth
    The incarnate spirits yearn

Like flames to the kingdoms of Truth and Bliss:
    Down a gold-red stair-way wend
The radiant children of Paradise
    Clarioning darkness's end.

A little more and the new life's doors
    Shall be carved in silver light
With its aureate roof and mosaic floors
    In a great world bare and bright.

I shall leave my dreams in their argent air,
    For in a raiment of gold and blue
There shall move on the earth embodied and fair
    The living truth of you.

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Last modified on Oct. 3, 1995