Enthralled at first sight my sightseeing adventure began at the Lotus Temple in Bahapur New Delhi. Staring at the 27 petals from the rikshaw my words were “WOW, what a magnificent sight!” The Architectural marvel is home to the beautiful new (mid 1800’s) Religion Baha’i. The enormous petals are clad in white Greek Marble, surrounded by 9 clear blue water pools and 26.6 Acres of Lush beautiful Gardens. A proud sign boasts that the gardens are maintained and watered with recycled water; this sets the tone and the awareness of this religious edifice. Following the crowds to the entry we are asked to remove and shoe check our sandals. The heat so intense you want to dip in the pools but obviously I resisted as they are considered sacred to the structure and not for bathing, but to help cool the area and for aesthetic. I was then quickly briefed on the beliefs and ideals of the Baha’i religion, and instantly realized they were in alignment with mine also.
The key Baha’i Principles are:
* The Oneness of Mankind
* Independent investigation of Truth
* The Common foundation of all religions
* The essential harmony of Science and Religions
* Equality of Men and Women
* Elimination of Prejudice of all kinds
* Universal Compulsory Education
* Universal Peace
* The adoption of a Universal auxiliary language
* The abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty
* The institution of World Tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations
* The glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society
* The exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service to the rank of worship
* Religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations
* Spiritual solution to the economic problems
* Strict Obedience to the government of one’s country
In Listening and reading the literature I agreed with most these ideals, but are these merely ideals? For example strict obedience to the government of one’s country is only worthy if the government has these conscious ideals as there governing principles and truly abides by them. In chatting with the volunteers there they stated that they believe in a world government without a leader, self leadership aligned in the highest ideal is the aspiration. This is a highly conscious way of being and living. I purchased their book on World Order, excited to learn more on how to turn these ideals into reality. As a little girl, I always believed the world must and will unite; maybe this is just a dream but like Lennon, I’m not the only one!
The Persian founder known as The Bab (meaning the gate) was persecuted and finally martyred in 1850. During the next two decades, over 20,000 of the bab’s followers were brutally killed. Not much has changed, those who prosper from war and corruption somehow always manage to kill the messenger…once again!
The crowd and I were also instructed to adhere to absolute silence, we were free to stay and meditate for as long as we liked. Upon entering, one is just as amazed with the grand interior also. The dome shaped beautiful temple built by the funds of its faithful followers in over 360 countries is a masterpiece. The resonate sound of silence and OM bellow with the brilliance of its natural design. The feeling of peace is as pure as the name and symbolic structure so dear to the Indian culture, perfectly named… the ‘Lotus’ Temple.
I concur with Gandhi’s quote “The Baha’i faith is a solace to humankind.” What a beautiful start to my journey.