On Yoga the Architecture of Peace (2017) - full transcript

ON YOGA: The Architecture of Peace is director Heitor Dhalia's new film and his first documentary, it follows photographer Michael O'Neill as he talks to the great Yoga masters in India, Tibet and New York.

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[MICHAEL] When I walk into my basement,my archives...

A lot of history in those boxes...

A lot of journeys anda lot of work.

Most of it required big negatives.


Because we useda view camera with a cloth.

Here's a perfect example.

This is Orson Welles,


This is the size of the negative.

It was near the end of his life.

Orson was leavingthe studio

and he was in a wheelchair at that point.And in the loft building,

in Los Angeles, I waslooking down the staircase,

and a shaft of lightwas coming in

and illuminating Orson in his wheelchairlooking at the door,

and I didn't have the courageto make the photograph

and intrude on his life.

So that picture exists here,and it never goes away.



I try to... [long breath]

Be an equal.

Even for those few minutes,

it's just I'm a human being and the subject is a human being.

And if the two of us collaborate together

because we want to make something special,

then we have a great portrait.

If there's resistance onone side and negativity,

it slows down the processand the picture becomes,

or the photograph, becomesmore ordinary.

So how do you connectinstantaneously?


Scorsese, let's find Scorsese.

I guess Martin is hidingin here.

(lower voice)Where's "Martin?".


[long breathing]

Look at "Martin"all these years ago.

Well, and here's Martin,he's acting, look at that.

So he is giving me that.

He's playing the actor.

Boy, is he there...

This is a great picture.

I haven't looked at this one in years,but I think this is great.

Because it's not perfect,because it's moving and flawed.

And there is a RichardNixon down there.

Ok, who else?

I actually photographed Paul Newmana whole bunch of times.

I think this is what they usedto cover "The Times".

He looks like the hero,doesn't he?

Here was the picture we wantedto use at "The Times",

but the editor wouldn'tlet me use it.

This was my favoritepicture of Paul, for the cover.

So he would go andhe would play,

and that would makethe great portraits.

You see his eyes?

I love this picture.

I think they thoughtthey didn't see enough of him

to know it was Paul Newman.


(whisper) It's Jack.

How cool is he?

He doesn't have to doanything and he is cool.

(whisper) Jack Nicholson.

So these are very earlyphotographs from the Himalayans,

the Tibetan border in the 70's,in 1979.


It's a flawed photograph,but if you look at the monastery

in the lowerright hand corner,

you realize the enormityof the mountains.

So India, Nepal, Tibet,all these places,

that started in 1974,but at that time it was too early

in my understandingin development

to put all these pieces together.Until I had the crisis with my arm,

and I turned to Yoga.

My dedication to work was a constant...

Never ending pursuit of perfection and excellence.

As a professional photographer,

and then a portraitist, some 40 years later, the travel,

the 14 hour days, the pressure of concentrated,

sort of intensified, stressed out sittings,

brought me to a surgeons table to fix calcified nerves in my neck.

When I came out of the surgery my right arm,

my camera arm, was totally paralyzed.

The neurologist looked me in the eye and told me

I would never use it again.

I could have accepted this injury

and resigned myself to living with a disability.

But somehow instead I decided to choose a different way.

I shifted all my intentions

in a much more positive direction,

to learn to sit with myself, to calm the fear.

I decided early on that I would concentrate on making

rather than taking photographs.

That I would strive to make it some sort of emotional

and spiritual connection to all my subjects.

They would transcend the medium and become something more.

The pursuit of spirit in a two-dimensional image

became a theme through the whole project.

In a sense, I've become an anthropologist.

[MICHAEL] This project has occupied a ten year chunk of my life.

The photographs have been called from different time periods,

different attitudes.

I remembered bathing in the Ganges with 70 million people

during the Kumbh Mela festivals.








[MICHAEL] It's eleven years now, almost.

[VIJAY] I remember eleven years before too I think...

[MICHAEL] Yeah? And we've walked,let's walk...

[VIJAY] Yeah, and we walked all the way,like, 12 kilometers.

[MICHAEL] Look at this beautiful rock.

[VIJAY] And they have taken a lotof time to come into this shape.

It took time, and someoneput things, helped him...

This, to become beautiful.

It's not even possible that the whole world turn into Babas.

You need to change the lifestyle only.

You're sinking.

No one else is responsible for the unhappiness.

You have to tinkle with that, what makes you unhappy.

And I've seen the maincause behind it,

it's never ending desires.

He is always busy,you know?

To fulfill them, and he is doingso much for this,

he's doing this, being that,feeling this,

doing that...

Doing efforts.

Sometimes he's success,sometimes he's not success.

Then he's success,even then he is unhappy.

Then he's not success,even then he's unhappy.

You know?

So you have to limit the circlesof your desires, you know?

Do you understand?

Cut the list of your desires,make it shorter

and I think you canget satisfaction.

It's a kind of process we have to go through.

