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Paramahansa Yogananda's "Too Near"

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 the Encinitas hermitage

Writing at the Encinitas hermitage

Introduction and Excerpt From "Too Near"

Paramahansa Yogananda's poem, "Too Near," declares the spiritual truth that each individual soul is a spark of the Divine Creator. The individual does not have to acquire that status, but understanding that state of being is necessary. Each individual needs only to expand his/her consciousness in order to realize the already divine nature of the soul.

The speaker offers a dramatic approach to the Divine, beginning with the inspiring nature setting that offers the mind and heart the comforting environment in which to worship to realize," In me Thou art." The corresponding Christian expression is, "I and my Father are one."

Excerpt From "Too Near"

I stood in silence to worship Thee
In Thy temple grand—
With blue etheric dome,
Lighted by the spangling stars,
Shining with the lustrous moon,
Tapestried with golden clouds—
Where reigns no dogma loud. . . .

(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

According to yogic teachings, he Blessèd Creator has become many souls that reside in many hearts and minds. Each heart's highest duty is to realize its own divine nature.

First Movement: Worshiping Under the Sky

The speaker is addressing the Divine Belovèd, his Creator, or God. He describes his environment, revealing that he was standing in the Lord's temple, that is, under the open sky with its "blue etheric dome." The sky was lit by myriad, shining stars, the moon shone "lustrous," and "golden clouds" offered a "tapestried" effect.

The speaker labels this setting the Divine Reality's "temple grand." Thus, this natural setting becomes and affords the speaker an amazingly beautiful church, where he stands and worships the Blissful Spirit.

This natural church, "temple grand," is very different from a human-made building; this church offers no loud sermons featuring church dogma that often separates humanity into creeds and sects of various religious traditions.

Second Movement: The Begging Prayer

The speaker's heart's desire is to invite the Belovèd Lord to come to him. But after he had "prayed and cried," he reports that the Lord did not appear to him. The speaker then affirms that he will cease his waiting for the Lord. He will no longer cry and pray that the Lord come to him.

At first, these words seem sullen and surprising: how can the speaker simply give up calling on the Lord to come to him? Should he not cry and pray even more intensely? But the speaker has called his prayer "feeble," and now avers that he will no longer remain in waiting to hear the "[f]ootsteps" of the Divine.

Third Movement: Going Within

In the final couplet, the speaker reveals his reason for no longer offering those feeble prayers and waiting to hear the footsteps of his Divine Belovèd. Those "footsteps" can never be heard outwardly on the physical plane, because they exist only in the soul of the individual.

The Belovèd Creator has situated His essence in each individual soul; thus the speaker can aver that, "In me Thou art." In fact, the Lord is not only near the speaker at all times, he "too near."

The Lord exists eternally inside each of His created children, too near to be thought of as separate, too near to be considered a consciousness that must be attained. Because the Divine Creator exists "too near," His divine presence must only be realized.

No devotee ever needs to pray and cry that the Divine come to him/her, because each devotee already possesses that coveted Reality. All s/he needs to do is set his/her consciousness on the path that leads to the realization of that great, comforting truth, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30 King James Version).

A spiritual classic

A spiritual classic

© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes