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Paramahansa Yogananda's "God! God! God!"
Introduction and Excerpt from Poem, "God! God! God!"
In Paramahansa Yogananda’s poem, “God! God! God!,” the speaker dramatizes the glorious nature of his one-pointed concentration on the Divine from waking in the morning, throughout his daily activities, until his sleeping at night, during which he is still conscious of being united with his Divine Belovèd.
(Note: An alternate version of this poem is extent, titled "God! Christ! Gurus!")
The final movement of the great guru’s poem from Songs of the Soul catalogues all of the day’s endeavors, haloing them in that one-pointed concentration, which is “unheard by any” but is nevertheless a central focus in the life and mind of the devotee.
Excerpt from "God! God! God!"
From the depth of slumber,
As I ascend the spiral stairway of wakefulness,
God! God! God!
Thou art the food, and when I break my fast
Of nightly separation from Thee,
I taste Thee and mentally say:
God! God! God! . . .
(Please note: The poem in its entirety may be found in Paramahansa Yogananda's Songs of the Soul, published by Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA, 1983 and 2014 printings.)
Paramahansa Yogananda’s poem, “God! God! God!,” dramatizes the speaker’s one-pointed concentration on the Divine from waking, through daily activities, to sleeping.
First Movement: As I Wake Each Morning
The speaker determines that the first thing he will acknowledge as he wakes every morning will be his Divine Beloved; he “will whisper: / God! God! God!” The speaker compares metaphorically the process of waking up to “ascend[ing] the spiral stairway of wakefulness.”
The speaker will not declaim his Beloved’s name loudly upon awakening but will take that name with a quiet “whisper.” The speaker will begin his day with calmness, after his consciousness has risen “from the depths of slumber.”
Second Movement: Breaking My Fast
The devotee then avers that the Divine is the very food he eats at breakfast. To end his “nightly separation from [the Divine],” he will take his meal, realizing that he is tasting Divine Essence in that food that has so lovingly been provided the devotee.
And as he enjoys the food given by the Beloved, he will “mentally say: God! God! God!” Again, just a simple, quiet acknowledgment keeps his thoughts ever trained on the Lord.
Third Movement: Keeping My Mind Focused
The speaker then determines that he will keep his thought on his Divine Beloved even “in the battle din of activity.” He will engage in his daily duties of struggle but keep a “silent war-dry,” and that silent cry will be, “God! God! God!” He will keep the “spotlight of his mind” focused on the Divine.
Fourth Movement: Tossed by Life's Trials and Tribulations
The speaker acknowledges that his daily duties will at times be filled with difficulties; he metaphorically dramatizes them as “boisterous storms” that “shriek” and “worries” that like hungry wolves “howl.” But instead of allowing those tribulations to crowd his mind, he will “drown their noises, loudly chanting: / God! God! God!
Ordinarily, just a quiet whisper, mental chant, or silent war-cry will suffice to bring the calm the speaker seeks, but when “storms of trials” and “worries howl” for attention, he will have to chant aloud to bring about their retreat.
Fifth Movement: As I Sleep and Dream
In the fifth movement, the speaker retires for the night, and his mind fills with “threads of memories.” He will not allow his mind to merely “weave[ ] dreams”; he will metaphorically turn those woven dreams into a “magic cloth” on which he will imprint the name of his Divine Beloved: "God! God! God!”
Sixth Movement: In Deepest Sleep
Because the speaker has disciplined his mind, he can enjoy a “time of deepest sleep” when “[His] peace dreams and calls, Joy! Joy! Joy!,” and that joy will yield the same chant of one-pointed concentration that the devotee has practiced daily: that joy will “come[ ] singing evermore: / God! God! God!”
Seventh Movement: In All of Life's Activities
The speaker's soul essence has the ability to "constantly hum" with the mere thought or name of his Divine Creator as the speaker engages in all activities during the day or during the night in sleep. Through the discipline of yoga, his mind has been trained to focus one-pointedly on his Divine Beloved at all times.
This marvelous ability that keeps the speaker united with God provides the speaker with everything he needs on all levels of is being, physical, mental, and spiritual. And this speaker can be assured that this blissful state will never leave him, because he has worked and strived to attain this blessed union.
Life Sketch and Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda
The great guru/poet Paramahansa Yogananda was born on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India. His name at birth was Mukunda Lal Ghosh. Always a spiritually advanced child, at age 17, he met his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, under whose guidance he flourished and became the spiritual giant and sacred engine that leads souls back to their eternal abode in the arms of the Divine Creator.
Paramahansa Yogananda came to the United States in 1920 to speak in Boston at the International Congress of Religious Liberals. His speech was so well received that he quickly gathered a following. By 1925, his organization, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), was well established with the purpose of disseminating and maintaining the purity of his teachings of yoga. He has come to be known as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”
The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Paramahansa Yogananda’s biography on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site:
In the hundred years since the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, this beloved world teacher has come to be recognized as one of the greatest emissaries to the West of India’s ancient wisdom. His life and teachings continue to be a source of light and inspiration to people of all races, cultures and creeds.