[MICHAEL] If you asked meabout Yoga 20 years ago,


I would have just answereda normal answer, you know?

"Oh, that's something that people do,makes them feel better,

it's good for the mind,I guess".

The connection came after I got injured,

and rather than living in the injury,

I chose to set an intention...

To overcome that injury.

And the first thing I didwas turn to meditation.

Then I became...

Really fascinated with Yoga.

It works very heavily onthe nervous system,

and my nerves needed to heal.

So it helped.

But along the way, the curiouschild that I was,

or the boy who wantedto know about things,

just became super fascinated,and wanted to start to meet...

I mean, if I couldgo photograph these presidents,

and I couldphotograph these great directors,

and I couldphotograph leaders of countries,

and I could photograph,you know,

the greatest opera singersin the world,

why couldn't I go photographsome Yogis?

And how come nobodyis paying any respect

to the great minds of Yoga?

And that's where it was born,the whole project.

So it gave me...

It gave me a ticket

to get to the greats.

It opened the door.

It was one of the highlights in my life

to meditate with some of these masters,

to be educated by them, to be blessed by them...

I would return from India sick every time.

My Brazilian wife would say "Não mais, Michael",

but I continued to go back for eight more trips.

I remember nights in the Himalayas sleeping with the Sherpas

on the dirt floors when it was 30 degrees or less

inside the room.

I was working with a crew of guides, translators,

assistants and drivers under rough conditions.

[chat between men in the car]

[MICHAEL] What do you say, is this the only way to go?

[MAN 1] Only way to go.

[MAN 2] So how does it feelto return, Michael?

[MICHAEL] It's pretty wonderfulto be back.

It's a pretty special place.


[praying sound gets lower]♪

[MOOJI] All feel the sense of "I".

It is actually the firstthought that arise.

It doesn't arise as a thinkingthought,

but as your natural senseof self awareness.

It is the way in whichyou know that you exist,

when you feel the feeling"I am, I exist".

But this "I exist" feeling somehow it gets identified

with an instrument and believe "I am the body".

And it started to embrace the conditioning that arouse

in the body as though that's what it is.

So, we call that the "fall from grace",

or "the first misunderstanding", ignorance creeping in.

[MOOJI] No one chooses fear.

Fear is the result of something,

an earlier idea that we are merely just this.

So we go to life with that conditioning,

that I am a man, I was born in this place, I'm this age.

I'm a lawyer, I'm a painter, I'm a singer,

whereas also what is partof who we are,

but we cannot be defined merelyby the body.

We are infinitely more than the body.

And infinitely more than the mind may suggest,

so you're much, much greater than that.

[KALLASH] (thick accent)Around 1000 years ago...

The ancient texts "Upanishad" and "Vedas" were taught only in the forest.

Only those who had a real thirst to know...

They in search of this UltimateKnowledge went to the forest.

Because only in the forestthe mind remains pure.

Most of the devotees, called Mahatmas, of this Ashram,

most of their time is being spent in this boundary only.

Less connection with the external world.

No desire, nothing...

No more needed...

This Ashram itself is a "Forest" for us.





[bells and chanting]♪

[KALLASH] (thick accent) Doing meditation for longer period,

our mind gets calmed down to that level.

So that it can further penetrate into the depths of our own being.

Now we are getting ready to know

that we are something different from our body.

[bells and gongs]

Who am I actually?

[bells, drums and gongs]

[RADHANATH] Everyone is seeking happiness,

in the Srimad Bhagavatam,

the essence of the Vedic literatures,it is said:

"When you waterthe root of a tree

that water naturally extendsto every leaf,

and every branch, andevery flower on the tree".

So when we actually findthe origin of our true pleasure,

and feeling the infinite,sweet love

that God has for us...

And in realizingour potential to love God,

that love naturally extendsto all living beings.

When we forget that, then we're on an endless journey

trying to find it somewhere else.

But the nature of life is: eventually, we realize

that if I can't find thathappiness within myself,

I will never find it anywhere.

And that's where real, true Yoga practice begins.

When we understand the flickering temporary nature of this world,

then we understand the beauty of it.

[MICHAEL] Where is Gurmukhin here?

My teacher, Gurmukh,

who I've studied with forsome 12 or 13 years now.

I asked her where she wantedto be photographed

and she picked the GoldenTemple in Amritsar.

Because she is a Sikh,

and practicesKundalini Yoga.

And the most holy place in the Sikhreligion is the Golden Temple.

I love this photograph of herbecause she's so at peace meditating

by the holy watersat the temple.

[GURMUKH] We all breathe,

if we are alive human beings living on this Earth.

So the way you breathe is the way you live.

Breathe longer, deeper;longer, deeper life.

But if you do quick little breaths,

you will end your life quite quickly.[MICHAEL] Right.

[GURMUKH] But if you takeyour breath

up to that one minute breath,the life can be so much longer,

richer, freer, more conscious.

