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P. V. Narasimha Rao

Looking for Ways to Advertise? The Taj is erected in a beautiful garden, the gateway into which is perhaps the finest in India and is "a worthy pendant to the Taj itself. Much has been written, and all in unstinted praise, of this incomparable edifice; and yet, like the writer, every visitor comes to its presence, feels the growing thrill of its beauty, and exclaims, "The half was never told! How great, indeed, must have been the love of that otherwise cruel monarch for his departed empress that he should have exhausted so much of wealth some say that the Taj cost thirty million rupees and conceived so much of beauty wherewith to embalm her memory.

And as we enter the mausoleum and stand in the presence of the lovely shrines which it encases,—that of Mumtaz-i-Mahal, and that of the emperor himself,—the mind is awed and may find expression in Sir Edwin Arnold's poetic fancy,—. And upon a panel of his own shrine the mourning emperor had inscribed these significant words from ancient traditions: "Saith Jesus, on whom peace be, [50] this world is a bridge.

Pass thou over it, but build not upon. This world is one hour; give its minutes to thy prayers, for the rest is unseen. We cannot but feel that the Taj is the highest expression of art that human affection and domestic affliction have ever achieved. This is not religion; but it is closely kin to it. Not far from the Fort is found another great mosque, or musjid , where the Mohammedans crowd for worship.

This, also, is a wonderful specimen of art, and in its combination of simplicity and beauty is well calculated to rouse to enthusiasm the many worshippers of Allah. About six miles away from Agra is another specimen of architectural genius. It is the tomb of Akbar the Great. Some believe it to be almost equal to the Taj. It commemorates with great beauty the noble name of that most distinguished man of the whole Mogul dynasty,—a man who was famed for his breadth of view and sympathy, his wise statesmanship, and religious tolerance. He did more than any other to create sympathy between Hindus and Mohammedans.

It was in this mausoleum that the famous Kohinor diamond found its place and was exhibited for years. It is a striking fact that this precious stone [53] was undisturbed there, in the open air, for over seventy years, until the Shah of Persia, in , invaded India and sacked the palace of the Moguls, and, with other fabulous wealth, carried this diamond also back to his own country. Delhi is only a few hours' ride to the north from Agra. It is perhaps the most interesting city in all India.

From the earliest times of Brahmanic legends down to the present, it has been the centre of war and conflict, of royal display, extravagance, and treachery. Here, again, Mohammedanism has, from the first, exercised its power and revealed its religious warmth and enthusiasm.

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The Mohammedan mosques are equal to any in the land. And though the Persian sacked the city a hundred and seventy years ago, and robbed it of most that was beautiful and valuable, there still remains a part of what was probably the loveliest palace that was ever erected.

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It reveals to us also "the imperial grandeur of the Moguls, whose style of living was probably more splendid than that of any monarchs of any nation before or since that time. Their extravagance was unbounded. Their love of display has never been surpassed. The marble walls are richly adorned [54] with exquisite mosaics.

Indeed, they are regarded as incomparable specimens of the art. One can pardon the builder who engraved over the north and south entrances to this palace of the Moguls the following lines:—. Eleven miles from the city are found splendid ruins which are crowned by the celebrated tower known as Kutab-minar, which is another of the most ancient and interesting monuments of India.

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Originally, this remarkable structure was a Hindu temple, and was erected probably in the fourth century of our era. But upon the invasion of the Mussulmans the temple was converted into a Mohammedan mosque, and the famous tower, which is feet high, and is one of the most beautifully erected in the world, was allowed to stand. It is in this city that one is impressed most thoroughly with memorials of the great Mutiny of half a century ago, where the British were so hard pushed and suffered so terribly in those days of bitterness which tried men's souls.

