Jesus is often shown as a king or a religious teacher, but in this image he appears as a guru or holy man straight out of the Hindu tradition of India. It is an image which crosses the religious divides.
In Hinduism, Jesus is regarded as truly divine, but not uniqely divine. He is seen as one of the many incarnations of divinity, and perhaps even the greatest of them all. But he is not given the unique place which Christians give him, as the one and only Son of God. One Hundu teacher, Swami Sivananda, said of Jesus: “Two thousand years ago, divinity incarnated on this planet to show all humanity the glorious path to everlasting life by actually living the divine life upon this earth.”
This image shows Jesus in a way that is an interesting meeting of the Hindu and Christian traditions. He sits and gestures like a guru, but the marks of the crucifixion on his hands have been given special emphasis. He also appears to be levitating, which might be a reference to the ascension of Jesus back into heaven after his resurrection. Finally, he is sitting in the middle of a turbulent, windy background, which refers to the wind that was heard on the Day of Pentecost, heralding the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the opening of Jesus’s good news to all peoples.
This is a picture of Jesus that wants to cross the barriers that exist between religious faiths. By staying true to Jesus as he is shown in the four Gospels, but showing him at home among the Hindu saints, it seems to say that Jesus transcends religion and appeals to people of every faith – or none.
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Christians have been making images of Jesus since the early centuries of the church. In this section, we look at pictures of the face of Christ – some of them centuries old, some of them from today.
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