The Indian yogi, Tulsi Sahib, was born in 1763 and he lived to the age of 80. And that’s about all we know for sure about his background.
It’s believed that Sahib may have been born into the nobility. According to legend, he was forced into an arranged marriage, but on the day before the wedding he ran off and adopted the life of a sadhu or spiritual mendicant who wandered the countryside, eventually settling in the town of Hathras.
In Hathras, Sahib practiced the yoga of sound, and he attracted a large following of disciples that included both the rich and the poor. He believed the search for the kingdom of God is an inward journey, and that journey was an organizing principle of what Sahib called “Sant Mat” — a term he used to describe the essential unity of the teachings of all saints. In direct defiance of the caste system, Sant Mat also included a special concern for women, the poor and other marginalized groups.
Today’s reading showcases Sahib’s spiritual philosophy and shines a light on Sant Mat’s belief that true religion is found not in rituals, but in surrendering to God “who dwells in the heart.” It’s a poem titled, “Glimpse of the Invisible.”
GLIMPSE OF THE INVISIBLE
By Tulsi Sahib
Lightning flashed in my eye, O friend,
And brightly did shine the light of the moon.
I got a glimpse of the Invisible within,
And thirst and longing for the Lord were aroused.
My ears received the boon of Unstruck Music,
And Knowledge came like the explosion of light, O Friend.
Dark clouds began to scatter and the sight
Of the Divine Mansion was revealed unto me.
Beyond the sun, the moon and the tunnel,
Tulsi beheld the abode of the Lord Almighty.
FOR ADDITIONAL READING: See The Yoga of Sound by Russill Paul.
Some more inspirational nuggets for today:
- Today is the anniversary of the infamous Harwick mine disaster in 1904. It happened in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. At 8:15 a.m., a build-up of methane gas ignited, killing 179 miners and 2 aid workers. The nearby First Hungarian Reformed Church of Homestead lost 58 members in the blast, a third of the congregation. The only survivor was a 16-year-old German immigrant named Adolph Gunia. Years later, Gunia’s granddaughter said, “The weather was cold that day. You think about … how hard people worked then. They came to this country and took hard jobs to make a better life. And people are still coming to this country for the same reasons.”
- On this day in 1944, Florence Li Tim-Oi became the first ordained female priest in the Anglican communion. Born in Hong Kong, Li received her education from Canton Union Theological College. When the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and China restricted priests from traveling to Macau, Anglican Bishop Ronald Hall gave her permission to administer the sacraments by ordaining her a priest. While Li never surrendered her priestly orders, she sadly resigned her ministerial license at the end of the war to avoid controversy. It would take another 30 years for the Anglican church to adopt the ordination of women as a standard practice.
- And on this day in 1921, the word “robot” entered the English language. It was introduced at the premier of a Czechoslovakian play titled Rossum’s Universal Robots or “R.U.R.” The plot involved a factory that manufactured artificial people called “robots” using synthetic organic matter. Fast-forward to today and we find a robot named Mindar serving as the priest at a 400-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. With a price tag of $1 million, the robot priest delivers sermons and interacts with worshippers. Although Mindar currently recites the same sermon over and over, its creators plan to introduce artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities so Mindar can customize prayers and services to worshippers’ unique spiritual needs. “This robot will never die; it will just keep updating itself and evolving,” said Tensho Goto, the temple steward. “With AI, we hope it will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles. It’s changing Buddhism.”
I’m all for technology, but call me a skeptic on that one. Anyway, that’s today’s Spiritual Almanac.
Be kind, take good care and we’ll see you soon.