Paramahansa Yogananda's poems serve to deepen yoga meditation, offering devotees new ways of grasping the spiritual nature of all creation.
Introduction and Excerpt from "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven"
In his indispensable book of spiritual poems, Songs of the Soul, the great guru Paramahansa Yogananda includes his beautifully descriptive poem, "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven." This poem not only describes the beautiful hermitage in which the "Father of Yoga in the West" composed many of his important mystical masterpieces, but the poem also offers a tribute to the generosity of his belovèd devotee, Rajarsi Janakananda.
Known in the business world as Mr. James J. Lynn, this devoted disciple of the teachings of the great spiritual leader Paramahansa Yogananda was later referred to by his spiritual name, Rajarsi Janakananda, which Paramahansa Yogananda bestowed upon him, celebrating the former businessman's great achievement and advancement in the practice of Kriya Yoga.
The poem, "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven," features three versagraphs (verse paragraphs) in the beautiful styling that Guruji enshrines in all of his poetry and prose. An excerpt from the poem is offered here, but the poem in its entirety can be experienced in Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul, published by Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA, 1983 and 2014 printings.
Excerpt from "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven"
A vision of yore — of incarnations before —
Of a dream-bud retreat
Grew in the garden of my soul.
For ages 'twas caressed,
By sun-warm breeze of His blessings blessed,
Until in this life,
Away from all strife,
Beyond noises' reach,
On Encinitas' mountain-beach
That dream-bud blossomed true.
A dream of silent rest
Dropped down from Heaven's breast,
Through magic tough of one, most blessed of mine!
Beloved Saint Lynn* divine . . .
*Mr. James J. Lynn was an exalted disciple of Paramahansaji, who later received from his guru the monastic title and name, Rajarsi Janakananda.
The beautiful expanse of land along the Pacific coast in Encinitas, California, known as the Self-Realization Fellowship Hermitage and Meditation Gardens, was bestowed upon the great guru by his advanced, belovèd yoga disciple, Mr. James J. Lynn.
First Versagraph: A Gift from a Grateful Disciple
In the opening versagraph, the great guru begins his tribute to the special meditation gardens and ashram that he received from his disciple, Mr. James J. Lynn (later given the monastic name Rajarsi Janakananda). The speaker/great guru states that having experienced the vision of his future hermitage was like having that beautiful place "gr[o]w in the garden of [his] soul."
The speaker then describes the beauty of the setting of his cherished hermitage, which is located in Encinitas, California, on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The speaker also allows his listeners to experience with him that along with the majesty of the location, the true importance rests in the solitude the place would afford the guru, the monks and nuns who would live there, and then all of the future devotees who would visit and be inspired by the great guru’s living presence.
This exalted spiritual leader’s "dream-bud blossomed true," and after having seen that very same ashram in his dreams and meditation-induced visions, he finally realized that dream-vision, after his "Beloved Saint Lynn divine" presented the great guru with the gift of the hermitage. (Paramahansa Yogananda also lovingly referred to his advanced yoga disciple as "Saint Lynn.")
Second Versagraph: Blueprint from the Ether
The great guru/poet avers that the blueprint for the extraordinary hermitage and meditation gardens had existed mystically in the ether throughout eternity, and then "it came wafting — enchanting, entrancing — / Down the arches of the ancient years." After Paramahansa Yogananda had arrived in America from India, he began a search for a perfect location for the building and grounds that would match his vision.
The great guru searched the long expanse of "the golden California coast," looking for his dream in reality, until finally through the grace of "Divine Mother’s whispered call" and the generosity of his devoted disciple, he had to search no more. The exceptional bounty the guru received was indeed spectacular: "With decks of rocks and caves, and many a lacy tree — Jutting out to sea, / Anchored forever / By sands of silver."
Third Versagraph: A Place to Work
Just as Paramahansa Yogananda had searched for the Divine Mother Herself, he searched for the promise of the ashram, a comfortable home in which he could continue his work to assist others in their spiritual search. After exploring the possibilities of the California coast, the great guru looked even farther around the area of Lake Elsinore, which is north and inland from the Encinitas location that finally became the realization of his sacred vision. The following elucidation of the guru’s search for a location for his coastal hermitage appears following the poem in Songs of the Soul:
Prompted by the inner vision that he would someday have an ashram near the sea, Paramahansaji had in earlier years searched near Lake Elsinore for the right place to build a hermitage. However, the Encinitas bluff overlooking the sea had remained his favorite place of mediation, and it was for this reason that Rajarsi chose this spot for construction of Paramahansaji’s "dream heritage."
After the great spiritual leader had been led to the Encinitas location, he realized that location as the same spot he had visualized many times, even though the actual building had not yet been constructed. While Paramahansa Yogananda was away from California, traveling on his historic journey through Europe and back to his native India, his devotee Rajarsi Janakananda, the former Mr. Lynn, acquired the property on which the guru and a group of his disciples had enjoyed meditation outings and picnics.
With the construction of the hermitage, the guru recognized the building as the one he had seen many times in his meditations. The experience of receiving this important location with its comfortable hermitage, which assisted with his spiritual work, became yet another example of the glorious giving that "Dame Divinity" provided for the guru and his work.
In his meditations, the great spiritual leader experienced "bless-showers raining" from the Mother Divine "by enrapturing Encinitas’ elysian shore." Today, the spiritually drenched site continues to summon the Elysian Fields for those who visit, whether they be Paramahansa Yogananda’s devotees or devotees/believers of other faith traditions.
To Make Heaven on Earth
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes