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Paramahansa Yogananda's "Eternity"

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 Encinitas

Writing at Encinitas

Introduction and Excerpt from "Eternity"

The speaker of Paramahansa Yogananda's "Eternity" from Songs of the Soul craves knowledge about the origin of life on earth, and he poses the question to his Belovèd Creator if ever the day will come that he will attain that knowledge.

Excerpt from "Eternity"

Oh, will that day arrive
When I shall ceaselessly ask – yea, drive
Eternal questions into Thine ear,
O Eternity! and have solution
How weak weeds grow and stand unbent,
Unshaken ‘neath the trampling current. . . .

(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.)

Commentary

The speaker entertains the strong wish to grasp the Cosmic Hand that crafts all things and guides all events. He desires no less than unity with his Divine Creator. He begins by expressing his wondering if that day will come that he can, in fact, know what his Creator knows.

First Movement: Wondering if the Day of Knowing Will Come

Addressing the Divine Reality, the speaker queries as he wonders if he will ever attain the understanding about his environment that he wishes to possess. He admits to God that he has been "ceaselessly" putting into his Creator's ear these "eternal questions."

The speaker wishes to know if he will ever be able to stop that questioning. And there is only solution to his stopping; he would have to receive the answers he seeks. He is determined to have such answers, and from his insistence readers/listens become aware that this speaker will never be satisfied until he gets them.

This speaker is addressing "God" in His aspect as "Eternity." The speaker thus implies that he will remain a striving devotee forever if such striving remains necessary. As God is "eternal," the speaker knows that the Divine is also all powerful, and all knowledgeable. Thus the speaker can be certain of answers at sometime in his eternal existence as a child of Omnipresence.

Second Movement: Things, Events, and What They Mean

The speaker then begins a catalogue of things/events that he wishes to understand more fully. The first two items of the catalogue offer two contrasting events that puzzle the mind: how can "weak weeds" remain vibrant when assaulted by a "trampling current," even though storms may demolish "titanic things."

The speaker has observed such devastation, learned about catastrophes throughout history. He employs the natural phenomena to imply all devastating, even human, ignominious activities, for example, he has seen petty dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini rise and destroy the lives of far better man.

The speaker wonders how storms may "uproot" trees while allowing those spindly weed to remain in place. That same storm will cause the ocean to roar and become a dangerous weapon against humankind.

Third Movement: The Nature of All Those Firsts

The speaker then runs through a second catalogue featuring the appearance of "firsts" as they appear on the earth. He wonders how the "first spark" was lit and began to "blink[ ]." He asks about the "first tree," the "first goldfish," the "first bluebird," a creature that is "so free."

The speaker then moves into the human kingdom, wonder how the "first crooning baby" came to "visit" in this amazing house of never-ceasing wonders. He begs to understand the origin of all of these things that have "made their grand entry" into this "wonder-house." And he states that they are here only "to visit"; he implies that their nature is ephemeral as they come merely to "visit" and not remain.

Fourth Movement: Strong Desire to Grasp the Cosmic Hand

The speaker then asserts that he sees that all those varied things come on the earth. But all he can observe is their "growth," that is, their changing nature. The human being cannot see or know the actual formation of anything created—only that everything changes. The human mind knows nothing but change. It cannot comprehend purpose or begin anything itself; it can only observe and record change.

The speaker has watched all this changing from the contrasting weeds to uprooted trees in a storm, to all those "firsts" including the arrival of the baby human being. Everything appears for just a short "visit." Everything appearing whether on land or on sea appears and then after a brief sojourn into life disappears again.

The speaker then concludes his drama of the vanishing bubbles of life to offer his heartfelt cravings to his Divine Creator. He wants to "seize" the Hand that fashions all those creatures on earth and throughout the cosmic. Addressing God as "O Eternity!," the speaker insists that the Blessèd Lord open to him the knowledge of the "secret works on land and sea."

The speaker is asking for no less than unity with the Creator, for only by uniting his soul with that Over-Soul could the speaker ever seize that Hand and know what the Brain guiding that Hand knows. The speaker then wishes to seize the All-Knowing, All-Powerful One, Who can reveal all things including reason and purpose to the speaker's heart, mind, and soul.

Autobiography of a Yogi

Autobiography of a Yogi

Songs of the Soul - Book Cover

Songs of the Soul - Book Cover

© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes