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Paramahansa Yogananda's "At the Fountain of Song"

Paramahansa Yogananda's poems serve to deepen yoga meditation, offering devotees new ways of grasping the spiritual nature of all creation.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Writing his Autobiography of a Yogi, at Self-Realization Fellowship’s Hermitage in Encinitas, CA

Writing his Autobiography of a Yogi, at Self-Realization Fellowship’s Hermitage in Encinitas, CA

Introduction and Text of "At the Fountain of Song"

Spoken by a yogi/devotee who practices the techniques of Kriya yoga that leads the practitioner to God-realization, or self-realization, this poem focuses on the awakening of the spinal centers that exude sound, as well as light, to the meditating devotee.

Paramahansa Yogananda’s "At the Fountain of Song" from Songs of the Soul displays in eight stanzas of varying lengths. The rime schemes enhance the meaning of each stanza’s drama.

The poem metaphorically compares the practice of yoga to searching in the earth for a wellspring. However, instead of water, this special wellspring exudes music. The word,"song," in this poem is a metaphor for the Cosmic Aum sound, heard in deep meditation.

(Please note: The spelling, "rhyme," was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson through an etymological error. For my explanation for using only the original form, please see "Rime vs Rhyme: An Unfortunate Error.")

At the Fountain of Song

Dig, dig, yet deeper dig
In the stony earth for fount of song;
Dig, dig, yet deeper dig
In soil of muse's heart along.

Some sparkle is seen.
Some bubble is heard;
'Tis then unseen—
The bubble is dead.

The watery sheen
Again doth show;
Dig, dig, still deeper e'en,
Till the bubble song again doth grow.

I hear the song,
I see its bubble-body bright, —
Yet cannot touch. Oh, how I long
To seize it now,
And drink its liquid light.
Bleed, O my Soul, do amply bleed
To dig yet deeper, — dig!

To fountain's mystic song
My soul is drawn;
In violin tones it plays
In endless lays.
Oft I thought, What strains are left to sing?
Yet newer songs it dared to brings.

I touch the holy fount, rejoice —
I drink its bubble voice.
My throat's ablaze;
I want to drink and drink always;

The sphere's aflame —
With my thirst as I came;
"Dig, dig, yet deeper dig ," I said.
"Though it seems thou canst not dig!"

I thought, with heart aglow,
All, all, I'd drunk this day;
But still, I idly looked for more — deep, deep, below.
And lo! undrunk, untouched,
There the fountain lay.

Commentary

The devotee in Paramahansa Yogananda’s "At the Fountain of Song" dramatizes his search for self-realization.

First Stanza: Command to Meditate Deeper

Dig, dig, yet deeper dig
In the stony earth for fount of song;
Dig, dig, yet deeper dig
In soil of muse's heart along.

In the first quatrain-stanza, the devotee commands himself to meditate deeper and deeper in "[t]he stony earth," with earth referring to the coccygeal chakra in the spine. Again, the speaker/devotee commands himself to continue his yoga practice, so he will move along the path quickly to liberation.

The speaker is creating a metaphor of his body as the earth, into which earth-dwellers must "dig" to procure the life giving substance of water. The spiritual seeker is digging into his soul as he meditates to find the spiritual life-giving substance of spirit.

Second Stanza: A Glimpse of the Sought After Substance

Some sparkle is seen.
Some bubble is heard;
'Tis then unseen—
The bubble is dead.

In the second stanza, also a quatrain, the devotee receives just a glimpse of the fountain; it is only a bubble that bursts quickly and then is gone. As the seeker after water would likely get glimpse of the substance as he digs, the yoga seeker may also detect a "sparkle" now and then.

Beginning yoga practitioners experience exhilaration with their routine but find it difficult to hold that experience, and then they must make a decision to continue or to give up. The work to find water must continue until a gush is found, just as the yogic seeker must continue to seek until he has experienced the union his soul seeks.

Third Stanza: Continuing Awareness

The watery sheen
Again doth show;
Dig, dig, still deeper e'en,
Till the bubble song again doth grow.

If the devotee continues to "dig," he will begin to experience awareness of the next chakra—the water, or sacral, chakra. In this quatrain, the speaker/devotee again commands himself to dig deeper to make the bubble return.

The devotee has again received just a glimpse, and he encourages himself to continue practicing so that the "bubble-song again [will] grow." As the seeker continues his meditation practice, he finds is consciousness moving up the spine, chakra by chakra.

Fourth Stanza: Seeing and Hearing

I hear the song,
I see its bubble-body bright, —
Yet cannot touch. Oh, how I long
To seize it now,
And drink its liquid light.
Bleed, O my Soul, do amply bleed
To dig yet deeper, — dig!

The devotee exclaims that he now hears the sound of the water chakra; he metaphorically "see[s] its bubble-body bright." But he cannot touch it, meaning he cannot completely grasp control of the feeling of bliss to which he has ventured very close.

Now he commands his own soul to "Bleed, O my soul, do amply bleed / To dig yet deeper—dig!" The speaker/devotee is spurring himself on to deeper meditation, so he can unite his soul fully with Spirit.

Fifth Stanza: Consuming Peace and Beauty

To fountain's mystic song
My soul is drawn;
In violin tones it plays
In endless lays.
Oft I thought, What strains are left to sing?
Yet newer songs it dared to brings.

Hearing again the "mystic song," the devotee becomes consumed with the peace and beauty of the feeling it offers. The "violin tones" continue in unending satisfaction to the devotee. The many songs make the listener feel that they will soon be exhausted, but they are not; they continue without pause.

The speaker grows ever more determined to continue his journey up the spine. Thus he continues to command himself to dig ever deeper in the spiritual realm until he can bring for that fountain in its entirety.

Sixth Stanza: Satisfying the Spiritual Thirst

I touch the holy fount, rejoice —
I drink its bubble voice.
My throat's ablaze;
I want to drink and drink always;

The devotee dramatizes his experience by metaphorically comparing it to drinking a satisfying beverage: "I drink its bubble voice." As the devotee imbibes, his throat becomes greedy for more and more of the soothing elixir. He wishes "to drink and drink always."

The speaker knows that this is the kind of beverage that he can drink endlessly with physical satiation. Only the soul can expand without boundary. Thus he can command himself to drink without ceasing.

Seventh Stanza: Moving Up to the Fire

The sphere's aflame —
With my thirst as I came;
"Dig, dig, yet deeper dig ," I said.
"Though it seems thou canst not dig!"

After experiencing the "water" chakra through the "mystic song," the devotee’s consciousness moves up the spine again to the "fire," lumbar, chakra: "The sphere’s aflame," because "[w]ith flaming thirst [he] came."

The devotee then spurs himself on again to "yet deeper dig." Even though he feels that he can practice no longer, he is determined to continue. The growing awareness inflames the devotee's desire to know more, to experience more of the deep beauty and peace of the spiritual body.

Eighth Stanza: The Object of Digging

I thought, with heart aglow,
All, all, I'd drunk this day;
But still, I idly looked for more — deep, deep, below.
And lo! undrunk, untouched,
There the fountain lay.

The devotee continues to dig deeper in his meditation, even though he surmised that he had experienced all the bliss he could find. But then the speaker/devotee pleasantly experiences the "undrunk, untouched" fountain.

Through the speaker/devotee's faithful and determined effort and practice, the object of all of his "digging" has come into view. The overflowing fountain of song inundates the devotee with its refreshing waters. He has successfully unearthed his goal and is free to bask in the bliss of its waters.

Guided Meditation

Songs of the Soul

Autobiography of a Yogi

Learn to Meditate: Part 1 - Correct Posture

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes