ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Poems & Poetry

Paramahansa Yogananda's "My Cosmic Mother's Face"

Updated on February 2, 2018
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

The poetry of Paramahansa Yogananda serves to enhance the activity of meditation, ultimately leading the individual soul to Divine Reality.

Divine Mother

Source

Introduction and Excerpt from Poem, "My Cosmic Mother’s Face"

Suffering the loss of his mother at age eleven, Mukunda Lal Ghosh, later known as Paramahansa Yogananda, was impelled to search for the greatest love of all mothers—that of the Divine Mother.

The speaker of Paramahansa Yogananda’s "My Cosmic Mother’s Face" from Songs of the Soul is celebrating his devotion to the Divine Mother aspect of God, or the Over-Soul.

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. . . .

(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.)

Commentary

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, and 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 Beloved 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 all ultimately reach and merge with the ocean, the speaker's dream streams have reached and merged with 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 his heart are like a "calm lake" on which glistens the face of his Beloved Mother. He senses in the "deep crystal pool" of his heart the face of his Comic Beloved 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.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Source

Life Sketch and Publications 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 (SRF), was well established with the purpose of disseminating and maintaining the purity of his teachings of yoga. He has come to be known as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”

The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Paramahansa Yogananda’s biography on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site:

In the hundred years since the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, this beloved world teacher has come to be recognized as one of the greatest emissaries to the West of India’s ancient wisdom. His life and teachings continue to be a source of light and inspiration to people of all races, cultures and creeds.

Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda's in-depth work, Autobiography of a Yogi, has become a spiritual classic worldwide. Many devotees have been drawn to the teachings of this yogi through that autobiography, and many of their stories about how they came to find that work include some of the most inspiring "miracles" of modern American culture.

Such world-renowned figures as Dennis Weaver, Steve Jobs, George Harrison, and Elvis Presley were influenced by the Autobiography of a Yogi and the teachings of the great guru. Weaver even became a lay minister and spoke often at many of the SRF temples in California.

In addition to the autobiography, the great guru has published many collections of his talks, in both written and oral forms. His audio collector's series of ten of his informal talks includes the following titles:

1. Beholding the One in All
2. Awake in the Cosmic Dream
3. Be a Smile Millionaire
4. The Great Light of God
5. To Make Heaven on Earth
6. One Life Versus Reincarnation
7. Removing All Sorrow and Suffering
8. In the Glory of the Spirit
9. Follow the Path of Christ, Krishna, and the Masters
10. Self-Realization: The Inner and the Outer Path

These inspirational talks reveal much information about the great guru that appeals to his devoted followers. Just listening to a God-realized voice offers an uplifting spiritual experience.

The Poetry of Paramahansa Yogananda

For my commentaries on the poems of the great guru, I rely on his marvelous collection titled, Songs of the Soul, the version published in 1983 with its most current printing 2014. Two additional collections of his poems are extant, Whispers From Eternity and Metaphysical Meditations.

Because the "poems" of this great guru function on levels that ordinary poems do not, they are often used in devotional services held by groups of devotees of the SRF teachings throughout the world in the Readings Services as well as their Special Commemorative Services.

Paramahansa Yogananda's poems are more akin to prayers than to the poetry of ordinary poets, whose subject matter often dramatizes only human emotion in its relationship with creation and other human beings, instead of with the Creator; the great guru's poems always invoke the Creator's presence whether directly or indirectly.

Other Publications

The great guru's organization, SRF, also continues to publish collections of his works. Many of his talks have appeared in the series of essays that include Man's Eternal Quest, The Divine Romance, and Journey to Self-realization.

Corrective Translations

The guru has also bestowed on the literary world three important translations of extant perennial works that have been grossly misunderstood in some cases for centuries. His new translations along with his explanatory commentaries are correcting that misunderstanding.

In Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam — A Spiritual Interpretation, he shows how that poet's God-realized effusions put on display a man in love with his Creator and not the wine sopped Epicurean that has been misapplied to the work.

In the guru's in-depth translation and commentaries on the ancient Bhagavad Gita, titled God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita — A New Translation and Commentary, the great spiritual leader offers not only the poetic translation of the work but also the relevance for humankind of the psychological and spiritual instruction offered in the ancient poem.

Most importantly for Western culture, Paramahansa Yogananda has offered a full explanation of the phenomenon known as the "Second Coming." Titled The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You — A revelatory commentary on the original teachings of Jesus, the work explains the true meaning of many of Jesus' words long misunderstood and mischaracterized, such as "The Kingdom of God is within you" and "I and my Father are one."

The Lessons

Of all the publications offered by SRF and the great guru, it is the Lessons that remain most vital. One could dispense with all of the other books, audio tapes, poetry, and other commentaries if one possesses those lessons.

The Lessons begin by offering physical exercises that prepare the physical encasement to sit quietly and still while performing the more advanced exercises that lead to Kriya Yoga practice.

The Lessons contains six steps that can be completed in three years, but each student is free to progress at his/her own pace. The Lessons include instruction in the following techniques: 1. Energization Exercises. 2. Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration, and 3. Aum Technique of Meditation.

After completing the first two steps, the devotee may apply for the Kriya Yoga technique.

Kriya Yoga Initiations

The Kriya Yoga technique features four initiations for a total of twenty lessons. The First Initiation, featuring lessons K1-9, includes the technique of Kriya proper, on which all of the other initiations are based. The Second Initiation contains four lessons, K10-14, and the Third and Fourth include the remaining lessons K15-20.

All of the Lessons, including the Kriya Yoga Initiations, include many explanations based of science, as well as on the life experience of Paramahansa Yogananda. These marvelous works are presented in such way to hold the student-devotees' interest with little stories, poems, affirmations, and prayers that enhance the purpose of each lesson.

Complete Works

In addition to all of the works mentioned above, Paramahansa Yogananda has published many others, including his Cosmic Chants, which offers musical notations as well as the lyric for each chant.

An annotated list of the works of the great guru is offered on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site under the title, "The Complete Works of Paramahansa Yogananda."

Awake in the Cosmic Dream

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working