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Paramahansa Yogananda's "They Are 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 "They Are Thine"

The speaker in Paramahansa Yogananda's "They Are Thine" is recognizing the fact that all creation belongs to the Creator, who created the entire cosmic universe, as well as all things and all sentient creatures within it. It addresses the Divine Belovèd as in prayer. But like most prayer, it is not supplication for some favor; it merely asserts a truth about the speaker, his soul, Creation, and the Divine Creator, Who governs them all.

Excerpt From "They Are Thine"

I have nothing to offer Thee,
For all things are Thine . . .

(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 demonstrating the power of humbleness in seeking divine realization.

First Movement: A Humble Offering

The speaker begins with the simple statement that he has nothing to offer the Great Spirit, who has created all things and who exists throughout all eternity. One such as himself, a small part of humanity, would naturally become humble in awareness of the vastness of the One, Who flings the stars, fashions the planets, causes the earth to put forth it fecundity, and then creates the physical body to encase the soul.

Thus, the speaker avers that he cannot give the One, Who has everything, anything, for the simple reason that the Great Creator already possesses everything. The logic of such a simple remark enlivens this prayer with a forceful power that stimulates the mind of each devotee to calm awareness.

Second Movement: Prayer to Deepen Divine Knowledge

The purpose of prayer is often to deepen in the devotee knowledge that he may already have but which seems to be allowed to weaken as life becomes crowded with its many duties, trials, and tribulations. But this speaker asserts his full understanding that he has nothing to offer the Blessèd Lord, and therefore he does not desire to waste time moaning and wishing the situation were different.

The speaker knows that offerings to the Lord, such as ritual or ceremonial flowers, fruit, or even the devotee's appreciation and tears of longing are merely useful tools for the devotee but cannot add one iota to the storehouse of possessions already contained in the Blessèd Divine's Creation. The speaker thus avers that nothing belongs to him, and he repeats his claim for emphasis.

Third Movement: Giving Out of Deep Love and Gratitude

The speaker, who is a devotee deeply loving and appreciating his Divine Creator, is compelled to yield unto his Belovèd Father-Creator all that he is: from his ability to speak to his very life, he bestows these possessions unto his Lord. Although he knows the Lord already possesses all of those things, his heart just simply bursts to give all he can to the One, Who has given him those things in the first place.

The speaker thus places all of his own possessions at the feet of the Divine, knowing that it is through such surrender that he becomes one with his Divine Goal. The placement of his gifts at the "feet" of the Divine symbolizes the humbleness through which the speaker functions. It is also through a humble nature that he perceives the immanent power that rests within his body, mind, and soul.

Fourth Movement: All Gifts Belong to the Divine Creator

The speaker in the final line, therefore, makes that important claim that all that he is and has already belong to the Divine Belovèd. All of this speaker's possessions, all of his abilities from walking to talking to eating to sleeping to thinking to meditating and praying—all belong to the Divine Creator, Who has created all of humankind and bestowed on all of His children all of the gifts they possess and enjoy.

A spiritual classic

A spiritual classic

Paramahansa Yogananda

© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes

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