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Paramahansa Yogananda's "Flower Offering"

Paramahansa Yogananda's poems serve to deepen yoga meditation, offering devotees new ways of grasping the spiritual nature of all creation.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Introduction and Excerptfrom "Flower Offering"

In Paramahansa Yogananda's "Flower Offering" from Songs of the Soul, the humble speaker is offering his worshipful thoughts that he calls flowers to his Divine Creator.

This speaker is a devoted worshipper who is demonstrating his understanding that he is eternally united with he Belovèd Creator, despite his level of attainment at any stage of his worship. This speaker reveals the expansive nature of the Divine Creator by metaphorically comparing the Divine Reality to the expanding lotus flower as it opens.

Excerpt from "Flower Offering"

A goblet of my folly-blood
Is humbly set beneath Thy petaled feet,
O, Lotus Sweet!
I've stood with brimming cup of tears,
Seeking Thine angry thirst to quench. . . .

(Please note: This poem appears in Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul, published by Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA, 1983 and 2014 printings.)

Commentary

The speaker of "Flower Offering," from Paramahansa Yogananda’s Songs of the Soul, demonstrates the power of making a humble offering at the feet of the Divine Creator.

First Movement: Worshipful Devotion

The speaker is a devotee (chela) offering worshipful devotion to his Divine Creator. The humble speaker offers himself humbly at the feet of the Divine, referring to himself as "a goblet of my folly-blood." To the devout chela, worshiping at the feet of the Divine is a privilege and a comfort. While stationed "beneath [Those] petaled feet," the devotee calls his Lord "Lotus Sweet."

The lotus flower symbolizes grandeur rising from humility. The Great Creator as a lotus creates in his offspring the same qualities. The devotee assumes the humble qualities, however, without acknowledging that such qualities herald a grand stature. The child and Child-Creator are one. Thus in the reality of this metaphor the worshiper and the Worshiped are both divine flowers.

Second Movement: The Metaphor of Cup and Flower

The speaker reveals that he has come to the Divine with his eyes filled with "tears," continuing the metaphor of cup and flower. The "cup of tears" from the goblet body of the devotee is a sincere offering to the Divine. The speaker tells his Divine Beloved that with his tears he has sought to slake the "angry thirst" of the Divine.

God is a jealous God, who hungers and thirsts for his children to love Him. The Creator Divine does not command them to love; He only nudges them, tempts them, lures them with thus and sundry methods. Even when bad things happen in the child’s life, the Divine is behind it, prodding and praying that the child will turn to his or her only real hope, his or her Divine Source.

Third Movement: Worshipful Offerings

The speaker then catalogues the offerings that he has brought to the Divine to accompany his worship: He has brought many colored flowers with many fragrances. The chela/devotee has brought deep devotion from his "heart of hearts." He has brought his constant longing and ever evolving worship to lay at the feet of the Divine.

All of these offerings are consecrated by the speaker/devotee’s ever burning desire to please, to make peace with, and unite with his Divine Beloved Creator. The goal of the devotee's "heart of hearts" has ever been that unity.

Fourth Movement: A Silent Song in the Heart

The speaker then avers that within him, deep within that "heart of hearts," he carries a "silent song." That song gathers all the other offerings into itself to form the bouquet of beauty, devotion, and love that the speaker cultivates for the Divine.

The song is silent to all but the Divine. The Divine Creator of all vibration can hear that song that broadcasts from the true devotee’s heart. The speaker brings that song to the Divine to humbly worship at the Lotus Feet.

Fifth Movement: Continuing to Send Out His Silent Song

At first, it may seem that the Divine Beloved does not respond to the devotee’s worship. His sincere heart song seems to go unnoticed. But the true devotee does not give up. The sincere worshiper goes on broadcasting that "silent song," knowing that the Divine Ear hears it, knowing through faith, that the Divine will answer back with a special song in due time.

The speaker does not know when the Divine will answer—just that in His own good time, He will. Thus, the speaker vows to go on crying and praying to his Beloved. Even if the speaker has to leave off sleep, as a true devotee, he will continue to bring his flowers of love and "lay [them] there," at the feet of the Divine Beloved.

Alternate Closing Movement: Simply Wishing to Worship

Paramahansa Yogananda offered an alternate closing movement to this poem. It essentially restates the sentiment of the final movement in, perhaps, clearer terms. The speaker avers that he is not asking the Divine for anything; he simply wishes to worship.

The humble speaker will simply and quietly offer his silent song filled with the beauty of devotion and the fragrance of flowers to the Divine. The speaker will continue on with his worship, expecting nothing in return, for he knows that the Divine has already endowed him with everything he will ever need.

A spiritual classic

A spiritual classic

Beholding the One in All

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes

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