Why do you paint Babaji and Jesus and the Divine Mother so much?

I am often asked, “Why do you paint the spiritual Masters so much, and does it ever seem like a limited subject matter?” I recall the 20th Century Italian painter Giorgio Morandi who painted bottles and vases in small still life paintings for his whole painting career. Contrary to getting tired of that subject, or thinking it was a “limitation,” he entered into that realm as though it was a sacrament of intense stillness and wonder—of Joy and unlimited possibilities of Creation. I feel the same way about painting the Masters, and even more like it is a sacred act of intense aliveness and Joy.

Still Life by Giorgio Morandi

One of my first drawings of Babaji I did way back in 1987. There was a stillness and silence coming out of the photo I had of Babaji meditating. I liked it so well. What I found was His energy of silence transmitting itself through the small photo. It was like a “holy encounter” coming to me out of the photo. Even though I had never met Babaji in the “flesh,” I was receiving His energy in the very instant I was looking at his picture. When I got around to the drawing, that energy of stillness and silence stayed with me.

Babaji with Lotus and Lilies

This was one of my first attempts to draw and paint the Masters. Another larger work had Babaji in the background, with a wing, and in the foreground a hand holding a scepter.

Babaji with Wing

Some were more simple, like this one just simply called Shiva.


I painted abstractly after these few portraits of the Masters. But I never forgot this connection to the face, to the holiness of the face, looking right through me. So when Sondra Ray asked me why I did not paint the Masters in 2008, I was kind of shocked what came out of me. I said, “No problem, I can do that.” This next one was my first attempt to paint Babaji again, in Houston, Texas. One of the students in the seminar, Barre Bernhardt,  purchased it outright.

Babaji in Houston

I have been painting the Masters ever since, and I never tire of that subject matter. Soon I was painting Jesus, as well as the Divine Mother. I painted this portrait of Jesus this year in Madrid, Spain. It is still available for sale, by the way.

Jesus of Madrid

One of my first paintings of Ammachi, the Divine Mother, was done in Valencia. This one is owned by Maria Jose Borras, who was our organizer at the time.

Divine Mother of Valencia

I receive a lot of spiritual benefits by painting the Masters. I call Babaji, Jesus and the Divine Mother our “Dream Team.” They bring me into the the stillness and silence within. They give me directions. They protect me from mistakes.  The reason I paint the Masters is because when I do, the gap between me and Them becomes less and less. Their Love and Being comes into my Love and Being. Painting the Masters uplifts my Soul. The more I paint them the more I become like them.

It is something like the old Chinese proverb: “In order to paint a fish, you must become the fish.”





Washington DC is the seat of our nation, and Sondra and I live here. Founded on the separation of “church and state,” the USA has traditionally bred a tolerant people when it comes to religious beliefs and practices. FREEDOM has been the call of the American Ideal, not the dogmas of an assumed “salvation” from the organized religions of various denominations and faiths. Even the FREEDOM to be an “atheist” is protected by this Ideal. FREEDOM has also been sought in the spiritual truths of the wise from time immemorial as well. We are egalitarian in our embrace of cross cultural wisdom and historical lessons and benefits, with a strong sense of education of our people.

However, we have not always lived up to the FREEDOM principle. In fact, many of the founding fathers of the USA were slave owners. It took a great Civil War to correct that error, followed by a great Civil Rights battle to actually apply the equality to the downtrodden. And we did not treat the Native Americas all that well either. So there are shadows in our past, and now the shadows of “terrorism” and economic domination, media hype and government surveillance get us to question how “free” we actually are.

DO GOVERNMENTS REALLY BESTOW TRUE FREEDOM? An atmosphere of free trade and opportunity is prevalent in the USA from shore to shore. Free information on the internet, etc. The successful entrepreneur is still the one at the top of this opportunity “food chain.” Creativity applied to meeting needs is rewarded. There are also those who still go for the gusto to grab all they can get. Greed is often a factor. And the “gold rush” energy is still an underlying principle that gives people a sense of striking it rich on the wave of hard work and good luck. All goes well for natural abilities applied to ingenuity that produces what people want to buy. Can one “buy” FREEDOM, though?

What about “IN GOD WE TRUST” that is printed on our money? Are these just empty words? Yes, there is a “gold rush” energy that exists in America, and too often justifies the side effects of greed that leave a trail of debris, both human and natural consequences behind. But even in the “separation of church and state,” there is an underlying TRUST that can only be met by FORCES beyond our knowing and control. We beseech the “GOOD” with this TRUST. The GOOD in us, and the GOOD in our fellow men. We somehow see FREEDOM in the love we have for each other, and the general “keeping of our brothers” from harm we would desire to escape ourselves.

