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Civilization in Transition

Northern India is characterized by the fact that it is part of the immense Asiatic continent.

I noticed a frequent note of harshness in the way the people talked to each other, recalling harassed camel-drivers or irritable horse-dealers.

The variety of Asiatic costumes here supersedes the immaculate whiteness of the mild plant-eaters.

Women’s dresses are gay and provocative.

The many Pathans, proud, unconcerned, and ruthless, and the bearded Sikhs, with their contradictory character—over-masculine brutality combined with melting sentimentality—give a strong Asiatic tinge to the appearance of the masses.

The architecture shows clearly how much the Hindu element has succumbed to the predominating Asiatic influence.

Even the temples of Benares are small and not very impressive, if it were not for their noisiness and dirt.

Shiva, the destroyer, and the bloodthirsty and blood-curdling Kali seem to be in the foreground.

The fat, elephant-headed Ganesha is also much in demand to bring good luck.

In comparison, Islam seems to be a superior, more spiritual, and more advanced religion.

Its mosques are pure and beautiful, and of course wholly Asiatic.

There is not much mind about it, but a great deal of feeling.

The cult is one wailing outcry for the All-Merciful.

It is a desire, an ardent longing and even greed for God; I would not call it love.

But there is love, the most poetic, most exquisite love of beauty in these old Moguls.

In a world of tyranny and cruelty, a heavenly dream crystallized in stone: the Taj Mahal.

I cannot conceal my unmitigated admiration for this supreme flower, for this jewel beyond price, and I marvel at that love which discovered the genius of Shah Jehan and used it as an instrument of self-realization.

This is the one place in the world where the—alas—all too invisible and all too jealously guarded beauty of the Islamic Eros has been revealed by a well-nigh divine miracle.

It is the delicate secret of the rose gardens of Shiraz and of the silent patios of Arabian palaces, torn out of the heart of a great lover by a cruel and incurable loss.

The mosques of the Moguls and their tombs may be pure and austere, their divans, or audience halls, may be of impeccable beauty, but the Taj Mahal is a revelation.

It is thoroughly un-Indian.

It is more like a plant that could thrive and flower in the rich Indian earth as it could nowhere else.

It is Eros in its purest form; there is nothing mysterious, nothing symbolic about it.

It is the sublime expression of human love for a human being. ~Carl Jung, Civilization in Transition, Pages 519-520