Vestiges of a glorious past
Gwalior was once a great city. People travelled far and wide to experience its refinement and take part in its commerce. Even during the time of Indian Independence it remained a city to rival Delhi and Agra. Something changed since then and the decline has been glaring and vivid.
The Gwalior Fort is one of the finest forts in all of India and perhaps the world. It is a world in itself and undoubtedly has not revealed all its ancient secrets yet. The incredible history of science, spirituality, wealth, and culture is sharply contrasted by the forlorn ruins that remain.
The challenge of cultural heritage is not in its creation but in its preservation. We lost our way when we turned inward and became decadent; blissfully unaware all self-indulgence comes to a bad end. We lost so much that whatever remains is apocryphal and tainted.
“The child in each of us knows paradise.
Paradise is home. Home as it was or home as it should have been.
Paradise is one’s own place, one’s own people, one’s own world, knowing and known, perhaps even loving and loved.
Yet every child Is cast from paradise - into growth and new community, into vast, ongoing change.”
— Octavia E. Butler
“Now it occurred to me that perhaps this was what happened when cities died. They didn’t die with a bang; they didn’t die only when they were abandoned. Perhaps they died like this: when everybody was suffering, when transport was so hard that working people gave up jobs they needed because they feared the suffering of the travel; when no one had clean water or air; and no one could go walking.”
— V.S. Naipaul
“When the astonished gods behold it as they fly by in their aerial chariots, they always speculate upon it at length, saying ‘This must be a natural abode of Siva; for such beauty is never seen in an artificial construction’; even the artisan who created it was (himself) suddenly amazed, and said: ‘I cannot bring myself to endeavor to create such a thing again; how is it that I made this?’”
— Baroda Copper Plate Inscription of Karkaraja II
“If we look at the path, we do not see the sky. We are earth people on a spiritual journey to the stars Our quest, our earth walk is to look within, to know who we are, to see that we are connected to all things, that there is no separation, only in the mind.”
— Native American Saying