Ensconced high in the lap of Zabarwan Mountain
Lie the ruins of an ancient palace,
With a lovely garden overlooking Dal Lake and Srinagar city.
The elegance of the ruins projects
The grandeur of the edifices they were once.
Time backward and time forward
Are one continuous ribbon of history,
Relative in significance but constant in cosmic totality.
Why there, away from the ropes of power and pulse of people,
Why so secluded, and at such height,
To what purpose did the complex exist?
It must have been an august sight to see
Prince Dara Shikoh stroll the garden alone in 17th Cent.,
In deep meditation contemplating the mystery of the heavens
And the human soul.
He paid more attention to mysticism,
Than to the ministration of political power.
He made the garden for his Sufi teacher Mullah Shah Badakhshi,
And also an observatory for astrology and astronomy.
At Pari Mahal you are at the end of the world
And at the beginning of the uncharted world of the unknown,
Beyond which lies the realm of eternity.
Between the known and the unknown
Lies the hardest challenge for mind.
What we know is little,
But it runs the world.
But what is unknown runs the universe,
And empowers the human soul.
The compelling mystery at Pari Mahal
Bares a whiff of the mystery of the human soul,
It surrenders a scintilla of the scheme of the universe.
Prince Dara was assassinated by his brother Aurangzeb in 1619,
To gain control over their father Shah Jehan’s throne.
But he left behind a moving monument to mystery –
A window on human soul, a peep-hole to universe.
During my visit I was the only one there,
Which made me absorb the spirit of Pari Mahal better.
You do not feel lonely here,
Even though you are immensely surrounded by it,
Because your inner loneliness melts into the cosmic loneliness.
Suffern, New York, February 13, 2012