'My India', A Poem by Paramahansa Yogananda
Not where the musk of happiness blows,
Not where darkness and fears never tread;
Not in the homes of perpetual smiles,
Nor in the heaven of a land of prosperity Would I be born.
If I must put on mortal garb once more.
Dread famine may prowl and tear my flesh,
Yet would I love to be again In my Hindustan.
A million thieves of disease May try to steal the body’s fleeting health;
And clouds of fate May shower scalding drops of searing sorrow–
Yet would I there, in India, Love to reappear!
Is this love of mine blind sentiment that sees not the pathways of reason?
Ah, no! I love India, for there I learned first to love God and all things beautiful.
Some teach to seize the fickle dewdrop, life, Sliding down the lotus leaf of time;
Stubborn hopes are built Around the gilded, brittle body-bubble.
But India taught me to love the soul of deathless beauty in the dewdrop and the bubble – Not their fragile frames.
Her sages taught me to find my Self,
Buried beneath the ash heaps Of incarnations of ignorance.
Though many a land of power, plenty, and science
My soul, garbed sometimes as an Oriental, Sometimes as an Occidental,
Travelled far and wide, Seeking Itself; At last, in India, to find Itself.
Though mortal fires raze all her homes and golden paddy fields,
Yet to sleep on her ashes and dream immortality,
O India, I will be there!
The guns of science and matter
have boomed on her shores
Yet she is unconquered.
Her soul is free evermore!
Her soldier saints are away,
To rout with realization’s ray
The bandits of hate, prejudice, and patriotic selfishness;
And to burn the walls of separation dark
Between children of the One, One Father.
The Western brothers by matter’s might have conquered my land;
Blow, blow aloud, her conch shells all!
India now invades with love,
To conquer their souls.
Better than Heaven or Arcadia; I love Thee, O my India!
And thy love I shall give; To every brother nation that lives.
God made the earth; Manmade confining countries and their fancy-frozen boundaries.
But with newfound boundless love, I behold the borderland of my India Expanding into the world.
Hail, mother of religions, lotus, scenic beauty, and sages!
Thy wide doors are open, Welcoming God’s true sons through all ages.
Where Ganges, woods, Himalayan caves, and men dream God – I am hallowed; my body touched that sod.