Acharya Tulsi's Vision



Woodland Kahler

Formerly Chairman
International Association of Vegetarians


At the present moment an outstanding problem all over the world is the international relationship. After two world wars even the old-fashioned narrow nationalist is beginning to see that new frontiers must be explored on a worldwide scale. To help such exploration, an Indian Jain priest, Acharya Tulsi, is teaching his followers to look at everything on earth, including foreign objects and ideas, in frame of non-hurtful interdependence. Understanding that flowers of universal friendship grow best from seeds of individual self-mastery, Shri Tusli has organized the Anuvrat Andolan, an international society, open to every body- Jain and non-Jain alike, who is willing and ready to take certain disciplinary vows graded according to individual capacity for putting ideals into action.

To those who may wish to embark on a spiritual quest in search of self-mastery, I heartily recommend membership of the Anuvrat Andolan. Through the kindness of two ardent members of this international association, my wife and I - a number of years ago, on our very first visit to India - had the good fortune to sit at the feet of Acharyashri Tulsi who was by then the 9th Acharya of Terapanth.

upon being presented to his Holiness my wife said,'Acharya Shree' the radiance I see in your eyes I have never seen before in my life.' Although the lower half of his face was covered with the traditional white mask of the Terapanth Jain priest, Shri Tulsi's beautiful shining eyes were not hidden from us and through them we could feel his warmth to heart, his personal charm and above all his great purity of mind and spirit.

At this memorable first meeting we were greatly impressed by the fact that everyone sitting cross-legged on the floor around us appeared to be happy. Unlike many religious persons demoralized by the comfort-cult of the Western world, the monks and nuns and the other followers of Shri Tulsi had evidently not lost their natural joy of living. By their smiles and gayness we could see that they were having a very good time on their journey along the path to purity.
In the course of our interview, Shri Tulsi said a number of profound things. I remember in particular, if you don't disappoint your desire, they will disappoint you'.

Before we said goodbye to Shri Tulsi and his happy disciples, I questioned him about the problem of achieving happiness here on earth in the face of killing and the preparation to kill now going on in the wilderness of 20th century in the name of progress. In effect Shri Tulsi answered that the body is a good servant but a bad master. To be truly happy man must obey the voice of ahimsa or non-violence.

Since the day my wife and I first met the 9th Acharya of Terapanth, I have been thinking about happiness in a new way and after much meditation on the cravings of desires I have come to the conclusion that the key to happiness must be, as Shri Tulsi said, self-mastery. The physical body delights in making all sorts of false expectations and will always in the end betray us if we imbibe its frothy balderdash. On the other hand, when we become disciplined enough to live in harmony with the law of our being, we need not search for happiness. It will then come to us of its own accord. As a matter of fact happiness is man's true nature, it is already there inside him waiting to be recognized.

One of the greatest threats to earthy happiness, it seems to me, is boredom. In our restless materialistic age, the minuteman gets what he wants, he is bored-he begins to crave for something bigger, better, faster more exciting! To offset material desire, man must have something spiritual to look forward to …….. a vision of happiness that will not end in thirst. I have reason to believe that Shri Tulsi has such a vision of happiness. My wife and I caught a glimpse of it when we looked in to the Acharya's eyes.



Mail to : Ahimsa Foundation