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Spirituality

Bad Karma in the Dharma

by Dan Green

When Indian sage guru Padmasambhava, also known as the Second Buddha, prophesied more than one thousand years ago;

‘When the iron bird flies and the horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the world, and the Dharma will come to the land of the red men (America)’

The writing was on the Monastery wall.

It was always going to happen whether it be national karma or simply destiny enacted by Chinese intentions to fizzle out Tibetan national identity. A country whose hoisted upon them claim to fame is the title of perhaps the most mystical representative upon earth, found their culture traveling to the West, a newly born babe there of only 200 years, in order to maintain its culture and its individual brand of Buddhism.

 

What Padmasambhava either didn’t think of at the time, or didn’t want to announce, was that Tibetan Buddhism as it was known would have to alter somewhat noticeably in order to survive in the West (where non-attachment is 99.9% unrealistic and impossible), acceptable, one supposes, when a premier tenet of the philosophy itself is that everything is impermanent, must change and cannot remain the same. Ironic perhaps that this should occur when the Dharma did arrive in the West. Once upon a time Lamas were  entirely oriental, now they train up those considered dedicated enough and who in time are then entitled to call themselves a ‘lama’,  in turn they are the teachers of the Western enlightenment seeking Sangha. In the same way that it is near impossible to accurately translate Tibetan language into English, is it just as near impossible to translate Eastern Buddhism into an acceptable complimentary Western form?

TibetNaturalHomeofTibetanBuddhismTibet – Natural Home of Tibetan Buddhism

Contemplating that, we have had a lengthy queue of ‘bad boy’ lamas who have happily succumbed to the ways of the West and whose lifestyle are more akin that of a rock star, with, yes, a smattering of sex and drugs and rock n roll thrown in. How can this be so? Verse 307 in Chapter 22 of the collections of sayings of the Buddha, the scriptural Dhammpada, even warns; ‘Many with the yellow robe on their backs are of evil character and uncontrolled..’ and so, with human nature on trial, perhaps little has changed as of yet, for even right now here in the UK former celebrated Holier-than-Thou celebrities are being exposed in public for their masked hidden evils, we are to be vigilant for the saintly frauds.

The first Tibetan centre in Europe was at Samye-Ling in Dumfries, Scotland, and it was here that perhaps the first of the controversial lamas was placed. Chogyam Rinpoche more than any other was responsible for the introduction of ‘Crazy wisdom’ in the west, and perhaps his craziest moment was when he crashes his car into a joke shop whilst drunk. That it was a joke shop makes one wonder, again in our understanding of the karmic sense of things, perhaps a greater source was trying to tell Chogyam something. Certainly unfunny was that as a legacy of his high jinx he was left quite paralysed down the right hand side of his body. Earlier, he had renounced his monk status, decided that robes where ‘props’ that he felt no longer necessary to wear in the West, and  at 30 took a wealthy sixteen year old young bride, Diana Mukpo.

ControversialChogyamTrungpaThe controversial Chogyam Trungpa

Of all the people in the world that I should have met but never, it was Chogyam. He had left Samye by the time I had arrived, having fallen out with my own teacher Akong Rinpoche his friend and co-founder of Samye-Ling. Appallingly, this authentic and compassionate lama was murdered last year in China during a robbery at his home.

Akong had accused Choggy of betraying his ‘Tibetan-ness’ (a bit like Michael Jackson turning ‘white’) and becoming a Westerner, only tolerated Trungpa’s drinking and sex on the grounds that he kept it private and hidden,  eventually having to explain to students that he had gone crazy. Trungpa would be an easy target to dismiss had he not been such an inspirational and brilliant indisputable teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, a forerunner in introducing Vajrayana to the West –  it was the behaviour in his own personal life that split the decision on whether he was fit to teach anyone or not, judging by his own example whilst away from Tibet. Further controversy beckoned when Trungpa chose his dharma heir, the Westerner Osel Tendzin, who whilst infected with HIV was sexually involved with his unaware students, one of them going on to die from him infecting her.  When Tendzin had asked Trungpa what he should do, it was advised he kept his HIV a secret as all would be okay if he continued with his purification rituals.