And there is no memorial of this bitter struggle, to which the British refer with so much of pride and glory, as they do to the Cashmere gate, which they blew up and thereby forced an entrance into the city, with a loss of much precious blood. But it was not the Mutiny nor the massive and gorgeous emblems of Mohammedanism which impressed the writer most in this city. It was a vision just outside the walls of the city—a vision of great simplicity—which thrilled his heart a few years ago.

here It was a very unattractive little ruined tower, from the centre of which rose a polished granite pillar, some thirty or forty feet high. It was inscribed from top to bottom, and the inscription was quite legible. It spoke not of the triumphs of war nor of the glory of human rule and conquest. It is one of the most eloquent testimonies to the nobility of the Buddhist faith.

It was carried here only a few centuries ago by an enlightened Mohammedan monarch from the far-off plains of the north. It is one of the celebrated "Asoka Pillars. He was converted to Buddhism and at once became the devout propagator of that faith. As the great emperor of his time, he exalted Buddhism and made it the State religion of India. He not only sent his missionaries all over the land; he decreed that its principal teachings should be everywhere inscribed upon rocks and upon pillars; and that these pillars should be erected in public places for the instruction of the people.

This pillar in Delhi is one of about a dozen already discovered and preserved in North India.

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And it is, perhaps, the most fully inscribed of all that have been found. And of the fourteen Asokan edicts inscribed, most of them inculcate a high morality, and some of them a noble altruism. For instance, the first is a prohibition of the slaughter of animals for food or sacrifice.

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The second is the provision for medical aid for men and animals, and for plantations and wells on the roadside. The third is a command to observe every fifth year as a year of mutual confession of sins, of peace-making, and of humiliation. The ninth is the inculcation of true happiness as found in virtue. In all these inscribed edicts of that most tolerant and cosmopolitan Buddhist emperor, we see nothing of which Buddhism should be ashamed, and much of which it may be proud, in the way of ethical injunction. It is more than ten centuries since Buddhism, which had been the common faith of India for a thousand years, was absorbed into a new militant Hinduism and ceased to exist as a separate faith in this land.

To-day, India proper has hardly half a million Buddhists. And yet we behold these mute prophets of far-off days scattered in many parts of the land, still pressing their message, but vainly, indeed, upon a people of unknown tongues. Buddha himself is now a part of the Hindu Pantheon; and his principal teachings have become an essential part of the faith which he tried to overthrow. But these pillars stand for Buddhism that was tolerant toward all save, perhaps, the Brahmanism which it existed to overthrow.

From Delhi we pass on northward to the beautiful city of Amritsar, which is comparatively a modern town of one hundred and fifty thousand people. It is a beautiful object to behold; and we are in haste to take off our shoes, which are prohibited in the sacred precincts, and to put on the shapeless holy slippers presented to us!

We enjoy perfect freedom in passing through all parts of the temple, while devotees, under the guidance of the priests, sing their songs of praise with devout impartiality to their god and to their bible. The temple is the centre and inspiration of the Sikh religion. The Sikhs are an interesting people.

They rallied round one of the multitude of the Hindu religious reformers, named Nanak Shah, who established this cult about the end of the fifteenth century. It may be called an amalgam of Mohammedanism and Hinduism. It unites the monotheism and the stern morality of the former with much of the petty ritual of the latter. It does not observe caste.

Still, in outer matters of observances, Sikhs are not easily distinguishable from ordinary Hindus. They, also, have bound themselves into a military order, which gives them almost the distinction of a nation. For this reason they are among the very best material which the country furnishes for the native army, and are worthy to stand shoulder to shoulder with European soldiers.

This religion is peculiarly a book religion. It has degenerated into a species of bibliolatry.


Their bible contains the teachings and sermons of the founder of the faith; and it presents the highest standard of morality and courage, and appeals with special power to this sturdy tribe of the north. This book is called "Granth," and is generally spoken of as "Granth Sahib," which we may translate as "Mr. That is, they give it a dignity and a personality which is unique in any faith; and the Golden Temple is largely used as the receptacle of the "Granth," of which they keep a few copies protected by covers, which, however, they remove in order to show them to us as we pass by.

In several particulars this faith is unique.

They have no idols or altars, but meet once a week for prayer and praise.