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Spirituality

Taj Mahal – An Amazing Love Story

The construction of the Taj Mahal (literally translated from the Persian language as “Crown of the Mughals”) was associated with the name of the beautiful woman – Arjumand Bano Begum, or Mumtaz – “Queen of the Soul”.

At 200 kilometers from the capital of India, Delhi, on the high bank of the Ganges tributary – the Jamna – is the five-domed Taj Mahal mausoleum. The white-stone structure surprises and delights with its perfect proportions, an elegant mosaic of colored precious and semiprecious stones, and skillful carving.

The Taj Mahal is a whole complex of buildings. Taj – white, and around the fortress and minarets of red sandstone. The mausoleum has absolute proportions: on the base and height – an exact square, each side of which is 75 meters. Several paths stretch to the Taj Mahal, between them there is water in the pools, first the entire mausoleum is reflected in it, and as it approaches, its individual details.

Local architects worked together with artists from Damascus, gardeners from Constantinople and Samarkand to create the Indian pearl. When creating the interior, interior decoration of the mausoleum, the craftsmen used the best varieties of white, occasionally yellow and black marble, mother of pearl, jasper, agate, emeralds, aquamarines, pearls and hundreds of other stones.

QUEEN OF THE SOUL

Arjumand Bano Begum was only 19 years old when she became the second wife of Prince Guram (future Shah-Jahan). And although the prince had several more wives and many concubines, Mumtaz won the heart of her husband and undividedly owned him until the end of his days. It was an unusually romantic and poetic love. Mumtaz was not only his most beloved wife, but his most faithful companion since the turbulent times when Prince Guram wandered around the world, pursued by his father Jahangir, when he obtained his throne in a fierce struggle with his brothers. In 1627, Guram, having gained a final victory over them and seized his father’s throne, assumed the title of emperor, Shah-Jahan – “ruler of the world”. Mumtaz finally became the queen of India.

Shah Jahan adored his wife and each time he honored her, held lavish receptions and grandiose celebrations in her honor, without her any important ceremony would begin, and not a single state act would be adopted. Mumtaz was present at the meetings of the State Council; her opinion was almost never disputed by anyone.

The portrait of the queen, painted by her contemporary, has been preserved. Violating one of the strictest prohibitions of Islam – to draw portraits of animals and people, an unknown artist skillfully conveyed the beauty of Mumtaz, a white-faced Persian, a pearl of the East.

A happy life together ended abruptly. In the spring of 1636, Mumtaz suddenly fell ill: before dying, she turned to her husband with a request to take care of their eldest daughter, Jahanara Begum, and took an oath from him – to build a tomb worthy of their love, their joint nineteen-year-old married life. Mumtaz’s death shocked Jahan.

WHITE AND BLACK PALACES

Widowed, he commanded the construction of an unprecedentedly beautiful mausoleum. Shah was presented with many different projects, the authors of which were the best of the best architects of the East. Of these, he chose a project created by Indian architect Ystad Khan Effendi. Following this, a twenty-thousand army of builders was driven into Agra: masons, marble cutters, jewelers and handymen. Marble was brought from Makran near Jaipur, sandstone from Sikri, gems from India, Afghanistan, Persia and Central Asia.

The entire complex of the mausoleum was created over twenty two years. Having fulfilled the mandate of “the queen of her soul”, Jahan proceeded to a new, no less grandiose construction – exactly the same mausoleum, but only of black marble, for himself – on the other (left) bank of the Jamna River. According to the Shah’s plan, both mausoleums, like marital chambers, were to be connected by a high lace bridge of black and white marble. Preparatory work has already begun, but this plan, unfortunately, was not destined to come true.

While Shah Jahan was building a new tomb, his sons fought among themselves. Having defeated the brothers, one of them – Aurangzeb – seized power in 1658, killed the brothers, arrested his father and imprisoned him in the Red Fort under reliable guard along with his beloved daughter Jahanara Begum. Shah Jahan spent the last years of his life in the marble palace that he had once built for Mumtaz, from where he could constantly see the Taj Mahal. Here he died on January 23, 1666. Fulfilling the last will of his father, Aurangzeb the next day ordered his body to be transported to the Taj Mahal and to be buried next to Mumtaz without any ceremony or honor.

UNSOLVED SECRET

The Taj Mahal mausoleum stands alone in its inexpressible beauty on the banks of the blue Jamna, reflecting its clean, proud appearance. He appears as a vision from another, better, cleaner world. “The Taj Mahal has a secret that everyone feels, but no one can interpret.”

