This is a painting of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi , painted by William Simpson in 1862. It is one of the most salient Shiva temples in Shiva’s Holy City.
Now here is the thing – we often see people posting pictures of the great Temple of Zeus , or that of Artemis at Ephesus … and these are undeniably magnificent reconstructions. Except they are just that – reconstructions of the past, depictions of how things might have looked and might yet look again.
There is nothing wrong with that. We do indeed most dearly hope that our Greek (or, for that matter, our Roman, our Celtic, our Germanic) Cousins do so manage to one day get such resurrections into the living sphere of architecture and masonry just as they are already dwelling within their hearts !
But you see – this Hindu Temple site … even though the painting was done in the mid-late 1800s … the Temple still exists today. Not as ruins, but as living, breathing, site of pious devotion. Some things have changed of course – the King of Kashi is nowadays a more ceremonial role than it was then [and it is interesting that the King was of a Brahmin lineage], yet this really does demonstrate, to me anyway, why there is something incredible and emulatable for the Western Indo-European Religious Revival to be found for us in Bharat.
And after all – Vishvanath , this means “Lord of All/The Universe”, not merely “Lord in India”. We just know Him by other names and other titles in these other IE spheres. Zeus, Odin, and Jupiter, just to name a few.
So it is a great thing – a glorious thing – that there are lingering ambitions to one day (re-)build Indo-European houses of worship, the Houses of the Gods, in European cities and countryside.
Nothing can ever take away from that other than turgid lack of vision. Or, in the most temporary of senses, force of arms or explosions which sought to dismantle them in the first place.
But in the mean time, until those are rebuilt: I am quite proud that the cousins of the Europeans – the other (indeed, these days the major) ‘half’ of “Indo-Europa” – have kept up the Houses, kept up the Worship, kept up the Rites.
So that we have somewhere to look to and to shelter with during this present Long Night. With our Kin.