INDIA PILGRIMAGE • Direct Pictures
 

"John Bush has a unique and inspired vision of the art of documentary film." 

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON

 

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Shiva & Parvati 18th century miniature painting

A journey into modern India’s 5000-year-old spiritual civilization
in search of universal truths to help heal a divided world. 

John Bush left wartime America in 1970 on a journey to India in search of peace. During these few years, John went deeply into the practices of hatha yoga, bhakti yoga, and mindfulness meditation. He lived and practiced in several of India’s most revered pilgrimage sites under the spiritual guidance of Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharaji.

Five decades later, he returns as a filmmaker to rediscover this ancient world still thriving 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. 


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Juhu Temple Mumbai India


Director’s Statement

INDIA PILGRIMAGE is a cultural portrait of India’s ancient pilgrimage tradition still thriving in the 21st century. The film’s journey seeks to discover truths in India’s spiritual heritage that awaken a deeper sense of unity between all human beings.   

Spiritual concepts and practices from India once transformed all of Asia. Now, in the west something similar is happening, with hundreds of millions practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness.  INDIA PILGRIMAGE explores this unique culture that offers such possibility for change. While I am not a Hindu or a member of any religion,
I am grateful for what this tradition has given to my spiritual life.

Traveling through a vast sacred landscape with an Indian cinematographer and assistant director for altogether nearly one year was a revelatory time. To respect the sanctity of each place, we used only existing light. Interviews with seekers happened outside the field of pilgrimage. As pilgrims ourselves, we did not wish 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 while also recognizing this in others. 

INDIA PILGRIMAGE is a journey of awakening, a new kind of viewing experience. Beyond the exoticism of traditional India, what we see on screen may reflect 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.

John Bush

 
 

Moving through a vast and inspiring spiritual landscape -

INDIA PILGRIMAGE travels over 2500 miles from the snows of the Himalayas to India’s southern tip, visiting 16 legendary tirthas, places of power and passage. A western seekers’ voyage into India’s 5000-year-old spiritual tradition to touch the eternal.

In the West, hundreds of millions of people practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness. These practices, with their origins in India, may bring one fully into the present moment to quiet the mind and open the heart. This lyrical documentary returns to their source to discover the timeless context of these practices.

INDIA PILGRIMAGE explores this thriving pilgrimage culture, searching for what it means to be a true human being in an evolving 21st century. This immersive, "you-are-there" experience connects these ancient understandings with modern life.

Appearances by:
Ram Dass • Deva Premal • Krishna Das • Jai Uttal and many others


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RAM DASS Author & Teacher


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JOHN BUSH 1971, Kashmir, India Amarnath Cave Pilgrimage 16,000 ft.


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TANVI PALAV Kathak Dancer & Actress