Invisible Mother

Image:  Paramahansa Yogananda in Los Angeles, 1949

38.  “Invisible Mother”

Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Invisible Mother” offers a unique description of God in His aspect as the Mother of creation.  The speaker also reveals his closeness with that aspect as he demands a personal visitation from the Mother.

Introduction and Excerpt from “Invisible Mother”

Paramahansa Yogananda’s poem, “Invisible Mother,”consists of four versagraphs.  The first two versagraphs are octaves, the third is a sestet, and the final versagraph is a dectet.

Eleven-year-old Mukunda Lal Ghosh lost his mother to illness at that tender age; this loss deeply moved the young boy to seek God as Divine Mother.  His closeness and dependence on his mother left a deep hole in his heart that could be filled only by God in the divine aspect of Divine Mother.  

As the great guru has explained, each individual experiences God in a unique and personal way.  

His experience led him to God as the universal mother.  He also explains that God is also our father as well as our mother.  But depending upon the personal leanings of each individual, the experience of seeking God-realization may be to envision God—the Ineffable—as father, mother, friend, or some other form that represents God for that individual.

The speaker is pouring out his heartfelt desire which remains the desire of each individual soul that finds itself trapped in a human physical encasement.  He craves soul freedom and to be united with the Divine Creator in order to achieve the ultimate goal of freedom.  

This highly advanced yogic speaker uplifts the hearts and minds of all human beings by offering hope for that blessed state of being: unification with the Divine Belovèd Creator, who is metaphorically called Father by some and Mother or Friend by others.

Excerpt from “Invisible Mother”

O Thou Mother of all,
Be Thou consciously receptive to my prayers.
all that I know I know through Thee;
And Thou knowest all I know,
So Thou knowest my prayers.
Knowing Thee, feeling Thee constantly,
I know Thou art I, I am Thou.
My little wavelet of me has vanished in Thee

Thou alone didst exist
Before Thy maya waves appeared;
And Thou alone dost exist now, and ever shall —
Naught is, that is not Thee.
Formless, impersonal Thou art;
The Unseen, omnipresent.
But I want to know Thee also, and forever,
As personal . . . 

Commentary

The speaker is directly addressing God as the Divine Mother; thus, he is describing the invisible mother, while supplicating for a personal visitation from her.

First Versagraph:  Invocation to Divine Mother

In the first versagraph, the speaker invokes the Divine Mother to listen to his prayer.  He lovingly avers that he is addressing the universal mother, who is the nurturer of all her children.  The speaker grants that everything he has and is comes through the instrumentality of God, whom he is addressing here as the Divine Mother. 

The speaker focuses particularly on his ability to know through the Mother.  He says that all of his own knowledge has come to him because the beautiful mother has given him that knowledge.  

Divine Mother then remains aware of his every supplication, as well as how he feels about any aspect of life.  He then avers that he and his Divine Mother are one, already united in perpetuity.   The speaker engages a useful metaphor that he often invokes to demonstrate the relationship between God and His children:  God is the ocean and each child is a wave.  Thus, he reckons that he is only a “little wavelet” on the bosom of the ocean of Divinity. 

Second Versagraph:  A Creation Drama

The speaker then dramatizes the creation as he reports that only the invisible mother existed prior to creating the cosmos.  He states colorfully that the mother exists before she created “maya waves”—those delusive phenomena that keep humanity bound to the physical plane.  

But this speaker reminds himself and his listeners that only the cosmic mother truly exists; she is the only reality because she alone does exist—not only now but also forever.

The speaker asserts that nothing exists that is apart from the Divine. He further reveals that the Divine is “formless” and “impersonal.”  This wise speaker then describes other qualities that attach to the Divine Mother as “the Unseen” and “omnipresent.”  But he also wants to experience the Divine as “personal.”  

Third Versagraph:  The Efficacy of Strong Devotion

In the third versagraph, the speaker reveals that his strong devotion allows him to glimpse the Divine variously as the Hindu or the Christian prophet.  He explains that individuals will be able to envision the great spiritual avatars with whom they most identify.   The accomplished speaker has acknowledged that the Divine is invisible, as the title of the poem indicates.  

Thus, he divulges how such a contradiction is not a contradiction at all, for the Divine Mother, while being formless and invisible, is manifested within the forms she has created.  

The Divine Creator exists both within creation and outside of creation—that is the very definition of the term omnipresent. The omnipresent Divine resides in all creation, which means that Essence resides in the hearts of the created children. 

The speaker then colorfully describes the invisible mother as “[h]idden with the temple of [his] love.”  The temple of his love is primarily his heart, but also on a grander scale that temple is the soul.  And each human child contains in his soul the essence of the Divine Mother.

The strength of the essence depends upon the soul evolutionary advancement of the individual.  This speaker’s advancement has elevated him high on the evolutionary scale; thus, he possesses the ability to see the Divine Mother, Krishna, and Christ—a feat won through deep, intense meditation, spurred by his deep, ardent love of the Divine Reality.

Fourth Versagraph:  Unity of Creator and Creation

In the fourth and final versagraph, the speaker further dramatizes the unity of God with His creation, employing again the ocean/wave metaphor.  He avers that the great invisible mother has “frozen” her ineffable essence “into the sea of cosmic finitude.”  

But just as the mother has created that physical ocean, she can appear in a physical form to the devotee whose desire to see her is exceptionally strong.  

Thus, the speaker is commanding his Divine Mother to appear before him. Because a spark of God is in everything in creation, the reality is that God is both visible and invisible; therefore, it is both prudent and wise to demand and expect God, in the devotee’s favorite form, to appear before him/her.

This accomplished, highly advanced yogi/saint, who has readied his heart and mind for contact with that Infinitude, can see and understand that unity that always exists between the Divine Mother and Her child, or God and His creation.  His metaphor of the ocean and the wave may be invoked again to demonstrate that unified relationship. 

The speaker exposes what is secreted in the heart of every creature of God’s creation: the desire for conscious unity with that Creator.  Each individual carries the seed of that desire for that unity because that unity already exists and needs only to be “realized.” 

This advanced yogic speaker is capable of such worship, and his example allows others to follow and eventually achieve that same capability.

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A published collection of these commentaries is available at 
Commentaries on Paramahansa Yogananda’s Songs of the Soul.

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