The Yellow Christ (1889) by Paul Gauguin
Eliot's early predilection towards a religious mode of life
"[In] the summer of 1911, [Eliot] told Conrad Aiken that he had decided to return to Harvard and become a philosopher... The call towards philosophy was the call towards order... He returned in time for the autumn term of 1911 and enrolled as a graduate student in philosophy... [He] pinned a reproduction of Gauguin's 'Yellow Christ' upon his wall (he was very fond of crucifixion scenes)... He decided first to study Sanskrit, enrolling in C.R. Lanman's course in Indic philology, and in his second year he read Indian philosophy in the classes of James Haughton Woods. In the original language he tried to master the Pancha-Tantra, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Jatakar (the sacred books of Buddhism) and, in addition, he attended a full year course on Buddhism given by Masaharu Anesaki...Eliot's attraction to Buddhism was not simply a philosophical one. Nirvana is extinction -- the annihilation of desire, the freedom from attachments -- and there was, as can be seen in his poetry, an over-riding desire in the young Eliot to be so free."  ~ Peter Ackroyd, 'T.S.. Eliot: A Life'
"Eliot's Notebook and other manuscript that he began to measure his life by the divine goal as far back as his student days, in 1910 and 1911, and that the turning-point came not when he was baptized in 1927 but in 1914 when he first interested himself in the motives, the ordeals, and the achievements of saints."  ~ Lyndall Gordon, 'T.S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life'

--- On Thu, 4/23/09, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
an eye opener
By Ronald Schuchard 
You may read it online at google preview -- that is, if it's still there without any missing pages.
It forms the crux of a book that "erodes conventional attitudes toward Eliot's intellectual and spiritual development, showing how early and consistently his classical and religious sensibility manifests itself in his poetry and criticism." 
Here is one of the most sensitive and perceptive critics.