Baha'i Library Online

COLLECTIONTranscripts of videos and audio
TITLELotus Temple, New Delhi: The Gates of God
AUTHOR 1 Religion World Talks
ABSTRACTTranscript prepared by Doug Couper from video online at
TAGSAlan Coupe

1. Transcript (see video below)

Documentary || Lotus Temple, New Delhi || Bahai Faith || The Gates of God
uploaded by Religion World Talks
2022 January 30
10:45 minutes
Video description: An engaging and passionately narrated look at Delhi's Baha'i temple - part of the Gates of God series by Religion World on all religions, spiritual practices, traditions and every aspect of faith.
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[Narrator] The youngest religion in the world built a temple of their faith to become a prominent landmark in the capital of a country which still practises the oldest religion in the world [Music] This lotus-shaped temple that was built in December,1986 is the designation of a place of worship of the Baha'i faith. The Baha'i faith was founded by Baha'u'lah in the mid-18th (sic) century in Iran, following a lineage dating back to Abraham, Buddha, Christ and Muhammad; and professes the unity and oneness of mankind [Music]

[Carmel M Tripathi, Director, Office of Public Information] This place is symbolic of the oneness of humankind. The purpose why the Baha'i Houses of Worship exist is really to prove this unity and oneness. People of all religious backgrounds, all cultures, races, ethnicities - everyone is welcome to come and pray according to their own religious belief. We have prayer services held at the House of Worship where we read from different holy scriptures like the Bhagavad-Gita, (the) Bible, Qur'an, Baha'i prayers, Buddhist scriptures and so on; and everyone is welcome to participate in these prayer services where these holy writings are read.

[Narrator] Designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba, the temple's architecture was conceived and constructed in the shape of a lotus. [Music] In keeping with the significance of this flower in the spiritual spheres of both Hinduism and Buddhism in India, the lotus is the ultimate symbol of breaking free from the chains of bondage, yet remaining in the world much like the flower growing out of the mud and yet remaining above it. This design was very appropriate and unique because, before it, no other temple or place of worship had ever been constructed like this. [Music] Using a combination of dolomite marble, cement and sand, the 27 petals of the structure in white, were constructed to resemble a lotus in full bloom. There are nine ponds surrounding the structure, each reflecting the temple in the shape of leaves surrounding the lotus flower - making it a truly breathtaking sight [Music]

[Rajendra Motiwala, Educationist (Volunteer Guide)] I would like to point (out) some of the beautiful beautification of the structure; that is, that the marble is not fixed to the concrete on the leaves. They have a gap and the cold air from here goes through these gaps helping to keep the building cool. The warm air goes up and the cool air rushes from here into that ... look at this beautiful structure over here, which is also standing on pillars that are supported by ... rubbers which help the building (and) save the building from a light earthquake. From there, we look at this structure over here. I told you about the leaf where the concrete is there. The marble that is fixed has a gap between the concrete and the marble at the bottom where the air rushes from down (here) and comes up and keeps the building cool at all times ...

[Carmel M Tripathi] The architect who's Canadian in origin, Mr. Fariborz Sahba; he explained to us how he travelled to different parts of the country to understand about the culture of the country. He said wherever he went, any place of worship, he just couldn't escape the lotus. Every religious place he went to, he found (a) lotus, either on the idols or carved on the walls. As he couldn't escape the lotus, he felt that this has a very strong connection with religion in India [Music].

[Narrator] The beauty of the temple is breathtaking and it makes everyone admire the purity in silence for a few minutes before heading inside. The temple stands in the middle of lush greenery with manicured lawns and flower beds adding a divine touch to the entire scene. [Music] You can bring along picnic baskets and relax here as you soak in the sunlight.

[Carmel M Tripathi] As you can see, the temple has its timings that right now it is open from eight o'clock until five pm, and we have the Information Centre, where the visitors can go to visit, to know more and learn more about the House of Worship, about the history of the Baha'i faith, about what the Baha'is are doing currently around the world, the various socio-economic development projects taking place around the world, and also to be connected with the Baha'i community wherever they're from. The visitors also go to the House of Worship to attend prayer service or to spend some moments for silent meditation, and to pray according to their own religious belief. Visitors often like to come and spend about an hour (up to) an hour and a half here at the temple.

[Narrator] Before stepping into the temple, all footwear must be removed like any other place of worship in India, be it a Hindu temple, gurdwara or a mosque. The interiors are just unpredictable. Considering what one expects from the stunning exterior facade of the temple, there is nothing inside - no structures, idols or religious symbols to indicate that this is a House of Worship - only rows upon rows of seats like a church. The temple is open for all to visit, regardless of their religion, gender or nationality, thereby professing the unity of mankind.

[Carmel M Tripathi] The purpose of having this House of Worship is where we can practise worship alongside service; so the two elements that complement each other is (sic) service and worship, which are inseparable, and service is linked with our community life. So when we come to the temple, when we come to a place of worship we pray, we reflect on the words of God, but also how this prayer gives us that energy and enthusiasm and hope to go and serve in our communities. So we know that there are many neighbourhoods around the House of Worship where the youth, particularly the young generation, are very much engaged in building of their communities; so they're engaged in taking classes for the moral education of the children; they are looking after different groups where groups of families sit together and pray, utter the words of God. So there are various programs in which the families are engaged in to have a better community life. [Music]

[Narrator] The peace and stillness felt inside the temple hall are like a weight being lifted from the shoulders, and time seems to stand still until the spell is broken, and it's time to get back to the madness of the real world. [Music] Entry is free for all, and the temple remains closed on Mondays.

[Carmel M Tripathi] The principles of the Baha'i faith include the oneness of religion, oneness of God and oneness of humanity - which is the main purpose of building this House of Worship. Among the teachings of Baha'u'llah is also the equality of women and men; and so we have to try to implement these teachings in our day-to-day life. As a family, we implement this principle of (the) equality of women and men. In an institution, we practise this principle. In community life, we practise these principles, so there are many principles that Baha'u'llah has brought which we believe are right for this time and this age. Compulsory education is one of the principles, so every Baha'i is encouraged to participate in education to make sure that their family members are receiving education, to ensure that the community in which they live are (sic) also benefit(ing) from education.

[Narrator] So come by and experience the soul-saving peace and calm in Bahapur Kalkaji once the pandemic threats are gone away. [Music]

2. Video

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