Letter from Savitri Devi to Professor A – 3 February 1978
3 February 1978
Dear Comrade [A],
I have just received (at a day’s interval) two letters from you, word by word identical — strange as this may seem. I am glad to hear from you again after many months and also much pleased to know that the operation you had to undergo was successful, and that you are now completely healthy once more — I wish you uninterrupted health, which is the condition of any long run activity —
I am glad you like my Souveniers et réflexions d’une Aryenne — although I feel a little ashamed to receive such praise for a work that is just the output of my heart, and very limited experience — I am fully conscious of the enormous amount of all that which I do not know and shall never know — unless we get reborn after death, and live and learn more, and the Hindus and both Pythagoras and Plato believe and used to believe. Whole domains of usual human experience are totally foreign to me — which I never regretted and do not regret, having not the slightest curiosity concerning them — But I do regret all I missed by not having been in Europe at the proper time, and not having seen with my own eyes what I so wished to see (but thought, alas, I had time to see later!). I do also regret I was not killed in 1945 with so many of our brothers and sisters in faith. The horror of the post-war period haunts me: — the ruins of Germany; the people living in cellars; the streets filled up to the 4th and 5th floor with debris. (And this was in 48 — what must it have looked like in 45??)
It was there, in the train, running through hundreds of miles of charred walls and devastated land, that (in the night between 15th and 16th June 1948) I experienced the depth of my personal powerlessness and insignificance, unless “inhabited” by a Force immeasurably higher and greater; and that I prayed to the Unknown Power of Heaven: “Take me, worthless as I am, and make me an instrument of the glorification of Him who died in grief, crushed by Aryan people of those He so wished to save from universal decay, and of this land and people of His who suffered, apparently ‘for nothing’ — May I help make it not ‘for nothing’!”
Don’t mind if I don’t write often. Every word I put down is a strain upon my poor eyes. My “cataract” — that appeared immediately after that operation I had on the right eye for glaucoma, in Oct. 1976, is not getting any better — nor worse, so that it be “ripe” for operation. I just see as through a haze.
I told you they gave me no more classes at the Alliance Française, on account of my age (73 on 30 September 1978) and (probably) also of my bad sight. So I only have a very unstable and intermittent income through private tuitions — Better than nothing — And problems with my cats: My lovely great “Tom” — yellow and white — so affectionate — which I brought up, and who was now over five years old, suddenly disappeared — never came back after leaving the house (as he did every night) on 20 January 1978. It hurts me to think of what might have happened to the poor dear cat. Another one of about the same age stills keeps coming. A younger one — so affectionate also — was run over by a car and killed on the spot, only three days ago. But a neighbor has given me a mother cat with two lovely babies: a black one and a tabby, both “toms”; a woman handed over a she-cat, half grown, to me (yellow and white). But she-cats are problems. Still I took her and love her. But the mother cat goes for her (and for any other cat) thinking apparently they will harm her kittens — Another woman brought in two kittens (half grown) to me — One I have still; the other was chased away by his public “enemy” and I doubt whether she (she is a “she”) will ever come back. She flew like lightning — and that was yesterday evening, the last I saw of her — What will she live on, poor beast?
No more for now. (My eyes are beginning to feel the strain.)
I had started, long ago, years ago, a writing in French — Tyrtée l’Athenian — a “récit” of 672 B.C. — about the poet Tyrtaios — but had to stop for lack of information of everyday life in Sparta in the seventh Century BC and for the fact I could not find, then, a collection of Tyrtaios’ poems in English, or French translation (or modern Greek), as I cannot read seventh century BC Greek without a dictionary. Do you know of any bookshop where I could get the poems of Tyrtaios (or what is left of them)?
With best regards and the ritual greeting of the faithful,
Savitri Dêvi Mukherji
26 March. So sorry I had mislaid this letter. I put it “in safety” so as to send it “at once” and then — as it often happens to me now — forgot entirely where I put it and sought it for days and days. Excuse me, please. S. D. M.