A statue of the famous Ismaili dai Nasir Khusraw in Badakhshan.
Rachael Kohn is a broadcaster, author, speaker on religion and spirituality. She regularly talks to some of the world’s leading religious historians and authors about curious moments in religious history that shatter the usual perception of the past and illuminate the present.
She is a sought after interviewer and her guests have included the Dalai Lama, Archibishop Rowan Williams, Nobel Laureates and other eminent figures. She has also interviewed scholars like Karen Armstrong.
She is heard across Australia and on the World Wide Web every week on ABC Radio National programs in The Spirit of Things and The Ark which are aired on Sundays.
On the Millenium Birth Aniversary of Nasir Khushraw, Ms. Kohn conducted an interview with Nasir Khusraw author and scholar, Dr. Alice Hunsberger. A shorter version of the interview was prepared and presented by Mashal Ali and Nurin Merchant at a literary night event hosted in Ottawa to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan. Their version is produced below with the kind consent of Ms. Kohn.
Rachael Kohn: Hello, this is “The Ark”, and I am Rachael Kohn
A thousand years ago a Persian poet defied the conventions of the day. His name was Nasir Khusraw, an Ismaili Muslim, a branch of Shi’a Islam.
Instead of lavishing praise on the sultan or his horse, he praised learning and spiritual purity. For example he beautifully wrote:
The world is a deep ocean
Its water is time.
Your body is like a shell, Your soul the pearl.
If you wish to have the value of a pearl,
Raise up the pearl of your soul with learning.
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