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Paramahansa Yogananda's "Make Us Thyself"

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

Paramahansa Yogananda in New York City, 1926.  Photo accompanying poem, "Make Us Thyself" in "Songs of the Soul"

Paramahansa Yogananda in New York City, 1926. Photo accompanying poem, "Make Us Thyself" in "Songs of the Soul"

Introduction and Excerpt from "Make Us Thyself"

Because of his great empathy with humanity, which comes through his spiritual adeptness, Paramahansa Yogananda’s speaker in "Make Us Thyself" from Songs of the Soul first queries his Creator Father about the dream nature of the world and then demands from the Divine Belovèd that He "Make us Thyself!"

The speaker is supplicating to the Creator for elevation of the minds and hearts of His suffering children. This speaker, demonstrating great empathy with humanity, pleads with the Divine Parent to assist those suffering children. He suggests to the Father that if He is dreaming, He should allow his children to know that they are also dreaming that same dream. His hope is to soften the heart of the Invisible Creator in order to soften the difficult earthly experiences His children are continuing to endure.

The speaker is addressing the Divine Reality intimately as child would address a parent. He is claiming his status as a child of God, and through this supplication, demonstrating to all striving devotees that they are also children of the Divine Creator. He thereby is implying that all devotees should do as he is doing and pray deeply and earnestly to the Divine Spirit, for the wisdom and the ability to connect with the Soul-Perfection that leads to self-realization, the state of God-union, for which every created being yearns.

Excerpt from "Make Us Thyself"

That forced silence on my last day will be a mystery
sleep; my beautiful and nightmare dreams of
earthly being will bid farewell — for a time, at least.
On the downy bed of blissful oblivions, a short rest;
then I shall awake, on a new star, perchance, or
in a new earthly setting — another dream of another life.
Maybe I shall be deluded still, thinking I am awake
while yet I dream . . .

To read the entire poem and to see how it is properly displayed on the page, please visit "Paramahansa Yogananda: 'Make Us Thyself'."

(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 dramatizes his earthly journey as a dream, supplicating to the Blessèd Creator to lighten the burden of pain and sorrow that forgetfulness of that dream has wrought in the lives of all God’s children.

First Stanza: Entering the Mystery Sleep

The speaker states that on the day he leaves his present incarnation he will enter a "mystery sleep," and saying good-bye to the dreams and nightmares of earthly life, he will wander away, perhaps for a short time or perhaps for many eons. The speaker then will rest a while in "blissful oblivion" and then find himself born again on some distant star or perhaps return to the same earth that will be new to him. He knows that only his karma will dictate his next evolutionary stage. The speaker will perhaps think he is awake, while, in fact, he may still be dreaming again, depending on his spiritual development at the time of his passing and rebirth.

As the speaker muses on the possibilities that lie ahead for him, he is implying that all human beings are essentially in the same boat as he is: they find themselves existing on a precarious planet, having been born and destined to die, and between those events, they will wonder why they are here, why anything is here, why there is a creation, who created it, how it was created, and where it all is destined.

Second Stanza: The Nature of Reality and Dramas

Addressing the Creator-Father-Mother, the speaker demands answers to questions regarding the nature of reality and dreams. The speaker wants to know if this continuing cycle of dream-state and wake-state will end only when he awakens in the Divine. This particular speaker, however, knows the answer to this question is yes, but then he asks a more pertinent question, why. The speaker wants God to tell him why as Creator, He has "monopolized in [Him]self the only wakefulness." Furthermore, this speaker wants to know why God has hidden the secret key to this wakefulness.

The cheekiness of this speaker may sound like blasphemy, but, in fact, it denotes an intimate relationship with the Deity—one that few spiritual leaders and theological pundits have allowed themselves to feel. This speaker, instead of merely musing on God and offering half-hearted prayers, demands answers from God, and thus demonstrates that he knows he is God’s child, and he is demanding his status as a prince would demand of his father the king.

Third Stanza: Bold Inquiry

Continuing his bold inquiry, the speaker asks the Lord why He wants us to "dream this cosmos." The speaker speculates that perhaps God is also dreaming and then humankind becomes a dreamer within a dream, more specifically, "we are waking and dreaming within Thy dream." The speaker then asks if it is only when God awakes that we awake, and wonders, "Will all trees, all bodies, all bodiless souls then become Thyself?"

The speaker does not remain in the realm of generalities; he focuses in on very specific particulars, knowing that no one can receive an answer to a question that he never bothered to ask. He is demonstrating the Judeo-Christian dicta: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (KJV of the Holy Bible, Matthew 7:7-8).

Fourth Stanza: The Curious Nature of Dreams

The speaker continues to muse on the curious nature of all the dream things in this world—"minds, mountains, souls, sky, stars," and he avers that the Creator has "transformed" His dreaming mind into all these things. But the speaker reminds the Lord that while all this is merely a dream to the Dream-Creator, to His children, it is "an awesome dream-struggle and death."

Thus, the speaker is implying that the Creator should condescend to offer succor to his suffering progeny. The speaker uses his best logic to demonstrate to his Father-Mother-God that allowing his children to struggle wildly in this dream and die without understanding is not a good thing. God is all powerful; He can do anything He wishes. The speaker hopes to convince the All-Powerful Force to use His unique abilities to help suffering, deluded humankind.

Fifth Stanza: From Questions to Demands

The speaker finally asks the Creator why He does not just wake up and allow us to melt into His "fearless, blessed Being." And from that point on, the speaker continues to make demands of the Lord, no longer questioning but demanding of His Divine Belovèd that He "[u]nite our fading life with Thine imperishable Life."

Continuing, the speaker demands that the Deity, "[b]lend our flickering stale happiness into Thine enduring ever-new Blessedness." In his final demand, the speaker shows an innocent boldness, "Make us fearless, by letting us know that we are waking and dreaming in Thee." The speaker wants His Creator to show all of his faltering brothers and sisters that they are "all-protected" in the "ever-blissful Self" that is the Divine.

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Songs of the Soul - Book Cover

Songs of the Soul - Book Cover

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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