THE INNER PRISON – SRI AUROBINDO
Who made of Nature here a tyrant? Who
Condemned us to be slaves? It was not God.
Nay, we ourselves chose our own servitude
and we ourselves have forged and heaped
our chains on our own members…
A gaol is this immense material world:
Across each road stands armed a stone-eyed Law,
At every gate the huge dim sentinels pace.
A grey tribunal of the Ignorance,
An Inquisition of the priests of Night
In judgment sit on the adventurer soul.
Pain with its lash, joy with its silver bribe
Guard the Wheel’s circling immobility…
A bond is put on the high-climbing mind,
A seal on the too large wide-open heart;
Death stays the journeying discoverer, Life.
A living robot moved by her energy’s springs,
He acts as in the movements of a dream,
He too is a machine amid machines;
A piston brain pumps out the shapes of thought,
A beating heart cuts out emotion’s modes;
An insentient energy fabricates a soul.
A thinking puppet is the mind of life:
Its choice is the work of elemental strengths
That know not their own birth and end and cause
And glimpse not the immense intent they serve.
In this nether life of man drab-hued and dull,
Yet ﬁlled with poignant small ignoble things,
The conscious Doll is pushed a hundred ways
And feels the push but not the hands that drive.
For none can see the masked ironic troupe
To whom our ﬁgure-selves are marionettes,
Our deeds unwitting movements in their grasp,
Our passionate strife an entertainment’s scene.
Ignorant themselves of their own fount of strength
They play their part in the enormous whole.
An automaton stepping in the grooves of Fate,
He stumbles on driven by her whip of Force:
His thought labors, a bullock in Time’s fields;
His will he thinks his own, is shaped in her forge.
But one stood up and lit the limitless flame.
When will you stand up and lit your limitless Flame?