The quality of your breath is the quality of your life,

it's as simple as that.

But you have to walk the steps yourself from darkness to light,

through your breath, you have to live in the world.

But you have to know you are not of the world.

Then you bow every morning to that creative force within you.

Most of the world is still looking outside themselves

for their truth.

There is many gurus,

many spiritual teachers,but beware:

if a teacher wants a lot of money,

if a teacher wants to initiate youas his students

with no hope of ever becominga teacher yourself,

I would say "run".

Those were the older days.

We all have to be teachers now.

Yogi Bhajan would say:

"Never die a student,die a teacher."

Maybe not of Yoga,maybe of photography,

maybe of art, maybe of math,but turn around and say:

"Come on,I might know something

that can help you".

I was some loony bird whenI was a hippie, but I knew...

It's that Bob Dylan song:

"You know something is happening,but you don't know what it is".

How many people can getaway from anything that's polluted?

Any place is pure,so few can.

But you can sit...

The whole world is inside of us.

I believe that we can turn this world around,

I believe it's not too late, I believe that.

Otherwise I would not be doing what I'm doing.

The young people, some are waking up.

I have great hopefor this human race.

[MICHAEL] Photographing is in a way a meditation.

Complete focus.

Certainly workingin the dark room is too.

The thing is there are lots of things we do in our lives

where we focus, where we become aware.

I was a hippie.

I was a hippie.

I wasn't completely out there,but I was a hippie. I mean, that…

I started working in the businessin the mid-sixties,

I had long hair down the ear,

a beard and a mustache.I wore bandanas.

I thought I was a hippie,it was cool to be a hippie. (laugh)

I guess it's kind of coolto be a rapper right now.

It was a fantastic time to become a photographer.

You'd be in the dark room

and you'd be listeningto the burbling water,

because there was alwaysrunning water… (mimicking noise)

And red light.

And there was usuallya radio on, so, you know,

Jonathan Schwartzwould get on the air

and he would say“Oh, we have a new…

A brand new Beatles albumjust came,

so I'm going to play Abbey Roadfor you for the first time.”

You'd be in the dark room

listening to the first time Abbey Roadplayed on the radio in America.

I guess every generationlooks at the time that went by

and that will never be repeated.

But that time period,there're co-lessons of spirit...

Of music, of writing,of resistance, of change.

That was a pretty big momentin time.

It was most clearly emphasizedand recorded by Bob Dylan,

as "the change".

Times are going to change.

John Szarkowski createdthe term “The Decisive Moment”

for a photographmade by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

That started this awareness ofthe moment that hung in the air.

So, yeah, if you are not hereand focused that on,

how do you makethat photograph

at that specific momentwhen it needs to be made?

It's a decision.

If you don't make a photographthat you're responding to,

sensing, feeling, seeing...

At that moment in time, it's gone.

The same way,


when I exhale this breath,

it's gone.

[LINDA] The most important...


way to create healthis by yoking ourselves.

Yoga teaches us howto yoke ourselves.

Ourselves being all of us.

Not just our physical body,

Yoga is not just a physical exercise.

When we are practicing Yoga

we are able to connect with our inner feelings,

with our thoughts.

It's difficult sometimes.Look, we're in New York City.

New York City gives us challenges,

because there's so much going on here all the time.

I would say in that balance between the positive

and the negativethere is consciousness.

Consciousness is between the inhalation

and the exhalation. So, being in the moment,

they talk about being in the moment,but there's no such thing.

There is only consciousness.

And it's our ability to be ableto hold on to consciousness

that we realize our self.

Because, as you know,

the Yogis can take timeand extend it.

That's Yoga.

That's the purpose of Yoga,is to reach self-realization.

But, you know, as longas we are in our physical body,

on this physical planet,

we are always going tohave challenges.

If we can embracethose challenges

and overcome our difficulties,

then that's where we aregoing to find peace.

You know, it's not whatwe go through in life,

but how we go through in life.

That makes all the difference.

[DEAN] Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

To be exact, 45 years ago,when I was a freshman in college,

I got profoundly depressedto the point of being suicidal.

And there's an old saying that:

“when the student is ready,the teacher appears”,

My older sisterwho studied Yoga

with Swami Satyananda,it really helped her.

And so my parents,who lived at Dallas at the time,

decided they wouldhave a cocktail party for the Swami.

This was in Dallas backat 1972, it was January 72,

it was pretty weird back then,

even today would be weirdin Dallas.

And in walks these kind ofcentral casting's idea

of what a Swami should look like:long, white beard; long saffron robes...

He came into our living roomand gave a Satsang, a lecture.

He started off by saying nothingcan bring lasting happiness.

I had already figured that out,

which is why I wanted to kill myself.But I said: “What am I missing?

I'm ready to kill myselfwhile he is glowing”.

He said what probablysounds like a new age cliché,

but it changed my life:

“Nothing can bring you lasting happiness,but you have it already.”

