Eastern & Western religious philosophy is one of my areas of interest about which I write essays exploring the nature of reality and being.
Because spirituality exists on a different plane of being from the physical and mental planes, figurative language is required to attempt description of all things spiritual and ineffable. The mind possesses the ability to perceive ordinary duality of the material level of being, but it also is capable of interpreting implications made by poetic devices. The great yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, is the foremost poet of spirituality. In his collection of spiritual poems titled Whispers from Eternity, he offers some of his most beloved poems/prayers that plumb the spiritual world.
The plane of extraordinary consciousness is evoked by the title of this volume. The speaker of the poems is listening to whispers from the Creator, Who encompasses the concepts of Infinity, Immortality, and Eternity along with Omnipresence and Omnipotence. The great guru demonstrates the process of listening to the ever-existing soul. When in quietness and stillness, eternity sends whispers to our souls, minds, and hearts, each human being is uplifted into a higher consciousness where one may commune with the Divine.
The Opening Dedication
Whispers from Eternity begins with the following dedication:
Christians, Moslems, Buddhists, Hebrews,
Hindus, and all other religionists,
In whom the Cosmic heart is ever throbbing equally.
In the Foreword, Amelita Galli-Curci, the famous soprano writes, "The prayers in Whispers from Eternity serve to bring God closer to us, by describing the liberating feelings that arise from actual communion with Him."
Paramahansa Yogananda's purpose for traveling to the United States of America was to share his enlightened state of consciousness through his techniques that lead to God-union, a state of being which each individual desires to experience. The great guru's poetry serves as another vehicle for describing that blessed state of being that he desired for everyone.
The Introduction to Whispers from Eternity finds the great yogi explaining the nature of the volume: "I offer my simple songs at the shrine of humanity, that all share my soul joy."
"Salutation to God as the Great Preceptor" is the first offering and serves as an invocation:
Full of bliss, bestowing joy transcendent, Essence of wisdom, untouched by duality, clear as the taintless sky, the Utterer of Thou art That, the One, eternal, pure immovable, the omnipresent Witness, free from nature’s three qualities, beyond the reach of thought—my Divine Preceptor, I bow to Thee!
The above simple song also exists as a devotional chant, known as "Hymn to Brahma":
Hymn to Brahma
Full of bliss, giving joy transcendent,
Of higher knowledge the abode;
Dual no more, clear as the heavens,
Known to all as "Thou art That."
He is pure, permanent, unmoving,
The everlasting seer of all;
Far, far beyond qualities and thought,
Guru-Lord, I bow to Thee.
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The great guru then offers another whisper in "The melody of human brotherhood":
Heavenly Spirit, we are traveling by many right roads to Thine abode of light. Guide us onto the highway of Self-knowledge, to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead.
The Metaphoric Pathway
The great guru reminds his devotee-followers often that the purpose of all religions is to lead the human soul back to its Source, its Creator, or God. He, therefore, often employs the metaphor of a highway or path, on which the devotee travels to reach that exalted goal of unity. Despite the world's blind notion that one religion may be superior to others, the yogi will have us know that all religions are merely guides on the pathway to God-union.
Each of the four sections of poem-prayer whispers offers a distinct aspect of purpose:
1. Prayers and Soul Thoughts
2. Invocations to the Manifestations of God in the Temples of Great Lives
3. Children’s Prayers
4. Experiences in Superconsciousness.
The fourth section offers the eponymous title, "Whispers from Eternity." The following is an excerpt from that title:
The Eternal Voice softly said to me: "Through thy slumber of ages I whispered, ‘Wake thyself!’ Thou hast forsaken thy sleep, so now I say, ‘Wake thy brothers!’ Work though with Me, that all men hear My word."
The title of each whisper offers a unique glimpse into its content; for example, "May my gratitude be changeless," "I am Thy divine dewdrop," and "I am Thy tiny hummingbird." Each well-crafted whisper demonstrates metaphorically that God is the ocean and each human soul resembles a flowing river meandering to the sea.
The volume also offers a series of prayers especially for children. The following whisper contains a sentiment that when instilled in little ones could be quite useful in shaping their behavior:
Divine Mother, teach me to love others and to serve them. I want my friends to keep their promises to me, so help me always to be true to my own word.
May I make my parents happy, my teachers happy, and my playmates happy. I will find my happiness in their joy.
Balm for the Soul
During the 1920s and 1930s throughout the United States, Paramahansa Yogananda attracted millions of souls with his lectures on how to achieve soul-awareness. His message uplifted the hearts and minds of the world weary multitudes.
Because the great guru spoke and wrote from an exalted state of consciousness, his works continue to attract followers. His poetry not only entertains, but it also uplifts the soul and assists his technical writings in guiding devotees to their goal of Divine Consciousness.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Linda Sue Grimes