I attended the Denver premiere of ‘Hare Krishna: The Mantra, the Movement, and the Swami who started it all’ last night at Sie FilmCenter with an enlightening post-screening Q&A with co-director and screenwriter Jean Griesser. The film was a beautiful portrayal of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his work in a very tumultuous late 1960’s America. What struck me was that this man began his quest at 70 years of age in a country where he knew absolutely no one and came with absolutely nothing. It was his devotion that fueled his purpose to “offer spiritual wisdom to the people of the world!”
The film takes us behind-the-scenes of a cultural movement born in the artistic and intellectual scene of New York’s Bowery, the hippie mecca of Haight Ashbury, and the Beatle mania of London. I was particularly captivated by never before seen interview footage of Allen Ginsberg and George Harrison. I have always been fascinated with that historical time period, which ultimately led me to the Grateful Dead and turning on, tuning in and dropping out in my youth. What I believe was lost in those times was vibrating at a higher consciousness masked with getting high. To be high is not to be realized. It is a beautiful tool to alter our awareness and reality, also known as Maya, the illusion, opening us to wider perspectives in this transformation. We often look outward in this exploration seeking knowledge and experience, however, the ultimate truth is found going deeply introspective to self-realization. The spiritual path is deep, hard and exceedingly difficult to comprehend for the earthly mind but as Prabhupada says “Krishna consciousness resolves everything. Nothing else is needed.” What a long strange trip it is yogis, Namaste.