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Paramahansa Yogananda's "Listen to My Soul Song"

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 Excerpt from "Listen to My Soul Song

Paramahansa Yogananda composed a short chant based on the penultimate stanza of this poem and titled it, "Come, Listen to my Soul Song." He also features in his Cosmic Chants a chant titled "At Thy Feet," which also employs the line "Listen to my soul song." The poem,"Listen to my Soul Song," demonstrates that the theme of this piece works beautifully as three poetic forms—song, chant, and prayer.

Excerpt from "Listen to My Soul Song"

Come! Listen to my soul‐song!

The darkness burst,
And Thy descending shafts of light
Pierced the clouds of gloom
To listen to my soul song. . . .

(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

In Paramahansa Yogananda’s "Listen to My Soul Song," the great yogi offers a perfect blend of three poetry forms: song, chant, and prayer.

First Stanza: Invocation to the Divine Singer

Uniquely, the first stanza is a single line that evokes the presence of the Divine, inviting, nay commanding, that the Great One attend to the singing soul of the devotee, who is pouring out his body, mind, and soul to his Creator.

Second Stanza: Celebrating the Presence

The devotee now begins to elucidate the presence of his Belovèd Creator, reporting and celebrating that presence that he has invoked.

Metaphorically, the chanting devotee likens the approach of the Divine to "shafts of light" that "pierced the heart of gloom." And thus, the devotee is mindful of the Divine’s attendance.

The refrain that maintains the quality of the chant is repeated in the final line of each stanza: the Lord appears to the devotee, "To listen to my soul song."

Third Stanza: Chanting Through Intuition

The devotee reveals that even though the Blessèd Lord remains "hidden" "behind the screen of my eye," the chanting celebrant intuits that the Divine is right there, "To listen to my soul song."

Fourth Stanza: Emotional Commands

The devotee in a dramatic outburst of emotion commands his Divine Belovèd to rend all means of separation, "the veils," the blue sky, "all lights," to come to him.

The chanting worshiper demands with his chant that his Creator "come to me as Thou art," in order "To listen to my soul song."

Fifth Stanza: Demanding Divine Presence

The devotee continues his emotional outburst of commands, demanding the Divine break through all barriers, even the devotee’s senses, mind, heart, feelings, silence, and soul.

The chanter wants nothing to present itself as separation from his Beloved, whom he commands again and again, "To listen to my soul song."

Sixth Stanza: The Lord's Omnipresence

In the sixth stanza, the devotee sweetly reminds the Lord of the many little notices he takes of the Divine presence in the physical world: he feels Him in the breeze, he senses the love of the Divine in the warmth of the sun, he sees the Lord’s face in "colorful scenery."

And this devotees sees God dancing "in the waves." He knows that God is dancing over his own thoughts as the Blessèd One eternally continues, "To listen to my soul song."

Seventh Stanza: The Command to Listen

The emotional effusion overtakes the devotee again and repeats his earlier demands—again portraying the fusion of poetry, chant, and prayer—to "burst the heart, burst the sky, burst the soul! / Come listen to my soul song!"

And again, the devotee dramatizes God’s presence "Hovering over the clouds, / Lingering over the lea." He realizes that the Divine has come to him, "To listen to my soul song."

Eighth Stanza: The Paradox of the Visible and Invisible

Paradoxically, the hidden God is both visible and invisible, "[b]eneath the gloaming / Of dim devotion of eyes unseeing."

Yet, despite the physical senses’ reportage or lack thereof, the Lord is ever with the devotee, "To listen to my soul song."

A spiritual classic

A spiritual classic

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes