"John Bush has a unique and inspired vision of the art of documentary film."
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON
Moving through a vast spiritual landscape, Into the Heart of India travels over 2500 miles to legendary places of pilgrimage, from the snows of the Himalayas to India’s steamy southern tip. This is a cinematic voyage into the 5000-year-old tradition of Indian pilgrimage that will inspire one's own life journey.
Practices from India like yoga, meditation and mindfulness are having a transformative effect in the West. This non-sectarian film returns to the source of these practices to better understand their spiritual relevance.
This is an immersive, "you-are-there" experience, that is both an inner and outer journey Into the Heart of India.
In 1970 John Bush left wartime America for India in search of inner peace. He remained there until 1972, living in the pilgrimage sites of India guided spiritually by his revered guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Nearly five decades later, he returns as a filmmaker to rediscover this ancient world still surviving within modern India.
On pilgrimage with an Indian crew for nearly a year, John shows an informed respect for this tradition while making it meaningful for a worldwide audience. A sudden tragedy on location deepens his personal journey.
including appearances by:
Ram Dass • Deva Premal & Miten • Krishna Das • Jai Uttal
from the filmmaker:
Into the Heart of India is a cultural portrait of India’s ancient pilgrimage tradition thriving in the 21st century. The film seeks to discover what universal truths remain here to help heal a divided world.
Traveling through a vast sacred landscape with an Indian cinematographer and assistant director was a revelatory time. To respect the sanctity, we used only existing light. Interviews with seekers happened outside the field of pilgrimage. As pilgrims ourselves, we tried not to interrupt anyone’s deeper experience.
Visiting these legendary places yielded unforgettable images and the power of unseen realms. The intimacy of devotion seen in the faces of pilgrims reflects one of the film’s major themes: bringing together the mortal and eternal aspects of ourselves – the human and being.
Spiritual concepts and practices from India once transformed all of Asia. Now, in the west, with hundreds of millions practicing yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, something similar is happening here. Into the Heart of India explores the rich culture offering such possibility for change.
Into the Heart of India is a cinematic pilgrimage, a new kind of viewing experience. Beyond the exoticism of traditional India, what we see on screen may reveal different ways of seeing ourselves on life’s journey. After all, one reason for going on pilgrimage is to remind us that we are already on one.
Amarnath Cave Pilgrimage Kashmir, India 1971 16,000 feet photo: Mirabai