Sacred Sites

The Holy Land


Just looking at this map I knew that this line crossed “the Holy Land”. Not Judaea or Jerusalem where Jesus ended his life but Galilee, the land of his ministry. Was this the insult that Maurice had hinted at, that these lines would, by their direction honour the christian faith as well as the Zoroastrian Faith?

holy-land As it turns out, no! The line does pass though Galilee, through the southern end of the Sea of Galilee in fact. It passes close to Nazareth and Sepporis (modern day Tsipori) which compete for the honour of having hosted Jesus’ lost early years and is reasonably close to Aurantis and Magdala, which compete for the honour of being the homeland of Mary Magdalene, depending on who you think she was.


haifa It does not pass exactly through any of these places. I had forgotten that this is an essentially Persian event. I am beginning to believe that the positioning of these lines was nothing to do with the Shah’s celebration but was integral in the original positioning of Persepolis two thousand five hundred years ago. Again at first glance the line appears to pass through the port area of Haifa and then across Mt Carmel to the sea .

location-of-bahai However a different view shows that the real significance is that it passes through the shrine of the Baha’i faith. It is tempting to break away and do a completely separate page on the Baha’i faith and possibly I will. in the short term I will try to do it justice in a few sentences.

The majority of islamic Iranians belong to the Shi’ite branch of the faith. they represent a large propotion of the shi’ite moslems in the world. In the 1790’s a belief developed that a new prophet known as the Mahdi would arise to give a new direction to the faith in the 1840’s Siyyid Ali Muhammed Shirazi claimed to be the Mahdi and took the name of “Bab” which means gateway.

The Bab taught that his was a teaching of spiritual enlightenment and that he wanted no influence over the framing or execution of laws which should be a secular political process. After a long drawn out process of denegration the Bab was executed.

bahai He left behind a multitude of followers who were declared heretics. One of these followers was Abdu’l-Bahá, identified by the Bab as a successor and a more important prophet. Abdu’l-Bahá clandestinely rescued the remains of Bab, removed them from Iran and transported them to a sacred site on the slopes of Mt Carmel. Here the remains are interred in a shrine. the line from persepolis passes through this shrine!

bahai-480 Not surprisingly this shrine is the centre of the Bahai religion.

The shrine was established in the days when Mt Carmel was within the Ottoman Empire but it is now within the jewish state of israel. The persecution of the Bahai has been and still is intense. It would appear that the Shi’ite muslims find it difficult to carry out the persecution on purely theological grounds, as over the years the Bahai’ites have been accused of being the agents of any foreign threat to Iran. these accusations have included over the years; Imperial Russia, Communist Russia, British Imperialism, USmanipulators and more recently acting as Israeli spies.

Significantly Bahi’s were also accused by mainstream Shi’ite Muslims of being key supporters of the government of the Shah. Was the Shah was a Baha’i supporter? Even if this was true why was the shrine of Bab put on the slopes of Mt Carmel and how could the orientation of the camp have been made to facilitate this alignment?

This could be the calculated insult? But Maurice did not get it absolutely correct. The Bahi’s are in fact Shi’ite Muslims. To call them anything else is a bit like refusing to accept that protestants are christians.

Mandata Omkareshwar

holy-river-narmada The other end of this same line also passes through a sacred site. This time it is the Hindu site of Mandata Omkareshwar. Ihis island has on it a series of hills which when seen from above spell out the letters OM. There are seven sacred rivers in India of which only one, the Ganges is well known outside of hindu India. Manadata is sacred three times as it lies at the junction of two of the rivers, the Narmada and the Kavari but also because it is the site of one of Shiva’s Jyotirlinga shrines (sacred pillars).

mandhata At the end of the British Raj in india, the separation of India and Pakistan was intended to separate Muslims from Hindu’s and in this way allow both countries and their inhabitants to live in peace. There is however still sectarian violence in Pakistan and it is not only the Hindus and Christians who suffer. There has been sectarian violence in which Shi’ite Muslims are being murdered by Sunni Muslims.

omkareshwar In this complex situation it seems extremely strange that one of the alignments from Persepolis should be to one of the most sacred of Hindu shrines. There are only three points on this line so any one of the points could have been placed to line up with the others, but there are now to many alignments to be explained away. Clearly the site of the camp at Persopolis is indeed a very special place! A place apparently giving deference to the disparity of religious belief, Zoroastrians, Hindu’s and Bahai’ites

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