LamaAkongRinpocheLama Akong Rinpoche

Roll the three major Marx brothers into one and you have a personification of Crazy wisdom, but does this mean anyone – perhaps an individual with mild learning difficulties or even a mild mental illness – could pass as an example of a crazy wisdom teacher? One thinks of the portrayal of Chance Gardener in the 1979 comedy drama ‘Being There’ whereby a simple, sheltered gardener mistaken for a genius becomes unlikely trusted adviser to an insider into Washington politics. Crazy wisdom, translated in Tibetan as ‘wisdom gone wild,’ keeps good company, with parallels in Indian and Buddhist traditions of Hindu, Tantra and Zen and, arguably and debatably, also with Sufism, Bonpo, Taoism, and Shamanism. But is it enough to qualify and allow certain teachers their outlandish behaviours when it includes sex, alcohol and drugs? You can imagine how welcome this form of Buddhism is in the West! Is it ‘Buddhism’ any longer or is this the ‘new face’ that allows it to survive there? Or is genuine in its aspirations and simply abused by charlatans who are no more actual lamas than the drunk in your local pub?

Sex scandals are, unfortunately, rife in our investigation into Western Tibetan Buddhism, and, disappointingly not restricted to the West only. Allegations of abuse of young monks in monasteries in Asia have escalated and are open to belief or disbelief depending on if you have an agenda. We must bear in mind that it would be unrealistic to think that the Chinese would not take advantage of propaganda in order to maintain and further along a character assassination of all that remains precious to Tibetan reputation. In October 2011 the Tibetan Buddhist community was stunned by the candid revelations of  21 year old Teacher Kalu Rinpoche (himself accused of sexual molestation in his previous incarnation!) who in a spontaneous YouTube video told of his rape at the hands of elder monks in his monastery, and his descent into drugs and alcoholism. Whether his story is true or not, this opened the monastery doors for other individuals to tell their own accounts of similar events.

WhistleblowerKaluRinpocheWhistleblower –  Kalu Rinpoche

Let us take a brief look at but a few of the bad boys of Buddhism, ably gathered together more comprehensively in an Internet article ‘Controversial Buddhist teachers and Groups,’ last year. Lama Choedak Rinpoche of Canberra, Australia, admitted to serious allegations of sexual misconduct, multiple affairs with his female students, and then there is the case of self-appointed Austrian lama Kelsang Chopel, and serious sexual abuse at the Mahayana Buddhist Centre, Middelburg, from 2003-08, where the lama, real name Gerhard Mattioli, had sex with his drugged students, one resulting in pregnancy. There are serious allegations of sexual misconduct against Geshe Kelsang Gyatso including Nepalese nuns, as of yet unproven as alleged victims will not publicly speak out, and Sogyal Rinpoche, Dzogchen lama of the Nyingma tradition, regular speaker at conferences around the world, and author of the best-selling ‘The Tibetan book of living and dying’ was subject to claims that using his powerful position he used this to have sex with some of his female students. A 1995 out of court settlement ended the previous year’s $10 million dollar civil lawsuit filed against him, with substantial damages paid out to the plaintiff.

ControversialSogyalRinpocheControversial  –  Sogyal Rinpoche

The good name of Samye-Ling has, unfortunately not escaped its darker moments either. In September 2000 a police investigation into sex abuse announced a scandal involving an unnamed senior monk  – later revealed as  an Englishman known as Tsering Tashi, real name Timothy Mannox  – accused by an 18 year old novice who had been a monk for a year of abusing him whilst he was 16, as well as claims of assault against three men, further accusations claiming that seniority  at the centre was turning a blind eye to drug use, sexual affairs, theft and deception. Whistleblowing Kevin Stevenson further alleged that he saw residents smoke cannabis and take LSD, going on to claim that a monk stole several golden Buddha’s from the retreat shop and pawned them for heroin in Dumfries, and some monks  behaving intimately with female visitors.’ Of more than a 100 residents there, probably only 20 are genuinely interested in Buddhism’ he added. Earlier in the year in June another monk, whilst a guest at the centre, Tenzin Chonjoe, had been convicted of assaulting a 14 year old girl. Drunk at the time and with an already drink problem, he was sentenced to three months imprisonment and placed on the sex offenders register. How could this have been the same Samye-Ling I had stayed at in1977? Worse was  to follow in October 2012 when over in Dijon at the Samye-Ling Centre in France, ordained  Lama Tempa Dargye was held in provisional detention when four women made allegations  of rape and sexual violence.

