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Paramahansa Yogananda's "Consecration"

Paramahansa Yogananda's poems serve to deepen yoga meditation, offering devotees new ways of grasping the spiritual nature of all creation.

Paramahansa Yogananda -writing at his Encinitas Hermitage

Paramahansa Yogananda -writing at his Encinitas Hermitage

Introduction and Text of "Consecration"

Although Paramahansa Yogananda’s book of mystical poetry is consecrated to God (the Divine Heavenly Father), the great guru has also dedicated the work to his biological, earthly father with the following:

Dedicated
to my earthly father,
who has helped me in all my spiritual
work in India and America

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. The first sestet is composed of three rimed couplets; the second sestet features 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 and purpose of the Indian yogi, who has come to America to minister to the waiting souls, yearning for the benefits of the ancient yogic techniques in which the great Guru will instruct them. The ancient Hindu concepts offer assistance to 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 the One Who gives him his life and his creative ability, as he dedicates his poems to the Divine Reality.

Consecration

At Thy feet I come to shower
All my full heart's riming* flower:
Of Thy breath born,
By Thy love grown,
Through my lonely seeking found,
By hands Thou gavest plucked and bound.

For Thee, the sheaves
Within these leaves:
The choicest flowers
Of my life's season,
With petals soulful spread,
Their humble perfume shed.

Hands folded, I come now to give
What's Thine. Receive!

*The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. As most editors still require the Johnson-altered spelling of this poetic device, this text also succumbs to that requirement featuring the spelling "rhyming" which I have changed to reflect the original spelling. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error."

(Please note: This poem appears in Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul, published by Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA, 1983 and 2014 printings.)

Commentary

These spiritual, mystical poems begin with their consecration, a special dedication that offers them not only to the world but to God, the Ultimate Reality and Cosmic Father, Mother, Friend, Creator of all that is created.

First Sestet: Consecrated to the Divine Belovèd

At Thy feet I come to shower
All my full heart's riming flower:
Of Thy breath born,
By Thy love grown,
Through my lonely seeking found,
By hands Thou gavest plucked and bound.

The speaker proclaims that he has come to allow his power of poetry to fall at the feet of his Divine Belovèd Creator. He then avers that the poems as well as the poet himself are from the God Himself. The Divine Belovèd has breathed life into the poems that have grown out of the speaker’s love for the Divine. The speaker has suffered great loneliness in his life before uniting with his Divine Belovèd.

The spiritually striving speaker, however, has earnestly searched for and worked to strengthen the ability to unite with the Divine Creator, and he has been successful in attaining that great blessing. The speaker/devotee is now offering that success to his Divine Friend because he knows that God is the ultimate reason for his capabilities to accomplish all of his worthwhile goals. As he feels, works, and creates as a devotee, he gives all to God, without Whom nothing that is would ever be.

Second Sestet: Divinely Inspired Verse

For Thee, the sheaves
Within these leaves:
The choicest flowers
Of my life's season,
With petals soulful spread,
Their humble perfume shed.

In the second sestet, the speaker asserts that he has composed these poems for the Belovèd Creator. The collection of inspirational poetic works placed in these pages contains the essence of the guru/poet’s life and accomplishments made possible by the Supreme Spirit. The writer asserts that from his life he has chosen the most pertinent events and experiences which will illuminate and inform the purpose of these poems.

The speaker is metaphorically spreading wide the petals of his soul-flowers to allow "their humble perfume" to waft generously. He is offering these works not merely as personal effusions of shared experience for the purpose of entertainment or self-expression but for the upliftment and soul guidance of others, especially for his own devoted followers. His intended audience remains the followers of his teachings, and he knows they will continue to require his guidance as they advance on their spiritual paths.

The Couplet: Giving Back to God What Is God's

Hands folded, I come now to give
What's Thine. Receive!

The speaker then with prayer-folded hands addresses the Divine directly, averring that he is in reality only returning to his Divine Belovèd that which already belongs to that Belovèd. 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. This humble poet/speaker then gives a stern command to his Heavenly Father, "Receive!" As a spark of the Divine Father himself, this mystically advanced speaker/poet 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.

Special Purpose of These Poems

The poems in Songs of the Soul come to the world not as mere literary pieces that elucidate and share common human experiences as most ordinary successful poems do, but these mystical poems also serve as inspirational guidance to enhance the study of the yoga techniques disseminated by the great guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, the "Father of Yoga in the West." He came to the West, specifically to Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States of America, to share his deep knowledge of yoga through techniques that lead the mind to conscious awareness of God, a phenomenon that he called "self-realization."

The great guru published a series of lessons that contain the essence of his teaching as well as practical techniques of Kriya Yoga. His organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, has continued to publish collections of his talks in both print and audio format that he gave nationwide during the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.

In addition to Songs of the Soul, the great guru/poet offers mystical poetic expressions in two other publications, Whispers from Eternity and Metaphysical Meditations, both of which serve in the same capacity that Songs of the Soul does to assist the spiritual aspirant on the journey along the spiritual path.

Excerpt from Paramahansa Yogananda's Beholding the One in All - Collector's Series No. 1

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes