My beloved ones,
I would like to begin my talk with a small story.
Many years, centuries ago, in a certain country there was a great painter. In his youth he decided to create a truly great portrait that radiates the bliss of the divine, a portrait whose eyes radiate infinite peace. So he wanted to find someone whose face communicated something of the beyond, of that which is transcendental to this life, transcendental to this world.
The artist roamed the country, from village to village, from jungle to jungle, in search of such a person, and at long last he came across a shepherd in the mountains with that innocence and light in his eyes, with a face and features that held the promise of some celestial home. One look at him was enough to convince anyone that the divine resides in human beings.
The artist painted a portrait of the young shepherd. Millions of copies of that portrait sold out, even in far away lands. People felt highly blessed just to be able to hang the picture on their walls.
After some twenty years, when the artist had grown old, another idea came to his mind. His experience of life had shown him that human beings are not all godliness, the devil also exists in them. The idea of painting a portrait reflecting the devil in human beings came; the two pictures, he thought, would complement each other, would represent the complete human being.
In his old age, once again he sought a man who was not a man but a devil. He went to gambling dens, to pubs and to madhouses. This person had to be full of hell’s fire; his face had to show all that is evil, ugly and sadistic. He searched for the very image of sin. He had already done a painting of godliness; now he wanted to portray evil incarnate.
After a long search, the artist finally met a prisoner in a jail. The man had committed seven murders and had been sentenced to be hanged in a few days. Hell was evident in the man’s eyes; he looked to be hate incarnate. His face was the ugliest one could possibly hope to find. The artist began to paint him.
When he had completed the portrait he brought out his earlier picture and set it by the side of the new painting for contrast. It was difficult to assess which was better from an artistic point of view; both were marvelous. He stood, staring at both of them. And then he heard a sob. He turned and saw the chained prisoner, crying. The artist was bewildered. He asked, “My friend, why are you crying? Do these pictures disturb you?”