Paramahansa Yogananda's "Consecration"
Introduction and Excerpt from Poem, "Consecration"
The first poem appearing in the great yogi/poet’s book of spiritual poems, Songs of the Soul, is an American (innovative) sonnet, featuring two sestets and a couplet with the rime scheme AABBCC DDEFGG HH.
(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error.")
The first sestet is composed of three rimed couplets; the second sestet feature two rimed couplets and one unrimed couplet that occupies the middle of the sestet. This innovative form of the sonnet is perfectly fitted to the subject matter of an Indian yogi who has come to America to minister to the waiting souls who are yearning for the benefits of the ancient yogic techniques in which the great Guru will instruct them.
Many of the ancient Hindu concepts will assist Westerners in understanding their own spiritual traditions, including the dominant Christianity of which many are already devotees. In the opening poem, titled "Consecration," the speaker humbly offers his works to his Creator. He offers the love from his soul to one who gives him his life and his creative ability, as he dedicates his poems to the Divine.
Excerpt from "Consecration": Second Sestet
. . . For Thee, the sheaves
Within these leaves:
The choicest flowers
Of my life's season,
With petals soulful spread,
Their humble perfume shed. . . .
(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.)
First Sestet: Dedicated to the Divine Beloved
The speaker proclaims that he has come to allow his power of poetry to fall at the feet of his Divine Beloved Creator. He then avers that the poems as well as the poet himself are from the Lord himself. The Divine Beloved has breathed life into the poems that have grown out of the love of and for the Divine.
The speaker has suffered great loneliness in his life before uniting with his Divine Belovèd; however, he earnestly searched for the ability to unite with the Divine Creator, and he was successful in finding that great blessing.
The speaker/devotee now offers that success to his Divine Friend because he knows that the Lord is the ultimate reason for his capabilities to accomplish all of his worthwhile goals. As he feels, works, and creates, the devotee gives all to God, without Whom nothing that is would ever be.
Second Sestet: Divinely Inspired Verse
In the second sestet, the speaker asserts that he has composed these poems for the Beloved Creator. The "sheaves / Within these leaves" contain the essence of the poet’s life and accomplishments made possible by the Supreme Spirit.
From his life, the writer has chosen "the choicest flowers / Of my life’s season." The petals of his soul-flowers he has spread wide to allow "their humble perfume" to waft generously.
Couplet: Giving Back to God What is God's
The speaker then with prayer-folded hands addresses the Divine directly averring that he has "come now to give / What’s Thine." He knows that as a writer he is only the instrument that the Great Poet has used to create these poems. As the humble writer, he takes no credit for his works but gives it all to the Prime Creator.
The humble poet/speaker then gives a stern command to his Beloved, "Receive!" As a spark of the Divine himself, he discerns that he has the familial right to command his Great Father Poet to accept the gift that the devotee has created through the assistance of the Divine Poet.
Bio Sketch and Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda
The great guru/poet Paramahansa Yogananda was born on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India. His name at birth was Mukunda Lal Ghosh. Always a spiritually advanced child, at age 17, he met his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, under whose guidance he flourished and became the spiritual giant and sacred engine that leads souls back to their eternal abode in the arms of the Divine Creator.
Paramahansa Yogananda came to the United States in 1920 to speak in Boston at the International Congress of Religious Liberals. His speech was so well received that he quickly gathered a following. By 1925, his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), was well established with the purpose of disseminating and maintaining the purity of his teachings of yoga. He has come to be known as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”
The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Paramahansa Yogananda’s biography on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site:
In the hundred years since the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, this beloved world teacher has come to be recognized as one of the greatest emissaries to the West of India’s ancient wisdom. His life and teachings continue to be a source of light and inspiration to people of all races, cultures and creeds.
Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda's in-depth work, Autobiography of a Yogi, has become a spiritual classic worldwide. Many devotees have been drawn to the teachings of this yogi through that autobiography, and many of their stories about how they came to find that work include some of the most inspiring "miracles" of modern American culture.
Such world-renowned figures as Dennis Weaver, Steve Jobs, George Harrison, and Elvis Presley were influenced by the Autobiography of a Yogi and the teachings of the great guru. Weaver even became a lay minister and spoke often at many of the SRF temples in California.