On this Christmas Eve of 2017, I think about TRUSTING GOD. It is a necessary Thought. And of the human beings who most embraced this TRUST, we know them now to be the saints, the seers, the saviors and the lovers of humanity. This is why we remember this day. It is not just for giving a plethora of material gifts and presents that support the economies of the American retail machine, and make us happy to “get more neat stuff.” It is to remember one man, The CHRIST, who TRUSTED GOD and LOVED PEOPLE more than most, if not uniquely more than anyone else in his own RIGHT. I honor Him. I honor Him through painting Him in my own way. This one I painted in Perth, Australia just a few weeks ago. It is in the care of one of our students, Melissa Hughes in Perth, who is also aware of this basic human question, and declaration, “IN GOD WE TRUST.”

Jesus of Perth

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What Would Be Your Ten Most Wanted Artists in Your Corporate Culture?

It is a fact that ART uplifts people into a greater feeling of happiness and joy. Happy people are more productive people, and Corporate Cultures need to take this into account when it comes to their bottom lines. The investment made in peoples’ happiness always gives a good return on dollars spent. ART is a sure fire way of increasing the happiness quotient of ALL the people in ANY Corporate Culture.

What would be the TEN MOST WANTED LIST OF ART AND ARTISTS that would most effectively uplift the soul of any Corporate Culture, including the Founders, Directors, Managers, Workers, Clients, Customers and Affiliates? A strong ART LOOK is the subject here, of TEN that would produce the happiness that would in turn increase the bottom line.

1. I would  certainly start with a huge picture of…

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“AMMA PRAYING”  Gave Me A Miracle

Recently I was commissioned to paint Amma for a friend. I spent about a week painting Her, and then I was delighted to call my friend to tell her it was finished. Read below what happened.


The Divine Mother is Supreme in our Household. As you all know I paint the DM quite a lot. I wrote a book of Odes to the DM as well, available on Amazon. I have the miracle of being married to SONDRA RAY, who is my constant muse and inspiration. But the biggest miracle I have had to this day with the DM happened today. We visited The Washington DC AMMA CENTER on Sunday and prayed like mad for the folks in Florida. And on a personal note, I wanted to dedicate the new painting I did of AMMA, quietly within myself, in Her Center. So that was great. But I was not expecting the miracle the next day.

Today I called my friend and patron Jane in Los Angeles to discuss the logistics of getting the new painting to her. We also discussed the price of the painting, and the overall subject of my selling paintings. I gave her a price we both thought was fair. Then she asked me after our discussion, ” I want to make sure you are ok with this price. What would you really like to receive for the new Amma painting?” Of course she was consciously processing me on my “money case” of not valuing myself enough.

I said, “Well Jane, if I was really honest with myself, I would charge quite a bit more for this AMMA painting, because of its size and because it is one of my best works.” She said, “I have no problem with that. I want to pay you what you want. It’s worth it to me too!”

WOW. What a miracle. Usually people tell me they can only pay less than what I want, not more. Amma took over Jane to heal me of this “undervaluing” of myself and my art work. It was a beautiful moment that The Divine Mother could come through the both of us for the highest thought.

Thank You AMMA, for being our Supreme Master of the Divine Mother in our lives, and thank you Jane, for allowing Her to flow through you in our dealings about Her painting. JAI MA! Love is all there is. The Divine Mother is Supreme and we can call on Her for help to correct us of our money case. Love, to AMMA and Jane, representing the Divine Mother perfectly.

Markus Ray

For Commissioned artworks of the Masters, contact Markus at


Painting  Icons Is A Challenge

Venturing into new ground. One could say painting Icons is a thing of the past, and people just do not have the “belief” or the inclination to think icons have any more meaning in their life. We are more apt to be affected by the “icons” on our computer, or the logos of mega corporations, the images of “Coca-Cola” or “Starbucks,” than by paintings of holy persons from eons ago.

For many of us who have left the conventional religious context, the notion of Icons had to come from elsewhere. We looked toward the East for a spiritual connection. We looked toward the New Thought movement and the various modalities of psycho-spiritual cleansing, healing and clearing. In India we learned about Murti’s that were similar to the old Icons that possessed the “living presence” of the deity or holy being. Recently a friend from Russia sent me this Icon of Mother Mary. I was moved. He said it gave him and his partner a great comfort. I thought, WOW. Truly it could do that. “Our Lady of Comfort,” became the thought that possessed me fully from looking at this beautiful image.

I began to integrate the image and take it into myself. I thought about my own approach to painting “Our Lady of Comfort.” We were in Estonia, presenting a weekend seminar called the “Miracle Consciousness Training.” I thought it was best to “warm up” with just the face first. So I started there with a study.

This was the beginning of a “delving” into “Our Lady of Comfort.” My intention was to end up with something life sized and even bigger that life sized. This would take shape after the study. We stayed in Estonia an extra week this year, in an apartment in Old Town Tallinn, and I started the larger work. It was a challenge to be into a full blown rendering of the Icon. I used a little black and white photo for the model.

