Krishna Prema's Food for Thought 2019 # 20 - Transcendental Cinema
„Bhakti-yoga means hearing and chanting: chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That's all. Sit down together, all the family members, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and read some passages from Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is bhakti-yoga. If possible, install Deity, worship it properly. There is no need of going to cinema, restaurant, eating all nonsense. This will be automatically finished. These are anartha, unwanted things —smoking bīḍī, cigarette, drinking tea, going to the cinema, restaurant, and so many other—they are not required. What is the necessity of these things?“ 1
Although Srila Prabhupada was not fond of cinema I am sure he was there with us last Tuesday evening in Geneva for the screening of the movie `Hare Krishna! The Mantra, the Movement and the Swami Who Started It All`! The small cinema was filled with about forty people who brought a lot of interest and appreciation with them, as became obvious while the program was unfolding.
Before the movie began, there was an announcement on the screen that said: „Followed by a discussion with Krishna Premarupa Dasa, a monk in the Krishna Bhakti tradition for almost twenty years, and leading the Hare Krishna movement in Switzerland.“
While watching the movie I was reflecting on our good fortune to be connected with Srila Prabhupada. How amazing it is, that I am sitting here as a representative of the Hare Krishna Movement of Switzerland and as a representative of Srila Prabhupada. I felt Srila Prabhupada's presence very strongly and had the impression that he must be very pleased with our humble attempt to spread Krishna Consciousness in this unusual way of a Cinema Program!
Srila Prabhupada had come to Geneva exactly 45 years ago, in May 1974, and now we were gathered here to learn about his glories. Sometimes we, the second generation of devotees, lament that we have not had the opportunity to meet Srila Prabhupada personally. But as many of Srila Prabhupada disciples have commented on this: „A father loves his son, but he shows even more affection to his grandchildren!“ In other words, we can be sure that Srila Prabhupada's mercy is there for all of us if we just try to sincerely follow his instructions.
After the movie was shown, the audience got a chance to ask questions to Yadubara Prabhu, the producer of the film, who was there live via a Skype call. When it was my turn to speak to the audience and answer further questions about the Hare Krishna Movement and our beliefs in general, I started with pointing out how the working title of this movie was `Acarya` which means “a great teacher who teaches by his own example”. Srila Prabhupada was such a personality who did not only speak philosophy but also lived his own life according to these teachings. There had been many translations of the Bhagavad Gita before Srila Prabhupada's arrival in the west, but only after Srila Prabhupada preached and practically showed how to actually surrender oneself to the Supreme Lord, did people start to follow his example and become devotees of Krishna.
The program ended with a beautiful kirtana sung by Sandesa Mataji at the cinema hall. Books were also distributed at the exit and I spoke to several guests on the way out and was amazed by how much they liked the program. One person in particular told me:
„Generally I am not interested in religion or spirituality, but this man (Srila Prabhupada) is really special, such an amazing, kind and loving personality..! I shed tears while watching this movie, it really touched my heart!“
How wonderful it is that Srila Prabhupada still influences the lives of unlimited souls even up to today! All glories to Yadubara Prabhu and his team who made this amazing movie available to the world! Also thanks to Bhakta Aureliene and all the devotees in Geneva for organizing this event!
1 - Srila Prabhupada, Lecture on SB 3.26.28, January 1969, in Bombay