The real thesis of Yoga is notthat you get your health,

your well-being, your inner peacefrom outside yourself,

which is what our cultureoften teaches us,

but rather we have it already.

Then the question becomes:

“What am I doing that'sdisturbing that?”

as opposed to “How can I getsomething that I don't already have?”

It may sound like semantics,

but it's completely different, because if your happiness

and your well-being are what you have to get,

then how can I get what I don't have?

And then everyone has power over you.

But if the question becomes “What am I doing

to disturb my own inherent health and well-being?”

That's very empowering, because that I can do something about.

If the light is already there and it's being obscured by the darkness.

The guru, the remover of darkness,

literally “guru” is “remover of darkness” in Sanskrit,

a real guru helps you identify your own inner guru.

We all have that.

It goes by different names in different spiritual traditions,

the inner guru, the still, small voice within,

it's the voice that speaksvery clearly but very quietly,

wakes you up in the middleof the night.

It goes:“Oh, now I remember”

Because it gets round outby the chatter of everyday life.

Listen to that inner voice.

So at the end of a meditation I'll ask myself:

“What am I not paying attention to that I need to?

What am I not hearing?”

So ultimately what these technics bring you,

whatever spiritual condition that you begin in,

they all kind of go to the same place.

If at one level we're separate. -you are you and I'm me-,

on another level, we're part of something larger that connects us.

Whatever name we give to that. Because I'm more internally defined

and I can see the unity underlying the diversity.

The paradox is that the world becomes much more of a playful,

enjoyable adventure rather than a problem to be solved.

[NEVINE] The universe is one, the “univision” is one,

and the universe is alive. If it's alive, it breathes.

And if I want toparticipate in the universal dialogue,

I participate by consciouslyplaying with my breath.

Yoga works, and so you'resupposed to come in at one state,

and hopefully if it does its job,

you come out ina different state, right?

A state that is designed to give you more joy.

But the goal of practice is really to develop a discipline.

So that sustains you,so that you can always get over it.

So that you don't have to walkin to the room in a bad mood

and have that experienceput you in a better mood.

[NEVINE] When I think about Yoga for joy,

when I think about the spirituality of Yoga,

the metaphor that really speaks to me is music, right?

And Yoga is music. It is…

The body is the instrument,

the mind is the musician, your breath is the tone.

And you play music, you learn music, you listen to music to soothe the soul,

to soothe the person's soul, to soothe the collective soul.

[ELENA] I think in some funny way

it's a vision for how we couldlive on this planet

that sometimes we are listening to,and sometimes we are not.

You know?

How willing are we to stop judging,

and stop comparing,and stop analyzing

and start to just have an experienceof what is moving through us

at any given time?

Because what's moving through us is a longing for love and connection,

and we keep blocking it

with all these thoughts (gasps)and these mental meanderings

that mean nothing.

The spirit that is movingthrough us already.

It's not something we have to add.

Or something we haveto go to class for.

Or something any teachercan give to us.

It's moving through us already.

That is what we areglimpsing and touching

during Yoga when we practice,

and hopefully whenwe are not.

[JARED] I think Yoga stands for freedom

for a lot of younger people.

It's a way out of the system,

it's a way out of feeling trapped,

or forced to be a certain wayor live a certain way.


It's a way to understandwho you are

and what you want, and to live that.

Most people just start to wear thatbecause they're stressed out,

they're afraid...

And they're running aroundlike a crazy person just to survive.

This is a hard worldto survive in,

I get it, but as Yogis, I thinkit's important to say:

“There is enough,

for all of us, it's ok”.

[MICHAEL] When I photographed all of these different schools of Yoga

or teachers from different lineages,

it wasn't that I was trying to record all the difference between the Yogas.

It simply was that I was trying to tell a visual history

about what Yoga really looks like.

How it's practiced.

Who the teachers are.

And in a sense, often it didn't matter if the Asana was perfect to me.

It was more the energy and the intention of the Asana

and the photograph that I cared about.

I could take great teachers, I could take students.

It was where they were going,

what was the intention of the Asana,

and what was the energyof the picture.

Yogananda Ji, in Rishikesh.

He's like a root of an old,old tree.

You don't know whether the root or the tree is coming

or going, or holding the rock together, or the rock is holding the tree...

And if you look at that part of the picture without his face,

you can't tell whether he's a root or not.

He loved beingphotographed there.

It felt like an appropriate place to tell a story of age.

When I made this picture he was 98 years old, or so he said.

He's since passed.

I think they say he diedwhen he was 106 years of age,

but pretty remarkableto do this at 98.

[MICHAEL] The journey never had a specific destination,

it was simply my own personal path with Yoga.

That path was a river, and the purpose was to be on the water.

I hadn't been back to India for quite a number of years,

but the Ganges, Ganga Mata, was mother to me.

My energy flowed through my relationship with Yoga.

It often felt like rafting, like river running.

I would put in, and float, drift, pull the oars,

never knowing what was around the bend.

[MICHAEL] Then, at some point, I would take out,

and the flow would become its own meditation.



[DHUNA] (foreign language) Earlier, I used to work. I had my own business.

Then I became a Saint.

[MICHAEL] Why the penis lift?

[DHUNA] (foreign) We have to controlour desires and kill them one by one.

If they arise again,control them again.

[UDAY] (foreign) To stop this emotion of lust, we never use it.

As if we hold on to this sense forever.

(thick accent) Just no use.Just...

[MAN 3] To control?[UDAY] (thick accent) Yes, control.

[MAN 3] That is the main thing.

[YOGESHWAR] For some Sadhuswho aren't doing Sadhanas

is just only smoking.

Another thing is that it doesn't matter,

because you are a non stable thing, you are done...

You are nothing, just that smoke, comforting you...

And sometimes that smoke can help you lock your sex power.

Press it down, control it.

[YOGESHWAR] The thing is: finding yourself is difficult.

Serving others you can find yourself.

Karma Yoga,there is Bhakti Yoga also.

Where you serve others.

Bhakti is not only with an Idol.Bhakti is serving.

Because you see that one in you, I serve you.

You see that one in me,so you serve me.

Serve each other, that understanding.So that is real Bhakti.

That way you can't just walkby when someone is hungry,

you have to do something about it.

That is real Bhakti.


[MICHAEL] You want Dharma?[MAN 4] Yes...

[MICHAEL] Let's talk about Dharma,because Dharma makes me happy.

Dharma wanted to show me...

Poses, and I was standingnear Dharma

and I turned around,and here he was,

standing on his head,balanced on a rug in the studio...

With his hands by his legs,and he was perfectly balanced

right on the tip of his head.

And it felt like...

He felt like he was showing off in a beautiful way.

Just showing me what he could do.

It was sort of like maybe one of his favorite poses.

So we designed to do that specific pose

on the streets of New York.

Nothing is retouched in this picture,it's absolutely as it is.

So he would look at me andhe would give me a little signal

with his eyes, andhe would move his hands

straight up to his pantsand I would make the photograph.

I've handed the picture to peopleand they've turned the picture over.

They were thinking that this was up.

So I thought it was kindof wonderful in designing the book,

that Anna Tina Kessler,who designed the book,

decided to take the front cover,

which was an upright Yogi,

and put on the back coverupside down, an upside down Yogi.

So the book is upside down,the Yogi is upside down.

[DHARAM] The purposeof all the religions

is to give an experienceof their origin to an individual.

And they generally agreethat our origin is spirit.

And therefore, if you like,the job of religion is to give people

the experience of their spirit.

That is always there, but it just may be dormant.

And that's what Yoga does, that's why this Yoga studio is so full.

Because the Yoga studiogives a person direct experience

of their own inner light.And it lights that fire for them.

Then, there's a direct linetowards wherever that person is,

and infinite consciousness.

Of course, infinite consciousness resides within anyway.

But we're usually taken out to journey to make the inner connection.

But in that sense, Yoga is not aligned to religious practice

in the same kind of way.

it's much more informal.

That's one of the reasons why itattracts so many people these days.

Because so many peoplethese days have seen religion,

and have seenthose who spouse religion

behaving in ways thatthey don't consider religious,

they don't consider spiritual,

and we're all trying to make sense of these new times.

It's interesting to note the difference in approach

between western philosophyand eastern philosophy.

So, western philosophyis essentially an academic pursuit:

discussion,written work, exposition,

more discussion.

In the east,

the philosophyis taught through practices

that open andelevate the consciousness.

So, the person has the experienceof the concepts in that philosophy.

And in that sense,Yoga is philosophy.

But through discussion you don't actually learn to engage energy,

to engage spirit.

[DEEPAK] Ludwig Wittgenstein said: “Our life is a dream,

we are asleep, but once in a while,

we wake up enough to knowthat we are dreaming.”

So, your body mind is a dream.

And everything you are experiencing through the body mind is also a dream.

What is not a dream is the self and mystic experiences happening.

Your deeper self has no form.

Because if it had a form,we would be able to see it.

Being formless,it is not in space-time.

And being not in space-timeit is also eternal.

As the Bhagavad Gita says:“Water cannot wet it,

wind cannot dry it,weapons cannot shatter it,

fire cannot burn it, it's eternal,it's not subject to birth and death”.

That self is not in the body.The body is an experience in the self.

The mind is an experiencein the self.

The universeis an experience in the self.

Your body mind hasno substantial reality.

You don't have the same body mindthat you had even two months ago,

or five minutes ago,or five seconds ago.

In fact, there is no body,there is no mind,

and there is no universe. These arejust concepts that the self creates,

the human self creates to interpretintermittent streams of sensations,

images, feelings and thoughts,

which are the only subjectiveexperience we have.

The Buda said: “This lifetime of ours

is as transient as autumn clouds, to watch the birth

and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.

"A lifetime is like a flashof lightning in the sky,

rushing by, like a torrentdown a steep mountain”.

So, everybody is grasping,clinging at something that you can't...

How do you grasp space?

Forget the air, how do yougrasp at space?

How do you grasp time?

[DEEPAK] Illusion is giving permanence to something

that flickers in and out of existence.

And the body mind is like takinga photo of that.

[DEEPAK] If I went to the ocean and I took a photo of the ocean,

this wave, this seagull,this rainbow.

If I said “This is the ocean”,you would say:

“No, it's a photo of the ocean.Let's go see the ocean.”

What we took a photographof doesn't exist anymore.

So, everything other thanthis second doesn't exist.

[DEEPAK] By the time I finish my sentence, it's a dream already.

This morning is a dream, one hour ago is a dream.

Five seconds ago is a dream, one second ago is a dream,

it's gone.

I think, in the end, the meaning of life is to find out who you are.

Because nobody knowswho they are.

And they confuse their selfwith a photo of themselves.

And the ultimate goal of life is to find out who you are.

Therefore, it goes beyond the reason, that human suffer,

not knowing who they are.

Clinging and grasping, fear of impermanence.

Identifying with a false self and the fear of death.

Those are all one thing: not knowing who you are.

So, the meaning and purpose of life is to find out who you are.

[MICHAEL] Yeah, the eyes are looking right here…

Look there, that's good...

I just want to picture the eyes. That's it. Beautiful.

So, I think what we wantto talk about is your story.

[UMA] Where do I start?[laughs]

[MICHAEL] At the beginning.[UMA] At the beginning...

Well, I'm Swedish,I was born in Sweden.

My father was a chief of police.A very, very strict one...

So, by the timeI was 18, I left home.

And on the pretense “I'm goingto England to study English”,

I went to England and I was freefor the first time.

So, I didn't go back homefor further studies.

From then on, I startedmoving around in our world. (laughs)

So, I left home, and thenI started just wandering

"what is it all about",you know?

What is it all about?

And slowly, slowlyit started growing.

Then, I was very lucky,because of my age now...

I was in England in the latesixties and seventies.

There was a kind of revolutionamongst the young people.

There was a hope,so I kind of went with that flow.

Then, my husband, the fatherof my two children,

he sort of swept me awayto India. (laughs)

For the first time, with that flow,we came to Bombay.

The door opened to the airportlane, and I knew I was home.

The children had a very niceupbringing.

A very simple living.Then, we divorced, me and the father.

And he went to live in Americawith big dreams.

And I also had big dreams,

but my dreams were insideby that time, you know?

I wanted to be rich,but in here;

he wanted to be rich out there.And so it turned out to be.

I guess that whatever has happened,

it's the sort of thinking in Indian philosophy, you know?

You get born with your karmas.

Then, I think that when I think backwards,

it is like my childhood and my growing up time was “paying back karmas”.

When that was done, the flight to India,

that was a new freedom.(Uma laughs)

What has happened to me in my life has nothing to do with me.

I could never, ever, ever have dreamed,

or fantasized, or planned, or anything,

that my life would turn this way.

We are living in a world of duality,

there's good and there's wrong... [MICHAEL] Right...

[UMA] I mean, good can't be without wrong,

and wrong can't be without good.

But you still have to choose the one that is honest.

Honesty is the most important thing.

[MICHAEL] Truth? [UMA] Truth.

[UMA] There has to be a big change.

From any point of view,from educational point of view,

from medical point of view,from political point of view,

from every point of view.

It has to come back to be human.

What are we doing as humans?

Cheating each other.

So grim, isn't it?

What are we doing to each other?

[UMA] If I try to change it, sure, I can change it.

Then, it can be better or it can be worse.

But, really, we'll find the only thing I can change is myself.

So words are not necessary.

Words only go to the five senses, as that much can you talk about,

and can you think about.

You have to go above the five senses.

That's where reality sits, that's where truth is.

And you can't talk about it, but can feel it, you can see it.

Very often, I just sit and try to kind of look deeper

and deeper, and thoughts come.

And every time thoughts come,stop them, stop them.

There are so manydifferent kinds of meditations,

but I find it, for me, that it's beenvery helpful, stopping these...

Not thinking as all thinking,but that kind of internal,

the duality conversation onehas with oneself, that thinking...

You're so used to chatwith yourself

and you decide “Yes”, “No”,“I don't like that”

and “Should I do that?”,“Do it like that”.

It's like two people,that thinking...

But the thinking of contemplationand of widening yourself. You know?

That begets much morespace then for that.

If you stop that kindof planning and...

Planning one has to do.

But the extra dreaming andfantasizing and all that...

That is the thinking to stop,

not the one that bringsyou further and further.

[UMA] And that heightens awareness.

The awareness that so the common man don't have

because they don't try to find it.

It's there, but you have to go above the five senses

and above the material world in order to see the truth.