The famous photographer, Diane Arbus, said this about the creative process: “The important thing to know is that we don’t know. We are just feeling our way.” So I began to feel my way into this. I am still feeling my way. It is a challenge to paint an icon in 2017, and to capture the true essence of the being. Do I receive comfort from this image? Does it emit comfort? Is it truly peaceful? Does it have power to transform my mind into a state of being calming and pure?  These are the aspirations of the “unknown” toward which I am “just feeling my way.” I will write again when it is finished.






The Master Gives Energy Through The Face

In India there is a word that describes a kind of “holy vision” one receives from looking into the face of an enlightened Master. This word is “DARSHAN.” It is more than just describing a vision of something divine. It is a particular energy that is exchanged between the Master and the “devotee.” It is an exchange of pure grace.

The reason I paint the Holy Masters, especially Jesus, it to produce this “exchange of energy” from the Master to the person looking at the painting. What do we know about Jesus that is direct; not what we learned in churches, but what we have experienced from an actual experience with Him and His energy? I want the paintings I do of Jesus to offer this directness.

I painted this “JESUS OF SZCZECIN” in Poland last week. I am not too fussy in my style. I like to use simple and bold colors, usually in keeping with a feeling I am having in a particular country. In this country of Poland, Magenta came to mind as a predominant theme color. So I stuck with that.

I was happy with the result. It emanates peace. Others have confirmed that they felt the same peace that I did. Also, I felt my “touch” was very much sensitized in this work. Sometimes I am more in the zone than other times. I was really “in the zone” on this one.

There have been thousands of painters who have painted Jesus. What makes mine any better or more powerful? I like to think that understanding this principle of “DARSHAN,” and insisting that my paintings emit this direct energy, is half of the battle. This model I use is a painting of Jesus done by Heinrich Hoffmann called “Christ and the Rich Young Ruler.” 

The subtle mood and feeling is unique to every painting. I paint somewhere between abstraction and realism. So having a Blue Jesus is not out of the question, as long as the power of the image comes through to “touch” the viewer. I paint Jesus in order to transmit His Peace and Joy. And during this process I hope to touch upon something very sacred. 

I paint Jesus to offer His “DARSHAN.” I have to be surrendered myself to see Him closely enough to transmit His Presence in a painting. That is my goal, and my passion to do so. These are for sale, and I can paint them on commission as well.



Make What Hangs on Your Walls Count !

There are certain art objects and paintings in my life that would be hard to live without now, as they have become so much a part of my reason for being. One is a painting and altar to the Divine Mother. This is in our living room and dominates the vibration of the space. For me it offers a “meeting place” of my soul with the ever giving benevolence of Life Itself, which is what the Divine Mother represents.


There is a powerful statue of Quan Yin sitting on the altar, along with a picture of Mary and one of Ammachi. The statue is only about a foot tall, but it emanates a huge sense of peace and relaxation. That is what your living room should be, yes? A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN REST, RELAX AND REPLENISH.

Moving into the hallway we have some sculptures of wood carved in Bali that would be hard to imagine living without. One is a very small carving of a Balinese woman, very delicately carved, and the other is a set of Balinese rice field Goddesses, one of which is shown here.

I guess you are  noticing the Divine Mother energy is very strong in our place. The Divine Father is here too, in the form of a Painting of Jesus I did a few years ago, and a lot of photos of Babaji.

Last but not least are a couple of Divine Mother paintings that are important. One is by Francene Hart from Hawaii of Madame Pele, which is on the cover of Sondra’s book Pele’s Wish. The other is an original copy of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a very famous Ikon painting that lives in Mexico City.

These are some works of art “I can’t live without.” What would yours be? You might like to give this question some attention. Make what hangs on your walls count. Your home is your temple, and it is the place where you can “charge up” your battery of soul energy. Why not have lofty stuff around you, in addition to the usual souvenirs?




A Picture Awakens Through Touch.


It is often said, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” In many ways an artist paints because he wants to leave words behind. The color, subject and composition  is not something in need of verbal description. It hits you in the heart or not. The Image sears itself into your memory or not. It “touches you.” I painted this “Babaji in Barcelona” last summer, and my friend Joe Petri was touched by it and bought it on the spot when he saw it. He was touched.

Recently I have been reading the work of Immortalist, Robert Coon, who gives touch the utmost spiritual importance: “Oh, Let my touch be the Highest Manifestation for the Will Divine.” So a painting is made by the qualities of my touch. I am touching the physical matter of the paints and the canvas and the brushes in just the right alignment and relationships to ultimately “touch” the person looking at the painting. This is an “Art Look” that transcends the “picture worth a thousand words.” The words cannot come close to the Touch of a great work. That happens instantaneously without words.


