Essence of Christ
- The idea is not to capture the vision of Christ..
- The radiance is radiated outwards, which represents the essence of source..
- The environmental aspect is also represented..
- The mathematical figures represent the different emotions Christ reveals from our selves..
- The letters are not used to contain, but a release of the spiritual halo..
- The painting also reveals the different levels of love..
- We have never seen, therefore we can only feel, though the sense of soul….
- The painting drops down from higher dimensions, showing are current world, and the intuitions which inter-twine us..
- This is what provides strength and substance to this art, and propels it beyond just paint on canvas..
- As well as a master piece, it’s also a centre piece..
- This is the most accurate reflection of Christ ever….enjoy.
“Is it wrong to have
pictures of Jesus?”
When God first gave His Law to mankind, He began with a statement of who He is: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt” (Exodus 20:2) with a warning that Israel was to have no other God but Him. He immediately followed that by forbidding the making of any image of anything “in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4) for the purpose of worshiping or bowing down to it. The fascinating thing about the history of the Jewish people is that they disobeyed this commandment more than any other. Again and again, they made idols to represent gods and worshiped them; beginning with the creation of the golden calf during the very time God was writing out the Ten Commandments for Moses (Exodus 32)! Idol worship not only drew the Israelites away from the true and living God, it led to all manner of other sins including temple prostitution, orgies, and even the sacrifice of children.
Of course, simply having a picture of Jesus hanging in a home or church does not mean people are practicing idolatry. It is possible that a portrait of Jesus or a crucifix can become an object of worship, in which case the worshiper is at fault. But there is nothing in the New Testament that would specifically forbid a Christian from having a picture of Jesus. Such an image could well be a reminder to pray, to refocus on the Lord, or to follow in Christ’s footsteps. But believers should know that the Lord cannot be reduced to a two-dimensional image and that prayer or adoration is not to be offered to a picture. A picture will never be a complete image of God or accurately display His glory, and should never be a substitute for how we view God or deepen our knowledge of Him. And, of course, even the most beautiful representation of Jesus Christ is nothing more than one artist’s conception of what the Lord looked like.
As it is, we don’t know what Jesus looked like. If the details of His physical appearance were important for us to know, Matthew, Peter, and John would certainly have given us an accurate description, as would Jesus’ own brothers, James and Jude. Yet these New Testament writers offer no details about Jesus’ physical attributes. We are left to our imaginations.
We certainly don’t need a picture to display the nature of our Lord and Savior. We have only to look at His creation, as we are reminded in Psalm 19:1–2: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” In addition, our very existence as the redeemed of the Lord, sanctified and made righteous by His blood shed on the cross, should have Him always before us.
The Bible, the very Word of God, is also filled with non-physical descriptions of Christ that capture our imaginations and thrill our souls. He is the light of the world (John 1:5); the bread of life (John 6:32–33); the living water that quenches the thirst of our souls (John 4:14); the high priest who intercedes for us with the Father (Hebrews 2:17); the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11, 14); the spotless Lamb of God (Revelation 13:8); the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2); the way, the truth, the life (John 14:6); and the very image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). Such a Savior is more beautiful to us than any piece of paper hanging on the wall.
In her book Gold Cord, missionary Amy Carmichael tells of Preena, a young Indian girl who became a Christian and lived in Miss Carmichael’s orphanage. Preena had never seen a picture of Jesus; instead, Miss Carmichael prayed for the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to each of the girls, “for who but the Divine can show the Divine?” One day, Preena was sent a package from abroad. She opened it eagerly and pulled out a picture of Jesus. Preena innocently asked who it was, and when she was told that it was Jesus, she burst into tears. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Why are you crying?” Little Preena’s reply says it all: “I thought He was far more beautiful than that”
is there any portrait painted at the time of the Gurus? People claim that there is one of Guru Teg Bahadur ji, which was painted in Dhaka (now Bangladesh). Guru ji had stayed with the family of Balaki Das in Dhaka for an extended period. When it came time to depart, Balaki Das’ mother got distraught and pleaded with the Guru to at least allow a portrait so that she could cherish the memory of the Guru. The Guru agreed, and a royal painter named Ahsan was commissioned for the portrait. The story goes that the painter, no matter how hard he tried, couldn’t do justice to the features of Guru’s face. Finally, the Guru took the brush from the painter and drew his own face. This story, among other books is narrated in ‘Mehma Prakash’, written in the 18th century. This portrait was kept in the Guruduara Sangat Tola in Dhaka. In 1971, when the Pakistani forces surrendered to General Jagjit Singh, he deputed Captain Bhag Singh to take care of the Guruduara. Captain Bhag Singh brought the Guru’s portrait to Victoria Museum in Calcutta, and a copy of the portrait was placed in the Guruduara Sangat Tola in Dhaka. The original is now kept in the museum in Calcutta.
