Paramahansa Yogananda's poems serve to deepen yoga meditation, offering devotees new ways of grasping the spiritual nature of all creation.
Introduction and Excerpt from "A Mirror New"
Paramahansa Yogananda’s "A Mirror New," from Songs of the Soul, offers a delightful little drama that metaphorically compares Kriya Yoga to a mirror, which can serve as a useful tool in the devotee’s spiritual arsenal.
Excerpt from "A Mirror New"
I bring to you
A mirror new –
A glass of introspection clear,
That illusion shows, and sooty fear
That spots thy mind. . . .
(Please note: The poem in its entirety may be found in Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul, published by Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA, 1983 and 2014 printings.)
The speaker in Paramahansa Yogananda’s "A Mirror New" reveals the importance of introspection. Learning about ourselves, especially our motivation, can help us become aware of the appropriate methods needed to follow in order to improve our lives.
First Stanza: A New Method
The speaker/guru of the poem announces that he has brought to his devotees, and those who may in future become his devotees, a new method for reaching the goal of self-realization or union of the soul with the Divine. This new mirror is a looking-"glass of introspection clear." When one looks into this mirror, one will see how "illusion" has caused the separation from the Divine, and that illusion is coupled with "sooty fear."
This metaphorical mirror, similar to literal mirrors, reflects exactly; it has no ability to alter the devotee’s thoughts, for its purpose is to help the devotee correct his/her mental facility. It is helpful to understand the nature of one’s distorted thoughts, in order to reorder them. A major reason for one's lack spiritual awareness is that illusion "spots thy mind." The mind of the beginning yogi is clouded with the debris of long living in the world of oppositional states: life-death, good-bad, weak-strong, up-down, and all the many pairs of opposites that comprise and drive the physical and even mental levels of being.
Second Stanza: Reflecting the Inner Being
In addition to reflecting the sooty spots in the mind, however, this "new" mirror is capable of reflecting the "Inner You." While a physical looking-glass reflects the physical body, this "new" mirror is able to strip away the "veil," that is, the "flesh," allowing the individual to see for perhaps the first time the inner issues that have been guiding and misguiding the individual to behave in ways that are contradictory to useful, wholesome living.
This view "never doth appear," because it is hidden deep within the flesh of the physical encasement. Of the three bodies possessed by each human being, only the physical outer body can be reflected in an ordinary, or old, mirror. But this new mirror "would loyal show" the "Inner You" or soul. That many individuals are not even aware that the soul exists demonstrates that soul awareness in humanity is rare.
The mental body is also not seen by a literal mirror, and as the devotee journeys on the path to the soul, the mental body can perform as a helpful partner, or it can impede progress as a treacherous devil, if it fails to remove those sooty, fear inducing spots. Like unawareness of the soul, the average individual is not even aware of the tangible existence of the mental body belonging to each human beings in physical encasement.
Third Stanza: Washing Away Daily Trials and Tribulations
In the final stanza, the speaker/guru entreats the devotees to employ this new mirror of meditation techniques he has given. This new mirror becomes then "thy mirror-friend" not the treacherous foe that stifles and keeps the devotee’s attention earthbound. All of the activities that interfere on the spiritual path must be limited and placed second in one's spiritual routine. The meditation aspirant becomes more and more aware of his/her true self.
The devotee is encouraged to wrap him/herself in the Divine each night before "the sorcerer Sleep doth call." The speaker/guru offers the devotee motivation to "make use to see thyself withal." By refreshing the body and mind through employment of this "mirror new," the devotee can "clear away / Dust of that day." The spiritual adventurer learns day by day to trust his/her inner strength and determination to succeed on the path to self-realization.
Each day brings new demands in the world so full of other people, things, activities that invade the devotee’s mind and heart. Each night, with the "mirror new," offers the devotee the opportunity to wash away the daily cares and tribulations, offers the solitude to renew his/her strength and determination to reach the Ultimate Goal.
“The Teachings Will Be the Guru”
© 2019 Linda Sue Grimes
Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on July 31, 2019:
Thank you, Alexander! May we all be blessed with love, joy, and calm reflection, and may peace and harmony prevail upon the earth. Have a great day!
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on July 30, 2019:
Linda Sue Grimes,
The hope of many blessings, gentle spirit.
Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on July 30, 2019:
Larry, thanks for the kind words. It is an honor to be able to study, write about, and share the works of my beloved guru, Paramahansa Yogananda. Blessings to you, and best of luck with your Hub writing adventure.
Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on July 30, 2019:
Thanks for responding, Alexander. I love Guruji, too, and I love his teachings, which comprise a powerful divine engine for guiding the restless mind to calmness, peace, and harmony.
Blessings to you and yours!
Larry Slawson from North Carolina on July 30, 2019:
Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing.
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on July 29, 2019:
I love Yogananda.