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Paramahansa Yogananda's "Some Treasure of My Own"

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 Excerpt from "Some Treasure of My Own"

The great Guru Paramahansa Yogananda’s" Some Treasure of My Own" from the spiritual classic, Songs of the Soul, his masterful and inspiring book of spiritual poetry, features a speaker who addresses the Divine Belovèd with the purpose of assuring himself as well as the Belovèd that he understands what he must do in order to return the love that has been divinely given him.

Excerpt from "Some Treasure of My Own"

Whatever I sought to Give You
I found was Yours.
So took away the flowers from the altar,
And snuffed out the candles in the temple,
For I would offer You some treasure of my own . . .

(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 in Paramahansa Yogananda’s "Some Treasure of My Own" elucidates his understanding regarding the importance of loving the Giver more than the gifts.

First Stanza: To Find the Unique Gift

The speaker reveals that he is unable to give the Divine Beloved anything. He avers that the usual offerings of flowers and burning candles are not sufficient, because these things already belong to the Lord.

The speaker intuits that giving the Giver those things which He has given is a futile act. Thus, the speaker removes the flower offerings and the burning candles and determines that he will find something that is uniquely his own to offer to the Beloved," [f]or I would offer You some treasure of my own."

Second Stanza: Searching the Heart

The speaker searches his heart and discovers "rare perennial plants," and these metaphorical plants demonstrate their "craving for [the Divine Beloved]." The speaker realizes that as plants turn to the sunlight, his desire, his "craving," causes him to turn to the Lord.

Thus, the act of desire for the Lord is the only possible gift that the speaker can bestow upon the Giver of all gifts. With elation, he cries, "You are mine — what joy! / And ‘tis my free choice to love You as mine."

Third Stanza: Seeming Contradictions Explained

The speaker then explains the nuance of difference that arises from a seeming contradiction: Doesn’t love also come from the Lord? So how is returning His love to him really a personally unique treasure from the devotee?

Once God gives the devotee that gift of love, it no longer belongs to Him. The speaker avers that now that he has that love that has become his own, he" want[s] to love" God. So ultimately, it is the desire and the willingness to love and turn to God that is the gift that the devotee can bestow upon the Lord.

Fourth Stanza: Command vs Willingness

The speaker continues to elucidate the difference between loving God by command and loving God through the willingness of heart. He thus avers that the love from the Divine Beloved is not accompanied by the" command to love [Him] only."

The speaker knows that he could have continued his life just loving God’s gifts, or he could even worship those gifts only, or he was also free to" become saturated with the desires / Of a material life."

Along with the love, the Infinite Father has given each devotee free will to choose—to love Him or ignore Him. The Divine Creator does not choose for his children whether they will love him or not. He simply gives the love and the ability to love; then He waits to see if it will be returned.

Fifth Stanza: God Craving

The speaker thus concludes that he will give the Divine Beloved only those "flowers of love / From those undying plants of [his] soul-craving."

The speaker's cravings for God have been" [b]looming amidst the garden of incarnations"; for many returning incarnations, the speaker has sought the Divine Creator, and now he finally understands how to reach the Divine Beloved. He, henceforth, will lay the flowers of his devotion "in the temple of Your heart; / For these alone are mine."

Sixth Stanza: Preferring the Giver to the Gifts

Thus, most importantly, the speaker has determined to love God "[o]f my own accord." He chooses willingly to love God; he is not forced to love God, for nothing and no one, not even God, can exert such force.

The speaker chooses to "prefer You to Your gifts." By employing his own ability to exert free will, the speaker can thus give God what is uniquely his. And he knows that God must accept this gift, "the love I freely give, / Sole treasure of my own."

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© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes