The "Real" India (pt. 3)
Agra Day 4 - 5/27
I was in awe as I entered the East Gate of the Taj Mahal. This stunning wonder of the world was right before my eyes. The gate perfectly framed the glowing white marble structure, as if it were a picture. The symmetry and immense grandiosity was unbelievable.
I squeezed and shuffled through a crowd of people who also came to lay their eyes on the iconic mausoleum. Every year, the Taj Mahal attracts millions of locals and tourists coming to view and take pictures.
The Taj Majal (or Crown Palace) was built with ivory white marble between 1632-1653 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He dearly loved his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and was enraptured by her beauty. After her death, he desired to construct a tombstone that would do justice to his love for her, and declare her beauty to the world. Thus, a wonder of the world was created.
As we walked closer to the walls of this massive structure, I noticed its exquisite details. The Taj Mahal is covered in intricate marble inlay designs, painstakingly created by local artisans. Flowers, curls, colors, and the inscription of the Quran…all perfectly hand-designed. I can’t even begin to fathom the time and money that was invested to develop such an artwork.
While taking in the beauty of the Taj, I wondered about the legacy of Shah Jahan. This architecture, his name, and his story is known for generations. Seen by millions.
At the time we visited, they were in the middle of cleaning the exterior, a process that occurs over months. Despite its perfectly designed structure, it requires high maintenance to keep it pearly white. It is prone to deterioration and destruction. It may last for thousands of years, but it will not last forever.
Humans build wonders such as this to establish some sense of greatness on the earth. We desire to make a name for ourself. The name of Shah Jahan will last for many more generations, but the name of Jesus will last for eternity. 1 John 2:17 says, “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Humans build wonders such as this to establish some sense of greatness on the earth.
I wondered what legacy I would leave on this earth. Maybe I will have the vision to build something great, or maybe I will be the one to do the menial work – crafting small details to create a beautiful mosaic like the marble workers. What I do know is that I desire to be a part of building God’s Kingdom, rather than working towards things that will eventually fade away.
The Bible tells us that the work that is WORTH IT is the work that serves the Lord: loving God, and loving people. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). God shows us the beauty of this earth to reveal a small image of the beauty Him.
Let us still be in awe of the wonders of this world. Let us admire the artistry and be struck by the magnificence of Shah Jahan’s Crown Palace. But, these things should remind us to be awestruck of the wonder of God, who is far greater than anything on this earth.
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." Matthew 6:33