This film is a wide and varied investigation and homage to the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi, it examines his life, his teachings and his legacy. I particularly liked hearing about his life from two western men who now live near the Ashram where Ramana lived. For me, it is always useful to see the often mystical Indian tradition through Western minds. In this DVD you can see just this, while not taking away from the beautiful presence of Ramana Maharshi and the power of his life.
The director shows many clips of Ramana sivved from the archives of the Ashram, so you really get a great chance to see the saint as he was in his daily life.
The film doesn't idolize Ramana or try to paint an unjust picture, but tries to capture his essence and to let that speak for itself.
Most of all I really appreciated the stories about Ramana that various people tell, especially David Godman and James Schwartz. They paint a very different picture of him that is perhaps harder to see when looking just at his devotional legacy. He seems so real, so down-to-earth, and yet totally seeing through it all. The film really allowed me to see this, which touched me much more than just focusing on how saintly he was, or how serene!
Ramana Maharshi may embody all our typical 'fantasies' about the perfect master: the gentle saint lying on his couch, eyes brimmming of love.
In this film by Premananda we fortunately get a lot more nuanced view. Based on interviews with David Godman, James Swartz and Premanada a lot more varied picture emerges. Where we hear about his irrational anger and agressiveness, his demands on absolut surrender from devotees and his actually very active life where he parttook in the daily run of affairs, not least in the kitchen.
The interviews are interspersed with footage from Ramana's ashram today and with rare archive films of the man himself. All very professional. The only thing that seems a bit out of place are the small portraits of famous disciples which seems un-integrated with the main story.
The movie also makes it abundantly clear that Ramana advocated search and sadhana, especially self inquiry. What it doesn't mentiion is that he also recommended activities like pranayama (breath control) and japa (mantra repetion). In high contrast to the way spiritual dilletants like Tony Parsons and Nathan Gill misuse Ramana.
All in all a indispensable movie for anyone interested in Advaita and the famous Arunachala Shiva saint.