In 2010, my husband, Gyandev, and I visited our friend Francis at his home in Palm Springs. He was a devotee of  Paramhansa Yogananda and took us to visit Palm Canyon, a place Yogananda had visited in the late 1920s. While there, Yogananda went into a deep period of samadhi (a state of oneness with God). After he emerged from samadhi, he wrote this song:

I Give You My Soul Call

Mother, I give You my soul, soul, soul call;
You can’t remain hidden anymore.
Give my Mother a soul, soul, soul call;
She can’t remain hidden anymore.

Come out of the silent sky;
Come out of the mountain glen.
Come out of my secret soul;
Come out of my secret soul;
Come out of my cave of silence.

He beheld the Cosmic Mother everywhere, and She blessed him.
When he finished writing the song, he saw a wondrous form of Divine Mother. She appeared from out of the sky as a response to his soul call. He beheld the Cosmic Mother everywhere, and She blessed him.

We enjoyed walking in the canyon with gratitude, knowing Yogananda had experienced samadhi there and had a vision of Divine Mother.

Eight years later, when our friend Francis celebrated his 97th birthday and was ready to leave this world, we went to visit him and say goodbye.

Paramhansa Yogananda

We decided to combine our visit with a vacation and a chance to see Palm Canyon again. I was looking forward to being in the warm climate of the desert for twelve days. We stayed in a quiet, spacious house, and dedicated one room for daily meditation.

Once we were settled, we sat to meditate. To my dismay, I found my mind extremely agitated. I hoped that after a good night’s sleep, my mind would be quiet the following day.

The next morning as I sat to meditate, I felt a dark cloud enveloping me, preventing me from being able to quiet my mind. For the next nine days, every time I sat to meditate, the same thing happened. I had never experienced anything like this in meditation.

I felt that the heavy darkness I was experiencing was not normal. I decided to make a supreme effort to remain positive, not to acknowledge or talk about the darkness, and to stay very close to Yogananda.

I refused to get discouraged and every time I sat to meditate, I offered myself to God. I kept my gaze fixed at the point between the eyebrows and despite the heaviness I experienced, I held to the light and affirmed joy.

For the next nine days, despite the deep physical weakness that I also experienced at the time, and not being able to meditate, I tried my best not to identify with this condition. Each day I energized many times and drew cosmic energy into my body. I was vigilant in continually repeated the name of God or Yogananda. I visualized light around me and read passages from Autobiography of a Yogi.

It was hard to bear the experience but I remained firm in my focus on God, even though I could not feel His presence. I trusted that the darkness would vanish.

On the tenth day, we were to go hiking in Palm Canyon. That morning after energizing as I sat to meditate, I felt lighter.

For the first time since my arrival, the darkness lifted. A blanket of peace descended over me and for the next two hours, I was able to meditate deeply without any effort on my part. I felt Master’s presence within me and around me and my body was filled with renewed energy. I felt great relief. As we drove to Palm Canyon, I could sense that I was experiencing a heightened state of consciousness. Everything around me felt bright, beautiful, and expansive.

After we walked down the trail and entered Palm Canyon, I began to hear angelic voices chanting Yogananda’s song, “I Give You My Soul Call.”

The chant came from everywhere—through the walls of the canyon, the palm trees, above, below, and all around me.

At first, I did not know what was happening. I asked my husband if he could hear the song. He did not. I realized it was coming from my soul.

For the next three hours in Palm Canyon, the chant continued. I could feel the vastness of space, the beauty of nature, and the presence of Yogananda.  A great feeling of joy filled my heart. I took some photos and a short video of the canyon that you see in this article.

After a few hours of walking in the canyon, I sat down on a rock while my husband continued walking. I continued to hear the beautiful chant. Tears of gratitude streamed down my cheeks. I realized that I had passed a big test.

This experience has remained deep in my heart as a testimony to the great power and grace of the guru and to what the devotee must do when facing severe tests.

What you can do while experiencing a difficult test

  • Stay very close to the guru. Repeat the name of God or Guru all day long.
  • Keep offering yourself to God, and focus at the point between the eyebrows.
  • While in the middle of a test, avoid trying to understand why it is happening to you.
  • No matter how hard it is, keep trusting that the darkness will lift.
  • Read these lines from a dream that Yogananda had. It expresses the comfort he received from Divine Mother.
  • Listen to Swami Kriyananda sing “I Give You My Soul Call.”

Here also are a few poems from Yogananda’s Whispers from Eternity that may have a resonance for you:

 Open My Soul’s Secret Door [138]

I am crying in a wilderness of loneliness. With eyes closed, I have long knocked at doors of darkness, praying that they will open and reveal Thy light. With a million thirsty cravings of my heart, I long for Thee. Oh, wilt Thou come? 

Demand to Be Fed with the Cosmic Rays [159]

I entered my temple of silence. Seated with a straight spine, I switched off the dazzling, diverting light of energy animating my sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. I commanded my breath to cease its cleansing work in the body and make no noise. I ordered my heart to suspend its dictatorship over my myriad body cells, forcing them to eat the blood it sends them. I sat still and listened.

Then, Mother, I heard the soft approach of Thy footsteps. Thou didst come, bearing an overflowing chalice of life-sustaining, spiritual rays.

Sustain me evermore, O Divine Mother, with Thy rays of life-giving Light! The heart, cells, brains, and thoughts of this body—Thy body, not mine—will waste no longer with decay. Lo! they are now immortal with Thy everlasting life.

The lines below are from a dream that Yogananda had that express the comfort he received from Divine Mother.