Portraits of the guru’s started being produced around mid 18th century. During guru nanak’s time there was no identified style of art in the Punjab. Artists back then were attracted to courtly settings or high-end institutions; kartarpur where guru nanak spent his last years was not of a courtly reputation. the Mughal empire, with which such portraiture came was not yet fully formed, Baber was still busy conquering land. After guru nanaks period, from the fifth guru to the last, art established under Akbar, was flourishing throughout Punjab and the neighbouring hill states. yet still no portraits of the guru’s were made. this is possibly, perhaps because Sikhs yet did not have a courtly atmosphere which naturally attracted artists or simply because the guru’s were scared because that it would lead to idolatry . post the guru period 17th century the Mughal style started breaking up and small provinces like lucknow and Patna started becoming centres of artist development and power. this led artists to live of their own recourses and roam the country for jobs. its believed it was these artist that created the first sets of portraits of the guru’s.
Who is Jesus Christ? I see him as a wonderful parallel with the person of Nanak, the first Sikh Guru. There is no direct connection between Christ and the Sikh Gurus. They do not intersect each other. The two form separate and distinct temporal and spatial points in our history, but when we look closely at them, they illuminate each other. By looking at them as parallel phenomena, we not only learn more about the founders of Christianity and Sikhism, but we also get a better sense of ourselves, of our neighbours, and of the world we live in. Both Christ and Nanak are remembered in almost identical ways. Churches resound with hymns like “Christ is the light of the world,” and Sikh Gurdwaras with “satgur nanak pragatia miti dhundh jag chanan hoia” – “as Nanak appeared, mist and darkness disappeared into light.” The powerful and substance less light used across cultures and across centuries reveals the common patterns of our human imagination.
Jesus and Nanak ushered a way of life that was illuminating and liberating. It is interesting that both claimed they had no control over their speech. Spontaneously, effortlessly, they revealed what they were endowed with. According to the gospel of John: “I do not speak of my own accord… what the Father has told me is what I speak” And Guru Nanak, “haun bol na janda mai kahia sabhu hukmao jio” – “I don’t know how to speak, I utter what you command me.” In each case, then, the Divine is the Voice.
Their message too bears a striking resemblance. Against ceremonial rituals and orthodox formalities, both Jesus and Nanak directed their followers to the human condition. For them cleanliness did not reside in external codes and behaviour; it was an inner attitude towards life and living. Just as Christ denounced the superiority of all those who walked about in long robes, Nanak denounced those who wore loincloths and smeared themselves with ashes.
Most importantly, both Jesus and Nanak showed us the path of love. In the Gospels Jesus says, “The greatest commandment of all is this – love your God with all your soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.” In the same vein, the Sikh Gurus applauded love as the supreme virtue, “sunia mania, manu kita bhau.” Bhau or love is passionate and takes lovers to those depths of richness and fullness where there is freedom from all kinds of prejudices and limitations. But we need to put their words in practice. Love for the Divine would open and expand us towards our families and neighbours; it would enable us to cast aside racism, sexism, and classism so prevalent in our contemporary society. We need to remember their message of love for all our “neighbours” – high and low, black and white, men and women too. In fact Christ revealed himself first to Mary. Throughout his ministry, he healed and helped women, and reminds us of “mother’s joy” that a human being has been born into the world. The Mother is an important figure in Sikh scripture, for the transcendent One is both father and mother, and Guru Nanak repeatedly points to the womb in which we are first lodged. Mother’s body and joy, and the earth, our common matrix to which we all equally belong, are celebrated throughout the sacred scripture of the Sikhs. But of course, memory is selective and the patriarchs with their access to the words of Christ and Nanak have remembered, interpreted, and kept them for themselves. It is important that each of us begins to see the Christian and Sikh scriptures from our own eyes and experience their rich legacy.
