"John Bush has a unique and inspired vision of the art of documentary film."
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON
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 from 1970-72 on a journey to India in search of inner peace. During these 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.
Director’s statement -
Into the Heart of India 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 here, with hundreds of millions practicing yoga, meditation,and mindfulness. Into the Heart of India explores the culture offering such possibility for change.
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.
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 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.
Moving through a vast and inspiring landscape, Into the Heart of India travels over 2500 miles,
from the snows of the Himalayas to India’s southern tip, visiting 16 legendary places of power and passage. A western seekers’ voyage into India’s 5000-year-old spiritual tradition to touch the eternal.
In the West, over 200 million 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 appreciate the spiritual context of these practices.
Into the Heart of India explores India’s 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 aspires to connect these ancient understandings with modern life.
Ram Dass • Deva Premal • Krishna Das • Jai Uttal
and many others
RAM DASS Author & Teacher
Director JOHN BUSH 1971, Amarnath Cave pilgrimage, Kashmir, India 16,000 ft.