Sinking in a Dream

I dreamt long and sighed at my nightmares, when the gentle touch of the omnipresent fingers of Divine Mother love awakened me.

Mother said, “In songs and dreams of my love I sent you on earth to live and dream of me. Live, dream, and feel me in all and with all, and in my songs and dreams depart from the earth-dream. You will meet everything, and everyone in my songs and dreams, whence there is no parting.” 

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28 Comments

  1. Dear Nayaswami Diksha, from reading about your spiritual journey, I understand that you are Jewish in your background?

    I am a long time Yogananda devotee and a student of Ananda for many years, who found out I was Sephardic Jewish by birth some years back. I connected with Reb Zalman’s Jewish renewal and was accepted as a “Returned Jew”. My Mother was 7 generations all female descended from a Sephardic refugee family in early Virginia.

    So, to my mind and experience mystical Judaism is entirely compatible with Master’s teachings. So that I now consider myself a Jewish Yogi. I was wondering about your thoughts on this ? I have considered writing a book that would/could act as a spiritual bridge between mystical Judaism and Yoga.

    In any case, I just read your lovely description of your experience Palm canyon and thought to see what you thought about this?

    Om Shanti, Shalom, Glenn Yosef Hill

    1. Dear Glenn,
      I am also a Sephardic Jew. I don’t see any conflict between yoga and Judaism. You can follow the teachings of Yogananda and still be a practicing Jew.
      It might help you to read an article that I wrote years ago, about my experience of embracing the yogic path and the teachings of Yogananda.
      The article is called: How a Jewish Woman Came to Embrace Jesus Christ: https://www.expandinglight.org/free/other/yogananda-jew-christ-ananda.php
      If you feel inspired to write a book that will act as a spiritual bridge between mystical Judaism and Yoga, please do. It can be very helpful.
      Blessings,
      Nayaswami Diksha

  2. Beautiful video. Thanks for sharing this awesome experience, Diksha.

  3. It was wonderful to read this, i believe everybody will go through this type of test and thank you for preparing us

  4. This describes so much of what I experience when meditating in certain places, Diksha. Thank you for reminding me to not lose faith .

  5. Diksha,

    Very powerful and riveting experience indeed!! Your words made your experience a shared experience for all of us. Thank you the guidance and wisdom.

  6. Thank you for your moving article of incredible perseverance and undaunted devotion.
    Namaste,

    Claire

  7. Thank you so much! This is so so…so beautiful! What an important thing to remember during tests!

  8. Having hiked through Palm Canyon before multiple times, I will now have such a deeper connection knowing Yogananda penned this chant here in this beautiful, serene, sacred space. Thank you Diksha for the well written piece with videos, excerpts from Whispers adding to a multidimensional experience! Loved that you included the chant too.

  9. Beautiful! I love going to Palm Springs, knowing our Guru loved it there. I always have an energizing time. Are you familiar with The Integratron? If not, please google it and read how Yogananda sent 2-3 of his monks there to help build it. One of the monks married one of the man’s daughters, and they still live near there. But the Integratron was sold to an enlightened family, and is open for ppl to experience this amazing sound bath. I was drawn to go there before I knew of Master’s connection, so I was really happy to learn of the connection.
    Thank you for sharing your experience of unrest, and its resolution . I have recently received some deep cosmic, totally energizing blessings…very powerful reassurances that I’m a gurubai.
    Hope to see you again…much love to you & Gyandev.
    Martha

    1. Dear Martha,
      Good to hear from you. Thank you for sharing the information about The Integratron.
      We hope to see you again.
      Blessings,
      Nayaswami Diksha

  10. Dikshaji,

    The way you have penned your experience is so powerful, I felt it as if, it was my experience.

    Thank you so much.

  11. Diksha,

    Wonderful experience. Uplifting! Your gift powers my day. Thank you!

  12. This blessed me so much, Diksha. Just what I needed. I’m not going through this degree of the feeling of separation from Divine Mother- just a taste. These writings will carry me forward without worry.

  13. Thank you Diksha, this was just what I needed today! So appreciate how you share with honesty, and your pointers are just the blueprint I need at this time.Master works through his channels… you are such a pure channel for his ray.,..helping to illuminate the path… With much gratitude .🙏

  14. at home recovering from a right shoulder replacement found me deeply grateful for such an inspiring and encouraging story you have shared. It was especially helpful to be reminded to trust the darkness would lift, To be soothed by masters words in whispers And his dream of comfort from Divine mother. with all that plus the music and video this is been my companion all day. Thank you so much! PS – I am using voiceMessaging so please excuse the weird typing!

    1. Dear Atmajyoti,
      It is so kind of you to write a comment, while healing your right shoulder! I am glad this article was helpful to you.
      I will pray for you and the healing of your shoulder. I have fond memories of our time together in Kerala, India and in different trainings at The Expanding Light Retreat.
      Blessings and Divine Mother Healing Light,
      Diksha

  15. Thank you Diksha about explaining how you dealt with dryness in your prayer life. By staying close to your guru, remaining positive, and being persistent you were able to break through the dryness to experience the consolation of Divine Mother.

  16. Thanks for sharing the blissful experience,
    very inspiring and uplifting.

  17. Dear Diksha,
    Thank you for an inspired and helpful blog. About how to deal with periods of darkness. And for the video and rekindling my own memories of a wonderful hike in Palm Canyon, before I knew of it’s importance to Paramhansa Yogananda!! Even then, I could feel that it was a special place of peace and joy. Now I understand why!!

  18. Thank you for choosing to share your experience with us. It’s deeply touching and love how you have made it practical for each one of us. Aum

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