Paramahansa Yogananda's poems serve to deepen yoga meditation, offering devotees new ways of grasping the spiritual nature of all creation.
Introduction and Excerpt from "I Was Made for Thee"
The speaker of the poem, "I Was Made for Thee," from Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul declares the spiritual truth as he addresses the Divine Belovèd: "I was made for Thee alone."
From that awareness, this devotee/speaker then demonstrates what it is like to be aware that his existence was actually called into being for the purpose of understanding that very fact. If then the speaker knows he was made for the Divine, how does that fact affect his behavior? Because he has been created only for the Divine, what will he do? How will he spend his time? These profound questions must necessarily require equally profound answers that can be elucidated only by a God-realized saint or guru.
Excerpt from "I Was Made for Thee"
I was made for Thee alone. I was made for dropping flowers of devotion gently at Thy feet on the altar of the morning.
My hands were made to serve Thee willingly; to remain folded in adoration, waiting for Thy coming; and when Thou comest, to bathe Thy feet with my tears.
My voice was made to sing Thy glory . . .
(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.)
Paramahansa Yogananda's poem portrays the attitude of the spiritual aspirant who understands the spiritual goal of realizing the divine nature within each human being.
First Movement: A Sole Cosmic Purpose
In the first stanza, the speaker announces that because he was made for Spirit alone, he will meditate deeply offering his attention and love to Spirit, and he will do this every morning.
The speaker says, "on the altar / of the morning," indicating that he considers morning his temple. In addition to signaling time, "morning" represents a holy place that calls the devotee to begin his day drenched in the devotion and awareness of Divinity.
Second Movement: The Purpose of Each Physical Attribute
The second movement begins a catalogue or list of the speaker's physical attributes and declares the purpose for their creation: "My hands were made to serve Thee willingly; to / remain folded in adoration, waiting for Thy coming; and when Thou comest, to bathe Thy / feet with my tears."
When the speaker begins his daily work, because he realizes that his hands were made for working for the Divine, he will do his work "willingly." That willing attitude guarantees that the work will be done well, not just to get by and get finished so he can move on to other things. The speaker will actually work to accomplish his tasks with the integrity and the honesty that produce the best outcome for himself, his family, his neighbors, and his belovèd Lord.
And after the speaker accomplishes his work duties, he will return to the peace of meditation with hands "folded in adoration." Because the speaker is doing everything possible to remain in contact with the Divine, he stays alert and energized, ready to work again when the time is again right for work.
Third Movement: Singing in Divine Adoration
The speaker then declares, "My voice was made to sing Thy glory." Because the speaker believes that his voice was made to sing the glory of Divinity, then that understanding guarantees that he will speak only truth. And the speaker will sing and chant his love and adoration for his Belovèd Creator.
Fourth Movement: Seeking the Divine Everywhere
Because his feet are made to seek temples, the speaker will go only to wholesome places. The devoted speaker will seek out places where devotees have worshiped and continue to worship the Divine Belovèd.
Fifth Movement: Searching Out Only Beauty
About his eyes, the speaker claims: "My eyes were made a chalice to hold Thy burning / love and the wisdom falling from Thy nature's / hands." Because the speaker has perceived intuitively that his eyes were made for the glory of the Divine, he will observe only the useful things from Nature, "wisdom falling from Thy nature's hands."
Sixth Movement: Listening for the Divine Footsteps
About his ears, the speaker declares: "My ears were made to catch the music of Thy / footsteps echoing through the halls of space, and / to hear Thy divine melodies flowing through all / heart-tracts of devotion."
His ears will listen for the Divine's "footsteps echoing through the halls of space," and he will listen to "divine melodies," and hearing these messages from that Sacred source will keep him balanced and in harmony with his inner and outer being.
Seventh Movement: Living to Praise
About his lips, the speaker asserts: "My lips were made to breathe forth Thy praises and / Thine intoxicating inspirations." The speaker's lips will speak to praise the Great Spirit and tell others about the "intoxicating inspirations" he receives from the Divine.
This speaker will not bother with idle chatter that distracts from divine perception but will ever send forth inspirational words that uplift and point the way for others who are seeking the divine path of Self-Realization.
NOTE: Shift from the Concrete to the Abstract
While the opening seven movements focused on the physical level of each human being, the final three movements focus on the abstract realities of love, heart, and soul.
Eighth Movement: The Purpose of Love
The speaker's love was created to search for love of the Divine "hidden in the forest of my desires."
Desires that spring from the physical and mental, i.e. sense-awareness, are like a forest in which one can get lost, but knowing the true purpose for his love makes this speaker aware that his love is like an "incandescent / searchlight."
Ninth Movement: Communing Through the Heart
The speaker's heart beats not primarily to pump blood to keep him living, as the secular world's limited knowledge contends, but that heart was created to open its door to Divinity in conversation and communion.
This speaker understands that the spiritual plane of being is the only true reality; thus all human physicality and sense-awareness stem from the soul—not the other way around.
Tenth Movement: In Concert with True Nature
The speaker's soul was created to function as a messenger, to let other souls know their true purpose, so they too can live an exalted, dare one say, double life, or more accurately, a complete life.
According to this speaker's world view, if human beings understand their true nature, it stands to reason, that they will act in concert with that true nature.
If the human being's true nature is a spark of the Divine Flame, and the only purpose of living the life of a human is to become aware of that nature, it also stands to reason that each person will behave in concert with that reality: more devoutly, more divinely, even as they eat, sleep, work, breed, and die on the physical plane.
"Behold, the Kingdom of God Is Within You"
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes
Linda Sue Grimes (author) from U.S.A. on September 07, 2017:
You're welcome, Glenis! And thanks for the kind words. Yes, this great guru/poet has penned some outstanding, inspiring poems that melt the heart, uplift the mind, and rouse the soul.
Have a beautiful, blessed day!
Glen Rix from UK on August 27, 2017:
Thanks for introducing me to this beautiful lyrical poem. It's breathtaking.