Hinduism Today Magazine Issues and Articles
Video Reviews
Category : May 1994

Video Reviews

Thamby Kumaran and Easan Katir



Yoga at Home, by Yogi Hari. Beginners Class (60 minutes) $29.95; Intermediate Class 1 (90 minutes) $35.00; Intermediate Class 2 (90 minutes) $35.00. Order from: Nada Productions, Sivananda Yoga Center, 2216 N.W. 8th Terrace Fort Lauderdale Florida 33311

Yogi Hari, a yoga master who has taught and practiced for over 28 years, brings to the public in the form of these instructional video tapes the quintessential hatha yoga class. Filmed in a lush, tropical outdoor setting-foliage gently blown by breezes, serenity enhanced by an original music score of flute and tambura-the setting is aptly staged for Yogi Hari's adept demonstration of various poses and asanas. Included in the beginner's tape are the halasana (plow pose), matsyasana (fish pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose), salabasana (locust pose), kakasana (crow pose), and trikonasana (triangle pose). Intermediate tapes get much more advanced. So, if you are interested in just beginnining this more-than-physical Hindu contemplative art-or further refining it-acquire Yogi Hari's videos. They are classics.

East of Krakatoa Ring of Fire Series, Volume 3 of 4-part series Produced & directed by Lorne & Lawrence Blair in association with Station WGBH. Color, 58 minutes, 1988. $24.95 plus tax & shipping. Available from: Mystic Fire Direct PO Box 2249 Livonia, MI 48151 USA 800-292-9001

Board "East of Krakatoa" and fly to Bali and Java-to a world of medieval courts, mystical shadow puppet plays, forgers of magical swords, healers with supernatural powers and entire communities ruled by the power "Spirit of the South Seas." In this beautifully crafted film, the Blair brothers let us meet celebrated artist Nyoman Lempad, who died a conscious death on the day of his choosing at age 116. According to Lempad, if you live creatively for 116 years, "you should know how to die." We meet an acupressure physician with a zip to his technique. As a result of intense meditation he harnesses Chinese yin-yang polarity to create an electric charge. He applies the charge with the acupressure to heal patients. He even ignites a wad of newspaper. When asked how he attained the technique, he replied, "Anyone can do it-just meditate for 18 years!" Among the Toraja people of the Celebes highlands, the film-makers capture the massive funeral rites of the last king of the tribe, which believes its ancestors came from the Pleiades star cluster (sacred to Lord Muruga) in starships. Textile themes imprint the Toraja history including their original arrival from space. Throughout the video is the influence of a broad stroke of Hindu culture and mysticism.

Trip to Awareness, A Jain pilgrimage to India. Produced & directed by Elda Hartley. 30 minutes, $59.95, plus shipping & tax (if applicable). Available through: Hartley Film Foundation, Cat Rock Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807, USA 800-937-1819

Eighteen students of Jain master, Gurudev Chitrabanu-a former Jain monk with a following in the US-journey to India and meditate in magnificent Jain temples-Palitana, Mt. Abu, Shravana Belagola, Satrunjaya and Ellora. Among the seven wonders of India, they are considered so sacred that filming has never before been permitted. That alone makes this video a unique treasure. The excellent cinematography makes it more so by taking you breath-close to the extraordinary sculptural detail of these stone monuments. An awe is felt that lesser similar productions fail to arouse. On Mt. Abu, for example, are several temples in one, so intricately carved it is hard to imagine that it is white marble and not plaster-of-paris. At Ajanta, the whole temple is carved from solid rock in the cliff side. A relaxed narration conscientiously introduces the key concepts of Jainism-especially its extraordinary dedication to ahimsa or nonviolence, and reverence for life.

STAIRWAYS TO THE MAYAN GODS Written by Joseph Campbell, narrated by: Peter Henry. Produced by Hartley Film Foundation. 28 mins., $39.95 plus tax & shipping (if applicable). Available through: Hartley Film Foundation, Cat Rock Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807, USA 800-937-1819

Joseph Campbell, the celebrated Western expert in world mythology, wrote the narration for this delightful journey to the Mayan religious centers of the Yucatan, Central America. The Mayans, like ancient Vedic seers were master astronomers, mathematicians and translated their heavenly perceptions into architectural wonders, pyramid-like temples and palaces. Questions such as why this flourishing religious metropolis-so advanced in many fields of knowledge-suddenly disappeared are intelligently probed by the film. With Mayan teachings now in resurgence in North America, this video will be enjoyed by both the spiritual seeker as well as the scholar probing the overlap of Hindu and Mayan teachings. The filming, like other Hartley productions, is artisticaly handled and professionally executed.

Glimpses of Global Vision 2000. Produced by the VHP of America. 90 min. $15 plus shipping. Available from: VHP of America, 535 Greenpark Dr., Houston, Texas 77079 (713) 556-0241

This video is an inspiring document of the talks delivered at the Global Vision 2000 gathering of 10,000 Hindus in Washington D.C., August 1993. Staged by the energetic USA Vishwa Hindu Parishad, it celebrated Swami Vivekananda's message of religious tolerance and Hindu pride. It brought together Hindu leaders and leaders from other faiths including Tibetan Buddhism, Sikhism, the Mayan religion and Sufism. Speakers included: Swami Satchidananda, Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Swami Dayananda Sarasvati, Swami Jyotimayananda, Yogi Amrit Singh, Sant Rameshbhai Oza, Sant Moraji Bapu, Acharya Sushilkumar Muni, Swami Shuddhananda, Dada Vasvani, Uma Bharti and Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the mystically-inclined Apollo 14 astronaut who walked on the moon.