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A Spiritual Almanac: “Song of a Dream”

Feb 24, 2021

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When she was a child, Sarojini Naidu’s father wanted her to become a mathematician. But when she struggled to find the solution to an algebra problem, she wrote her first poem in the margins of her math textbook. It inspired her to write her next poem, and that one was 1300 lines long.

Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poet and social activist. After meeting Gandhi in 1916, she traveled the countryside, giving lectures on social welfare and the emancipation of women. Her efforts awakened the consciousness of the women of India and helped them take their place in Indian society.

In addition to her political and social activism, Naidu was celebrated for her poetry. Rabindranath Tagore and other well-known writers of the day counted themselves as admirers, and Gandhi himself called her the “Nightingale of India” based on the imagery and lyrical quality of her work.

For our inspiration today, we’re listening to a Naidu poem that’s full of the lyrical quality Gandhi raved about. It’s a piece titled, “Song of a Dream.”

 

SONG OF A DREAM

By Sarojini Naidu

ONCE in the dream of a night I stood
Lone in the light of a magical wood,
Soul-deep in visions that poppy-like sprang;
And spirits of Truth were the birds that sang,
And spirits of Love were the stars that glowed,
And spirits of Peace were the streams that flowed
In that magical wood in the land of sleep.

Lone in the light of that magical grove,
I felt the stars of the spirits of Love
Gather and gleam round my delicate youth,
And I heard the song of the spirits of Truth;
To quench my longing I bent me low
By the streams of the spirits of Peace that flow
In that magical wood in the land of sleep.

More nuggets for today:

On this day in 1920, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party was founded.

Hitler announced the Nazi party’s 25-point program at a festival in Munich, and it sounds eerily similar to some of the political ideologies we hear today. Historian Karl Dietrich Bracher characterized the program’s points as being phrased like slogans and lending themselves to:

“… the concise sensational dissemination of the ‘anti’ position on which the party thrived. … Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking…”

When he announced the program, Hitler declared the points unalterable and according to the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the 25-point program remained the official Nazi statement throughout its entire history, although many points were ignored in later years.

Today is also the birthday of Wilhelm Grimm in 1786.

Along with his brother, Jacob, Wilhelm created a collection of stories titled Children’s and Household Tales, better known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

The brothers had a unique relationship. They lived under the same roof their entire lives and held most of their property in common. Their arrangement continued even after Wilhelm married at the age of 39, leading one visitor to remark:

“… they both live in the same house, and in such harmony and community that one might almost imagine the children were common property.”

In an interesting sidenote, the brothers were raised Calvinist and remained religious throughout their adult lives. Wilhelm read a Greek copy of the New Testament every morning, and the surviving correspondence between the brothers contains frequent spiritual references and words of thanks to God. 

Finally, today’s word of wisdom comes to us from the American writer and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson. He said:

“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God.” 

Silence is always a good thing. I hope you have the chance to enjoy a little bit of it today.

And that’s today’s Spiritual Almanac.

 

Thanks for listening. Be kind, take good care and I’ll see you tomorrow.

“Song of a Dream” by Sarojini Naidu. Public domain.

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