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Paramahansa Yogananda's "The Ever New"

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

Paramahansa Yogananda - writing at his Encinitas hermitage

Paramahansa Yogananda - writing at his Encinitas hermitage

Introduction and Excerpt from "The Ever New"

This speaker of "The Ever New" from Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul claims that everyday, every moment can be filled with many new, fascinating experiences. Humanity has come to expect pretty much the same old grind, but each individual continues to grind away because duties and responsibilities dictate that work must be done. But the speaker in this poem has the audacity to proclaim that something new is always in the offing—a fact that anyone can intuitively discern.

Excerpt from "The Ever New"

Newer joys adorn the day;
Brighter burn, through livelong night,
The stars with purer light;
Wiser thoughts do brace my voice,
Unused words await my choice —
With heart of the new I'll sing my lay . . .

(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

With new experiences always confronting each human mind and heart, the idea of the "ever new" may become a truism, until one realizes that one always has the choice to embrace either a positive or negative attitude toward each experience.

First Movement: A Startling Claim

The speaker begins by claiming that "[n]ewer joys" will be part of that day. The stars that lit the night during which humanity slept will "brighter burn." Those stars will burn with "purer light." People will speak and their voices will emit "wiser thoughts." They will say things they never thought they could utter. Their song will be resplendent "with heart of the new."

Humanity is already in the process of doing all this—partially to some extent. No day is exactly the same as the one before or after. Even as it seems to be so in that certain tasks must be repeated day after day. The idea of always having to face some new experience of event should actually frighten the mind that realizes the efficacy of habit and repetition. Still humanity does continue to desire variety and newness.

Second Movement: Racing Thoughts

Thoughts race through the human brain at all times, even in sleep, at which time they are sifted through the subconsciousness. Unfortunately, much of humanity does not realize that those thoughts are racing to their Origin. Even a thought of lust and murder posts guidelines that lead to the Divine Creator. Lust and murder result in such utter misery that the only way out of them is to return to the Creator with whatever method one happens to comprehend.

What makes human beings understand that their inborn depravities keep them from uniting with and even understanding that they are depraved? Their own experience. As the Divine Voice in Autobiography of a Yogi averred: "Pain a prod to remembrance." After one has experienced a certain level of intolerable pain, one will automatically seek relief from that pain.

Religions are given and inspired by the Creator to lead suffering humanity out of its painful situations. However, the fact that there are five major religions and hundreds of subbranches makes one wonder why are there so many religions and not just one, since the purpose of each religion is the same: to yoke each soul back to the Over-Soul.

Many religions exist for the same reason that many languages exist—there are approximately 6,500 languages in the world. And the purpose of all languages is same: to communicate. Many religions and many languages exist simply because the planet is very large and populated with many different peoples, and humanity is so varied that it would be myopic to expect this varied bunch of humans to come up with one major religion—just as myopic to expect one language, which no one ever does. Yet many will dismiss religion because there are five major ones with varying misunderstandings representing the only acquaintance they have with religion.

Third Movement: No Two Things Alike

Each day is different. All human beings "chant their songs"—each different because no two thoughts are the same. No two things in the entire creation are the same. The human mind categorizes, compares/contrasts the things but ultimately learns that nothing repeats itself in Creation.

The guilty human beings who repeat criminal, perverse actions think otherwise, but they are only justifying their own perversions. Justifying perversions is not the purpose of the ability to think; that ability should direct each human being to lose those perversions. Unfortunately, so many are not even aware that they are continuing and sanctioning perversions. Thus the drama plays on! Yet, the newness of the Great One spirits on! Humanity eventually learns to seek its Sacred path.

Fourth Movement: Drunk with Joy

Humans love to begin new friendships. The speaker metaphorically refers to such, calling it the "bubbling joy / Of a little boy." And then he likens such friendship to an intoxicating beverage. But the Divine "steal[s]" such intoxication and will fill them with his own "ageless cup of heart."

Drunk with desire for unity, the human tries many human hearts until s/he finds that no such heart exists. Only the Divine Heart is capable of assuaging the misery that each human mind and heart is born to experience.

Fifth Movement: Songs Are Myriad

Notice that the speaker has mentioned again and again "his lay"—or song. Songs are myriad in their subject matter. Songs focus on heartbreak, hate, love, passion, death, rain, sunshine, ghosts, flowers, noise, animals, people, children, etc: anything the human mind has focused on can be found in a "song." But this lay features a focus that remains spiritual, as it focuses only on the divine: "The voices same do choir their praise / In temple, church, and fane." Even in such spiritually, religiously devoted "lays," one might encounter sadness.

Thus, the speaker vows, "My fountain springs afresh today— / With tears ne’er shed before will flow my lay." His song will transcend all the sadness that permeates other songs. The day is new; his song will be new. New year’s resolutions are meant to change such situations. The year will be new; each human heart and mind will be new. Each individual will focus on what makes him/her different and better than the year before.

Sixth Movement: Embracing Differences

However, all individual human beings will remain in the same body that they were in the day before, but their behavior, their activities will be different, if they decide to make them different. If they decide that they will take a different path.

They will make the conscious choice not to continue engaging in bad habits, such as smoking cigarettes, eating junk food, castigating others for not believing as they believe. They will make the decision to embrace differences; perhaps they will embrace the old adage of agreeing to disagree, or to disagree but not to be disagreeable.

Seventh Movement: New Day, New Opportunity

The last movement of this marvelously instructive poem features a call to see each new day as an opportunity to do only what should be done to live a fresh better life: "The bell will ring a new Sunday." Each devotee will be "bathèd in Thy beaming ray." And each devotee will thus, "with newer thoughts," sing a different song, a better song, a beautiful song that leads to Divine Love.

Paramahansa Yogananda: Awake in the Cosmic Dream

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes

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