41. “My Cosmic Mother’s Face”
At age eleven, Paramahansa Yogananda grieved the loss of his mother, but his spiritual nature impelled his search for and ultimate success in realizing his Divine Mother.
Introduction and Excerpt from “My Cosmic Mother’s Face”
The speaker of Paramahansa Yogananda’s “My Cosmic Mother’s Face” is celebrating his devotion to the Divine Mother aspect of God, or the Over-Soul.
Suffering the loss of his mother at age eleven, Mukunda Lal Ghosh, later known as Paramahansa Yogananda, was motivated to search for the greatest love of all mothers—that of the Divine Mother.
Excerpt from “My Cosmic Mother’s Face”
Fairy dream faces, like fresh flowers,
May bloom in the vase of my gaze for my soul to see;
But the Face that vanished behind space
Cannot be replaced by any of these . . .
The speaker of “My Cosmic Mother’s Face” offers his drama featuring his search for the Divine Mother, or the Cosmic Mother aspect of God.
First Stanza: Ephemeral Visions
The speaker reveals that in meditation he has glimpsed the ephemeral visions of “fairy dream faces” that resemble blossoms in the “vase of [his] gaze” which is visible to his soul.
Even though the speaker is able to visualize these beautiful phantoms, he knows that they do not represent the “Face that vanished behind space.” As his earthly mother’s face vanished from his physical sight, his Divine Mother’s face has also been absent from his sight.
Second-Fourth Stanzas: A Catalogue of Faces
In the next triad of stanzas, the speaker then catalogues the various faces that exist throughout the cosmos including those that are peculiar to the earth. Some faces express “transcendent beauty” and “exquisite charm,” but none can compete with the Face of the Divine Mother.
Some faces feature the “fires of lust” and represent the type of face “a child cannot trust.” But even the faces of true beauty “are dim beside” that of the Cosmic Mother.
Some faces are revealed in various flowers—violet, lily, lotus, rose—and even in the stars, moon, and sun. But as lovely and luminous as these faces are, they do not appeal to the speaker as much as that of the “One Face” of the Belovèd Mother.
Fifth-Sixth Stanzas: Streams in Dreams
The speaker then reveals that he has sought the face of the Divine Mother “through aeons unnumbered.” He metaphorically likens his glimpses throughout his search to “streamlets of [his] dreams.”
And now those streams have all merged with the Cosmic Mother’s “silver ocean-face.” As all rivers and streams ultimately reach and merge with the ocean, the speaker’s dream streams have reached and merged with the oceanic face of the Cosmic Mother.
Seventh-Tenth Stanza: The Face of Light
The speaker emphasizes the importance of the Cosmic Mother’s face for him: without her face, he has no light. While the activity of the cosmos carries on, the Mother’s face exists for him throughout eternity. For him the smile of the Divine Mother is reality bolstered by “selfless prayer.”
The speaker’s mind and heart are like a “calm lake” on which glistens the face of his Belovèd Mother. He senses in the “deep crystal pool” of his heart the face of his Comic Belovèd Mother forever reflecting the love and security that he had always craved.
Eleventh-Thirteenth Stanzas: Divine Glow
The lights of the physical plane dim in comparison to the glow of the Mother Divine. All the lights from “auroras,” “hives of atoms,” “world of flame,” and “Dumb stones and speaking minds” meld into one form that is perfect and eternal, “To form Thy one face and to spell Thy one name.”
In a glory filled finale of triumph, the speaker announces: “My vision, withdrawn from viewing pulsating centuries, / Throws its countless eyes within to search eternity; / And all I seek, O Cosmic Mother, all I crave forever, / Is the light of one face – the face of Thee!” The speaker avers his complete unity with the light of the Cosmic Mother’s face, flashing forever on his inner, spiritual eye.