“The Taj Mahal attracts you like a magnet. You can stand for hours and all look and look at this marvel, at this fabulous ghost, ascending into a bottomless azure sky. The illumination of the Taj Mahal changes like a mirage. It glows from the inside, changing hues depending on the position of the sun: it suddenly turns light pink, then bluish, then pale orange. At night, under the moon, against a black sky, it looks dazzling white. Just coming very close, you notice that he is covered in the finest patterns woven over white marble, the marble blocks are encrusted with gems and seem to shine through, emitting a flickering light.”

The dazzling white walls of the mausoleum are covered with mosaics – garlands of flowers made of precious stones. Branches of white jasmine from mother-of-pearl shimmer with red pomegranate flower from carnelian and delicate tendrils of grapevine and honeysuckle, and delicate oleanders peek out from the lush green foliage. Each leaf, each petal is a separate emerald, yacht, pearl or topaz; sometimes there are up to one hundred of such stones for one branch of flowers, and there are hundreds of similar ones on the panels and grids of the Taj Mahal!

DEATH NOT SHARED

In the central hall of the mausoleum are two sarcophagi sculpted from white-pink rocks of marble, decorated with floral ornaments. These are the cenotaphs of the dead, symbolic projections of those who are in the lowest part of the mausoleum. There, in the underground vaulted room, dusk reigns. Both tombs with the remains of the royal spouses, Mumtaz and Jahan, like a screen, are surrounded by a white marble carved fence about two meters high, decorated with fabulous flowers – red, yellow, blue, along with green garlands, interlacing of marble leaves and flowers.

What is the power of the impression made by the Taj Mahal? Where does the insurmountable impact on everyone who sees it come from?

“Neither marble lace, nor the thin carving covering its walls, nor mosaic flowers, nor the fate of the beautiful queen — none of this alone could make such an impression. There must be a reason for something else. However, something in the Taj Mahal fascinated me and thrilled me. … It seemed to me that the mystery of the Taj Mahal is connected with the secret of death, i.e. with that secret, regarding which, in the words of one of the Upanishads, “even the gods were at first in doubt.” Above the tomb, where the queen’s body lies, a light burns. I felt that this is where the beginning of the clue lies. For the light shimmering over the tomb, where its dust lies, this light … is a small transient earthly life. And the Taj Mahal is a future eternal life.”

PLACE OF PILGRIMAGE

The creation of the Taj Mahal dates back to the time of the conquest of India by Muslims. The grandson of padishah Akbar Jahan was one of those conquerors who changed the face of a vast country. A warrior and statesman, Jahan was at the same time a fine connoisseur of art and philosophy; his courtyard in Agra attracted the most prominent scientists and artists of Persia, which at that time was the center of culture throughout West Asia.

The son of Jahan Aurangzeb (“the beauty of the throne,” 1665-1706) was nothing like his father. He was a stern, withdrawn and ascetic-religious monarch. While still a prince, he disapproved of the useless and devastating, as he believed, activities of his father. Aurangzeb spent his entire long and hectic life in military campaigns aimed at maintaining power over the empire.

Aurangzeb raised a rebellion against his father, accusing him of spending all the state revenue on the mausoleum. He imprisoned the former lord in an underground mosque in one of the inner palaces of the Agra fortress. Shah Jahan lived in this underground mosque for seven years; sensing the approach of death, he asked him to be transferred to the so-called Jasmine pavilion in the fortress wall, to the tower of lace marble, where was the favorite room of Queen Arjumand Bano. There, on the balcony of the Jasmine Pavilion overlooking the Jamna, from where the Taj Mahal was visible at a distance, Shah Jahan died.

This is the brief history of the Taj Mahal. Since then, the mausoleum of Queen Mumtaz has gone through many vicissitudes. During the wars that continued in India in the 17th and 18th centuries, Agra repeatedly passed from hand to hand and was often plundered. The conquerors removed the large silver doors from the Taj Mahal, carried out precious lamps and candlesticks, and tore ornaments from precious stones from the walls. However, the building itself and most of the decoration remained intact. The Taj Mahal is now restored and carefully guarded.

But today, the Taj Mahal is partially dressed in scaffolding due to the fact that cracks appeared on the walls. The marble Taj Mahal weighs many hundreds of thousands of tons. A huge mass presses on the soil, and it gradually settles. Over the past centuries, as a result of soil displacement, the mausoleum leaned toward the river, although it is invisible with a simple eye. Once the high-water Jamna came close to the building, but then the river became shallow and receded. This last circumstance changed the structure of the soil and also affected the stability of the mausoleum. Now it is decided to plant trees on the banks of the Jamna in order to stop soil erosion.

