Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Visually Contextualized Reflection on a Hindu Festival

Last week I posted about the 2012 Dashain Prayer Book produced by Cody C. Lorance, which used a rangoli painting of mine on the cover.  As I looked into the Hindu festival of Dashain, I read that it is focused on the goddess Durga.  I confess that I've only lightly researched Dashain, and a related festival in India called Durga Puja, the "largest outdoor art festival on earth" (October 20-24).  Durga Puja takes place during the last several days of Navratri, another Hindu festival.

In any case, I think that the main point of each Durga festival is the celebration of the victory of Good over Evil, in the form of the Durga's victory over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura.  Unfortunately, this celebration of Good conquering Evil is ironic because it is spiritually a very dark and oppressive time when idols are fervently worshipped and the Giver of Life is unknown or ignored.

Seeing this image of Durga slaying the buffalo demon reminded me of another Hindu-style painting I once did called Jesus' Work on the Cross:

Jesus' Work on the Cross

I have no idea how this painting would be interpreted by Hindus, but my intent was to show the purpose of Jesus' sacrifice for our sins without simply showing him nailed to the cross.  And besides, the image of Jesus kicking Satan's tail has always been a favorite subject of mine!  Here Jesus spears Satan through the neck, effectively "crushing his head," while Satan "strikes" Jesus in the heel (Genesis 3:15).  Jesus wears a crown that symbolizes his divine kingship over heaven and earth.  The flaming halo around his head symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit upon him.

This image depicts the ultimate triumph of Good over Evil through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is motivated by his love for a lost world.  He didn't simply slay a demon; he defeated the King of the demons!  Of course, I suppose that it is Jesus' resurrection that confirmed his victory over Satan and Death, but that will have to wait for another painting.


  1. Scott, I'm pretty interested in this image as well. It reminds me of images I see during Nag Panchami. Note http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&biw=822&bih=584&tbm=isch&tbnid=y786jZl6eP0RtM:&imgrefurl=http://xnepali.net/happy-nag-panchami-posters-for-nag-puja/&docid=kUy7rgaBozWOVM&imgurl=http://xnepali.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/nag_panchami_Page_1.jpg&w=342&h=480&ei=h3eHUK8VppnIAajwgYgI&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=237&vpy=131&dur=437&hovh=266&hovw=189&tx=113&ty=129&sig=107800373727565737949&page=1&tbnh=165&tbnw=118&start=0&ndsp=12&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0,i:72

  2. Hmmmm.... and the other image on that page (http://xnepali.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/nag_panchami_Page_2.jpg) is a visual inspiration for another painting I did of a Dancing Jesus (http://scottrayl.carbonmade.com/projects/2675990#2). on A Visually Contextualized Reflection on a Hindu Festival