So, who is Jesus Christ for me, a Sikh? In my mind he is an enlightener, and though I may not see him as one of the Ten Sikh Gurus, he is a distinct and vital parallel who continues to play a very significant role in my life as a Sikh. In a way, I trace my happiness and at-hominess in contemporary America because he opened me up to another mode of spirituality at a very young age. He did not take anything away from my being a Sikh. In fact, Jesus Christ concretised the message of Guru Nanak: “Countless are the ways of meditation, and countless are the avenues of love.” (Japji, 17). Jesus has been a wonderful mirror who in his unique form and vocabulary promoted my self-understanding. The image of Christ imbedded in my childhood has made the verses of the Gurus alive for me. I can see and feel what Guru Nanak meant: “Accept all humans as your equals, and let them be your only sect” (Japji 28), or Guru Gobind Singh: “manas ki jat sabhe eke paihcanbo” – “recognise the single caste of humanity.” However, it also complicates the situation. Coming from the pluralist tradition of Sikhism where the holy book contains not only the verses of the Sikh Gurus but also of Hindu and Muslim saints, and where the Ultimate is received in a variety of perceptions and relationships, I do have problems with the exclusivism of Jesus. The Sikh Gurus reiterate that Allah and Ram are the same, so is the Muslim Mosque and the Hindu Temple. Emerging historically and geographically between the eastern tradition of Hinduism and the western faith of Islam, Sikhism whole-heartedly accepts both eastern and western perceptions of the Divine, and their various modes of worship. But when Christ alone is declared the Omega Point, or Baptism the exclusive way to the Kingdom of God, then where do I stand? As a Sikh I have no place.
Personally, I find it hard to understand how the God of Genesis becomes the biological father of Christ in the Gospels. According to Genesis, God creates the earth, animals, Adam and Eve – but he remains distant and far away. How can this totally transcendent God become the Father of Christ? How can he beget Jesus? Now Guru Nanak is not viewed as an incarnation of the Divine; rather, he is an enlightener whose inspired poetry becomes the embodiment of the Transcendent One. I guess the issue of incarnation really troubles me as a Sikh. Creation in Christianity is modelled on a distant artist, more in the sense of a commander-in-chief, rather than on the biological mother who actually bodies forth her offspring. The Virgin Birth of Christ sends negative messages about our bodies, our world, and of our selves. Now that I think of it, saying “Our Father” in a language that was not my mother tongue did not make me any less committed to Sikhism. But it has left an indelible paternal figure in my imagination, which – in spite of all my Sikh and feminist mental footnotes – still dominates. I sometimes wonder how my world would have been shaped had I attended a Hindu school and visited goddess Kali’s temple, which was close to my home! In postcolonial Sikh society it was safe and secure to go to Convent schools and even attend Catholic services because it was all very “distant.” But the Hindu tradition so close geographically, historically, anthropologically, and psychologically, was all too dangerous and threatening.
I find similar fears and phobias now circulating in our contemporary western society. As our world is getting to be a smaller and smaller place we are getting more and more afraid of losing our self, of losing our “identity.” So instead of opening ourselves up and appreciating others, we are becoming more narrow and insular. Our tunnel vision makes us grope in darkness. How can we remain afraid and threatened by each other’s religions? It is not a matter of simple tolerance, and it is not simply mastering facts and figures about other religious traditions, and it is certainly not about converting and conversions from one faith to another. As Jesus resurfaces in my mind, I realise the beauty and power of his personality for me, and I realise the urgency of breaking our narrow mental walls. Just as he entered the imagination of us Sikhs in far away India, Sikhs and others have to enter into the imagination of people here in the West. We have to see the “light” that Jesus and Nanak ushered in for us.
So many Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Middle-easterners have made their homes here, but how little we know about each other’s spiritual worldviews! We may sit in the same classroom, work in the same office, and fly in the same planes, but we remain segregated at a fundamental level. During the first waves of migrations, the racial policies pretty much forced into homogenising matters, and in recent waves, sacred spaces and sacred times are confined to ethnic ghettos and left to their individual communities.