Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee (Isaiah 60:1).
I will give thee a crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
The Lord is on my head like a crown, and I shall not be without him.
They wove for me a crown of truth, and it caused Thy branches to bud in me.
For it is not like a withered crown which buddeth not.
But Thou livest upon my head, and Thou hast blossomed upon me. Thy fruits are full-grown and perfect; they are full of Thy salvation. Alleluia.
(Ode of Solomon 1)
The Lord is on my head like a crown.
“In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people” (Isaiah 28:5).
The halo upon the head, which we find in the depictions of holy ones in all religions, is the Glory of the Presence of God which rests upon all holy things and persons. It is the cloud of light that rested upon Mount Sinai and upon the tabernacle when God spoke with Moses, and out of which God spoke on the Mount of Transfiguration. It is the Lord himself, for Saint John tells us: “God is Light” (I John 1:5). Jesus simply called It “the Light of Life” (John 8:12).
It is often shown surrounding the entire body of a saint or angel, but usually it is only around the head. This is because the powers of enlightenment reside or are channeled through the higher psychic centers of awareness that are located in the head on the astral and causal levels, known to the yogis as the sahasrara chakra. In meditation the awareness is usually centered in the head, even if not at a specific point.
The Light of God rests upon the head of the meditator as it rested upon the Ark of the Covenant and surrounded the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. It is sometimes seen as a white light around the head of an advanced person, especially when they speak. On such occasions it usually extends only a couple of inches from the head, but I have a photograph of Saint John Maximovitch (whom I met) in which the light is radiating for more than a foot around his body as he speaks in church.
And I shall not be without him.
Separation from God is the root of all our troubles. There is nothing wrong that does not arise from that separation, and there is nothing right that is not produced by the ending of the separation. When I say separation, however, I do not mean it in a literal sense, but rather to denote the estrangement of our awareness from God. For since God is All it is impossible to be separated or even slightly distanced from him. God is perfect Unity, and that unity cannot be disrupted by any separation from him. Our separation from God is a loss of awareness of our oneness with him. It is blindness of heart, an illusion, only. When we seek God we are really seeking the consciousness of our eternal oneness with God, the One. The sense of Divine Presence will steadily grow within us, for “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). Those whose feet are settled firmly on the path and are steadily moving along it will always be aware of their unity with God, even though it will be slight in the beginning. This is why the yogi is the most cheerful and optimistic person in the world. He knows his goal and he knows the way.
They wove for me a crown of truth.
“You set a crown of pure gold upon his head” (Psalms 21:3). The Divine Light is the Truth (Reality) and is the crown upon the head of the advancing yogi. The symbol of a woven crown denotes the subtle energy channels known in Yoga as nadis. In the astral and causal counterparts of the brain the nadis are seen as a tightly-woven network of threads of light within which the psychic centers of higher awareness are set as glowing gems in a crown. In ancient India the crowns of kings were material depictions of this spiritual crown which is seen by the inner sight when the yogi’s inner bodies become awakened and empowered through meditation.
Who are “they” who wove the crown of truth? First of all, it is the Elohim, the creator-mothers who said: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The Aquarian Gospel says this about them: “When the Triune God breathed forth, lo, seven Spirits stood before the throne. These are Elohim, creative spirits of the universe. And these are they who said, Let us make man; and in their image man was made.… In early ages of the world the dwellers in the farther East said, Tao is the name of Universal Breath…. And Tao Great was One; the One became the Two; the Two became the Three, the Three evolved the Seven, which filled the universe with manifests.… And in the same old book we read of man: he has a spirit knit to Tao Great; a soul which lives within the seven Breaths of Tao Great” (Aquarian Gospel 9:19-21, 25, 27). These seven have woven for us the potential crown which is actualized by our effort and the assistance of those “helpers in the higher realms that may be importuned” (Aquarian Gospel 23:25). This is the Communion of Saints. For Christians, the first to be called upon is the Lord Jesus, for he said: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We may also call upon his (and their) mother, Mary, whom evil spirits greatly fear though she is their mother, too. The great Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael may also be called upon for help, as well as any saints we may know and feel kinship with. (It is a good and practical thing to become acquainted with the saints through reading and imitating their lives.)
And it caused Thy branches to bud in me.
Trees are used in many religious traditions to symbolize creation. In the Bhagavad Gita (15:1) there is mention of “the eternal ashwattha [fig] tree,” and in Nordic religion there was the weltatem, the World-Ash tree that formed the axis of the earth. Both are rooted in divinity, and their outermost branches and leaves are the living beings upon the earth. In yoga the tree is the symbol of the individual human being. The roots of the tree are the network of energy channels in the head, and the branches and leaves are the limbs and senses of the body. At the same time it is considered that the roots are in God, so the budding of the branches of God is a symbol of divinity manifesting through our humanity, of the human being transmuted into the divine. The appearance of the crown of truth upon our head is that which in Eastern Christianity is called theosis: deification.
For it is not like a withered crown which buddeth not.
The life of the spirit is not barren, but buds forth, making us living branches of him Who said: “I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys” (Song of Solomon 2:1). Of those who persevere, the prophet Isaiah said of their presently desert-like and desolate souls: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.” (Isaiah 35:1-2) within their own being.
But Thou livest upon my head, and Thou hast blossomed upon me.
God has always lived within and without us, but only the opened eye of the spirit beholds the blossoms of his Presence. Yogananda’s favorite song was In the Garden, for he thought of it as speaking of the entry of the meditator into the garden of his inmost heart where God walks and speaks with us.
Thy fruits are full-grown and perfect; they are full of Thy salvation.
When a person fully awakens to his divine potential, then the actualization of that potential is not far away. Through his perseverance “the fruits of the spirit” flower, bud, and come to complete fruition in him, “full of salvation,” for it is the total and perfect union of our consciousness with God’s Eternal Consciousness that is salvation. “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:9).
“There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,… and not to me only, but also to all the also that love his appearing” (II Timothy 4:8).
“Alleluia” comes at the end of all the Odes to indicate that the ode is complete. It literally means “Praise ye the Lord” and was a common ending in Hebrew spiritual songs.