India: Jesus in yogic posture to adorn church hall

KOLLAM (KERALA): In a fusion of Indian and Western spiritual streams, an idol of Jesus Christ resembling the Buddha meditating under a ‘bodhi’ tree is to be consecrated in a Church prayer hall at a lakeside hamlet near here shortly.

The idol in golden-and-copper hues installed in the meditation hall named ‘Jagat Jyoti Mandir’, built by the Catholic church at Parimanam village, depicts the Christ sitting cross-legged in ‘padmasanam’ posture with his right hand raised showing the ‘yogic mudra’ and the left hand resting on the lap as Hindu and Buddhist sages are often depicted in Indian art for centuries.

The mantra ‘aum yeshu christuve namaha’, echoing the vedic invocation of the supreme being, has been displayed prominently in the prayer hall.

“It is an attempt in incarnating the Christian experience in the religious ethos of India by bringing about a blending of Western and Indian art forms to transfuse the Christian theology in Indian motifs. The mandir will provide the right ambience for meditation,” said Fr Romance Antony, Director of the Quilon Service Society under the Kollam Catholic diocese.

Set on the sylvan banks of the Ashtamudi lake, the mandir was also designed as a place to promote inter-religious dialogue through meditation, prayer and conventions, he said.

A granite block resembling a natural rock has been placed before the idol where the priests would be performing the mass by sitting near it.

Above the idol is a painting depicting the Last Supper, again employing Indian motifs. The painting shows the Christ and the 12 apostles sitting on the floor cross-legged with banana leaves spread out before them for the bread and wine to be served.

Two traditional ‘nilavilakkus’, the bellmetal lamps used in the Hindu temples in Kerala, have been placed to light up the hall, dispensing with the western candles.

The mandir would be declared opened by Bishop Stanly Roman of the Kollam diocese on January 26.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday January 26, 2007.
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