Book Review

Poetry In Marble

Forever In Bloom: The Lotus of Bahapur, Photographs by Raghu Rai and Text by Roger     White, Time Books International, New Delhi, pp 126.

It has been commented upon, visited by hundreds and thousands of people, won prizes and been written about in many books and newspaper articles. It has been called "God's Work", "A Rhapsody in Marble" and even "The Taj Mahal of the Twentieth Century".

Now comes a book which, more of a photo essay, tells the story of the Bah' House of Worship in New Delhi. It is a story of love, devotion, dedication and is feast for the eyes to behold.

Raghu Rai's exquisite photograph captures "The Lotus of Bahapur" in all its moods and forms. The Lotus in the day and at night rising above the water, an ideal for man. He is to rise above the slime of the world and grow spiritual just like the lotus.

Roger White, a Canadian poet, has traced the history of the Bah' House of Worship, from the time the idea was conceived in 1953 right up to its dedication to humanity in December 1986. The story of sacrifice that went into the purchase of the land and the construction of the temple is the story of love and devotion.

How a simple shopkeeper in Hyderabad donated his life's savings to buy the land and, how the temple was built with contributions of even two paise is a fascinating story. How each worker devoted himself to the construction and to overcoming the practical difficulties involved holds the reader. Both the Taj Mahal and the Lotus of Bahapur were built on love; one salutes human love, the other divine love. And both hint of divinity.

This temple is seventh in a series of such temples built across the globe by the Bah's. The Bah's are the followers of Bah'u'llh, venerated by them as the Manifestation of God for this Age, the latest in a series of great teachers like Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammad.

Born in the last century in Iran, Bah'u'llh, spent more than half his life in prison for his teachings of love and unity. He taught the essential unity of all men and condemned all kinds of prejudice. He called for the establishment of World Government and World Peace.

The Lotus of Bahapur is a place for prayer. "Prayer is a ladder by which everyone may ascend to heaven." It is a form of conversation with God in the language of heart. Being clergyless, the Bah' Faith enjoins on its followers individual prayer. No one can pray for another. All prayers ascend to God and sincere prayers are always answered.

"Since its dedication in December 1986, the Lotus Temple has stood as a cogent symbol of the unity of mankind that the Bah' Faith claims as its central purpose."

"Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified." Bah'u'llh.

by Dr Farzin Zaer and Anil Sarwal.