In addition to the autobiography, the great guru has published many collections of his talks, in both written and oral forms. His audio collector's series of ten of his informal talks includes the following titles:
1. Beholding the One in All
2. Awake in the Cosmic Dream
3. Be a Smile Millionaire
4. The Great Light of God
5. To Make Heaven on Earth
6. One Life Versus Reincarnation
7. Removing All Sorrow and Suffering
8. In the Glory of the Spirit
9. Follow the Path of Christ, Krishna, and the Masters
10. Self-Realization: The Inner and the Outer Path
These inspirational talks reveal much information about the great guru that appeals to his devoted followers. Just listening to a God-realized voice offers an uplifting spiritual experience.
The Poetry of Paramahansa Yogananda
For my commentaries on the poems of the great guru, I rely on his marvelous collection titled, Songs of the Soul, the version published in 1983 with its most current printing 2014. Two additional collections of his poems are extant, Whispers From Eternity and Metaphysical Meditations.
Because the "poems" of this great guru function on levels that ordinary poems do not, they are often used in devotional services held by groups of devotees of the SRF teachings throughout the world in the Readings Services as well as their Special Commemorative Services.
Paramahansa Yogananda's poems are more akin to prayers than to the poetry of ordinary poets, whose subject matter often dramatizes only human emotion in its relationship with creation and other human beings, instead of with the Creator; the great guru's poems always invoke the Creator's presence whether directly or indirectly.
The great guru's organization, SRF, also continues to publish collections of his works. Many of his talks have appeared in the series of essays that include Man's Eternal Quest, The Divine Romance, and Journey to Self-realization.
The guru has also bestowed on the literary world three important translations of extant perennial works that have been grossly misunderstood in some cases for centuries. His new translations along with his explanatory commentaries are correcting that misunderstanding.
In Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam — A Spiritual Interpretation, he shows how that poet's God-realized effusions put on display a man in love with his Creator and not the wine sopped Epicurean that has been misapplied to the work.
In the guru's in-depth translation and commentaries on the ancient Bhagavad Gita, titled God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita — A New Translation and Commentary, the great spiritual leader offers not only the poetic translation of the work but also the relevance for humankind of the psychological and spiritual instruction offered in the ancient poem.
Most importantly for Western culture, Paramahansa Yogananda has offered a full explanation of the phenomenon known as the "Second Coming." Titled The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You — A revelatory commentary on the original teachings of Jesus, the work explains the true meaning of many of Jesus' words long misunderstood and mischaracterized, such as "The Kingdom of God is within you" and "I and my Father are one."
Of all the publications offered by SRF and the great guru, it is the Lessons that remain most vital. One could dispense with all of the other books, audio tapes, poetry, and other commentaries if one possesses those lessons.
The Lessons begin by offering physical exercises that prepare the physical encasement to sit quietly and still while performing the more advanced exercises that lead to Kriya Yoga practice.
The Lessons contains six steps that can be completed in three years, but each student is free to progress at his/her own pace. The Lessons include instruction in the following techniques: 1. Energization Exercises. 2. Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration, and 3. Aum Technique of Meditation.
After completing the first two steps, the devotee may apply for the Kriya Yoga technique.
Kriya Yoga Initiations
The Kriya Yoga technique features four initiations for a total of twenty lessons. The First Initiation, featuring lessons K1-9, includes the technique of Kriya proper, on which all of the other initiations are based. The Second Initiation contains four lessons, K10-14, and the Third and Fourth include the remaining lessons K15-20.
All of the Lessons, including the Kriya Yoga Initiations, include many explanations based of science, as well as on the life experience of Paramahansa Yogananda. These marvelous works are presented in such way to hold the student-devotees' interest with little stories, poems, affirmations, and prayers that enhance the purpose of each lesson.
In addition to all of the works mentioned above, Paramahansa Yogananda has published many others, including his Cosmic Chants, which offers musical notations as well as the lyric for each chant.
An annotated list of the works of the great guru is offered on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site under the title, "The Complete Works of Paramahansa Yogananda."
Excerpt from Paramahansa Yogananda: Beholding the One in All - Collector's Series No. 1
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© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes