Paramahansa Yogananda’s "Nature’s Nature"
Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Nature’s Nature” features ten cluster-and scatter-rimed stanzas. The note accompanying this poem, which explicates the first four lines of the second stanza, reveals the poem’s explicit purpose: “Reference to the interiorization of the mind during deep yoga meditation, in which the attention is disconnected from sensory distraction and focused on the Spirit within.
First Stanza: “Away, ye muses, all away!”
As the meditating yogi/speaker ascends into the samadhic state of consciousness, he has no desire to contend with any physical or mental phenomena; therefore, he bids the “muses” that empower the mind and the “songs of the finch” that delight the ear to flee.
The glory of such earthly delights cannot compare to the bliss of the soul in union with the Divine, transcending all physical and mental consciousness.
In ordinary consciousness, sense awareness “sit[s] above / Her Maker,” but in deep meditation with consciousness raised above sense consciousness, the meditating yogi then gathers the rewards of his efforts.
Second Stanza: “This day I fasten eyelid doors”
The speaker announces that he is closing the doors of his attention to all earthly things that he may “pore / Upon the things behind, ahead, / In the darkness round me spread.”
Behind the closed “eyelid doors,” the speaker will see marvels with which earthly, physical and mental awareness, cannot compete.
Third Stanza: “Somewhere here”
The speaker clarifies that he will journey in places that the uninitiated misunderstand to be “darkness drear.”
However, this speaker will continue “in the path” that all are truly seeking because he knows that the call of the Divine to Bliss is a “magnet call.”
Fourth Stanza – Seventh Stanza: “Not here, not here”
In stanzas four through seven, the speaker repeats a refrain to drive home the point that the bliss he is seeking is not here in the physical/mental world.
Even the mythological characters such as Apollo and Diana cannot intrude into the territory where the meditating yogi finds his peace and bliss.
In this transcendent place beyond all secular avenues, nothing can hurt the yogi nor interfere with his elevated state of consciousness: nothing can “[e]’er make me full of fear,” “Not Nature’s murderous mutiny, / Nor man’s exploding destiny / Can touch me here.”
Nothing can enter this pristine heaven: “Through mind’s strong iron bars, / Not gods or goblins, men or nature, / Without my pass dare enter.”
Eighth Stanza: “I look behind, ahead”
The speaker then describes how his soul is cutting through the darkness and finding “The darkness burns / With a million tongues.”
The ineffable nature of the samadhic experience forces the poet into metaphors which can only allure but never fully compare the knowledge to anything experienced through sense awareness, on which language always relies.
Ninth Stanza: “I smile serene”
The speaker reveals that it makes him “smile serene” as he comprehends “wisdom’s brilliant blaze.” He realizes that the origin of Nature is the “Hidden Home Unseen.”
The “seen” arises from the “Unseen.” This soul-perceived milieu is the “factory whence all forms or fairies start, / The bards, colossal minds, and hearts, / The gods and all, / And all, and all!”
Tenth Stanza: “Away, away”
Finally, the speaker bids all surface songs and poetry from sense knowledge cease their singing, while he “portray[s] / In humble way, / And try to lisp, if only in half truths,” something about the “wordless charms of Thee Unseen, / To whom Dame Nature owes her nature and her sheen.”
The speaker will use all of his powers of language and perception to simulate his experiences in samadhi for his readers, listeners, and devotees, who are struggling on the path to self-realization.
This devoted speaker feels that if he can reveal the nature of the bliss he experiences, he will encourage those seekers to strive with ever more zeal in order to reach those blessed shores upon which the yogi enjoys that sea of Bliss.
(Note: Readers who are interested in experiencing more poems by Paramahansa Yogananda may find this collection useful: Songs of the Soul. This collection also includes the poem, "Nature's Nature.")
God as Light
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes