The Stone Goddess – Summary
“The Stone Goddess” by Sri Aurobindo is a sonnet. Sri Aurobindo penned this poem after visiting a Kali shrine on the Narmada River. “You stand before a Kali temple beside a sacred river and see what?—a sculpture, a gracious piece of architecture, but in a moment mysteriously, unexpectedly there is instead a Presence, a Power, a Face that looks into yours, an inner sight in you has regarded the World-Mother,” he says.
During the puja season, the picture of Durga Matha is visible in Calcutta. The image in a modest shrine, which eventually represents the one death, has existed since the beginning of creation and thus contradicts the concept of ‘origin’ craftsmen, sculptors, and brilliant artisans had touched this limitless, heavenly spirit and nurtured it in the stone.
In stanza 2, the poet claims again that his holy spirit is the mother of the world. The world exists because of this infinite spirit that has been thrown since time immemorial and whose divine intent has brought about the world’s creation. The mother’s great will is the silent, enigmatic, all-powerful energy visible in the desert, wind, and ocean.
In stanza 3, the poet returns to the farm where the heavenly spirit has now gained the stone goddess as the idol or Perfect. It was created by man, who imagined his divine notion into a physical form. Her visible power is the elemental powers dormant in the stone. As a result, he remains wordless, incomprehensible, and omnipotent in the shape given to her by man, serving as the mother to whom man turns for comparison and cancellation. Man is taken aback by her seeming quiet.
The poet closes by saying that only those who leave in harmony with the environment and with oneself will be able to hear and withstand the secret of her odd embodiment. One can only know her if one listens to one’s own soul, for the divinity which his every is also within oneself. Only an enlightened seeker would comprehend that the distinction between the worshipper and immorality shape is exterior, that one is made of flesh and the other of stone, that below this lies and mystery, primarily the oneness of the pivarma (the individual soul) and paramatma ( the divine soul).
Thus, this sonnet, which is the essence of vedantic philosophy, illustrates Sri Aurobindo’s belief in the ascent of man and descending of divinity by ennobling the self in order to approach God head. Poetry was a technique of meditation or ‘ohynamantra’ for Sri Aurobindo, and he used the English language successfully to meet his mystic needs.