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Paramahansa Yogananda's "God! God! God!"

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"

Paramahansa Yogananda - "The Last Smile"

Introduction and Excerpt from "God! God! God!"

In Paramahansa Yogananda’s poem, “God! God! God!,” the speaker is dramatizing 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.

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.

God! God! God!

From the depth of slumber,
As I ascend the spiral stairway of wakefulness,
I whisper:
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.)

Commentary

The chanting of the name of the Divine Beloved, “God! God! God!,” becomes the ever living expression that animates the speaker’s one-pointed concentration on the Divine from waking, through daily activities, to sleeping.

First Movement: As I Wake Each Morning

From the depth of slumber,
As I ascend the spiral stairway of wakefulness,
I whisper:
God! God! God!

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

Thou art the food, and when I break my fast
Of nightly separation from Thee,
I taste Thee and mentally say:
God! God! God!

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.

Alternate Version

The alternate version of this poem, titled "God! Christ! Gurus!," features the speaker giving instruction to his devotees. This format differs slightly from the version, "God! God! God!," in which the speaker narrates in first person.

God! Christ! Gurus!

From the depths of slumber,
When you ascend the spiral stairway of wakefullness,
Be sure to whisper:
God, Christ, Gurus.

God is the food, and when you break your fast
Of nightly separation from Him,
Taste Him and mentally say:
God, Christ Gurus.

No matter where you go, let the spotlight of your mind
Ever keep turning on God, and in the battle of din of activity
Let your silent war-cry be:
God, Christ, Gurus.

When boisterous storms of trials shriek
And when worries howl at you,
Drown their noises by loudly chanting:
God, Christ, Gurus.

When your mind weaves dreams
with threads of memories,
Then on that magic cloth always emboss:
God, Christ, Gurus.

From every night, in time of deepest sleep,
When your peace dreams and calls: Joy! Joy! Joy!
And your joy comes singing evermore, always inwardly chant:
God, Christ, Gurus.

In waking, eating, working, dreaming, sleeping
Serving, meditating, chanting, divinely loving,
Let your soul constantly hum, unheard by any:
God, Christ, Gurus.

Yogananda reciting "God, Christ, Gurus"

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda writing his Autobiography of a Yogi, at Self-Realization Fellowship’s Hermitage in Encinitas, California.

Paramahansa Yogananda writing his Autobiography of a Yogi, at Self-Realization Fellowship’s Hermitage in Encinitas, California.

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© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes