by Paramhansa Yogananda
Whispers from Eternity
third edition, 1935
(Please read carefully)
Spiritualizing a Prayer or a Demand
Just as a wet match, when struck, does not produce fire, so is a mind saturated with restlessness unable to produce the fire of concentration, even when super-efforts are made to strike the Cosmic Spark.
The flame of inspiration is hidden within the lines of the prayers and demands in this book; but since they are saturated with the waters of diverting printer’s ink, paper, and intellectual meanings, one has to do away with these distractions in order to bring forth the flame of wisdom from within them. Different minds reading the same prayer will interpret it differently, and feel it differently. The vast ocean of truth can be measured only according to the capacity of one’s own cup of intelligence and perception. So will the inspiration behind the prayers and demands be felt according to the depths of one’s intuition and feeling.
In order to feel all the God-warmth within any of these prayers or demands, one should take only one paragraph at a time from any demand, mentally picture the meaning, visualize the imagery of the figure of speech, and meditate deeply on it, until the fiery meaning emanates, free from word limitations.
A word is like a drunken, dumb man, who feels what kind of liquor is in him but who is seldom able to clearly express himself about it. He may, by merely a cry or a little gesture, indicate the kind of wine he drank. So are the words in these demands drunk with God, but they would never be able fully to express and explain the quality of the wine of inspiration within them, except by way of a little gesture and a mumbled cry of suggestion.
One may wish to read a complete prayer or demand, and get a bird’s-eye view of its entire meaning. But if he will read it over and over again, many times, and then, with closed eyes, repeatedly try mentally to feel the inspiration behind and within it, he will thus spiritualize it—that is, rouse the inspiration slumbering behind the thick, silken quilt of words.
Prayers and demands are like plants which daily grow new blossoms: the flowers change, but the plants remain the same. So, a prayer-plant may have the same branches and leaves of words, but every day will yield new roses of God-feeling and inspiration, if one regularly waters the plant with meditation. The prayer-plant should be protected from the storms of doubt, distraction, mental idleness, leaving meditation until tomorrow (the-morrow-that-never-comes), absent-mindedness, and thinking of something else while imagining the mind is wholly on the Soul of a prayer.
These parasites on the prayer-plants should be destroyed by the germicides of selfcontrol, determination, and loyalty to a teaching. Thus, daily may be reaped the glowing, immortal roses of inspiration from the plants of these prayer-demands.
Be still, and let God answer through you: Learn to know Him by knowing yourself; visualize Him as formless but with form, silent but with voice as well. For example, when God is described as a visible Cosmic Idol, worshipped with drum-beats of ocean-roar, one should actually try mentally to visualize the entire concept behind the Cosmic Idol. And when the Almighty is spoken of as the Divine Mother, one should feel the same devotion to God, the Universal Mother, as a loving child feels toward its mother.
O! seeker after Soulawakening! Every day, dry the form-wet match-sticks of words in a demand with the heat of concentration; and then repeatedly scratch them on the surface of your mind, and at last you will see the Divine Flames leap from behind the marble-hardness of the words.