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Paramahansa Yogananda's "At the Roots of Eternity"

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

Paramahansa Yogananda

 "The Last Smile"

"The Last Smile"

Introduction and Excerpt From "At the Roots of Eternity"

In Paramahansa Yogananda's "At the Roots of Eternity," the speaker metaphorically likens the Blessed Divine Reality to a tree, whose roots are hidden sources of a blissful nectar, which affords those who capture it free-flowing Bliss.

The speaker also is dramatizing the contrast between daytime observation of the Divine Creator's creation and nighttime's state of meditation and union with the Divine Reality.

The created forms such as clouds, seas, and planets, the Divine has given to His children to serve as examples of the power, beauty, and majesty of that creation. But uniting with that Divine Reality Itself brings the consciousness to Bliss, not merely the mindful enthrallment offered by creation. The Creator remains always more alluring then His Creation.

Excerpt From "At the Roots of Eternity"

With sailing clouds and plunging breeze,
With singing leaves and youthful storms, capricious seas,
With bounding plants-balls — all these — . . .

(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.)


Creation—in the forms of clouds, seas, and planets—offers God's children all the examples of the power, beauty, and majesty of that creation; then, uniting the mind and soul with that Divine Reality Itself brings the consciousness to Bliss.

First Movement: Daytime Distractions of Beauty

The speaker begins by listing a wide-ranging group of natural occurrences that distract him by their beauty. He admits to becoming "absorbed" by these creations. In his absorption, he gives much thought to these creations. As most people love to do, he watches the clouds as they go sailing about the sky.

He takes note of the "plunging breeze." We all from time to time become enamored of the gentle wind that cools on a hot day, or as those gentle breezes delicately move flowers to dance to their rhythms.

The speaker observes that leaves seems to sing in the breeze as they gently undulate to the force of the gentle wind or as they sail from the trees in autumn and land with a soft plop on the grass. The speaker also has become absorbed in observing "youthful storms," and it is likely that he is referring to the stormy passion of youthful humanity as well as the storms of weather.

The speaker also finds himself engulfed by thoughts of the "capricious seas," and he would especially be affected by the ocean as he travels by ship over the wide waters of the earth. He is also confronted with the presence of planets, including the sun, the stars he can observe at night, the moon, and especially the mud ball of earth on which he finds himself hurtling through space.

All of these entities take up space in the mind of the speaker, and he is addressing his Divine Beloved, confessing that the Divine's creation, represented in this list of natural occurrences, do, in fact, absorb his attention, as he deeply considers their existence. In his mind, as he "wildly play[s]" with all of these creations, he briefly forgets his Divine Beloved.

The speaker has listed the many distractions created by his Beloved Creator, as he muses on the state of his consciousness. Thus as he addresses his Divine Creator, he freely admits taking his mind off of his Beloved Goal as he "wildly plays" with those entities. But then he adds, "but not alway."

Second Movement: Nighttime One-Pointed Concentration

In the second movement of his confession, the speaker sites the time of day when he closes his mind to all of those amazing, miraculous creations. "At close of day" he finds himself in one-pointed concentration on his Divine Beloved.

After having been absorbed in the beauty and majesty of the Creator's varied creations during the day, at nighttime he becomes even more absorbed in the reality of the spiritual bliss of union with his Beloved Divine Creator.

The speaker now dramatizes the Divine Reality through the metaphor of a tree; thus, the speaker then employs his "eager hands" to gather his Bliss from this tree of free-flowing, all thirst-quenching "nectar-loot." Addressing his Heavenly Creator as "O Eternity," he reports that he is tapping into the "hidden roots," whence flows this soul-satisfying liquid Bliss.

A spiritual classic

A spiritual classic

© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes

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