The Lotus Temple in New Delhi is a beautiful reminder of how tenets of unity, simplicity and perfection in a religion can be made manifest through architecture. In a previously unimagined manner, the twenty-seven petals may serve as the teachings of the messengers (Manifestations of God) of Bahai Faith. The petals which are created in clusters of three, beautifully mirror a lotus flower. The Temple is surrounded by tranquil green spaces and pools which render it an illusion of floating upon the water. The cluster of outermost petals uniquely lays down the foundation of spiritual attainment; symbolically, this cluster announces the call for spiritual regeneration. Floating atop the muddy waters, the lotus petals bloom at the advent of dawn. In the human plane of existence, this step is akin to preparing the soul for what is to come; the grace and beauty which is to follow with the opening of the flower (the human soul).
The second cluster of petals seemingly protects the apex cluster of petals. The foundation of an illusionary opening of the flower provides perfect courage to the second cluster. The second cluster exemplifies the power of growth, the soul must progress and realize its eternal form. The lotus flowers, slowly and surely reflect the simplicity with which it grows in muddy water. The flower is unaware of its beauty and surroundings. It simply opens and uncovers divine perfection. Similarly, the human soul is meant to progress; it is meant to uncover its true nature and divinity. Comparing petals to weaknesses of the human soul until the flower fully opens to reveal the light within, is not far off from the trajectory of the progress of the soul. Each and every weakness transforms into a flower so divine and perfect that it mirrors the reflection of God.
The innermost cluster of petals aptly portrays the ‘about to bloom’ flower. As the soul awaits its entry into the presence of God, the petals await the dawn to shine its glory. The journey, the anticipation of the bloom waiting to flower arising from the depths of dirty water draws a perfect analogy with the progress of the human soul and its evolution from the depths of the darkness of mind and body. All these clusters significantly demystify the possibility of divinity through purification of character and conduct. The emptiness within, the beauty and grace within, the unaware creation within; the outer murk, the outer challenges, the outer noise transmitting from this architectural wonder flawlessly echoes human life.
‘Be swift in the path of holiness, and enter the heaven of communion with Me. Cleanse thy heart with the burnish of the spirit, and hasten to the court of the Most High‘
Baháʼu’lláh, The Hidden Words