SamyeLingTibetanCentreDumfriesSamye-Ling, Tibetan Centre, Dumfries

As if sex scandals aren’t damaging enough to Tibetan Buddhism, there is also the Dorje Shugden controversy, which in short is as follows; The Dalai Lama is head of the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism the Gelug whose protectorate is that of Dorje Shugden, a figure that some say is a vengeful and wrathful spirit whilst others view him as a Buddha. As far back as 1976 The Dalai Lama publicly  urged the followers of Shugden to give up their devotion, claiming it was promoting sectarianism. The earlier mentioned  Tibetan born monk Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, founder of the ‘New Kadampa Tradition –  International Kadampa Buddhist Union’, responding to this edict, branded the Dalai Lama as a religious persecutor, opposing the human rights of those wishing religious practice and of spreading untruths –  basically calling the overall spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism  a liar and a bully. The Shugden Supporter Community now organise protests against the Dalai when he appears on his European and American tours.

Tellingly, it has been uncovered that the Chinese Government as part of their regime of character assassination against the Dalai Lama are behind the scene financing Shugden activity and within their controlled territory demand monks to worship Shugden whilst denouncing the Dalai, subsidising the construction of Shugden temples and monasteries.

ControversialDorjeShugdenWrathfulControversial – Dorje Shugden….Wrathful spirit or Buddha?

Given that in 2011, by changing strategic law, the Chinese have just about stated that they will select the next reincarnation of a Dalai Lama, thus the likely situation will be that we will witness two reincarnations, one Communist state backed and the other by Tibetans, just as we have had the equally ridiculous stand-off with the selection of the  Panchen Lama, the highest ranking lama after the Dalai,  who at the age of six was recognised by his Holiness before being immediately kidnapped by Chinese Government officials never to be seen again, replaced by the son of two  Communist party members. Clearly, the future of Tibetan Buddhist in the East is being severely jeopardised, if it continues to exist at all. Thus, more pressure to keep its essence is placed on the West. with a changing face to suit Western capability, and further challenge from supporters of Dorje Shugden seeking to supplant the Dalai Lama.

ManhattanDorjeShugdenprotestManhattan Dorje Shugden protest

What is going on?  Drawing upon my tools of the lost Mother Tongue, confirmation of the connectivity of all things as confirmed by Quantum Entanglement, and thus with a cosmological perspective, I will offer my own explanation. Studies have linked the public health crisis of excess sugar consumption, now as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco and eight times more addictive than cocaine, not only to obesity and diabetes but also to heart disease and depression.  The word ‘diabetes’ contains in anagram, the place name of Tibet, the country that has had much of its population forcibly exited by the Chinese. I have explained in an earlier Blog that the word ‘Chinese’ is, in Mother Tongue, ‘Chines es’, a phonetic for ‘Kinesis’, a word that in its combining form denotes movement, its adjective having its roots in the Greek  word for motion.  Kinesis moves, and this has been overtly demonstrated by the Chinese forcing or politically moving of the Tibetans out of their own land.

ChineseKinesisMovingTibetansoutChinese Kinesis – Moving Tibetans out

The Mother Tongue also reveals within the word and the part of the brain called the Hypothalamus, which plays a key role in hunger, the Pothala, once home of the Dalai Lama – hy POTHALA mus, as well as the term ‘High Lamas’ – HY potha LAMUS.  Now, a threat to Tibetan unification, is Dorje SHUGden, and so it is no surprise that the name contains ‘Shug’, (phonetically pronounced as ‘Shuga’) is a word not only short for ‘sugar’ but also means ‘to crawl, to sneak’, indicative of Chinese intentions. It is the Gelug School that has embraced Shugden, and it is they who are alternatively known as the Yellow Hat sect. Cosmologically, we are to view their chosen donning of their yellow hat in a medical sense, for this mane haired headwear unconsciously resembles the digestive organ of the pancreas, located behind the lower part of the stomach and which plays an important part in diabetes. A sign of a problem with the pancreas is when the skin turns yellow.

GelugYellowHatsPancreasGelug Yellow Hats –The Pancreas

ThePancreasThe Pancreas

One of the two major hormones produced by the pancreas is called glucagon, and from the word we discover a veiled ‘Gelug’ – phonetic ‘Gluc’. In type 1 diabetes, beta cells  (find ‘beta’ in ‘Tibetan’) producing insulin are attacked by the body’s immune system and as more of these cells are killed off the pancreas struggles  to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down and the symptoms of diabetes begin to appear. Too much sugar eaten frequently forces long term wear on the pancreas causing it to age more rapidly than elsewhere in the body resulting in pancreatic failure – diabetes.

Tibet, it appears, is under attack in more ways than by the obvious and mundane, and with it its chief export – Buddhism, which is being eroded away at – reinvented and claimed by the Western world, often by dubious practitioners. I would like to clarify I am not suggesting we shy away from authentic Tibetan Buddhism or Buddhism in general – far from it – but that we make ourselves mindful that not all involved in Sangha activities may be what they profess to be, as verse 307 in the Dhammapada alludes.

KidnappedPanchenLamaKidnapped….The Panchen Lama

Copyright 2014 by Dan Green
Presented with permission

Spirituality

Taj Mahal – An Amazing Love Story

The construction of the Taj Mahal (literally translated from the Persian language as “Crown of the Mughals”) was associated with the name of the beautiful woman – Arjumand Bano Begum, or Mumtaz – “Queen of the Soul”.

At 200 kilometers from the capital of India, Delhi, on the high bank of the Ganges tributary – the Jamna – is the five-domed Taj Mahal mausoleum. The white-stone structure surprises and delights with its perfect proportions, an elegant mosaic of colored precious and semiprecious stones, and skillful carving.

The Taj Mahal is a whole complex of buildings. Taj – white, and around the fortress and minarets of red sandstone. The mausoleum has absolute proportions: on the base and height – an exact square, each side of which is 75 meters. Several paths stretch to the Taj Mahal, between them there is water in the pools, first the entire mausoleum is reflected in it, and as it approaches, its individual details.

Local architects worked together with artists from Damascus, gardeners from Constantinople and Samarkand to create the Indian pearl. When creating the interior, interior decoration of the mausoleum, the craftsmen used the best varieties of white, occasionally yellow and black marble, mother of pearl, jasper, agate, emeralds, aquamarines, pearls and hundreds of other stones.

QUEEN OF THE SOUL

Arjumand Bano Begum was only 19 years old when she became the second wife of Prince Guram (future Shah-Jahan). And although the prince had several more wives and many concubines, Mumtaz won the heart of her husband and undividedly owned him until the end of his days. It was an unusually romantic and poetic love. Mumtaz was not only his most beloved wife, but his most faithful companion since the turbulent times when Prince Guram wandered around the world, pursued by his father Jahangir, when he obtained his throne in a fierce struggle with his brothers. In 1627, Guram, having gained a final victory over them and seized his father’s throne, assumed the title of emperor, Shah-Jahan – “ruler of the world”. Mumtaz finally became the queen of India.

Shah Jahan adored his wife and each time he honored her, held lavish receptions and grandiose celebrations in her honor, without her any important ceremony would begin, and not a single state act would be adopted. Mumtaz was present at the meetings of the State Council; her opinion was almost never disputed by anyone.

The portrait of the queen, painted by her contemporary, has been preserved. Violating one of the strictest prohibitions of Islam – to draw portraits of animals and people, an unknown artist skillfully conveyed the beauty of Mumtaz, a white-faced Persian, a pearl of the East.

A happy life together ended abruptly. In the spring of 1636, Mumtaz suddenly fell ill: before dying, she turned to her husband with a request to take care of their eldest daughter, Jahanara Begum, and took an oath from him – to build a tomb worthy of their love, their joint nineteen-year-old married life. Mumtaz’s death shocked Jahan.

WHITE AND BLACK PALACES

Widowed, he commanded the construction of an unprecedentedly beautiful mausoleum. Shah was presented with many different projects, the authors of which were the best of the best architects of the East. Of these, he chose a project created by Indian architect Ystad Khan Effendi. Following this, a twenty-thousand army of builders was driven into Agra: masons, marble cutters, jewelers and handymen. Marble was brought from Makran near Jaipur, sandstone from Sikri, gems from India, Afghanistan, Persia and Central Asia.

The entire complex of the mausoleum was created over twenty two years. Having fulfilled the mandate of “the queen of her soul”, Jahan proceeded to a new, no less grandiose construction – exactly the same mausoleum, but only of black marble, for himself – on the other (left) bank of the Jamna River. According to the Shah’s plan, both mausoleums, like marital chambers, were to be connected by a high lace bridge of black and white marble. Preparatory work has already begun, but this plan, unfortunately, was not destined to come true.

While Shah Jahan was building a new tomb, his sons fought among themselves. Having defeated the brothers, one of them – Aurangzeb – seized power in 1658, killed the brothers, arrested his father and imprisoned him in the Red Fort under reliable guard along with his beloved daughter Jahanara Begum. Shah Jahan spent the last years of his life in the marble palace that he had once built for Mumtaz, from where he could constantly see the Taj Mahal. Here he died on January 23, 1666. Fulfilling the last will of his father, Aurangzeb the next day ordered his body to be transported to the Taj Mahal and to be buried next to Mumtaz without any ceremony or honor.

UNSOLVED SECRET

The Taj Mahal mausoleum stands alone in its inexpressible beauty on the banks of the blue Jamna, reflecting its clean, proud appearance. He appears as a vision from another, better, cleaner world. “The Taj Mahal has a secret that everyone feels, but no one can interpret.”

“The Taj Mahal attracts you like a magnet. You can stand for hours and all look and look at this marvel, at this fabulous ghost, ascending into a bottomless azure sky. The illumination of the Taj Mahal changes like a mirage. It glows from the inside, changing hues depending on the position of the sun: it suddenly turns light pink, then bluish, then pale orange. At night, under the moon, against a black sky, it looks dazzling white. Just coming very close, you notice that he is covered in the finest patterns woven over white marble, the marble blocks are encrusted with gems and seem to shine through, emitting a flickering light.”

The dazzling white walls of the mausoleum are covered with mosaics – garlands of flowers made of precious stones. Branches of white jasmine from mother-of-pearl shimmer with red pomegranate flower from carnelian and delicate tendrils of grapevine and honeysuckle, and delicate oleanders peek out from the lush green foliage. Each leaf, each petal is a separate emerald, yacht, pearl or topaz; sometimes there are up to one hundred of such stones for one branch of flowers, and there are hundreds of similar ones on the panels and grids of the Taj Mahal!

DEATH NOT SHARED

In the central hall of the mausoleum are two sarcophagi sculpted from white-pink rocks of marble, decorated with floral ornaments. These are the cenotaphs of the dead, symbolic projections of those who are in the lowest part of the mausoleum. There, in the underground vaulted room, dusk reigns. Both tombs with the remains of the royal spouses, Mumtaz and Jahan, like a screen, are surrounded by a white marble carved fence about two meters high, decorated with fabulous flowers – red, yellow, blue, along with green garlands, interlacing of marble leaves and flowers.

What is the power of the impression made by the Taj Mahal? Where does the insurmountable impact on everyone who sees it come from?

“Neither marble lace, nor the thin carving covering its walls, nor mosaic flowers, nor the fate of the beautiful queen — none of this alone could make such an impression. There must be a reason for something else. However, something in the Taj Mahal fascinated me and thrilled me. … It seemed to me that the mystery of the Taj Mahal is connected with the secret of death, i.e. with that secret, regarding which, in the words of one of the Upanishads, “even the gods were at first in doubt.” Above the tomb, where the queen’s body lies, a light burns. I felt that this is where the beginning of the clue lies. For the light shimmering over the tomb, where its dust lies, this light … is a small transient earthly life. And the Taj Mahal is a future eternal life.”

PLACE OF PILGRIMAGE

The creation of the Taj Mahal dates back to the time of the conquest of India by Muslims. The grandson of padishah Akbar Jahan was one of those conquerors who changed the face of a vast country. A warrior and statesman, Jahan was at the same time a fine connoisseur of art and philosophy; his courtyard in Agra attracted the most prominent scientists and artists of Persia, which at that time was the center of culture throughout West Asia.

The son of Jahan Aurangzeb (“the beauty of the throne,” 1665-1706) was nothing like his father. He was a stern, withdrawn and ascetic-religious monarch. While still a prince, he disapproved of the useless and devastating, as he believed, activities of his father. Aurangzeb spent his entire long and hectic life in military campaigns aimed at maintaining power over the empire.

Aurangzeb raised a rebellion against his father, accusing him of spending all the state revenue on the mausoleum. He imprisoned the former lord in an underground mosque in one of the inner palaces of the Agra fortress. Shah Jahan lived in this underground mosque for seven years; sensing the approach of death, he asked him to be transferred to the so-called Jasmine pavilion in the fortress wall, to the tower of lace marble, where was the favorite room of Queen Arjumand Bano. There, on the balcony of the Jasmine Pavilion overlooking the Jamna, from where the Taj Mahal was visible at a distance, Shah Jahan died.

This is the brief history of the Taj Mahal. Since then, the mausoleum of Queen Mumtaz has gone through many vicissitudes. During the wars that continued in India in the 17th and 18th centuries, Agra repeatedly passed from hand to hand and was often plundered. The conquerors removed the large silver doors from the Taj Mahal, carried out precious lamps and candlesticks, and tore ornaments from precious stones from the walls. However, the building itself and most of the decoration remained intact. The Taj Mahal is now restored and carefully guarded.

But today, the Taj Mahal is partially dressed in scaffolding due to the fact that cracks appeared on the walls. The marble Taj Mahal weighs many hundreds of thousands of tons. A huge mass presses on the soil, and it gradually settles. Over the past centuries, as a result of soil displacement, the mausoleum leaned toward the river, although it is invisible with a simple eye. Once the high-water Jamna came close to the building, but then the river became shallow and receded. This last circumstance changed the structure of the soil and also affected the stability of the mausoleum. Now it is decided to plant trees on the banks of the Jamna in order to stop soil erosion.

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Spirituality

Image of the Antichrist on a 14th-century fresco – who painted it and why?

The Antichrist, unlike Christ, the Son of God, is not the son of Satan, but a simple man. In Christian ideology, the Antichrist will appear shortly before the end of the world. Antichrist will be descended from Dan. This is one of the so-called 12 Tribes of Israel – the descendants of the sons of Jacob, who formed the Israeli people.

Antichrist will become an authoritative ruler of people, will arrange persecution of the righteous. This period in the Revelation of John the Theologian is called the Great Tribulation.

There was no specifics in the Bible about the Antichrist, so all further assumptions are futurism based on treatises of symbols and various interpretations. In particular, Calvinist Anthony Hoekema in his book “The Bible and the Future” believes that up to 75% of people will die during the Great Tribulation and this period will last for seven years.

And then, all Christians are united in this, there will be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Last Judgment. When all sinners – both living and dead – will get what they deserve, the righteous will receive eternal paradise.

Christians were afraid of the Antichrist, so he was like Voldemort in Harry Potter – the one whose name cannot be called. Well, to portray him was generally forbidden.

The first image of the Antichrist appeared already in the XIV century. And its bold author – Vitale da Bologna – lived a transitional period from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It was during this period that it became possible to show freedom of creativity.

In northern Italy there is the Pomposa Monastery, which in the 9th century was founded by Benedictine monks. Over time, the monastery turned into a party place for people of art. The walls in the cathedral of this monastery were painted by Vitale da Bologna.


Even closer to the wall … Look at the bottom right … Take a closer look.


Here is the image of the Antichrist on the wall from an old Italian mural of the 14th century. 


Frescoes in the Cathedral of Pomposa, the image of the Antichrist is highlighted in red

Here lived the famous medieval musician Guido d’Arezzo. He reformed musical notation, prescribed a new scheme for the designation of keys and intervals. It’s d’Arezzo that we owe modern letter designations in music, for example C sharp major.

The famous Petr Damiani, a poet, philosopher and theologian, worked a lot in the monastery. Despite the fact that all art was saturated with Christianity (the culture of scholasticism of the Middle Ages!), creativity found its way. People tried to realize bold ideas for their time.

As often happens, where there is art and creativity, freedom of morals arises there. After all, art must be true. Art must find paradoxes in our reality, notice inconsistencies and vividly declare them! But art in the service of the state, in the strict framework of those in power, is already PR propaganda.

But back to our hero. He really wanted to add brightness to his religious canvases and he was drawn to ominous plots. After all, there you can truly imagine the whole storm of emotions!

The monks ordered the painting “The Last Judgment” from him. And Vitale da Bologna painted the walls of the cathedral at the request of the customer, and on the pretext of realism added the Antichrist there. And so this first image of the chief man who was in the service of Satan appeared.

However, customers demanded to depict it as disgusting as possible. The image of the Antichrist turned out to be some kind of fictional, phantasmagoric – more reminiscent of the devil from fairy tales. But the antichrist, as we recall, is a man!

Attempts to portray the Antichrist were made in the future, but these were more episodes. So, for example, the Antichrist was seen by another Renaissance artist Luca Signorelli.

Luca Signorelli. Fragment of the painting “The Sermon and Works of the Antichrist”, 1500

Here, the Antichrist looks like Christ, only with an ominous expression. And Satan whispers his thoughts, who looks like an ordinary petty demon.

And it is this picture of Signorelli, in our opinion, which better illustrates the real image of the Antichrist. He is an ordinary person. Which, most likely, will consider that it is doing the right thing and for the good of mankind. After all, logic is a double-edged weapon, it is always ready to justify any crime with great reasonable goals.

14th century fresco called “The Funeral of Satan”

In the Middle Ages, striped clothing was treated extremely negatively, there was even a case when a shoemaker was sentenced to death for wearing striped clothing. It happened in 1310 in the French city of Rouen. In those days, striped clothing was considered devilish.

Among the many excellent medieval frescoes in the Verona Cathedral, there is one especially curious. It is called “The Funeral of Satan” and depicts an enemy of the human race lying under a striped veil on his deathbed. Actually, it is the color of the veil and the appearance of Satan that attracts attention.

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Spirituality

A yogi who has lived for more than 70 years without food and water has passed away in India

In the Indian state of Gujarat, the yogi Prahlad Jani died at the age of 90, claiming to have discovered the “elixir of life,” which allows him not to eat food and water for at least 76 years, reports NDTV.

According to the assurances of the followers, and there was plenty of them at the holy hermit, Prahlad Jani died on May 26 in his native village of Charada, where he was brought at his personal request a few days ago. For two days, his body will be in the ashram so that followers can say goodbye to the mentor.

Prahlad Jani was known for statements that he has not eaten and has not drunk since childhood – according to some sources, from 8-9 years old, according to others, from 14. Doctors twice, in 2003 and 2010, conducted a comprehensive examination of Chunrival Mataji, as they called a yogi, and the second time he was two weeks under the supervision of employees of the Defense Institute of Physiology and Related Sciences of India. During this time, he did not eat a crumb, did not drink a drop, did not meet his natural needs, while his bladder was filled with a small amount of urine, but then it was absorbed into the walls.

“We still do not know how he survives,” said neurologist Sudhir Shah from a recent examination.

Jani himself assured that in childhood he was blessed by a goddess, after which he left his native home and refused food and water.

A number of foreign researchers questioned the findings of Indian colleagues, pointing to the imperfection of control systems.

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