Recently, before a group sadhana one morning, a friend read beautiful poem from Whispers from Eternity by Paramhansa Yogananda, edited by Swami Kriyananda. It touched me very deeply. It is amazing how answers can come to us when we are listening and ready to accept and learn.
I had been going along having great meditations, feeling very free and joyful, then subtly, certain thoughts started to creep in. “Look how good at meditating I am.” I would think, or “Look at all this joy I am feeling. I bet others don’t feel this much joy.” And then finally, “I must be getting pretty spiritual!” The emphasis in these cases was of course on “I.”
Pretty soon, as this train of thought continued, I forgot entirely where it was that the joy and stillness I was feeling was coming from. Almost like a bird forgetting that its ability to fly depends on the wind under its wing. Slowly, I started feeling the joy and freedom start slipping away, as if it were sand through my fingers. I was trying to control something that was not mine to control.
Before I really knew it was happening, I felt myself going into an inner nosedive (to return to the bird analogy). I knew something had gone wrong inside and I was groping blindly trying to get that joy back. Try as I might, I couldn’t seem to find it again.
So I was fighting this fight, trying to figure out where along the way I had misplaced that joy of mine, and all the while my ego was doing its best to claim credit for everything. Then, by the grace of God, that dear friend read this beautiful poem entitled “Demand Not to Be Enslaved by the Ego, or by Ego-Centered Passivity“:
I want to use my own will, but guide it ever, Father, toward the golden paradise of all fulfillment. For I would be infinity’s smiling child, confident of being imprisoned no longer behind bars of fruitless desire and withered hopes.
I would break the shameful cords of lethargy that have presumed to hold me, and step fearlessly into freedom. Released, I now blaze my way through forests of every limitation and delusion.
Oh, my little, vain ego may strut proudly, saying: “Behold my glory! Worship me!” But I will look through its transparent form and behold Thine unimaginable beauty clothed in the subtle form of the whole universe! The silence-tuned hearing of my soul will ignore that tiny, boasting masquerader, my little self impersonating Thee, and will listen rapturously to the wind-borne, fragrant music of Thine own matchless voice whispering across the ages: “I am He!”
As far as I can remember, I had never heard that poem before. It was immediately one of my favorites. Inwardly I thanked God for giving it to me at that moment. I remembered also that the joy and peace I was feeling come from God alone, and aren’t mine to create or control. I had been marveling at how tricky the ego can be, yet this poem reduces the ego from a formidable foe to a “tiny, boasting masquerader.” Well that’s not so hard to deal with now is it?
I would say that all of the poems in Whispers from Eternity are inspiring, but it is so wonderful when the right one catches you at the right time, telling you exactly what you need to hear. Paramhansa Yogananda said, “There are three Bibles from which I draw my inspiration: the Christian Bible, the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, and my Whispers from Eternity, which were given to me by God.” No wonder those poems speak to us so deeply!
Whispers from Eternity on crystalclarity.com