This portrait by Leonardo is touching in the way the man holds so delicately the piece of paper. It is a moment when time stops and our minds are still. It needs no explanation. We are touched. Touch is superior to words, because it cannot be misinterpreted. You are either touched or you are not. You are struck by the impact of this touch or you are not. You may only look at these two images above for less than 10 seconds, but the touch will go on long after you look away at other things. That is, if the artist was successful with his touch. If his touch has risen to the “highest manifestation for the Will Divine.”



What Makes an Ikon Painting Really Work?

I had an exchange on Facebook with a Russian friend of mine I met in Herakhan last April regarding Ikon paintings. He was struck by the last painting I did of Babaji, and mentioned he would like to take me to see some of the most powerful Ikon paintings in Moscow. The Russians were quite good at this art form. What makes these paintings so powerful? What makes them work? They would be the same reasons I would put into my own paintings of Babaji, Jesus, and the Divine Mother.

This is the most recent “Jesus of Madrid” I painted last weekend.

And here is another one I painted, “Jesus of Tenerife,” a few weeks before:

What do these have in common with the Russian Ikon paintings? It is interesting to trace the similarities between the concept of the “murti” in India, in which the “Living Presence” of the deity is imbued in the painting or the sculpture, the Russian Ikon, in which the Presence of Christ is meant to come through, and my paintings which are attempting to do the same.

Here are some Russian Ikons that I found compelling:


I suppose that a realistic rendition of the Christ, such as in the High Italian Renaissance period, is not my style. I am more attuned to these Ikons. I never gave them much thought until my Russian friend mentioned them. Perhaps I had a past life in the golden age of Byzantium, or in the  golden age of the Russian churches in which Ikons were the means of communicating the love of Christ to the people.

What makes an Ikon painting really work is the heart of the painter himself. Is he in the vibration of the Christ? Is he impeccable in his love? Is he living the principles set down by the Master? All these factors contribute to the effectiveness of the Ikon. Without being a “fish,” as the great Chinese painters would say, “You cannot paint a fish.”

Also, it seems my study of A Course in Miracles, and having been brought up in a Christian family and society has encouraged me to explore this form of painting even more. And all the many paintings I have done of Babaji and the Divine Mother over the past 9 years, as “darshan,” have contributed to the strength of these “Jesus Paintings.” People are moved in their presence, so I know I am on the right track. Also, people are buying them for their homes, which is another good sign.


PS. Jesus of Madrid is for sale. Send an email or comment here if you are interested.



Paintings Unforgettable

There are some paintings that are unforgettable. And some pass you by, and don’t even register. Sondra and I went to the Prado here in Madrid yesterday and saw both kinds. Usually the art of the West is dramatic, but spiritually elevating in more visceral ways. The technical abilities of the artist are impeccable, and the subject matter depends on the times. We are very good in the West in depicting Tragedy, Suffering, Royalty, Sex, and Delight as though they are all holy charges of the artist’s eye.

This “Descent From the Cross” by Rogier van der Weyden is unbelievably crafted. The Northern Renaissance painters had a propensity for touching detail. 2D is given 3D; 3D is given 4D. Amazing! If you study the geometry of this painting closely, it is remarkable as well.  And the brilliance of the color is superb, almost defying the tragedy of the scene. The reds and the blues take us to another dimension, one of merited fame in the pantheon of Western masterpieces.

Goya’s “3rd of May” is also such a famous painting. He was intent upon capturing the horrors and dramas of war. But at the same time, there is a nobility that lifts us: the innocence and the courage of the victims who are about to be shot, and who have a very human face. And there is an ignoble quality that appalls us: the almost inhuman robot like soldiers in their high hats, without a human face, and with perfectly pointed weapons of cruelty. Have we really changed much since then?

Well, after a dose of man’s inhumanity to man, Sondra wanted to see Goya’s “Maja” paintings. They are in a room together, on the same wall, clothed and unclothed. From a purely male “arousal” perspective, I found the “Clothed Maja” much more enticing than the unclothed one. Also, the head on the “Clothed Maja” is more relaxed than the one on the nude. I can relate, as a painter, to the difference, even though it is the same model. The head on the “Nude Maja” seems lower, perhaps without as much breathing space. A subtle difference, but one I could feel.

The last painting that stood out in my recollection was Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.” It is a kind of allegorical arena of human desires, just a small step short of an unbelievable Eden of orgies. Again, a Northern Renaissance work, the minute detail of this almost “miniature” scale of the work is breathtaking. One could wander for hours in the scenarios of this Paradise of the Senses.

These would be my “quick pics” of what was impressionable from our walk through the Prado. Of course, there are other great works in the Museum, but these are the ones that struck a chord of delight in our 2 hours of sauntering. Madrid is lucky to have these paintings. May they always inspire us to ascend as human beings, to manifest the beauty and creativity of a Divine Life.