In the opening poem, titled “Consecration,” the speaker humbly offers his works to his Creator. He offers the love from his soul to the One Who gives him his life and his creative ability, as he dedicates his poems to the Divine Reality or God.
Introduction and Excerpt from “Consecration”
Paramahansa Yogananda, the great guru/poet and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, known as the “Father of Yoga in the West,” dedicates his book of mystical poems, Songs of the Soul, to his earthly father and consecrates it by offering it to his Heavenly Father (God—the Divine Creator). In dedicating his collection to his earthly father, the great guru writes,
to my earthly father,
who has helped me in all my spiritual
work in India and America
The first poem appearing in the great yogi-poet’s book of spiritual poems is an American (innovative) sonnet, featuring two sestets and a couplet with the rime scheme AABBCC DDEFGGHH. The first sestet is composed of three rimed couplets; the second sestet features two rimed couplets and one unrimed couplet that occupies the middle of the sestet.
This innovative form of the sonnet is perfectly fitted to the subject matter and purpose of the Indian yogi, who has come to America to minister to the waiting souls, yearning for the benefits of the ancient yogic techniques in which the great guru will instruct them. The ancient Hindu yogic concepts offer assistance to Westerners in understanding their own spiritual traditions, including the dominant Christianity of which many are already devotees.
Excerpt from “Consecration”
At Thy feet I come to shower
All my full heart’s rhyming* flower:
Of Thy breath born,
By Thy love grown,
Through my lonely seeking found,
By hands Thou gavest plucked and bound . . .
*The spelling, “rhyme,” was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. As most editors require the Johnson-altered spelling of this poetic device, the text of Songs of the Soul also adheres to that requirement featuring the spelling, “rhyming.” However, when I employ that term in my commentaries, I use the original spelling, “rime.”
These spiritual poems begin with their consecration, a special dedication that offers them not only to the world but to God, the Ultimate Reality and Cosmic Father, Mother, Friend, Creator of all that is created.
First Sestet: Dedication of Poetic Effort
The speaker proclaims that he has come to allow his power of poetry to fall at the feet of his Divine Belovèd Creator. He then avers that the poems as well as the poet himself are from God Himself. The Divine Belovèd has breathed life into the poems that have grown out of the speaker’s love for the Divine. The speaker has suffered great loneliness in his life before uniting with his Divine Belovèd.
The spiritually striving speaker, however, has earnestly searched for and worked to strengthen his ability to unite with the Divine Creator, and he has been successful in attaining that great blessing. The speaker/devotee is now offering that success to his Divine Friend because he knows that God is the ultimate reason for his capabilities to accomplish all of his worthwhile goals. As he feels, works, and creates as a devotee, he gives all to God, without Whom nothing that is would ever be.
Second Sestet: Poems for the Divine
In the second sestet, the speaker asserts that he has composed these poems for the Belovèd Creator. The collection of inspirational poetic works placed in these pages contains the essence of the guru-poet’s life and accomplishments made possible by the Supreme Spirit. The writer asserts that from his life he has chosen the most pertinent events and experiences which will illuminate and inform the purpose of these poems.
The speaker is metaphorically spreading wide the petals of his soul-flowers to allow “their humble perfume” to waft generously. He is offering these works not merely as personal effusions of shared experience for the purpose of entertainment or self-expression but for the upliftment and soul guidance of others, especially for his own devoted followers. His intended audience remains the followers of his teachings, for he knows they will continue to require his guidance as they advance on their spiritual paths.
The Couplet: Humbly Returning a Gift
The speaker then with prayer-folded hands addresses the Divine directly, averring that he is in reality only returning to his Divine Belovèd that which already belongs to that Belovèd. He knows that as a writer he is only the instrument that the Great Poet has used to create these poems.
As the humble writer, he takes no credit for his works but gives it all to the Prime Creator. This humble poet/speaker then gives a stern command to his Heavenly Father, “Receive!” As a spark of the Divine Father himself, this mystically advanced speaker/poet discerns that he has the familial right to command his Great Father Poet to accept the gift that the devotee has created through the assistance of the Divine Poet.