Documentary ‘Hare Krishna!’ casts a devotee’s eye on the ISKCON movement

A hypnotic and rhythmic song 16 words replaced LSD and other drugs to some East Village of New York, “said a CBS correspondent, referring to a guru who preaches the teachings of Krishna in Krishna Krishna Hare Krishna. A second avenue store. Black and white images come from the opening scene of Hare Krishna! Mantra, NAM, and Swami who started it all. The documentary from 2017 becomes the lens of Srila Prabhupada, which made the International Society for Krishna Consciousness popular in the West. It was directed by John Griesser, an ISKCON member, with Lauren Ross, and focuses on the impact of a former Indian spiritual master on foreign kilometers of his country.

In 1965, Prabhupada, 70, arrived in New York without much money or contacts. Devotional texts were armed as previous translations. America was in the midst of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and an anti-furious culture. In this environment of uncertainty and rebellion, Prabhupada tried to create an alternative. For a generation of young people seeking deeper answers, Prabhupada’s philosophy and the promise of transcendental vibrations caused by the song had a widespread impact.

“It was a strange sight for many people, watching devotees sing in the streets of New York,” Griesser said. “They really appreciate Prabhupada’s message … that we are not these bodies, we are not these minds, we are eternal souls, minds.”

Griesser, named Yadubara Das, Prabhupada first met as a student in photography in 1970. Griesser had visited India to research his master’s thesis on the origins of the ISKCON movement. “I met him in Surat, and I was instantly fascinated by her,” said the 73-year-old director. “He had a powerful spiritual personality, but at the same time, it was also convenient.”

Griesser has traveled with Prabhupada in the 1970s, documenting his activities on a Super8 camera. “In 1974, I asked him if he could make a movie about his life and he usually said,” What is the need? “Said Griesser,” I told him that in the future, people want to know who started this movement. ”

Hare Krishna! Griesser traveled 40 hours of archive footage, released reprints of Prabhupada’s life in India and conducted interviews with entrepreneurs, teachers, and motivational speakers, many of his disciples, as author and professor Joshua Greene. The 90-minute film is woven into chunks of the early 20th-century Prabhupada, Calcutta. The son of a priest Prabhupada was one of Gandhi who participated in the non-cooperation movement. In 1922, he met the spiritual master Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, who became his teacher and inspired him to make the move to the West.

Greene, who also wrote Swami in a strange land: as Krishna came to the West (2016) and spent more than four decades studying and teaching the Bhagavad Gita, Griesser said his first meeting with Prabhupada “I met him for the first time at a conference When his assistant asked him if he could let him in, Prabhupada made a gesture, a slow movement swept with his hand, as if he drew a bow in the air, Which indicated that he had to enter the room.was, frankly, the first perfect thing I had ever seen, with the grace of a gestured dance.I entered, ran to him and cried.It would take some time to understand the reasons.