Once you're there,

you realize that “Gosh, we are all just human beings”.

But until you get to that point that you are important,

and that one is bad, and that one is great,

and that one is silly, and that one is rich,

and that one is poor...

Finally, when you go above the five senses,

that kind of thinking, intellectual thinking...

Then you see that it's just one thing.

All of it, nothing more.

[UMA] The eye system, for me anyhow, has been the guide.

Not of language, not of words, not of intellect, the eyes.

So, you just use your eyes,to even get there.

To really get...

You use your eyes to get there.Have you get that?

[CHIDANAND] The true meaning of Yoga is union.

That union is not outside of us, it's inside of us also.

We need that union through Yoga, not mere bending over.

Because Yoga is not a 45 minutes class.

Yoga is not only on the mat.

Yoga is off the mat.

Every minute, every moment, every karma, every thought,

every action, every breath is Yoga.

Yoga is what you are.

Life is wherever you are,every moment.

It's not the “Tomorrow,I'll be happy.

Maybe in the future,after ten years,

I'll be ok, I'll be great,I'll feel happy”.

This is the time, now.

If you don't feel happy now,you will never be happy.

Now is the time.

You are the mantra.

You are the mantra.

[MICHAEL] We were on the edgeof the Ganges in Haridwar,

and we had stoppedby a cremation pyre.

And we askedif I could photograph,

and I was trying to make imagesnot really knowing

what I was doing.And somebody came over to me

and sort of whispered

that the man was watchinghis child being cremated,

his son had died.

[crackling fire noise]

[MICHAEL] I wrote about this photograph and said:

“A father watches his sonbeing cremated

at the side of the Ganges in Haridwar.

The temple, quote/unquote ‘body' burns

and releases the individual soul back into the universal soul”.

The saying from the classicBuda's lore is:

“I will give you a boat to cross the river,

but you must leave it on the other side and continue on”.

[MICHAEL] The longer I'm involved in this journey,

the more I realize that my Yoga has evolved

into a means of letting go and surrendering to change,

passage, death, to move away from fear,

to the fears that binds us.

[JAGADISH] (foreign) Why is people scared of death?

This is a deep question.

A Saint who used to livenearby Gangotri,

wanted to leave his body to God.

He always says: “I want to sacrifice my body”.

One night, it was late,and started to snow.

At 3am, he started feeling cold.

In my experience is aroundthis time,

the heat of fire is not enough to keep us warm.

Around 3am he was cold and said:

“God, please save me tonight”.

Now this is the answer to your question:"what is the fear of death?"

I was angry and amusedat the same time.

I said: “On one side you are waitingto sacrifice your body

but now you are asking God to save your life?”

People have the fear of death: “I don't want to leave my body”.

This fear of death can't be explained in words.

It can only be felt by the person who is facing death.

One never accepts the factthat one day everyone will die.

This is the illusion thatwe have about death.

This is the biggest illusionhuman being have,

that one day his life will notcome to an end.

He tries all he can.

But he never realizes thatone day his end will also come.

[crackling fire noise]

[WOMAN] This is the biggest misunderstanding in this life,

in our life, is that we think that we will never die.

[GURMUKH] You know, when people are old people at the Golden Temple...

You'll see them around.

They are muttering: “Wahe guru,wahe guru, wahe guru, wahe guru”.

Why? Because they want to taketheir last breath on Waheguru.

Like, going fromdarkness to the light.

Waheguru is...

Wahe is “wow”.

Guru, “I'm going fromdarkness to light”.

“I'm going to liberation”.

And they say that so many peopleleave their last breath,

like, in a hospital.And they use a swear word.

Because they have doneno preparation.

We know this is temporary.We know we've come to go.

That's why we do meditationsout of the tenth gate,

preparing to go home.

So you go home with ease,you go home with grace.

But if you don't have that tool,you hold on for life.

You don't want to leave.You're in coma for years,

you have all thatstuff more...

“Keep me alive, put allthe tubes you can in me.

I have to stay alive”, because a lotof people think that this is it.

[MOOJI] At a certain stage,

all that experience is beginning to creep in, which are not pleasant.

It brings up some deeperquestions

because we begin to senseour mortality,

or the sense that maybe one day,

we'll not be here.

[MOOJI] But as you gomore inwardly,

because for a while our experience,experiences,

seem to be coming in from this sideof the eyes, from the outside.

But gradually as we begin to discover more our inner being,

we are finding that more...

It's coming into a field of peace, and contentment,

and a wider perspective of life.

The sense of choosing one's life become less important.

The sense of living life becomes less important,

as you discover that you are life itself.

It culminates in the end of the sense of separateness,

of me and the whole, of me and God, of me and truth...

It's like “me” gets merged into the greater,

the greater consciousness.

[MOOJI] Then you can see from this place,

because it's there already,it is what you are fundamentally.

This is the only space thatthere is in you,

that doesn't belong to time.

Everything else is of time.

Everything that you perceiveis of time.