Spirituality

From light to darkness: A woman suffered clinical death and spoke about the journey to hell

The woman described the sensations during clinical death after a drug overdose. This is reported by the Express edition.

A patient named Francine stated that she took a trip to hell. She wrote about this to the Posthumous Experience Research Foundation after she suffered clinical death.

“I swam above my body and watched them try to revive me. Suddenly I was surrounded by terrible creatures whom I call “dark angels”. They spoke in rhyme: “From light to darkness.” I don’t remember the rest of the rhyme,” she said. 

According to Francine, dark entities tore her to pieces until she became nothing.

After death, not everyone goes to the coffin. Some choose to drown in alkali

“We literally flew through the halls of the hospital and onto the roof. Then I ended up in hell and lay on my back. I heard the screams of other souls and their pain. An evil entity interrogated me, and it seemed like an eternity. She wanted to know what I believed in and who I worshiped,” the woman admitted.

Francine explained that at first she was very scared, but then she stopped obeying the demons and persuaded them to return her. 

“I told them that I believed in Jesus and I don’t think he would hurt me. Then I suddenly left hell,” she said.

After that, the dark entities showed Francine her entire life path and drew her attention to all the mistakes she made in life. “This revision was so detailed that they even showed moments when I looked at someone the wrong way. I was shown how my behavior hurt others, and I realized that I needed to love others more,” the clinical death survivor explained.

In the final moment, the woman felt herself in the bosom of her mother. 

“It was very calm until I was born. I was reminded of the evil of the world when the doctor who delivered my birth thought, “Here’s another little whore.” I heard this and it was very sad. After that I lived my life, died and was reborn thousands of times. This infinity was a real hell and I wanted it to stop,” Francine said.

Some researchers believe that what the patient describes is a normal phenomenon, and such an experience does not necessarily mean that the person has seen heaven, hell, or life after death. “This may be happening when the brain scans itself as a survival technique,” said Dr. Sam Parnia, director of resuscitation and revitalization research at Langon School of Medicine in New York.

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Spirituality

Between Worlds: The Story of Florence Cook – the Woman Who Talked to Ghosts

Photo: Getty Images

The numerous stories about mediums and psychics are often dubious, but the story of Florence Cook led people to believe that ghosts live among us. Who the famous London clairvoyant really was, and how she managed to achieve such success?

Photo # 1 - Between Worlds: The Story of Florence Cook - a Woman Who Talked to Ghosts

The name Florence Cook is firmly embedded in the history of spiritualism – all the inhabitants of the United Kingdom of the 19th century knew about her experiments, and not only prominent scientists of that time were interested in her activities, but also writers, psychologists and even members of royal families. We tell the story of a legendary medium who was able to prove to people that death is just an intermediate stage between the past and the present.

The future legend of spiritualism was born on June 3, 1856 in one of the north-east boroughs of London. Her family belonged to the middle class – her father was engaged in construction, and her mother was a housewife. From childhood, Florence showed her psychic abilities – according to her mother, the girl from an early age had the ability to feel spirits, which often frightened others.

However, the first time that Florence was able to demonstrate her talents in full force, was an incident that occurred in 1870 – then a group of Florence’s classmates gathered in the Cook house, who decided to hold a session of spiritualism called table turning. At the beginning, the girl did not want to take part in the process, fearing the possible consequences, but her mother, who supported her daughter, allowed her to prove herself. Sitting at the table, young Florence was able to establish contact with the ghost in a matter of minutes, as a result of which the table, which was a conductor for their communication, began to spin at an unimaginable speed, and then rose into the air with Cook herself.

Florence Cook (c.1856-1904) was an English medium who claimed to materialise a spirit named Katie King. Seen here in later life, sitting in a garden with a dog on her lap. Date: circa late 19th century

Florence Cook

This incident marked the beginning of Florence’s career – since then, residents of London, who knew about her extraordinary abilities, began to regularly contact her. However, the more often Cook conducted spiritualistic seances, the more her strength grew, and the process itself often began to go beyond security – for example, once during a seance, Florence soared in the air, and the ghosts completely undressed her in the presence of participants in the process.

