While surfing around on Google Video’s I came upon the movie, “The Universal Teacher”.

For those of you that dont know about this movie. Devavision Productions did a movie about the life of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. I guess to advertise for this movie they put out “rare” film footage of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. fake.png

At first the whole world was excited to receive such mercy. But certain devotees (myself included), after watching it over and over felt like something was kinda weird about it. And there was. It was fake. Dont believe me? A devotee from Croatia made an excellent video about it.
picture-2.png

Check it out here– he did quite a good job in the way he presented his argument- not only did he give good evidence but he was not offensive and even a bit humorous. However, Devavision took offense and were pretty mean to him but couldn’t provide any substantial refutations to his arguments.

So Devavision went on with their movie and continued advertising the “rare clip” and the rest is history. For some reason they put it on Google Videos and here we are. I had high hopes for this movie, despite my doubt. They claimed to have rare movies and photos. As well as interviews with various devotees that knew Saraswati Thakur. I love hearing about Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, he is really an amazing and inspiring personality. But, after watching the movie I was sorely disappointed. They didnt do justice to this exalted personality. Here I will give a little review of my likes and dislikes of the movie. Likes first, because there arent many.

Likes

  • They have some pretty cool effects- you can tell they have some very fancy equipment and editing programs.
  • They had a lot of cool pictures that I’ve either never seen before or saw for a fleeting few minutes. Like this picture from when he was quite young. Maybe around the time he took initiation or younger even? But its still cool:
    young-siddhanta.png
  • I actually learned something- I had no idea that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur had a Western disciple. He was German bodied and became initiated as Sadananda Das
    sadananda.png
    I always wondered if Bon Maharaj’s preaching in Europe did anything. Especially preaching to Hitler. Wouldnt that be weird if Hitler became a devotee? He’d be like, “Kill all the karmis!” Anyway, thats off the topic.

Dislikes

  • Though the effects were very cool, they were also very very distracting from the point of the movie. This includes:
    • The Music- especially the music that introduces each chapter. I realize that they are trying to give an effect to the movie by having some old music playing but it really broke the mood of the documentary.
    • The color– I think about 90% was unnecessarily in black & white and it was just annoying- it didnt really do anything for the movie. And also, they took the liberty of painting saffron onto anything Bhaktisiddhanta wore and I dont really know what that did either.
  • I didnt like the interviews. I was expecting to hear some personal stories and watch some people get teary-eyed but no one gave any at all, their talks were so ambiguous- like Saraswati Thakur existed so long ago that no one had a personal memory. Very boring.
  • I also didnt think there was enough information about Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. He did a lot of amazing things and said some really cool stuff- a lot of which was never said, like what about when he chanted a million rounds and ate straight off the floor due to his humility? I mean really, if you’re going to make a movie entitled “The Universal Teacher” then prove to me that he really is the universal teacher. Maybe instead of it being an hour long documentary make it a few hours. Or even, make a whole series! But if you’re going to make a documentary on the life history of someone you regard as the universal teacher then you better prove it. If they wanted only an hour long movie, then why not just focus on one aspect of his life?
  • I didnt like the British stuff at the beginning of the movie, why put it there? We know all about the British rule and Gandhi and all that. Maybe they were trying to create some perspective on the era Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was coming from. but if you know him, then you know that he was completely unaffected by these politics- he even discouraged his disciples from getting involved while everyone in India was. So why stick it in there? Was it really necessary?
  • The controversial video- it really didnt add to this overall bad movie. It was like, “Here’s some pictures we found, lets splice it in with pictures we took, lets throw this random video clip in here, now back to the pictures…” I guess Devavision made such a big stink about it being real because if they admitted to it being fake then they’d have to take it out and the whole movie would have collapsed.

So this documentary on the life of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur got an overall bad rating from me. It really could have been better. Im not really sure what the midset of the producers were when they made it but it totally stunk. You can tell that they didnt really know anything about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and they should have done more research. They should have done better interviews and overall created a better storyboard.

If you would like to learn about the life of Saraswati Thakur an excellent book to read is called “A Ray of Vishnu” by Rupa-Vilasa Das which I know you can buy from Krishna.com for about $6.00 and well worth every cent. Its very detailed and well put together. It was a very good read and I learned a lot from it.

Advertisements