How to Show Piety

When I visited some of the palaces of India, which were built for kings princes and even wives of kings and princes, I was amazed at just how much wealth these rulers and their progeny had collected, and just how much of that collected well with spent upon buildings, buildings for their own.

The grandest of all the buildings in India is the Taj Mahal. This building is not a palace, but the housing of a tomb. Carefully proportioned, ornate and delightful, and Emperor built a tribute, it is said to a wife who died, and I think he built a tribute to himself. Nothing lasts forever, but the Indian government is doing what it can to save the Taj Mahal and similar buildings from weathering caused by time and by pollution.

Today such buildings probably bringing more prosperity to India than the building of them sucked out wealth those centuries ago. Tourists and all the paraphernalia that tourists need (or think they need) bringing wealth as they gape, open mouthed, at what a man has built in order to praise himself.

But man does not only build to please can praise himself.

Many of the great buildings of the world are built by those who adhere to the great religions. The principles of these religions include moderation and submission to the superior being. How odd it is that moderation and submission should show itself in building great churches, mosques, tombs and temples. It is as though the prayers and conduct of these adherents is not in itself sufficient; they must show their piety and love for a world they cannot see by building something grand in the world they can see.

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