Stephen Bové - Art, Technology, Right Action

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Short Cut To Nirvana

Great new documentary: "Short Cut To Nirvana"...two film makers travelled with DV Cams to the 2001
Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Nectar Fair) at the convergence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers near Allahabad (map) in Northern India...

The Kumbh Mela is the biggest gathering of people in the history of humanity – although few in the West have ever heard of it. More than 70 million pilgrims attend this extraordinary spiritual festival, which has been held every 12 years near Allahabad, India, for over two millennia.

See the trailer (

A vast tent city is established to accommodate the masses, and many of India’s greatest gurus and spiritual leaders set up camp to give discourses to their devotees. On certain auspicious days everyone takes a holy dip at the confluence of two actual rivers - the Ganges and Yamuna - and a mythical river, the Saraswati. On the main bathing day, more than 25 million people bathe in the sacred waters. This single act of faith is believed to cleanse the sins of a thousand lifetimes and secure release from the endless cycle of rebirth – literally a short cut to the state of purest bliss… nirvana.

The 2001 event was considered to be particularly auspicious because it coincides with certain planetary alignments that only occur every 144 years, or once every 12 Maha Kumbh Melas."

Best thing
I've seen (including several coffee table books bought over the years) on the Kumbh...heartfelt, hands-on film, pleasant, intelligent spiritual sensibility, a suprising human eye-opener for curious Westerners...a glimpse of a culture that is, literally, on a different planet in terms of its approach to spiritual evolution.

Entire movie made in DV CAM format...blown up for projection. A perfectly good looking theatrical feature (albiet a bit shakey b/c the filmmakers opted not to use tripods or monopods or anything to stabilize the image...which is critical for viewability on a large screen) made with a highly portable, inexpensive (<$3,500) camera for which the media (tapes) cost $10 for 60 minutes. These cameras are to cinema what Henri Carteir Bresson's Leica was to photography... artists are totally liberated from cumbersome, heavy, expensive formats tools...they can go anywhere and capture anything (even completely alone)...focusing on the "meaning & beauty" as opposed to money, logistics, and technicalities...
result: high impact movies made with a "decisive moment" modus.

Nice footage of the Dalai Lama speaking to seekers amidst the throngs... expressing childish delight over learning how to use a handheld ceremonial drum...

The filmmakers website, watch trailers, see photography, learn more about the Mela...


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