Report from Living Yoga writer/co-producer Joshua M. Greene
On June 20, some six hundred people filled the Jivamukti Yoga School for the New York premiere of Living Yoga! Guests included Conrad Rooks, Peter Max, Dean Morton, Rabbi Gelberman and a full coterie of IYI notables, teachers, and friends. We had three elevated 8-foot-wide screens with six speakers of surround-sound—that was in addition to the equipment brought by Krishna Das, who opened the program with kirtan.
Krishna Das sure knows how to get ‘em worked up. He’s always a hit, but last night he got the beat going until an unusually expressive entourage of arm-flailing, head bobbing, eyelash-fluttering fans who rose up like cobras to Om Namo Shivaya and Hare Krishna. Jivamukti yoginis were walking around prompting victims “INNNhaaaaaale, EXXXhaaaaale…,” so nobody got hurt.
After the kirtan, Swami Ramananda, the head of the New York Integral Yoga Institute, introduced the film. He was so calm he makes calm look nervous, which was great at Jivamukti, a place where you find yourself peeking out of the corner of your eye and wondering “Is HE famous? Is SHE famous?” And saffron is this year’s black, so he was completely en vogue.
The screening was more of a screaming. This group was primed. You would have thought it was a taping of The Improv, judging by audience response. They even laughed where nothing was funny at all, like when Richard Cripe says he suffered his second heart attack at age fifty, and then a third heart attack the next year, and a fourth heart attack after that–by the time he had his fifth heart attack the room was in stitches. Whatever, everyone loved it.
After the screening the entire audience stayed for a group discussion that included Sharon and David (Jivamukti co-founders), Dr. Amrita McLanahan, Peter Max, Arjuna Zurbel, Ramanandaji, Shiva Kumar (the film’s director) and myself. Most of the 45 minutes or so were taken up with stories about Sri Gurudev from the panel and from IYI folk in the audience.
Shiva had his family there, and my wife and daughter came. This was special for me because at home the message is, “Dad, don’t bother trying to boil water, you’re not going to get it right,” and here are all these people walking up to us after the film bowing and giving us r-e-s-p-e-c-t. Of course, it will not make much difference once we’re back on Long Island and I try to boil water again. The 15 minutes of fame are up. Ah, well.
We are grateful to have had this opportunity to play a small part in telling Gurudev’s great story. When I think of how much I miss myspiritual master, I get a little taste of what it must be like for Gurudev’s many dedicated disciples. Transcendental knowledge is apauruseya: it descends from a higher realm through the intermediary of realized masters. How can anyone with even the slightest sensitivity to the mystery of life not be moved by Gurudev’s mission?
Anyway, a fun time was had by all. But I have to sign off now. I’m late for water-boiling class.
Yogesvara (Joshua Greene)