11-year old Neelkanth has long dreamed of being a Yogi, and in the darkness of the rainy evening of June 29, 1792 he secretly leaves his family behind in the Northern India city of Ayodhya ... See full summary »

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Rupak Mehta ...
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Latesh Patel ...
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11-year old Neelkanth has long dreamed of being a Yogi, and in the darkness of the rainy evening of June 29, 1792 he secretly leaves his family behind in the Northern India city of Ayodhya by plunging himself into the Saryu river at flood stage. Landing downstream, he begins a 7 year barefoot trek that will cover 8,000 miles through much of India. The young Yogi impresses everyone he meets, providing spiritual inspiration, but declines offers to remain in the villages he visits. He tames a fearsome lion terrorizing one village. Heading into the Himalayas barefoot, and wearing little clothing, he survives freezing temperatures using Yoga and meditation. He crosses a pass at 18,000 feet and treks through the deepest gorge in the world before transversing rain forests, jungles and following coastlines. At Jagannath Puri he is invited by the king to take part in the annual Rath Yatra (Festival of Chariots). Finally he ends his journey in the village Loj in Gujarat where the great teacher ... Written by Brian Greenhalgh

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An incredible journey of inspiration


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February 2005 (USA)  »

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Great Photography, but a little too Idealistic
25 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Positives: Videography and photography are absolutely astounding and are what make this film worthwhile to see. The sights of India are well-represented by the giant screen and excellent angles and shots of the photography crew. Because the land's physical terrain is so diverse, the travels of Neelkanth Varni (a young Hindu yogi who later establishes the Swaminarayan Sampradaya) truly reveal the natural beauty of 18th century India.

I also thought Peter O'Toole did a good job explaining (though its VERY brief) the basic characteristics of ashtanga-yoga, the fundamental practice of classical Hinduism and Buddhism.

The Negatives: Because the film's goal was to sample the culture, natural beauty, and spirituality of India, none of the topics represented got enough exposure, in my opinion. The film tried to do a little TOO much by covering every topic it possibly could. I thought that if they followed the story of Neelkanth a little more closely, the film would be a little more successful in both exposing the art and architecture of India and the inspiring accomplishments of Neelkanth Varni.

The other major negative persists throughout the film: the tone of the commentary shows an idealistic India, when in actuality, Hinduism was experiencing a significant decline in the early 18th century. Though the portrayal of Neelkanth was based on factual history, the film is a romanticized synopsis of Hindu thought and culture.

The goal of the film is to show India in all its beauty and diversity. I think it accomplished that goal overall. It's definitely worth seeing.


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