We arrived at the Aga Khan Museum fully equipped with our DSLR cameras to capture every angle and detail possible.
After driving for ten hours and sleeping for only three, he wasn’t the one asking for us to reschedule our viewing time for later in the day. Instead, upon entering the Museum, he turned to me and asked, “What should we focus our pictures on? What should we be sure to capture?”
I looked at him and felt his love encircle my body, urging me to spread my wings and fly. I smiled and replied, “Numbers and patterns,” and we set to work. It is to him that I would like to dedicate this post, for if it wasn’t for his undying love and encouragement, this post would have never reached completion. Sprinkled throughout this post is a sampling of the beauty our eyes, souls, and cameras captured. I’d also like to acknowledge the Light that lights my curiosity and fuels my personal search for truth.
The entrance corridor served as our passageway into the enlightened being. We moved slowly, pulled by a magical serenity. Our curiosity immediately led us to the courtyard, where the sun’s rays play with darkness, and cast transient geometric shadows in all directions from the heart of this enlightened being.
We individually journeyed around the galleries, leaving space in our togetherness, letting the winds of heaven dance between us, staying close enough to sense each other’s presence, filling up our own cups with light, music, art, meaning, and love.
Every time he looked my way, I was counting: the sides of an artifact, light fixtures on the ceiling, or figures in a painting. I was truly in my element as the energies of my body, heart, and mind blended together to find the hidden meanings of the architecture, layout, and details in and around the enlightened being.
I recalled Mawlana Hazar Imam’s words and asked my soul to decode his words:
“The new Toronto Museum will take as its theme the concept of light — suffusing the building from a central courtyard, through patterned glass screens. From the outside, it will glow by day and by night, lit by the sun and the moon. This use of light speaks to us of the Divine Light of the Creator, reflected in the glow of individual human inspiration and vibrant, transparent community.”
My soul urged me to sketch the two triads he referred to:
My soul illuminated a pattern: I am an individual child of the universe, created from the ‘single Soul and its Mate’, but I am also part of the universal community. My task is to cultivate the spark of the Divine Light inside of me, so that like the sun, I too, exist to spread light all around me.
Just as I had this thought, my eyes encountered a crystalline sapphire-blue dome jutting out into the sky. I wondered why I had not seen it earlier. The dome’s serene hue, strength, and beauty gripped my heart, gradually awakening a latent force inside of me.
It must be the crowning glory of the enlightened being, the khatam of all the artifacts here, I thought. Why else would there be a window perfectly showcasing it?
I noticed how each glass piece was given its unique and rightful place to receive the sun’s rays and create a gradient of shades and shadows. How remarkable it is, I thought, that the sun’s light travels over 90 million miles and establishes an ethereal, and yet, powerful presence here on earth. If the sun’s light can do that, then imagine what the Light of the Absolute can do…
I stood there mesmerized, earnestly asking my soul to tell me more about this glittering star…
What is it saying to me? Why isn’t it perfectly symmetrical? What does it represent?
Several weeks of searching ensued. And my soul finally lifted the veil:
The opulent glass dome symbolizes Monoreality, the One Life of the Universe – kindled by the Light of the Absolute, it hosts the rise and fall of all civilizations and the birth and death of all shining stars, and weaves the essential triadic pattern through it all:
- All 920 pieces of the dome are made of the same glass. This represents the truth of unity: We are all created from a single Soul by a single Creator, and thus, we are undeniably connected.
- Every one of the glass planes is unique; there are no two that are the same. This represents the truth of diversity found on earth, among the multitude of men and women, in artistic expression, and in the entire cosmos. There is strength in diversity, but diversity itself must be protected, cultivated, and honored for the strength to be realized.
- Each piece has a place in the formation of this strikingly perfect structure. This represents the truth of pluralism: mankind, united in purpose and diverse in form, has the duty to create a just world in which everything has its place and perfectly reflects the Oneness of the single Soul and our single Creator.
Pluralism is to Diversity as the Moon is to the Sun, as Eve is to Adam, as our logic is to emotion. It is the next step in our evolution and our inherent link back to our single Creator.