Empires to Dust
Sometimes I find going through this line of thought somewhat refreshing, as it reminds me that the things we spend too much time thinking about - like money, bills, traffic, office and such are terribly small considerations in the scheme of things.
Would even Marcus Aurelius ever have imagined that common plebs would walk into his palaces and defile them ? Would the Devaraja's of Kamboj ever tolerate feisty gaggles of tourists climbing up the ramparts of their sacred temples at Bayon ? How about the Rajas of Vijaynagar - what would go through their mind had someone told them that their powerful city, at it's time mightier than Rome, would be a city of ruins a mere four centuries later ? And I bet the price for telling a Mughal royal in the 1600's that common folk would walk around sipping range juice in the Diwan-i-Khaas would be nothing less than a sever flogging. Finally, who among the stalwarts of the Honorable East India company would believe that an Indian millionaire would own the symbol of their pride anytime before Judgement Day ?
So. The things that matter are almost certainly not power, money, fame and all that goes with it. What matters is there here and now. What matters is having support from one's family and friends. Death eventually comes to everyone and everything - individuals and empires. What matters is the peace of the moment.
The fortress built by the Nuraghi in Sardinia, sometime more than 5000 years ago. Most people today don't even know about it and it recieves minimal tourist attention in the beach resort island of Sardinia.
The Sarcophagus of Cleopatra, contemporary of Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony, now lying in the British Museum in the list of 50 'must-see' items.
The once mighty Roman Forum, now serves to satisfy millions of tourists who throng among its cobbled ruins trying in vain to feel the tinge of empire.
A section from the walls of the Chennakesava Temple at Belur; a structure clearly built to impress the viewer with a riot of art. The lady seems to be looking into a future in which she knows she will be forgotten.
The magnificent Vishnulok, built for the Devaraja's at Kamboj, lost in the dense jungles today.
The once glamorous city of Vijaynagar, home of the emperor Krishnadevaraya, now is a sprawling ruin with creatures like this carved in stone with listless eyes.
The most progressive of all kings, probably in the world, was Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar, who lies in this tomb. He was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare. While Europe lay in the grips of fanaticism and turmoil, Akbar's court thrived in art, culture, discussions on land reform and progressive theology. To sit next to his tomb, at one time would require royal sanction.
The last great Queen of the last great Empire, Regina Victoria's shadow reminds us of the inevitable transition of power and time.
I guess, the right thing to do would be to not get overwhelmed by all the trappings of modernity. Time makes sure that everyone has their chance.