Paramahansa Yogananda's "Consecration"
Introduction and Excerpt from Poem, "Consecration"
The first poem appearing in the great yogi/poet’s book of spiritual poems, Songs of the Soul, is an American (innovative) sonnet, featuring two sestets and a couplet with the rime scheme AABBCC DDEFGG HH.
(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error.")
The first sestet is composed of three rimed couplets; the second sestet feature 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 of an Indian yogi who has come to America to minister to the waiting souls who are yearning for the benefits of the ancient yogic techniques in which the great Guru will instruct them.
Many of the ancient Hindu concepts will assist Westerners in understanding their own spiritual traditions, including the dominant Christianity of which many are already devotees. In the opening poem, titled "Consecration," the speaker humbly offers his works to his Creator. He offers the love from his soul to one who gives him his life and his creative ability, as he dedicates his poems to the Divine.
Excerpt from "Consecration": Second Sestet
. . . For Thee, the sheaves
Within these leaves:
The choicest flowers
Of my life's season,
With petals soulful spread,
Their humble perfume shed. . . .
(Please note: The poem in its entirety may be found in Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul, published by Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA, 1983 and 2014 printings.)
First Sestet: Dedicated to the Divine Beloved
The speaker proclaims that he has come to allow his power of poetry to fall at the feet of his Divine Beloved Creator. He then avers that the poems as well as the poet himself are from the Lord himself. The Divine Beloved has breathed life into the poems that have grown out of the love of and for the Divine.
The speaker has suffered great loneliness in his life before uniting with his Divine Belovèd; however, he earnestly searched for the ability to unite with the Divine Creator, and he was successful in finding that great blessing.
The speaker/devotee now offers that success to his Divine Friend because he knows that the Lord is the ultimate reason for his capabilities to accomplish all of his worthwhile goals. As he feels, works, and creates, the devotee gives all to God, without Whom nothing that is would ever be.
Second Sestet: Divinely Inspired Verse
In the second sestet, the speaker asserts that he has composed these poems for the Beloved Creator. The "sheaves / Within these leaves" contain the essence of the poet’s life and accomplishments made possible by the Supreme Spirit.
From his life, the writer has chosen "the choicest flowers / Of my life’s season." The petals of his soul-flowers he has spread wide to allow "their humble perfume" to waft generously.
Couplet: Giving Back to God What is God's
The speaker then with prayer-folded hands addresses the Divine directly averring that he has "come now to give / What’s Thine." 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.
The humble poet/speaker then gives a stern command to his Beloved, "Receive!" As a spark of the Divine himself, he 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.
Biographical Sketch of Paramahansa Yogananda
The great guru/poet Paramahansa Yogananda was born on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India. His name at birth was Mukunda Lal Ghosh. Always a spiritually advanced child, at age 17, he met his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, under whose guidance he flourished and became the spiritual giant and sacred engine that leads souls back to their eternal abode in the arms of the Divine Creator.
Paramahansa Yogananda came to the United States in 1920 to speak in Boston at the International Congress of Religious Liberals. His speech was so well received that he quickly gathered a following. By 1925, his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship, was well established with the purpose of disseminating his teachings of yoga. He has come to be known as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”
For a more thorough overview of the great guru's life, please visit Paramahansa Yogananda’s Biography. His in-depth work, Autobiography of a Yogi, has become a spiritual classic worldwide.
Excerpt from Paramahansa Yogananda: Beholding the One in All - Collector's Series No. 1
© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes