Paramahansa Yogananda's "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven"
Introduction and Excerpt from "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven"
In Paramahansa Yogananda’s essential book of spiritual poems, titled Songs of the Soul, the great Guru includes the poem, "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven," which is a tribute to the generosity of his devotee, Rajarsi Janakananda.
Known in the business world as James J. Lynn, this devoted disciple of the great spiritual leader Paramahansa Yogananda was later referred to by his spiritual name, Rajarsi Janakananda, which Paramahansa Yogananda bestowed upon him, celebrating the former businessman's great yogic achievement.
The poem, "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven," features three versagraphs (verse paragraphs) of the beautiful styling that Guruji enshrines in all of his poetry and prose.
Excerpt from "Yogoda Dream Hermitage – A Dream Dropped from Heaven"
A vision of yore —of incarnations before —
Of a dream-bud retreat
Grew in the garden of my soul.
For ages 'twas caressed,
By sun-warm breeze of His blessings blessed,
Until in this life,
Away from all strife,
Beyond noises' reach,
On Encinitas' mountain-beach
That dream-bud blossomed true.
A dream of silent rest
Dropped down from Heaven's breast,
Through magic tough of one, most blessed of mine!
Beloved Saint Lynn* divine. . . .
(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.)
*Mr. James J. Lynn. An exalted disciple of Paramahansaji, he later received from his guru the monastic title and name, Rajarsi Janakananda.
Paramahansa Yogananda at SRF Hermitage Encinitas
The beautiful expanse of land along the Pacific coast in Encinitas, California, known as the Self-Realization Fellowship Hermitage and Meditation Gardens was bestowed upon the great guru by his advanced, beloved yogic disciple, Mr. James J. Lynn.
First Versagraph: A Gift from a Grateful Disciple
In the opening versagraph, the great guru begins his tribute to the special meditation gardens and ashram that he received from his disciple, Mr. James J. Lynn (later given the monastic name Rajarsi Janakananda). The speaker/great guru states that having been given the vision of his future hermitage was like having that beautiful place "gr[o]w in the garden of [his] soul."
The speaker then describes the beauty of the setting located in Encinitas, California, on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The speaker also lets his listener understand that along with the majesty of the location, the true importance rests in the solitude the place would afford the guru, the monks and nuns who would live there, and then all the devotees who would visit and be inspired by the great guru’s living presence.
This great spiritual leader’s "dream-bud blossomed true," and after having seen that ashram in his dreams and meditation-induced visions, he finally realized that dream, when his "Beloved Saint Lynn divine" presented the great guru with the gift of the hermitage. (Paramahansa Yogananda also lovingly referred to his advanced yoga disciple as "Saint Lynn.")
Second Versagraph: Blueprint from the Ether
The great guru/poet avers that the blueprint for the marvelous hermitage and meditation gardens had existed in the ether throughout eternity, and then "it came wafting — enchanting, entrancing — / Down the arches of the ancient years." After Paramahansa Yogananda came to America from India, he had searched in other locations for the building and grounds that would match his vision.
The great guru searched "the golden California coast" "everywhere" looking for his dream in reality, until finally through the grace of "Divine Mother’s whispered call" and the generosity of his devoted disciple, he had to search no more. Then the bounty the guru received was indeed spectacular: "With decks of rocks and caves, and many a lacy tree — Jutting out to sea, / Anchored forever / By sands of silver."
Third Versagraph: A Place to Work
Just as Paramahansa Yogananda had searched for the Divine Mother Herself, he searched for the promise of the ashram, where he could continue his work to assist others in their spiritual search. After exploring the possibilities of the California coast, the guru looked further around the area of Lake Elsinore, which is north and inland from the Encinitas location that finally became the realization of his vision.
After the great spiritual leader finally was led to the Encinitas location, he realized that this was the spot he had visualized many times, even though the actual building had not yet been constructed. Then while his guru was away on his historic journey through Europe and back to India, his devotee Rajarsi Janakananda, the former Mr. Lynn, acquired the property where the guru and a group of his disciples had enjoyed meditation outings.
With the construction of the hermitage, the guru recognized the building as the one he had seen many times in his meditations. The experience of receiving this important location, which assisted with his spiritual work, became yet another example of the glorious giving that "Dame Divinity" provided for the guru and his work.
In his meditations, the great spiritual leader experienced "bless-showers raining" from the Mother Divine "by enrapturing Encinitas’ elysian shore." Today, the spiritually drenched site continues to summon the Elysian Fields for those who visit, whether they be Paramahansa Yogananda’s devotees or not.
SRF Encinitas Hermitage and Meditation Gardens - Lotus Tower
Life 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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
Brief Publishing History of Songs of the Soul
The first published version of Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul appeared in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, the great spiritual leader revised many of the poems. The final revisions of the poems authorized by the great guru appear in the 1983 printing of the text, which along with the revisions restored many lines that had been omitted from the original version.
I use the 1983 printing for my commentaries. The current printing year is 2014. No further revisions or additions have been made since the 1983 printing. The 1923 versions of the many of the poems may be read at Full Text of Songs of the Soul.
SRF Encinitas Hermitage by the Pacific August 2015
Paramahansa Yogananda: To Make Heaven on Earth
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes