ON THIS RESURRECTION DAY
It is Paradise we want here. Joy is it. We ask for well-being beyond belief, nothing short of Heaven on Earth. Art is only that, even if it is gathering up all the rambunctious elements of materials and life and drama and some kind of tumultuous outpouring of beauty, or even the semblance of ugliness―we wanna go higher and make it all the way.
Today is Easter. The Resurrection day. Up from the dead of the past, and all the turmoil of apparent human violence and ignorance and cruelty, the Christ in us rises up. Perhaps He never left Paradise, and that is how He could do what He did. We need Him in ourselves right now. In fact, we need to be our own versions of Him. He would want us to. “What I have done you can do also,” He told his students. Can we learn the lessons, is the question?
Most of the whole iconography of Western Christian Art got stuck on the pain and the sacrifice and the suffering of the Christ on the cross. It’s missing the point. All that suffering has no meaning without the Resurrection. And TODAY we celebrate that. This is one of the few paintings I know, The Resurrection in Grunewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece, painted in 1512-16, over 500 years ago, that had the audacity to actually depict the resurrected Christ. On the reverse side of the Altarpiece is one of the most harrowing, painful, and grueling depictions of the crucifixion. But that does not seem to matter much, as long as Grunwald had the final say of this ultimate act of ascendence over death.
Jesus had some precedents. The life of the Spirit was well explored before his time. The Greeks had their divine connection. And the Egyptians before that. Some even record evidence that Jesus traveled in India in the “lost years” and met Babaji and other yoga masters who helped define him as a Savior of the World. But this Paradise on Earth notion has been around for a very long time. This Greek sculpture is very famous in the Louvre: The Winged Victory of Samothrace. She is flowing upward to the Spiritual Garden of Delight, where we all want to go. “And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden, ” Joni Mitchel sang. We are still thinking about it, getting ourselves back to Paradise, that is. We have got to.
This “rising up” is an aspiration of Art and it always will be. Resurrection is its raison d’etre, its purpose for existence. The face of Christ has transcended all lower orders of being. He abides in the timeless, in the Stillness of the Peace of God. Where else is there for Him to be? He lives in Heaven all of the time. And wants us to go there with Him.
I painted this Jesus in Poland. Then I carried it over to Denmark and Anka Lalatovic bought it for her Center. It is one of my best. It captures the innocence of the Christ, the Gentleness of His nature. He has ascended into the Truth of His Being.
ART IN THE AGE OF COVID-19
We are always going to have some worldly pandemic of fear or disorder or self-imposed hell to escape. But who is the Artist of Life Who can rise above it all? Art in the age of COVID-19 is no different than art in any other era. The brutality of the Roman conquest and the complicity of the local powers conspired to send a Master of unconditional Love to his apparent death. Little did they know that hate could not conquer unconditional Love. The Divine Connection, when it is real and authentic, will always transcend the lower levels of motives and fears, brutality and death.
Art in these times of COVID-19 presses us to RISE UP. Today presses us to RISE UP. Resurrection Day is our day. We are compelled to RISE UP. Art at all times compels us to RISE UP. Will we do it? Will we claim this inheritance of Paradise here and now?
Islamic Tile work and Calligraphy are no less Resurrected in form. Bismilla is a word that is used to dedicate all actions and endeavors to God, especially by Islamic craftsmen dedicating their designs to a Divine adoration. Geometric order mixed with the free flow of calligraphic strokes combines in a kind of graphic ascendency. We are engulfed by a Beauty beyond words. The interlocking perfection of the geometry maintains a woven wonder that takes our minds beyond the particular elements into the Paradise of an all-pervasive holy order. And the words of the Holy Koran are brought into the mix with the most elegant calligraphy ever produced. The Mercy of God is upon us, even if we do not know what it is saying to us. We are engulfed by its Grace.
We have to pull ourselves together here on planet earth and cease all our self-destructive tendencies. Have we not suffered enough to resurrect into the necessity of Unity, of Wholeness and Divine Strength, of Cooperation that awakens us to take care of each other?
THE DIVINE MOTHER IS OUR HOPE
The Divine Mother is known by holy Masters as their Shakti Power. She is the Energy behind their actions. It is She whose unconditional Love pours through them for all humanity to benefit.
We are falling fast toward Resurrection. Where else could we go? What endeavor other than that could give real meaning to our lives? As above so below, and to restore the Kingdom of Paradise to these physical planes of existence is the only action we need to dedicate all of our actions. “Bismillah.” We pray to God, a Power greater than ourselves, to give us Mercy in these times of COVID-19. We Pray to the Divine Mother to restore our Faith in the Unknown and Trust Her to Provide what we need when we need it like She always has provided for us.
This is Saraswati, Goddess of the Arts, of Poetry and Divine Music. I invoke Her to come into us and give us inspiration. I invoke Her to come into us and give us Pure Joy. I invoke Her to come into us and give us the Ultimate gift of Immortal Life. I invoke Her to give solace to those who have lost a loved one in this crisis. I Invoke her to blanket us with the ultimate Divine Protection on this Resurrection Day.
Great Father of Truth and Mother of Manifestation, put us in touch with Peace and Joy beyond our own reason, high above the limitations of thought, of memory that does not contain this one remembrance of Your Totality. We seek to know our wholeness now, and in that Oneness of Life be delighted and grateful for the Perfect Happiness that is Your Will for us. We ask for Paradise today to be given to us, and we will receive whatever we request. AMEN.
PS. You can buy my new book here: bit.ly/SecondRay