Paramahansa Yogananda's "I Am Lonely no More"
Introduction and Excerpt from Poem, "I Am Lonely no More"
Paramahansa Yogananda’s speaker in "I Am Lonely No More" from Songs of the Soul no longer senses himself as a solitary being adrift on a sea of danger but instead realizes that his beloved Divine Self accompanies him everywhere he goes because the Divine Beloved Creator exists everywhere the speaker may travel.
Excerpt from "I Am Lonely no More"
I am not lonely in the chamber of solitude,
For Thou art always there.
I am lonely amidst an uproarious crowd,
In which the silence slips away
Like a startled, fast footed, large eyed deer. . . .
(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.)
The speaker in Paramahansa Yogananda’s "I Am Lonely no More" celebrates his freedom from the human malady of loneliness.
First Movement: Celebrating Freedom
The speaker expresses and celebrates his freedom by stating that he is not lonely when he is, indeed, alone in any location, even while experiencing "solitude." His awareness of the Divine as an integral part of his own self allows him to be conscious that the Lord is always with him.
The speaker then insists that while he is in a large noisy crowd of people, he finds that he can, in fact, be lonely because the presence of the Divine Reality, so palpable in silence, is hard to realize in a noisy, boisterous group of people.
Colorfully, the speaker says that in such a place, the silence of the Divine "slips away / Like a startled, fast-footed large-eyed deer."
Second Movement: Loneliness Before Experiencing Realization
Before the speaker had realized the nature of his oneness with the Divine, the speaker was plagued by thoughts that seemed to declare him to be an isolated individual, resulting in the negative state of loneliness. In this desperate state, he lamented and feared that as he had come on earth from some "unknown," thus he would have to leave and again enter that same nefarious "unknown."
Third Movement: Learning to Make God One's Own
Since finding that he has been eternally united with the Divine, the speaker asserts that he has discovered that he and the Divine are always united. Regardless of where the speaker may travel, whether in lonely places where no one else can be found, or whether he finds himself in places filled with other people, he is now always aware that he has a Divine Friend Who accompanies him.
The knowledge of this reality of his Higher Self secures for him permanent relief from the dull human heart ache that causes the sense-bound mind to think it is alone and isolated.
Fourth Movement: God's Infinite Drama
The speaker has become aware of the invisible ties that bind him all round: front and back, in life and in death.
The speaker now understands that his life is not just one chance occurrence that holds no meaning while offering only a miserable display of unanswerable questions; he now comprehends that his life is part of a cosmic divine plan wherein he can play his part in God’s infinite drama.
Fifth Movement: The Result of Meditation and Spiritual Effort
The speaker, through meditation and spiritual effort, has come to understand and realize that he comes from the Divine, he lives in the Divine, and he will "dive" into the Divine after he leaves his physical body. Referring to the Divine as "my Known-One," he confirms his divine knowledge.
Sixth Movement: Divine Unity Banishes Loneliness
So simply and so beautifully, the speaker avers that before he had met the "big Self," he was, in fact, afflicted with loneliness; however, now the affliction of loneliness assaults him no longer.
The speaker has realized his eternal unity with the only Entity that can banish all loneliness, the Entity that instills every great thought and comfortable feeling that the human heart and mind craves. In the Bliss of Unity, the speaker can say he remains, "lonely no more."
Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul
Life 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."
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes