July 23, 2024

The Awakener

Very valuable 55 minutes film on Avatar Meher Baba who was born in Poona, India in 1894. His mission as Avatar, the Hindu word for Godman, started in 1921 and developed as a practical example of his principle message of love. He worked with disciples in India, Europe, America and the poor of India, through free schools, dispensaries and shelters. His life was devoted not to teaching but to awakening humanity to the unifying message of love and the Truth given by great messengers of the past. His belief that all had been said was given emphasis by his observing silence for 44 years, from 1925 until his death in 1969.

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MEHER BABA Information

New DVD of Documentary film on Meher Baba - The Awakener

Review by Kendra Crossen Burroughs

Tim Thelen's 1994 film on Meher Baba was the first to be made in the classic "objective" style of television documentaries. Only now, thirteen years later, has it become available on DVD, and it is arguably still the only film of its kind: a complete survey of Baba's life and work at a viewing time appropriate for television and other nontheatrical showings (it has aired on U.S. public TV and in Israel), and suitable for introducing Baba to an unconverted audience. Baba's story is presented in a factual, chronological format, complete with a diagram of the moment of creation and professorial comments by Robert Ellwood, a liberal clergyman who taught world religions at USC and authored books such as The Sixties Spiritual Awakening.

Despite its "objectivity," Meher Baba, The Awakener presents no opposing views (no "Colonel Irani" was on hand in L.A., I guess); it simply suggests that Meher Baba's claim to being the Avatar is for the viewer to evaluate. An earlier version of this film concluded with a controversial reference to Baba's announcement that "three-quarters of the world" will be destroyed when He breaks His silence. It is absent from the present version, which concludes gently.

For the pleasure of Baba-lovers, the film includes some of the most lovely footage of Baba, as well as many beautiful stills, including several shots of Him that are not commonly shown. It is primarily for Baba's image that I personally want to watch a Baba movie. On repeated viewings of this film, my editorial temperament can't help being critical of a few details in the script, but that is inevitable when someone heroically squeezes so much information into a short movie. I am sure that when an audience new to Baba watches this, they are not mentally analyzing each statement; rather, they are taking in impressions of images, feelings, and selected utterances that each viewer will absorb according to his or her own receptivity. This film is therefore valuable for showing to friends and family, or anyone you think would appreciate the familiar documentary approach, which subliminally validates the content, especially with the voice of our authoritative narrator, Dina Snow!

It covers an amazing range of historical events, concepts, and people, touching on every major element in Baba's story to give viewers the big picture: creation, evolution, reincarnation, and involution; Gandhi, Hollywood, Australia, and the Paramount Newsreel; miracles, masts, and Mehera; mass darshans and prasad tossing; Universal Work, accidents, seclusion, and silence; the New Life and the New Humanity; and the message of love of God without rituals, dogmas, or drugs.

Among the featured speakers-especially Bhau Kalchuri and Don Stevens, but also Rustom and Sohrab Irani (Baba's twin nephews) and Marguerite Poley, who speaks lovingly of meeting and embracing Baba-all look touchingly fresh-faced, now that years have passed and we're all a tad more decrepit. Don is delightfully articulate, and what Bhau lacks in fluency (there are subtitles for him, at least) he makes up in heart radiance. Lyn Ott, present in a voiceover, makes one of the film's most insightful comments, on the inner significance of Meher Baba's silence: "Eventually Baba wants everyone to become aware of God speaking to them in their hearts."

Bonus Features exclusive to the DVD include the entire uncut interviews with both Bhau and Don (not quite the Clash of the Titans-more like the Attack of the Huggy Bears). From the press release: "Included is Bhau's explanation of the story of Adam and Eve, and Jesus' life after the crucifixion. Don speaks on a variety of subjects, including the New Life, and the various ways of following Meher Baba."



For more information on Meher Baba Music, Meher Baba Books and online Magazines, Films and Videos on Meher Baba. Photographs and Images and various Avatar MeherBaba Centers, Meher Publications or Meherabad and Meherazad, Baba's Mandali, Perfect Masters, Spiritual Saints and Sadgurus of India or TRUSTMEHER please : Click Here

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