After this incident, the girl’s mother insisted on establishing certain safety rules – from that moment on, Florence began to receive visitors exclusively in the dining room of their house. During the sessions, the medium herself was inside a huge wardrobe – the girl tied herself to a chair in order to remain motionless in a trance state, while clients were outside and communicated with the spirits through a small hole made in the closet door.

Very soon Florence had influential admirers – members of wealthy families who turned to Cook for help, tried in every possible way to thank her for the work done. Some simply paid generously for the sessions, others did advertisements for her, but the most grateful was the lawyer Charles Blackburn – after contacting Florence, he provided her with an annual allowance, which allowed the medium to fully focus on his own activities and conduct sessions for free, without thinking about the monetary side of the issue.

In 1872, a spirit appeared in Cook’s practice, which glorified her not only throughout London, but throughout the United Kingdom. During one of the sessions, a ghost appeared in front of Florence, calling himself Cathy King. According to her, she was the daughter of the famous pirate Henry Morgan and returned to the earthly world to pay for the sins she committed during her lifetime.

Since then, Katie has become a regular guest at Cook’s sessions, and a few months later, more than half of Londoners already knew her. They described the ghost as a small white spot that, with each new appearance, took on more and more human form, filling with ectoplasm. Already at the end of April 1872, clients of the medium could see Cathy in the guise of a woman in white robes, whose image did not in any way give out a ghost in her.

This phenomenon became a whole event for the residents of London – Florence Cook was recognized as a genius of materialization, and the number of her clients grew every day. At the same time, the power of the medium also grew – a year after the first appearance of the famous spirit King, Cook was able to achieve her full presence in the world of the living – now visitors could not only touch Cathy, but even photograph her with a flash, which was previously considered impossible by representatives of spiritualism.

However, there were also those who did not believe in Florence’s ability and passionately dreamed of her exposure. One of such people was the lawyer William Folkman, who decided at all costs to expose the medium. During his session, he abruptly jumped up and grabbed the hand of the ghost of Katie King, wanting to prove that she was Florence in disguise. However, Folkman’s plans were not destined to come true – instead of the long-awaited exposure, he saw an angry spirit literally dissolve in front of his eyes, and when he opened the cabinet door, he found Cook unconscious, tied to a chair.

Florence Cook, Katie King and William Crookes

As the assistants of the medium present in the house later reported, William Folkman provoked the so-called ectoplasmic stroke, a phenomenon in which the sudden interference of an outsider in a spiritualistic session provokes too rapid “absorption” of the energy released by the ghost into the medium’s body, which is fraught with serious mental and physical disorders. and sometimes death.

Fortunately, Florence managed to avoid serious consequences – after this incident, it took her only a few weeks to recover, and rumors about the reality of Katie King’s ghost only attracted new clients to Cook’s house, and also drew attention to her activities of one of the prominent scientists of that time.

Upon learning of the incident at Florence’s home, renowned scientist William Crookes decided to collaborate with Cook. He bought an apartment for her in London and began to regularly participate in her seances. When he first saw Katie King’s spirit, he immediately checked where the medium was at the moment the ghost appeared, and found that she was sitting motionless in her place while Katie wandered around the room.

To prove the reality of what is happening, Crookes began to attract outside observers to his work and tighten the conditions for the sessions. So, Florence began to be tied more tightly to her chair, in the room where she was, it was decided to leave the “onlookers”, and once one of the participants in the process even tied Cook’s hair around a nail nailed to the floor, but all these measures did not prevent the medium from establishing contact with Katy – the spirit continued to regularly appear at meetings with representatives of the earthly world.

The famous writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also mentioned this phenomenon in his works – in the book “History of Spiritualism” the author explains that in the beginning Cathy’s face strongly resembled the appearance of Florence herself, which often became the subject of controversy and all kinds of manipulations:

“This phenomenon is one of the mysteries of materialization, requiring study, not ridicule. The faces of ghosts that have only recently appeared in our world often resemble the faces of mediums. This is explained by the fact that the spiritual shell of the medium becomes the basis for the embodiment of the essence of the spirit, however, when they gain their own strength, their true faces are also manifested “

In addition, some researchers even managed to study the physical characteristics of the ghost of Katie King. One of the observers measured the pulse of the spirit, which was 75 beats per minute (while Florence’s pulse at the same moment was 90 beats per minute), and the other allegedly was able to cut off a strand of Katy’s hair – they were golden, and Cook was a bright brown-haired woman …

Florence Cook during a seance

However, the main evidence of the existence of the ghost was the photographs that Crookes regularly took during the sessions. The scientist managed to take about 60 pictures, some of which were attended by Florence and Katie at the same time. Unfortunately, only a few of them have survived to this day, and skeptics argued that the footage was indistinct and could not serve as real proof of the existence of the spirit.

