from RY Deshpande <firstname.lastname@example.org> to Tusar Mohapatra <email@example.com> date 30 December 2008 05:25 subject Fwd: An article has been posted to Mirror of Tomorrow - Editing Savitri—A Brief Discussion
The way Sri Aurobindo had drafted his epic Savitri with utmost care and precision is what is to be first appreciated, and therefore to try to read with our mental faculty his "intentions" while editing it will only be foolhardy, imprudent, rash. If we think that there are defects in Savitri the wise thing to do is to leave them as they are. What is it that we can judge about it? Nothing, really nothing.
However, in the context of editorial revisions of Savitri the overall picture as emerges is that of conflicting viewpoints in certain cases. Either at times it hurts insensitively the sentiments of devotees or else brings frustration to genuine researchers of the poem who are not given the relevant details. It is necessary that we take due care of the complexities and the many possible dimensions that are present in the entire work. In this regard perhaps the best procedure for the editors of the Savitri-text could be to take the first complete version that appeared in two volumes in 1950-51 as the basic reference. Part One of the epic was published in September 1950, before Sri Aurobindo's passing away in early December of that year, and Part II and Part III as the second volume within months of that day, in May 1951.
To take care of the "slips and oversights" that might have occurred in this edition, extensive research notes and references can be provided in a supplementary archival document; these might include several readings as we have in different drafts. Presentation of data should be the main concern in any objective editing. It is well appreciated that carrying out such an exhaustive job can never be an easy archival task; but then, possibly that is the only kind of an undertaking which would do some justice to the poem as well as to the poet—if at all we can talk of justice. This entails an enormous amount of labour but the gain is a certain scientific documentation that can stand permanently as reference material for generations to come who may have another approach towards the epic.
For an alert or perceptive reader of tomorrow this archival data will prove to be a help of immense value. When followed, it will also have the advantage of avoiding the charge of introducing in the edited text one's own likings and dislikings, one's natural subjective notions regarding matters poetic or spiritual or metaphysical. By presenting such "factual" details of research on the Savitri-drafts a new chapter of study can open out to enter into its spirit in another way. It is believed that this procedure will be in tune with the spirit in which the Savitri-chapter appears in Nirodbaran's Twelve Years. But in the truest sense these are perhaps issues of a minor kind and generally might have relevance only in their academic contexts. What is significant is the authenticity as well as the validity of the Word of Savitri in its pristine glory and the power that can give expression to the Real-Idea in our life. That is the true value of its poetry and that will always remain faultless and free,—because behind it is the yogic force of its creator.