In Hinduism it can often be seen that there is a plethora of gods from Ganesha, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, Rama, and many many more. From a western perspective it’s a very hard concept to grasp. One may believe they understand from simply reading books that explain hinduism but even those books are all from a western perspective. Ronald Eyre thought the same and decided to go all the way to India and truly experience what Hinduism is all about.
I found the beginning of this short movie interesting when Eyre was interviewing his tour guide when he asked, “Are you telling me an image, a clay image, really contains god?” The guide responds “No, there isn’t god in it, but it is a symbol of god. These statues are just like a pointer.” and then the interviewer says, “But aren’t there some people you point… and they never understand what you’re pointing at so the whole of their lives they’re actually looking at your finger?” Which made me think of the Buddhist analogy of a finger pointing at the moon, it basically means that even though someone points to the moon to show you it’s brightness, the finger itself is not the moon. A more modern analogy could be the menu in a restaurant can tell you how delicious all the food is but it is not the meal itself.
Another section I found very interesting was how holy the Ganges River is. It is said that “the Ganges is considered pure because no microbe can stay alive in it.” It really show how faithful Hindus are, it can clearly be seen how dirty the water is. For my SLS class I had to read a book called “The Promise of a Pencil”, and in the book Adam Braun travels to India and jumps into the Ganges even though the tour guide told him not to and that it can get him very ill. Braun believed that this was one of the most holy and spiritual experiences he has ever had because of how much belief the Hindus really have towards the power of this river.
One thing I found a little confusing was the man in robes that left his village and was found 14 years later. He said to renounce his name, belongings, title, and even caste. Does this mean he has reached moksha? But isn’t leaving your caste a bad thing, he clearly wasn’t in the Brahmin cast but he’s basically like a monk/priest now. It’s known in Hinduism that it’s better to fulfil your caste poorly than to go out of your caste.
Overall I found it really eye opening to see India and Hinduism in video. I am very ignorant to what goes on in India even though it is the country that has the largest population in the world now. Another thing I found surprising is how well everyone spoke English, until I Google searched it and saw that English is an official language of India after Hindi. I’m glad I got to see different levels of devotees from children to ones who seem to have reached Moksha.