Wednesday, June 1, 2011
In 1980 I was commissioned to paint a large picture on Jesus the Teacher, which is now in the Ecumenical Centre in Whitefield, Bangalore. The idea of this painting was to show that the essential teaching of the Guru Jesus is about compassion. He represents the Burning Bush, which Moses saw in the desert, and which when he approached it, asked him to remove his shoes as the ground was holy. Then a voice from the fire said: "I am who am: YHWH. I have seen the suffering of my people!" This was the central revelation of the One who is beyond any name, as the name YHWH cannot be pronounced, as it has no vowels revealed to us. So the Jewish people referred to this Lord as Adonai, the Holy One of Israel. But still, this mysterious "I AM" whose word resounds in the Universe, is also an eye, that sees the suffering of human beings, and other creatures. This eye is also the Third Eye, and is an eye which sheds a tear, in which human beings are born. I painted this image soon after the notorious 'Bagalpur Blindings', which shocked the nation. At that time Dalits in Bihar were blinded, and this cruel act revealed a blindness in the whole social system that allowed such a thing to happen. The Compassionate Teacher is concerned about blindness, and the human need to be awakened, and see the reality. This theme of vision as opposed to blindness is I feel the basis for an art which emerges out of compassion.