Paramahansa Yogananda’s "Leave Thy Vow of Silence"
Introduction and Text of Poem, "Leave Thy Vow of Silence"
Introduction and Excerpt from Poem, "Leave Thy Vow of Silence"
The poem, "Leave Thy Vow of Silence," from Songs of the Soul by the great guru Paramahansa Yogananda consists of two verse paragraphs (versagraphs). Each versagraph reveals a speaker who strongly prays that the Divine Creator reveal His presence in the speaker's life.
The speaker compares natural phenomena to the nature of its Creator. This devotee perceives that creation simply reflects the characteristics of its Maker, a logical proposition bathed in informed faith.
Excerpt from "Leave Thy Vow of Silence"
Blossoms come and seasons change
They all speak of Thee.
The moon slightly shows Thy smile;
The sun holds Thy lamp of life.
In the arteries of leaves
I see Thy blood flowing. . . .
(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.)
In Paramahansa Yogananda’s "Leave Thy Vow of Silence," the ardent speaker lovingly but somewhat forlornly supplicates to his Creator to remove the veil of separation between Himself and the devotee.
First Versagraph: The Creator in Creation
The first verse paragraph describes the nature of the beloved Lord, Whom the speaker so urgently seeks. In the first two lines, the speaker likens the Lord to nature: "Blossoms come and seasons change; / They all speak of Thee."
Then the speaker demonstrates how, along with the flowers of spring, other natural features reflect the Lord: the moon reflects His smile, the sun affords life to earthly creatures as the Lord’s "lamp of life."
The speaker continues his metaphor of nature to God comparison, as he asserts, "In the arteries of leaves / I see Thy blood flowing." This speaker can detect aspects of the Divine Creator in all things that he perceives with the senses. The last four lines of the first versagraph are dramatizing the personal urgency that the speaker feels. He says, "In every thought of mine / Thy heart is beating loud."
This speaker-devotee is so in love with the Divine Reality that he has become aware that this Blessed Being exists in his every thought. And at this point, the speaker demands that the Lord appear to him: "Throw off Thy shroud of nature— / Wake from Thy sleep, O Lord." This speaker is no longer satisfied in experiencing the Lord indirectly through nature or even through his own thoughts.
Knowing the Blessed Creator vicariously through His creation is no longer tolerable, so the speaker gives the Blessed Reality an order to appear before him. The speaker wants his Creator to sleep no longer in His phenomena but to shed the veil that separates the devotee from his Maker.
Second Versagraph: The Desire for Unity
In the second versagraph, the speaker laments his craving, telling the Lord that he has cried a sea of tears, waiting for the Lord to appear: "I have been swimming for Thee / In the sea of my tears." And in the final four lines, the speaker inquires demurely of the Divine Belovèd, "When wilt Thou talk to me, / Leaving Thy vow of Silence?" But then immediately again, the speaker hurls another command: "Wake! Wake! From Thy sleep— / Speak to me now, O Lord."
The intensity of the speaker’s love for and attention to the Ultimate Reality is extremely high. He sees the Lord in all of nature from the sun to the threads of leaves; he realizes that his every thought is impregnated with the essence of God.
The speaker talks to his Creator directly, not only questioning Him, not only praising Him, but actually demanding of Him what is his birthright, that Loving Father God forsake His vow of silence and speak directly to His devotee. This devotee's behavior surely represents the kind in which Divinity finds favor—one who not only follows His rules, but one who demands His love and has the courage to demand it directly to the Lord, Himself.
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes