Short Cut to Nirvana

Rated NR 2004

This documentary by Maurizio Benazzo and Nick Day takes a look at the Kumbh Mela, considered the world's largest gathering of people (upwards of 70 million) and which has been occurring every 12 years since about 500 B.C. From a foreigner's point of view, the event looks like a massive carnival in which every vendor's tent is religiously oriented. There are certainly some freak-show attributes that ought to appeal to curious eyes, including people being buried alive and sitting on red-hot nails. Much of the spirituality expressed herein is similar, about the unity of all people, the exaltation of love, the condemnation of excessive riches, and the ways in which all religions are means to the same end. One might consider, however, that even a hardcore Christian or Muslim festival might look similarly loving if examined only on a superficial level. The filmmakers don't ask specific questions about the religious requirements of the various gurus that could have shed more light.

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