I’m in India only since little more than a couple of weeks and so many things already happened. My drone has been detained at the airport (not allowed in the country), we settled down in our house in Goa, Leo started going to school and meeting new friends, the government ban of the 500 and 1000 rupees notes put a little more chaos in the usual indian chaos, I already done a commercial shooting for a very cool leggins brand and the highlight probably had been my trip to Vrindavan.
After just few days in Goa, I’ve been invited by 2 wonderful souls: Jayapradha Radhika and her husband Govinda Das to visit Vrindavan.
I had never been there before and the only thing that I knew was that is the birthplace of Krishna, but I accepted without any doubts.
It’s been tiring, almost overwhelming, but quiet amazing.
I had the pleasure to experience and be immersed for one full week in the love and devotion of so many Bhakti yogis from all over the world and of course I found very good material for my movement project: an awesome Odissi dancer, a sadhu gracefully dancing in one of the most ancient temple of the cities, hundred of devotees dancing in kirtans and Radhika herself talking about the differences of practicing hatha yoga and bhakti yoga.
I will collect more and more material for my documentary and I will put all together by the end of my indian trip in March but I don’t want you to wait too long to see something, so I would like to show the work in progress and the experiences of my indian trip.
What I found in Vrindavan is that, talking about movement, I saw most of all a form of movement towards God.
That’s why I would love to start sharing something that is not even so connected (well, everything is connected after all) with my project about movers but give the idea of the context.
It’s the daily Puja that it’s performed at Keshi Ghat in Vrindavan.
This kind of puja is called Aarti, from the Sanskrit word ārātrika (आरात्रिक), which means something that removes rātrī, darkness (or light waved in darkness before an icon).
In North India it can follow a bhajan session. It was very loud and here it’s a pic I took of it (unfortunately pictures have no sounds).
Quoting Wikipedia, Aarti involves the circulating of an ‘Aarti plate’. In doing so, the plate or lamp is supposed to acquire the power of the deity. The priest circulates the plate or lamp to all those present. They cup their down-turned hands over the flame and then raise their palms to their forehead – the purificatory blessing, passed from the deva’s image to the flame, has now been passed to the devotee.
What Wikipedia doesn’t say it’s how much crowded and loud it could be and how close the flames can be to people eyes (and cameras). However, while the puja was going on behind our backs (and 6 kids were pulling my camera asking for money) I managed to take a picture of Radhika.
Don’t you agree that this picture express peace and calm?
Again, pictures doesn’t have sounds. That’s why we have videos.
And here is a short video showing what was really going on.
Just in the backside of the same Ghat, there is a very mystical and unique temple. And I was lucky enough to see and film a Sanyasi dancing there.
A couple of days later, I filmed a performance of Odissi Dance in a stunning location, Kusum Sarovar. Enjoy!