Monday, October 28, 2013


If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
- Marc Chagall

The Artist with Yellow Christ, 1938

Chagall was a Jewish painter, but during WW2 he included the figure of Jesus over and over in his work, including the above painting: The Artist with Yellow Christ, 1938.
Chagall has painted a Jewish Jesus; his loincloth appears to be a Jewish prayer shawl with its two blue stripes. The old Jewish man in the background connects the torture of Jesus with the torture of the Jews happening as the painting was being executed. 
The simple hieroglyph of the artist's hand held to his head conveys his struggle to understand how the human mind is capable of such doubleness: a Europe that was able to worship one Jew while it murdered millions of others. With just two horizontal lines Chagall transforms a simple crucifixion scene into a reflection on the Holocaust.
It is Chagall's genius that he was able to communicate so profoundly with such simplicity. No wonder he is one of the best loved Moderns.

The Jewish Museum of New York is currently showing several of these Christ paintings as part of the exhibition Chagall, love war exile (until February 2, 2014).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Exhibition on Yoga

Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Opens October 19
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC.
"Yoga is a global phenomenon practiced by millions of people seeking spiritual insight and better health. Few, however, are aware of yoga's dynamic history. Opening this fall at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery is Yoga: The Art of Transformation, the world's first exhibition of yogic art. Temple sculptures, devotional icons, vibrant manuscripts, and court paintings created in India over 2,000 years—as well as early modern photographs, books, and films—reveal yoga's mysteries and illuminate its profound meanings."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lao Tse's Description of the Self

It won’t be seen when you look
won’t be grasped when you reach
won’t be heard when you turn an ear
It’s not bright above nor dark below
seamless and un-namable
It is from and goes to no-thing
the no-form form-source
subtle and without image
preceding conception
passing beyond
trace It to Its no-beginning
track It to Its no-end
It can’t be known
only lived as ease in your own life
to understand where you’re from
is the nut of knowledge
Lao Tze,  Tao te Ching, V. 14

Image source: Freer Sackler Collection

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shri Durga

We are presently at the culmination of Navaratri, a nine night festival dedicated to Shri Durga, the fiercely protective Mother Goddess, who defeated the demonic forces threatening her children: the gods and human beings.

"The greatest thing is the blessings of the Mother, the way She looks after you, the way She loves you and the way She cares for you, which you should never take for granted. You must meditate, it's very important. No question, without meditation you can't keep yourself all right, it's no question. Meditation is the most important thing which must be followed, because that's how you come close to Her vibrations, come to Her nature."

-Shri Mataji Nirmal Devi, Navaratri 2002