By Yogas Nair, May 24, 2006 Edition 1, © 2006 Post & Independent Online (Pty) Ltd, South Africa, All rights reserved.
A DURBAN Hindu woman who claims to have the "stigmata of Jesus" on her palms, feet and stomach, has had Hebrew scriptures and religious symbols from the Holy Bible "mysteriously" appear on her home walls and garden lawn.
She also claimed she healed the sick and believed she had been reincarnated as the Messiah (messenger from God) – Jesus Christ.
Katherine Jhawarelall, 35, of Bridge Road, Seaview, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Africa, majoring in sociology and criminology, said yesterday she was born with the stigmata – bodily marks, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifiction wounds of Jesus Christ – but never knew what they were until two years ago.
She said the "mysterious" marking on walls and in the garden first appeared when she was living in Canary Street, Kharwastan.
Jhawarelall said: "At the time my family was baffled by all these markings and when word got out about the miracles my family began receiving death threats. We were eventually forced to flee the area and moved to our present home in Seaview, where the miracles have continued to happen."
Religious leaders in Durban have shot down Jhawarelall's claims and have warned people to be "wary of her revelation"..
When POST visited Jhawarelall she pointed out several sketches of angels, ancient ruins and a cross on the walls of her home. A sign, which she claimed was written in Hebrew, was also etched in her front lawn.
She said that on the morning of her 33rd birthday on May 15, 2004, she woke up with a swollen arm and realised a message was written on her skin- "Happy birthday Katherine. God gave you life".
Katherine said she was initially startled but eventually came to realise and accept who she was, claiming to be linked to Lord Jesus Christ, "the Messiah for this millennium".
People have condemned my claim. Some have even called me a fake and Satan. However, I believe this reaction is attributed to the fact that I am female and a Hindu. Jesus Christ is universal irrespective of race, colour or creed."
She added there was only one living God – the Father in heaven – and Jesus was the son of God and "I am now the child of God".
"I carry the legacy that Jesus Christ is the Archangel Michael and He is universal. In Judaism he is Mikael, in Hinduism he is Shiva, Saraswathie, Luxmi, Lord Krishna and Shirdi Baba, in Christianity he was Jesus Christ and in Islam he is Hasrat Mikael."
Jhawarelall said she believed the stigmata confirmed her claims.
"In the past two years the stigmata have developed a pulse and a beam of blue or golden light can be seen emanating from the markings. I have used these markings and light to heal many sick people."
She said she "prayed over the phone" for people and did not and would not accept money for her "healing". She added she did not invite people into her home because she "feared for the life of her family".
"When I pray over the phone I ask people to keep a glass of water next to them. Over the years people have told me that when they drank the water it tasted like coconut water or had a strong scent of vibhuthi. Some have even said the water changed colour."
She said the world was presently "experiencing a time of miracles" and this was a sign from God for people to reaffirm their faith in him.
Jhawarelall claimed that she had often seen the "clouds change colour" and the "moon radiate the seven colours of the rainbow".
She claimed she was "7.635 billion light years old" but did not have "flashbacks or visions" of her past.
"My purpose is to heal and not to linger in the past or go into the future. I am not a psychic and cannot predict the future."
Jhawarelall's parents, Jay Hiralall, 63, and Thara, 60, said they had accepted their daughter's calling and believed she was"Jesus because they had seen the miracles in their home.
She said family members had shunned them but she was "not concerned" and trusted in God.
She said she had made many previous attempts to tell her story in the media but "had the phone slammed down" and was often called "mad or psychotic".
She said many people had threatened her life and "several attempts had been made to assassinate me".
Founder of Kingdom Network International and non-denominational theologian Bishop Dr Johnny Frank said there was no biblical or theological explaination or foundation for Jhawarelall's claims.
Frank said: "In the Bible there is no talk of reincarnation and certainly not of Jesus Christ being reincarnated as a woman in this life. Jesus is God and He will come to us in the same form as when he was resurrected. I pray that accuracy and clarity will be revealed to Katherin through the Holy Spirit."
Secretary of the Imam Ahmad Raza Academy of South Africa, Younus Karrim, dismissed Jhawarelall's claims and warned people should be "wary and keep away from such people".
Karrim said: "We believe the advent of Jesus Christ or prophet Essa (Peace Be Upon Him) will come in His physical form towards the end of the world. Muslims do not believe in reincarnation and certainly not that of a prophet."
Bala Naidoo, president of the KwaZulu Natal Tamil Federation, said the Hindu religion acknowledged in reincarnation but not in the reincarnation of God.
Naidoo said: "People should not be fooled into such claims and should carefully analyse such people before putting their faith in them. I believe a person will not falter if he or she has faith and devotion in God All Mighty."
Head of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha Ashwin Trikamjee said he believed Jhawarelall was contradicting herself.
Trikamjee said: "If she is the reincarnation of Jesus she should not be fearful of anything or anyone. These claims do surface every now and then but to date there has never been any scientific or religious proof of these claims.
"People need to be cautious and should not be hoodwinked by such people. However, I believe people need to realise for themselves the authenticity of these claims."
Director of Gospel Foundation International Dr Gabriel Naidoo said Jesus was the incarnation of God and not the reincarnation.
He said the Bible clearly stated in the "last days false prophets will appear in Jesus's name and make claims of being healers and perform miracles".
He added there was no mention or room for these claims in Christianity.
Jhawarelall said she was not bothered by the criticism levelled against her and was prepared to meet or be interrogated by any religious leader or organisation about her claims. She said she was in "sound state of mind" and did not believe in "consuming mind altering medication."
"I am not mad or psychotic. I am Jesus Christ, and time will prove this." She urged anyone who wanted to challenge her claims to contact her at 031 465 5326."