Thy Call

Image: Paramahansa Yogananda, Dihika, India 1935

19.  “Thy Call”

In Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Thy Call,” the speaker is dramatizing the inner sanctuary which he can summon even in the midst of the day’s din of activity by merely focusing on the presence of his Creator.  As he describes his own experience, he teaches others how to emulate his abilities.

Introduction and Excerpt from “Thy Call”

Paramahansa Yogananda’s poem, “Thy Call,” consists of five stanzas, each composed of two beautifully riming couplets.   The poem focuses on the summoning of the Divine Voice to the devotee’s consciousness after the negative effect of worldly endeavors has crept into the devotee’s mind and begun to attract too much attention. 

In this poem, the speaker demonstrates from his spiritual oasis that after he begins to think about the Divine Belovèd calling him, he can be rescued from the hustle and bustle of everyday activity.  

As devotees move through their days, they experience the trammels of the world.  Earning enough money to just keep body and soul together remains a daunting task, even for the spiritual aspirant.  For the devotee whose goal is strengthening his soul awareness, carrying the meditative state of calmness into the hustle and bustle of daily life remains a challenge.  

The speaker of Paramahansa Yogananda’s mystical poetry offers those devotees new ways of meeting those material-world induced challenges, rendering it possible to look at the things on the material plane with fresh eyes—with eyes that see the Divine Belovèd dwelling in creation.

Excerpt from “Thy Call”

When lost I roam
I hear Thy call to Home —
In whistling breeze
Or rustling leaves of trees. 

When drunk in folly
I wander gaily
By the sandy shore,
Who wakes me with a sudden roar? . . . 

Commentary

The call of the Divine Belovèd can herald the devotee to a spiritual oasis within.  This poem creates a drama of that healing call, as the speaker describes his own experience in colorful, mystical language.

First Stanza: Turning off Earthly Noises

In the first stanza, the speaker declares that after he finds himself lost in worldly pursuits and becomes entangled in the joys and sorrows that ordinary life presents, he can turn off those earthly noises from his mind as soon as he hears the Divine calling him “Home.” 

Interestingly, the speaker does not have to hear heavenly bells or angelic whispers; instead, he hears the Belovèd Creator calling him through the wind swishing through tree leaves.  Just an ordinary sound is enough to divert his consciousness from the physical to the spiritual.

The speaker can realize the Divine Inner Essence because he has become aware that the Great Creator of the cosmos remains a force within creation.  Not only does the Great Spirit exist outside of creation, but that Divinity also exists inside of that creation.  The Great Divine Creator of all exists in each thing, act, and thought that has been created.  

Just the mere knowledge of this phenomenon can help the seeker of truth uplift his/her consciousness to assuage the pain and suffering inherent in living in a physical body with a mind that experiences nothing but change.  The mere awareness that each individual human being is a soul that possesses a body and a mind gives a substantial measure of comfort while meeting the challenges and confronting the dangers that are inherent in creation. 

Second Stanza:  A Change of Strategy

The speaker then changes his strategy for his little drama in the second stanza; instead of stating directly that it is the Divine who calls him, he forms his claim into a rhetorical question.  The speaker reveals that it is indeed the “folly” of earthly pleasures that may cause him to behave as though intoxicated.  

This inspired speaker may find himself ambling on the beach of the ocean. Then he hears the ocean roar and is reminded of the great cosmic sound of AUM—also spelled OM—which steals his awareness away from the earthly bustle of nerve-wracking trammels; that “sudden roar” of the natural phenomenon, the ocean, has called to him from its created essence.

By employing a rhetorical question, the speaker emphasizes his claim that it is, indeed, his Heavenly Father, who is causing the speaker to wake up from his dream of earth, to wake up from the delusion that he is primarily a physical body that can be damaged and a mind that can suffer from all manner of accident and ill-fate.  The speaker’s question, as all rhetorical questions do, functions not to pose a question at all—but to offer a fortified emphasis on his statement.

Third Stanza:  Inevitable Negativity of Earth Life

In the third stanza, the speaker demonstrates the negativity that inevitably results from earth life.  The good times of joyful play on the oceans’ beaches give way to “clouds” that “steal” his “precious joy.”  Again, this accomplished speaker employs a rhetorical question:  after life has turned into a difficult affair, who is the one who removes the negativity to reveal the love of the Divine?

Instead of merely stating that it is the Divine Friend who calls him, he dramatically poses the rhetorical question that contains its obvious answer.  The speaker knows that by allowing his reader to answer the question the answer will remain more forceful and more memorable.   

Fourth Stanza:  Trapped in Worldly Experience

Once again, the speaker in this stanza reveals that events at times appear to be quite dark, and he, as well as other folks, will experience the discomfort of being trapped by worldly events and earthly phenomena.   As that darkness appears, the speaker queries: who points out and lights the way I should go through all this earthly darkness with the brilliance of ever-remaining brightness?

The Divine continues to guide and guard devotees as they live their lives.  The Blessèd Creative Force remains ever ready to turn the devotee’s consciousness to peace and fulfillment faster than the speed of light.  Thus, the employment of “moonlit” along with a personified smile transforms the simple scene of moonlight on the landscape into an uplifting gesture from a loving Divine Father, who has given that very moonlight to the devotee.  By living in the faith that it is the Divine Reality smiling at one through the moon, the devotee’s heart remains inspired and much pain and suffering can be erased.

Fifth Stanza: Peace Reminding Entities

The speaker then avers that the sun, the stars, and even the “river’s ever murm’ring air” all remind him of the peace, tranquility, and utter bliss that the Cosmic Creator brings as the devotee hears that “call.”  The simplicity of merely assigning Divine bliss to every mundane sound is enough to rescue the soul. Through the experience described by a self-realized saint, the devotee learns to look at the world through different eyes.  That basic attitude adjustment can transform sorrow into healing hope; it can turn catastrophe into mere signs pointing to better days.  

Descriptions of the physical universe by the advanced yogi, who sees the Sacred Reality in everything, teaches devotees and all sincere truth seekers how to see that world through the lens of beauty, truth, and love.  Instead of remaining shackled to the fabricated ugliness and hatred offered by a faithless simulacrum foisted upon the world by mindless, mean-spirited, selfish poseurs, the devotee has the choice of looking up at the stars instead of down at the gutters.

🕉

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

You are welcome to join Linda Sue Grimes on
TruthSocial, Locals, MeWe, Gettr, Parler, Twitter, Facebook.

%d bloggers like this: