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Yoga: An ancient vision of life

Mayank Verma, Jan 13, 2015, DHNS 22:28 IST

Inner Peace

The main auditorium of the India International Centre, was packed for the screening of Benoy K Behl’s Yoga: An Ancient Vision of Life, a documentary that explores and presents the true meaning of Yoga, which is very far from being merely a physical exercise.

The 60 - minute film has been shot across India, Germany and the United States, and features interviews with leading practitioners and scholars of yoga, as well as doctors, scientists and sociologists.

‘The Other Dimension’, a series of monthly film screenings curated by Rajiv Mehrotra is been presented by the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in collaboration with The India International Centre.

The film carries the last major interview and perhaps the most important interview of Padma Vibhushan Guru BKS Iyengar ever carried out. Sanghamitra Ghosh, assistant director of the film says: “The meeting was electrifying. The greatest yoga guru and the great Indian cultural historian. Both of them connected at the deepest level of philosophical understanding. The result of the conversation was of immense importance for scholars and lovers of yoga all over the world.”

Yoga has become extremely popular around the world. There are thousands of new persons being attracted every year to practice Yoga in the USA, Europe and in other countries. However, most of them see Yoga as a kind of physical exercise. This documentary puts across the true meaning of Yoga to the world. Yoga is, in fact, the basis of the many Indian spiritual faiths. The purpose of Yoga is finally to create a stillness of the mind and to unite us with the divine. The physical asanas are only one of the steps towards achieving this aim. Yoga is an essential part of the Indic vision of life.

A few thousand years ago, intellectuals (rishis) in India realised that material aims and ambitions do not really lead to true happiness or even to good health. They began to map the world inside us, to explore it and to find the ways of truly creating lasting joy. It is the science of the mind, of life and of the inner world, which is expressed in yoga. In its many different manifestations, Yoga is the path towards final knowledge and ultimate joy. Asanas have their importance, but they are only a small part of the practice of yoga.

Ancient Indian philosophy is deeply related to Yoga. The best answer to the problems of the world today, appears to be this ancient answer from the Indian traditions.

Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley), featuring an interview in the film said “if we don’t rule our own minds then the external world rules over us.”

Filmmaker, art historian and photographer Benoy K Behl, the brain behind the documentary is known for his tireless and prolific output of work over the past 35 years.
Speaking to Metrolife Behl said “Since I made my first film in 1976, this was the first time that I was going to shoot alone, without assistants and without anyone to help in carrying the camera equipment. Yet, by some miracle, hundreds of wonderful shots got taken and this is the best film I have ever made.”

Behl has taken over 44,000 photographs of Asian monuments and art heritage and made 130 documentaries which are regularly screened at major cultural institutions worldwide. He holds the Limca Book Record for being the most travelled photographer.

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