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Paramahansa Yogananda's "For Thee and Thine"

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

Paramahansa Yogananda

Introduction and Excerpt from "For Thee and Thine"

Paramahansa Yogananda’s "For Thee and Thine," from Songs of the Soul, consists of four stanzas, each with its own rime scheme: ABBA AABCCB AABBCCB AABCCB. Only stanzas two and four have the same rime scheme. The theme of this poem dramatizes the unity between the individual soul and the Over-Soul or Divinity. As the speaker dramatizes his journey to enlightenment or self-realization, he establishes the pleasant nature of wholesome worldly enjoyments.

(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 following is an excerpt from the poem:

Excerpt from "For Thee and Thine"

I love to seek what's mine.
I think. I act,
I work with tact
To gain what's mine.

I pass by the river
Aflow in joyous quiver,
To soothe this mind of mine. . . .

(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 is dramatizing his spiritual journey, which includes the enjoyment of all wholesome earthly things that appeal to the senses.

First Stanza: Loving the Path

In the first stanza, the speaker declares that he is enamored with his spiritual journey. He loves to be on the path that leads to the Divine. The speaker claims the Divine for his own: "I love to seek what’s mine." His "seeking" includes the actions of thinking, acting, and working "with tact" in order to "gain what’s [his]."

Second Stanza: Glorifying His Days

The speaker then continues to reveal his actions that enliven and glorify his days. He goes to the river, which is "Aflow in joyous quiver." He sees joy in the ordinary movement of a river. And this ordinary, even mundane, occurrence "soothes" his mind. His spiritual journey deepens his senses, making him aware of the God-joy that the Divine has infused in all of His Creation.

The speaker then declares that he "smell[s] the flowers," and the scent of those God-given gifts "cheer[s] [his] hours." And he can thus remark that the joy of the river’s "quiver" and the smell of the flowers belong to him. The Divine has given him the ability to be aware of the heavenly attributes of those earthly entities, and he takes full advantage of them on the spiritual journey.

Third Stanza: Enjoying the Physical While Following the Spiritual

The speaker continues to show how he is able to enjoy the physical plane of being, even as he pursues his spiritual path. He "sip[s] the golden sunshine," metaphorically likening the sun to a drink that is warm and soothing, and he declares that he drinks that sunshine, "To warm this flesh of mine."

Continuing the beverage metaphor, he also "drink[s] the fresh and flowing air." He then connects the breath with his prayer and meditation as he declares, "For me I lift my prayer." The speaker lovingly avers that he has no qualms about "rak[ing] / The world" to attain those God-gifts that belong to him as a child of the Divine.

Fourth Stanza: Converting Sorrow to Joy

The fourth stanza proclaims that the early days of sorrow have been converted into days and hours of joy. In the past when he sought only those gifts for himself and his kin alone, he had lived in delusion.

After having traveled the spiritual path, enjoying only God-gifts and then praying and meditating, the speaker has arrived at his goal; he is enlightened now and knows that all along he has been living for "Thee and Thine."

Opening to God's Love in Meditation - Part 1

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes

Comments

Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on April 24, 2017:

Thank you, Audrey! Glad you found the commentary useful. Have a blessed day!

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on April 23, 2017:

I'm glad you posted the poem for Mark. It helps to read it. You've done a superb job interpreting each stanza. Thank you!

Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on April 23, 2017:

You're welcome, Mark. Have a blessed day!

Mark Tulin from Ventura, California on April 23, 2017:

Thank you Linda. Enjoyed it very much.

Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on April 23, 2017:

Here is a copy of the poem. It appears on an archive site that holds some of the poems or versions of them. I use the print text from the book SONGS OF THE SOUL:

FOR THEE AND THINE

I love to seek

What's mine.

I think, I act —

I work with tact

To gain what's mine.

I pass by th' river

In joyous quiver

To soothe this mind of mine.

I smell the flowers

To cheer the hours, —

I love to have what's mine.

I sip the gold sunshine

To warm this flesh of mine.

I drink the fresh and flowing air,

For me I lift my prayer,

I try to rake

The world to take

All things for me and mine. —

Those dark days are gone, —

The old time 's flown,

So lived for me and mine; —

In new-born light

I see what's right, —

To live for Thee and Thine.

Mark Tulin from Ventura, California on April 23, 2017:

Thank you Linda for this hub but was disappointed that I couldn't actually read the poem because there was no link. I would have loved to meditate on his words. I tried looking on the web but I couldn't find it there either. I'm assuming that you couldn't find a link either.