Shared from the book: “The History of Sikh Dharma in the Western Hemisphere”
In the humble, white stucco building of Hacienda de Guru Ram Das, which was originally the sadhana room, there is a treasure that has surprised and delighted many visitors over the years. There is an ethereal mural depicting the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe surrounded by the ten Sikh Gurus, scenes from their lives, the Golden Temple, and the devout Don Diego on his knees beholding the Lady of Guadalupe. Completed by the celebrated artist Edward O’Brien in 1975, this outstanding work of art is today the east wall of the Takhat-a-Khalsa Gurdwara. He had painted two other murals in New Mexico, one at the St. Katherine’s Indian School in Santa Fe, the other at the Pecos Monastery in Pecos, and several more in his home state of Illinois. The love and devotion Mr. O’Brien had for the Virgin Mary transcended the limitation of creed and theology into a pure and universal form.
Mr. O’Brien had been well known to the Sikhs since the early days of the Guru Ram Das Ashram. In his association with the people of the ashram, he had many moving religious discussions and was inspired by their devotional and energetic approach to life. Through the process of his own internal growth and path of self-discovery, he conceived a work of art that combined his love for the Lady of Guadalupe with the lives and fundamental principles of the Sikh Gurus. He started the mural in 1973 in his studio in Santa Fe, and moved to the ashram in 1974 so that he could devote his time to it completely. The mural was finished in the spring of 1975, and he had planned to travel to India in the coming fall to see the Golden Temple and the land of the Sikh Gurus for himself. To the deep sorrow of the Sikhs, who all loved him, Edward O’Brien died at home one week after the mural was finished.
The Siri Singh Sahib said about his work: “This man was able to do what I could never do; he accurately told the history of this world in his painting, and perfectly predicted the events of man up to 5,000 years into the future. O’Brien will be known in the history of man from this time forth and books will be written on his works. Pilgrimages will be made to see his murals and the power of his faith captured in paint.”
Read an additional article about this mural: “Painting the Divine”