Sound Celestial

by Tulsi Sahib

English version by S. L. Sondhi


Listen, O friend, to the thunderous roar of Shabd,
Which reverberates throughout the firmament.
Water, which becomes turbid by relishing the earth,
Gets cleansed of its impurities when filtered.
Waves of pure bliss emanate from the heart
When the moss that covers it is removed.

Hold the arrow, be still, stretch the bow taut,
Fix your aim sharp at the target, pierce the firmament.
The invisible world is contained within the human eye,
So say and describe all men of inner knowledge.
Behold the Brahmand within, through your astral eye.
When that eye is opened, everything stands revealed.

The soul in Sunn will hear resounding peals of Sound,
She will uncover and know the essence of Shabd.

They alone, O Tulsi, will know that perfect state,
Who have seen and experienced it themselves.

-- from Tulsi Sahib: Saint of Hathras, Translated by S. L. Sondhi

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Listen, O friend, to the thunderous roar of Shabd,
Which reverberates throughout the firmament.


Shabd is the sound heard in the inner ear or emanating from the base of the skull in deep meditation. Perhaps it is more accurate to say it is first heard within the skull. With deeper meditation, this sound is found to ring throughout all things as the fundamental vibration underlying all of manifest existence.

Water, which becomes turbid by relishing the earth,
Gets cleansed of its impurities when filtered.


Many mystics compare this sound with the sound of a waterfall, and as the awareness bathes in this sound it becomes purified, "cleansed." But that idea of this heavenly water making noise because it "relishes" its meeting with the earth, I particularly like that.

Waves of pure bliss emanate from the heart
When the moss that covers it is removed.


The heart is like a moss-covered stone at the foot of the waterfall (which descends from the skull). The more we allow the sounding waters to flow, that encrustation on the heart is cleared away. We may just be shocked to discover what we thought was granite beneath is a actually a great jewel, alight and emanating pure bliss.

The heart's joy is always there, we just need to clear away the moss. Tulsi Sahib here tells us the yogic way to do this with meditation on the sacred sound.

Hold the arrow, be still, stretch the bow taut,
Fix your aim sharp at the target, pierce the firmament.


The image of bow and arrow is an important metaphor in Indian metaphysics. The bow is the spine held strait, taut, and slightly bowed in just below the chest. The arrow is the Kundalini Shakti at the base of the spine. This spiritual energy, when awakened, rushes upward like a released arrow, to pierce through the blocks in the chakras and reach the crown chakra or "firmament".


Time to practice with bow and arrow at the waterfall...



Recommended Books: Tulsi Sahib

Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey Songs of the Saints from the Adi Granth Songs of the Saints of India Tulsi Sahib: Saint of Hathras





Sound Celestial