I must say that the rishi look reminded me of so many less-than-complimentary episodes from Hindu mythology that I simply couldn't understand how this was supposed to be a positive image makeover.
1. Shakuntala and the curse of Sage Durvasa
When Sage Durvasa visited the ashram of Sage Kanva in the latter's absence, his adoptive daughter Shakuntala attended on him. But she was lost in daydreams about King Dushyanta, which enraged the sage. He cursed her saying Dushyanta would forget her. (Of course, it all ended well eventually, but this is the bit that we're interested in.)
2. Ravana and his abduction of Sita
Ravana's devious plan to abduct Sita consisted of having his henchmen lure both Rama and Lakshmana away from their cottage deep into the forest, while he approached Sita disguised as a mendicant and begged for alms. He hadn't reckoned with the lakshman rekha, a charmed line drawn with the tip of an arrow by Lakshmana around the cottage, which acted as a barrier to the demon king. Ravana then realised he would have to lure Sita out of the magic circle through sweet words and deceit. Gullible Sita trusted the cunning mendicant and stepped outside the protective circle. Once the deed was done, nothing could save her, and Ravana carried her away.
3. Vishwamitra and the creation of Trishanku Swarga
King Trishanku approached Sage Vasishtha with a request to be allowed to ascend to heaven in his earthly body, and the sage outright refused his outlandish request. Trishanku then approached Vasishtha's arch-rival, Sage Vishwamitra, with the same request. Vishwamitra took on this task with relish as a way to stick it to his rival, and performed a ritual to enable Trishanku to rise to heaven in his earthly body.
Things came unstuck when Indra, king of the gods, pushed Trishanku out of heaven, and he tumbled back to earth. Vishwamitra halted his fall, but couldn't push him back into heaven. So Trishanku remained stuck, upside-down, between heaven and earth. As a consolation, Vishwamitra built an alternate heaven around Trishanku ("Trishanku Swarga"), but he remained upside-down.
4. Vishwamitra's temptation by Menaka
During Vishwamitra's penance, Indra (the king of the gods) sent Menaka, an apsara (nymph) to distract the sage and prevent him from attaining formidable spiritual powers. She succeeded, for a while at least.
5. Vishwamitra's refusal to accept his daughter Shakuntala
Well, what do you know? The story comes full circle because the daydreaming damsel we saw earlier was none other than the daughter born to the apsara Menaka and Vishwamitra. He didn't want anything to do with the baby, so Menaka handed him over to Sage Kanva, who adopted and brought her up.
6. Bhasmasura and Shiva's imprudent boon
The demon Bhasmasura prayed long and hard to Shiva, and when the latter appeared before him to grant him a boon, Bhasmasura asked for the ability to reduce anyone to ashes by touching their heads. A careless Shiva granted the boon, then was horrified to see Bhasmasura attempt to touch Shiva's own head. Shiva ran for his life, and it was only Vishnu (in the guise of the temptress Mohini), who managed to trick Bhasmasura into following her dance moves, culminating in her touching her own head...
I don't think a longer beard is going to do Modi's image any favours. His new look only reminds one of several episodes from Hindu mythology when sages did less-than-wonderful things.
I think he should go back to the trimmed and deadly look.