Documentary film History of Yoga tours North America
India Awareness Foundation (IAF) and Sewa International organized a screening of the film History of Yoga: the Path of My Ancestors, at Chinmaya Niketan, Norcross, GA on March 25, 2016. Nearly 175 invited guests, yoga teachers, practitioners, and enthusiasts were enthralled by this documentary researched and produced by Dr. Deepika Kothari and her husband Mr. Ramji Om from India. Shown across India from 2012, the film is now being toured across North America.
Mr. Dhiru Shah, President of IAF, introduced Dr. Deepika Kothari, a scientist with a Ph. D in physics whose scientific papers have been published in national and international journals andwhose current interests are in research, writing,and filmaking on Indian thought and cultural heritage. Mr. Ramji Om is a mathematician, officer of theIndian Administrative Service (IAS) working for the Indian Railways and an ardent yoga practitionerwho has done the research and screen writing forthe film History of Yoga. He has studied Indian history and dharma scriptures and has delivered many talks on yoga and Indian civilization in India and abroad.
Dr. Deepika Kothari explained the efforts inproducing the film. Six years of extensive research, writing, and filming went into presenting a balanced, rational, and authentic view with the contribution of eminent scholars from the fields of art history,archaeology, history, philosophy, medicine, literature, and yoga. The film crew traveled 35,000 kms, with 100s of permissions, to 87 archaeological sites and 35museums, libraries, temples, and shrines. India’s magnificent iconography, temple art, diverse culture and living traditions, ancient relics, wall paintings, and manuscripts unfold the wisdom of yoga in this documentary. “I think there is no such documentation in the world of this depth and vastness on the subject,” she said.
After screening the shorter version of the film with its breathtaking photography, Mr. Ramji Om made a PowerPoint presentation about his research on Indian civilization. He mentioned that an interesting new insight was the philosophical link to the Harappa civilization dating back to more than 6,000 years. Archaeological findings from sites in Haryana district of India revealed the significant central roleof women in this ancient civilization leading to avery systematic way of life without violence.
Mr. Om commented on the uniqueness of how the roots of Indian civilization were nurtured withthe dharma. He discussed the technique of yoga responsible for landmark achievements in the field of sciences, arts, architecture, and philosophy.Buddhism has been shown to influence yoga in its development. Jainism has its roots in early Vedicperiod. Yogic postures of Jain Tirthankars are beautifully depicted. The film aims to disseminate and popularize yoga amongst all continents. The film ends where modern science acknowledges thepotential of yoga in a new light. Mr. Om concludedby saying, “To understand the exact context inwhich yoga was developed and practiced, this filmhas the answer.”
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