Because this is the only place in you

that is not coming upright, it is your internal nature.


[LINDA] If we really boil it down, fear is the fear of death.

I mean...

That's out big fear in life.

And you may put a lot of otherpoints in front of it,

but really it's fear of death.

So, once we master the fear of death,then we are free.

It is in this understanding of fearthat we no longer have fear.

We move forward, and when our time comes,

we're ready.

Because at that timeyou can't go back,

you're going forward,and you are letting go of all fear.

And trusting what you'vedone all your life.

So, it is our opportunityto be free.

I believe that's why we are here,it's to learn that.

So, it's kind of funny,we are born to learn how to die.

[LINDA] At the end of the day, we are all going to leave this planet

or this body as we know it.

But it's in those last breaths of our life that we...

If we are in consciousness,

that we can take that consciousness with us

and move forward to our next journey.

[MICHAEL] So, look, death is scary.

It is just as scary for meas it is for you, for all, for everybody.

It's just simply the experienceof being with yourself,

of being with your breath.

[long breath]

I mean, it isn't that it takes away the fear of death,

it just makes sense of death, because it's a moment of transition.

If there is an energy,and there is a spark,

and we believe in it…

All we are leaving behindis a body.

What is going to go with us is our experiences.

[EDIE] I think a lot of it is taking that little time during the day

to address those partsof us that we can't see.


We spend a lot of timetaking care of our bodies.

And feeding our bodies,and dealing with e-mails

and the world around us...

All the things thatwe can see and measure.

Then, we need some timeto take care of those things,

or be with those things we can't see,like our breath...

Or the feeling of quietingthe mind.

Or the feeling of maybe meditating on compassion,

or on contemplation on God,

contemplation on consciousness, contemplation on love...

All these things that we can't see and we can't measure.

And so in the Yoga practices and in meditation,

that's a lot of the world that we're in.

We're in the world of things that can't be measured.

To be in that space without measuring stuff

and trying to figure stuff out for a little while,

because there is no“figuring it all out”.

We can all figure it out upto a certain point.

Then, the thing we figured out,well, it might change.

Or there will be somethingelse to try to figure it out.

This is where the ideaof surrender comes in.

To know the limits of how far we can get on our own steam,

and at what point do we have to give up,

and have the faith and confidence

that something else is going to help us along.

[EDIE] There're a lot of people meditating.

There're a lot of people doing something like Yoga,

a lot of people going to church. So there must be some drive in us,

in all human beings, which leads us towards,

contemplating, or praying, or worshiping, or being quiet,

in one way or another.

[EDIE] Aristotle and Plato and, you know, Jain monks,

and the Yogis, they all question, they all contemplate it.

Some of them left society

so they couldcontemplate this sense.

This has been going on forthousands of years.

it's not new for us to be doing this.

It's part of us to be doing this.

I don't think that there really will benecessarily a better something.


A better world,a more peaceful world.

And it's not that I'm somekind of a fatalist or something,

but it seems like there has always been a lot of violence in the world.

There has always been political people.

There has always been financial problems and financial crisis,

up to anywhere there has always been something,

which has been either famine, a scourge,

a plague, a terrible king,

overrun by foreign countries coming inand destroying everything…

This has been going on for a long time

and we're no different.

But there's always been some smallgroups of people who will say:

“I don't want to take partin this kind of way,

and so I'm going to try tobe a kinder person,

a more thoughtful person.

I'm going to think aboutthe world that I live in.

I'm going to think aboutmy actions in the world.

And I'm going to tryto be more loving”.

And there has always been some small groups of people

throughout the ages andthroughout time

who have decided to do this.

The Yogis are one of those groups,

and their longevity, in terms of the practice staying alive,

has been remarkable.

The practice of Yoga might look a little bit different now,

but the idea behind it is essentially the same.

I don't want to take part in the world in the same way

that I see it causing a lot of suffering to people.

I want to take part in the world in such a way

that it creates more happiness, more kindness,

more thoughtfulness, more care.

So we need that quiet time to experience those things.

It just serves to make our life a little bit more stable,

and make our perception a little bit more clear,

and give us a greater appreciation

that everyone around us is also going through that same struggle.

[MICHAEL] In Tibet,

ten years ago I wasat Milarepa's Cave,

and it was June, but there was a snow storm blowing up the valley.

This cave was at the topof a valley.

The group of people I waswith went into the cave,

but somehow I walked awayand I found a gigantic slab of stone,

a flat stone, parched,at the top of the valley.

And I sat and meditated in,

you know, in rain gearand cold weather gear,

while the snowflakes blew upthe valley, and tinkled...

On my clothing and in my eyes,

and I sat there for an hour.

And that meditation andwhatever spirit was there,

and whatever aura was there,

that's going with me when I go.

No one can takethat away from me.

No one can take that away from you,your experiences.

[waves crashing by the shore]

CLOSED CAPTION: Bárbara Fernandes

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