One way or another, everything ended in May 1874. During one of the sessions, Katie approached Florence and addressed her with parting words, saying that it was “time for her to leave.” When Cook regained consciousness, she suffered a terrible tantrum, and when Crooks was able to calm the woman, King’s ghost was no longer in the room. This was the last time they saw the famous spirit.

After that, Florence’s life changed a lot. She left her career, married and moved to Wales, where she was engaged in housekeeping. However, six years later, Cook again returned to her former hobby, presenting the residents to the ghost of a certain Mary.

In 1880, during another spiritualistic seance, one of the participants decided to test the reality of the presented spirit and grabbed Mary’s hand, at the same time opening the curtain behind which Florence was. To the surprise of those present, the room of the medium was empty, and the “ghost” was Mrs. Cook herself. This scandal took on a very large-scale character, and Florence’s reputation was hopelessly damaged. True, most of her supporters believed that the deception on the part of the medium was not intentional – according to them, this phenomenon may be due to the state of trance, in which the summoned ghosts have power over the body of the medium.

Florence herself was extremely upset by the failure and henceforth conducted sessions only in the presence of an outside observer who was next to her at the time of immersion in a state of trance. But this did not help restore her reputation – people no longer believed that Cook could speak to the spirits of the dead. Florence spent the last years of her life in solitude, communicating only with her husband. She died in 1904 as a result of developing pneumonia. After her death, William Crookes sent a telegram to her husband, in which he expressed his sincere condolences, and also noted her incredible contribution to the development of spiritualism:

“I express my deepest condolences for the irreparable loss, and I also want to say that thanks to the mediumship of Mrs. Cook, the confidence that those we love continue to live and look at us from heaven has grown in my heart. And I am sincerely grateful to her for that “

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Spirituality

Statue of Virgin Mary ‘weeping blood’ in Italy

Italians are flocking to pray to a Virgin Mary statue after a child spotted it “crying tears of blood”. The incident was reported from Paolino Arnesano Square in the small town of Carmiano, Lecce.

The “Weeping Blood” statue of the Virgin Mary in Piazza Paolino Arnesano in Carmiano, Italy, attracted crowds of religious people who came to see the miracle:

Un nuovo rivolo lacrimale, sempre dallo stesso occhio, poco fa secondo i fedeli presenti ha segnato nuovamente il volto della Madonnina in piazza Paolino Arnesano.

Gepostet von Andrea Vivi Citta am Dienstag, 4. August 2020

Carmiano is a small town in the province of Lecce, but after people learned about the miracle, the whole city first came to see it, and now many pilgrims from other cities arrived.

Riccardo Calabrese, a priest of the Church of Sant Antoni Abate, said it was unclear if the incident was “a miracle, the result of warm weather at the moment, or worst of all, someone’s joke.”

“All the time I was next to the statue, I saw a procession of people who, out of curiosity or faith, left their homes to gather there. I saw children, teenagers, adults, and elderly people meeting at our beloved Virgin Mary statue, and they all looked up at her face,” Calabrese was quoted as saying by The Sun.

The local newspaper Repubblica reported that the Bishop of Lecce announced that the church would conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.

Organizing all sorts of “miracles” is a traditional family business for priests: they constantly announce crying icons and statues, or some other miracles. Therefore, there is no trust in them – especially if, to calm the public, they declare the incident a joke or write off everything as a result of a heat wave. Now times have changed and if earlier the priests organized “miracles” to control the sheep, now they explain the miracles “scientifically” so that the flock would not worry. 

Carmiano is not just a town, but a town that has developed around a Christian commune. We do not know the details of the doctrine of this commune, but, as Wikipedia writes, the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos is considered a special holiday for the local community, which falls on August 15 among Catholics. And it must have coincided that just on the eve of the holiday, among the many statues, it was the statue of the Virgin Mary that wept. 

There are no such coincidences in nature and it is absolutely unambiguous about a miracle, or more precisely, we are talking about a sign, a horrible sign. 

We do not know what awaits Italy. Maybe there will be some kind of geological catastrophe, maybe Italy will again become the focus of some kind of pandemic, maybe Italy will face a war related to the current conflicts in the Mediterranean. However, the catastrophe may be of a cosmic scale. 

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