Articles and Publications


Why Do Civilizations Fall?
By Gopi Krishna
An essay adapted from an interview by Gene Kieffer,
in Kashmir, India, 1983

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To illustrate this I will tell you a story from the Arabian Nights. Have you ever read the story of Aladdin and the wonderful lamp? After Aladdin had gained control over the genie of the lamp, he became very rich and influential. He became respected everywhere. Finallly the king offered him his daughter in marriage. When the marriage was about to be performed he said to Aladdin, "You must build a palace suited to my daughter."

THE UNFINISHED PALACE

Aladdin agreed. That night he rubbed the lamp and the genie appeared. Aladdin said to him, "Now build me a palace which is peerless and have in it a big hall which has many windows on every side, and all those windows should be decorated with diamonds and other precious stones. But leave one window unfinished."

The genie executed the order. Overnight a palace was built which glittered in the sun, decorated with jewels, diamonds, and other precious stones. The king came to see the building and went from room to room in the company of Aladdin.

Finally, they went up to the highest story where the hall had been built. The king admired the hall and was wonderstruck by seeing the wealth decorating each window. When he saw the unfinished window, he turned to Aladdin and said, "Why is this one left unfinished in this beautiful hall? Have you exhausted all of your diamonds, and pearls, and precious stones?"

Aladdin said, "Perhaps that might have been the case, and they left it for your majesty to complete."

The King said, "Alright."

So the next day he ordered his treasury to be opened and the window to be completed by his own artists. For days they worked, and every precious stone in the treasury was exhausted. But the window was still unfinished. Finally Aladdin again called the genie and ordered him to complete that window also.

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