Publications of Paramahansa Yogananda
Paramahansa Yogananda's in-depth work, Autobiography of a Yogi, has become a spiritual classic worldwide. Many devotees have been drawn to the teachings of this yogi through that autobiography, and many of their stories about how they came to find that work include some of the most inspiring "miracles" of modern American culture.
Such world-renowned figures as Dennis Weaver, Steve Jobs, George Harrison, and Elvis Presley were influenced by the Autobiography of a Yogi and the teachings of the great guru. Weaver even became a lay minister and spoke often at many of the SRF temples in California.
In addition to the autobiography, the great guru has published many collections of his talks, in both written and oral forms. His audio collector's series of ten of his informal talks includes the following titles:
1. Beholding the One in All
2. Awake in the Cosmic Dream
3. Be a Smile Millionaire
4. The Great Light of God
5. To Make Heaven on Earth
6. One Life Versus Reincarnation
7. Removing All Sorrow and Suffering
8. In the Glory of the Spirit
9. Follow the Path of Christ, Krishna, and the Masters
10. Self-Realization: The Inner and the Outer Path
These inspirational talks reveal much information about the great guru that appeals to his devoted followers. Just listening to a God-realized voice offers an uplifting spiritual experience.
The Poetry of Paramahansa Yogananda
For my commentaries on the poems of the great guru, I rely on his marvelous collection titled, Songs of the Soul, the version published in 1983 with its most current printing 2014. Two additional collections of his poems are extant, Whispers From Eternity and Metaphysical Meditations.
Because the "poems" of this great guru function on levels that ordinary poems do not, they are often used in devotional services held by groups of devotees of the SRF teachings throughout the world in the Readings Services as well as their Special Commemorative Services.
Paramahansa Yogananda's poems are more akin to prayers than to the poetry of ordinary poets, whose subject matter often dramatizes only human emotion in its relationship with creation and other human beings, instead of with the Creator; the great guru's poems always invoke the Creator's presence whether directly or indirectly.
The great guru's organization, SRF, also continues to publish collections of his works. Many of his talks have appeared in the series of essays that include Man's Eternal Quest, The Divine Romance, and Journey to Self-realization.
The guru has also bestowed on the literary world three important translations of extant perennial works that have been grossly misunderstood in some cases for centuries. His new translations along with his explanatory commentaries are correcting that misunderstanding.
In Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam — A Spiritual Interpretation, he shows how that poet's God-realized effusions put on display a man in love with his Creator and not the wine sopped Epicurean that has been misapplied to the work.
In the guru's in-depth translation and commentaries on the ancient Bhagavad Gita, titled God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita — A New Translation and Commentary, the great spiritual leader offers not only the poetic translation of the work but also the relevance for humankind of the psychological and spiritual instruction offered in the ancient poem.
Most importantly for Western culture, Paramahansa Yogananda has offered a full explanation of the phenomenon known as the "Second Coming." Titled The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You — A revelatory commentary on the original teachings of Jesus, the work explains the true meaning of many of Jesus' words long misunderstood and mischaracterized, such as "The Kingdom of God is within you" and "I and my Father are one."
Of all the publications offered by SRF and the great guru, it is the Lessons that remain most vital. One could dispense with all of the other books, audio tapes, poetry, and other commentaries if one possesses those lessons.
The Lessons begin by offering physical exercises that prepare the physical encasement to sit quietly and still while performing the more advanced exercises that lead to Kriya Yoga practice.
The Lessons contains six steps that can be completed in three years, but each student is free to progress at his/her own pace. The Lessons include instruction in the following techniques: 1. Energization Exercises. 2. Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration, and 3. Aum Technique of Meditation.
After completing the first two steps, the devotee may apply for the Kriya Yoga technique.
Kriya Yoga Initiations
The Kriya Yoga technique features four initiations for a total of twenty lessons. The First Initiation, featuring lessons K1-9, includes the technique of Kriya proper, on which all of the other initiations are based. The Second Initiation contains four lessons, K10-14, and the Third and Fourth include the remaining lessons K15-20.
All of the Lessons, including the Kriya Yoga Initiations, include many explanations based of science, as well as on the life experience of Paramahansa Yogananda. These marvelous works are presented in such way to hold the student-devotees' interest with little stories, poems, affirmations, and prayers that enhance the purpose of each lesson.
In addition to all of the works mentioned above, Paramahansa Yogananda has published many others, including his Cosmic Chants, which offers musical notations as well as the lyric for each chant.
An annotated list of the works of the great guru is offered on the Self-Realization Fellowship Web site under the title, "The Complete Works of Paramahansa Yogananda."
Paramahansa Yogananda Reciting His Alternate Version, "God! Christ! Gurus!
© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes