Jesus Christ in Yoga Posture
“A painting of Jesus Christ sitting in yoga posture in the wilderness, with a rabbit, two doves, a tiger, and a snake at their ease around him… was made by a Mrs. Eugene (Theodosia) Oliver, who, according to her diary, first came to the Vedanta Society in February of 1908. After that date, she made frequent entries in her diary to the effect that she visited the Society, often talked to Swami Trigunatita, and at least once took spiritual instruction from him. She did not, however, give up her own religion, Catholicism…. The first entry in Mrs. Oliver’s diary regarding the painting of Christ occurs on June 26, 1908: ‘Went to see Swami Trigunatita about the picture and showed him the sketch I had made. He approved it, suggesting some slight alterations.’ According to Mrs. French’s reminiscences, it was from the Tibetan photograph of Jesus (the authenticity of which the swami had apparently never questioned) that he conveyed to Mrs. Oliver his ideas for the painting.
“Jesus Christ in His Yoga Posture was completed in September of 1908, and Swami Trigunatita, who was pleased with it, saw to it that Mrs. Oliver had it copyrighted; he then bought the copyright from her for twenty-five dollars, which in those days was a fair sum. (Prints of the painting were sold at the Hindu Temple for prices ranging from one dollar and a half to fifty cents, according to size.) In November 1908, the painting was framed and installed in the Temple,” where it hangs to this day.
—Sister Gargi (Marie Louise Burke)
Swami Trigunatita: His Life and Work
Painting of Sri Ramakrishna
Mrs. Albert (Claudina) Wollberg painted the portrait of Sri Ramakrishna, working under the direction of Swami Trigunatita in 1908. The swami would often go to the Wollberg’s home in Pacific Heights (a posh district of San Francisco) to supervise the painting as it progressed. The large oil painting of Sri Ramakrishna [which was formerly canopied], standing with one hand raised, is the same pose as in the photograph taken at the home of Keshab Chandra Sen. The original painting hangs on the east wall, above the altar to the left of the main platform, as it did during Swami Trigunatita’s time.
—Excerpts from Sister Gargi’s Swami Trigunatita: His Life and Work